7 or 12 Days

A common question asked regarding the laws of טהרת המשפחה comes from yesterday’s Parsha. It is known that the separation between husband and wife is a minimum of twelve days related to menstruation. The Torah seems to say it is only a seven day separation. Why did the Rabbis add the extra five days?

Aside from the more complicated answer of not being certain as to what the woman’s actual status is. It might be that she is a זבה and must wait seven days or she is נידה and waits seven days.

Putting this reason aside, there are two explanations that explain the insistence of a twelve day separation. One answer is that the Rabbis felt that the extra five day separation increases תשוקה, or passion. The extra waiting makes the reunion that much more special.

And the other answer is similar in that this extended separation creates a “honeymoon” like atmosphere between husband and wife. Every month has its anticipation of being reunited. The system works and the wisdom of the Rabbis is remarkable!