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    Ritual impurity – Tazria

    Depiction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem

    A person who was in a state of tum’ah, ritual impurity, could not enter the sanctuary.

    Maimonides thinks this was in order to evoke awe and reverence for the sanctuary. One had to be in a fit state to come into the holy place.

    Nachmanides had a different idea, that the human body was capable of a temporary negative experience.

    In both cases a person could change his or her own situation for the better. The Jewish idea is therefore that nothing is permanent in the human situation. One does not have to accept things as they are, either in the world or in one’s own self.

    As an optimistic religion, the Jewish belief is that one not only can look forward to the future but can work towards it.

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