Warning: if you are one of those people who get squeamish at the mention of words like “ejaculation” and “masturbation,” you might want to skip this post. Also, you might want to get over that, they’re natural bodily functions.
I’m going to say this now, because it is probably the only time I will say it during this entire read-through: these laws are really unfair to men.
Yes, women are unclean for a longer time (the entire seven days of their period), while men are only unclean for days if they have a pustular discharge. Otherwise, if they ejaculate, they’re only unclean until the evening.
But here’s where I think it’s not fair to men. Our periods are more or less regular. You can plan ahead for them, set yourself up a folding chair or a little tent to live in while you’re menstruating. Once it’s done, you’re free for three weeks.
Men, on the other hand, are unclean whenever they ejaculate. That’s the one part that might be troublesome to women; apparently she has to clean off after he comes too. I suppose some of this just involves scheduling. Men should masturbate or have sex in the late afternoon, so they’re only unclean for a few hours.
But what about wet dreams? Men can’t control that. And if you wake up in the morning having ejaculated, you’re unclean for the whole day, as is that bed you slept on. Way to make an awkward part of puberty even more awkward. And given that, as teenagers, men tend to have a lot of wet dreams, they could potentially spend most of the time in a state of uncleanness.
Also, women get to masturbate whenever they like, because that doesn’t count. Woohoo!
On the plus side for men, all they have to do is wash-up. A woman has to offer two birds every month (that’s a lot of birds!), which men only have to do in the rare instance that their semen is pustular.
The chapter explains that this is to protect people from calling down death if they approach the tabernacle (v 31), but it seems impractical to have so much of your population (more than an eighth of it) unclean at any given time.
I looked up a little on how rabbinical tradition has dealt with these issues, and mostly they’ve made it worse for women, prolonging the time they can’t have sex, and basically forbidding men from touching any woman ever because she might be menstruating. They also, by accident, invented the tampon.
Meanwhile, rabbis determined that seminal discharge laws for men no longer apply, you just have to wash before worship.
Typical. If I were Jewish, I would so be Reform.
The Japanese: nyoudou “urethra,” enshou “inflammation, irritation,” roushutsu “leak out” (v 2), umi “pus” (v 3), koshikake “seat, bench” (v 4), tsuba “saliva, spit” (v 8), kura “saddle” (v 9), atehamaru “to apply to” (v 18).”