The following is a FB conversation… Maybe, someday, I’ll take the time to rewrite it, but, for now, this works to save the thoughts. 😀
2/11/13 Was pondering Niddah and it’s spiritual application in my drive time today.. Remembered, vaguely, something I’d heard some time ago, so went looking.
First use principle in Scripture – From Torah, the time of a woman’s period, when she is set apart and separated – best described in Lev 15. Next “major use” (as in used more than once in a specific context) is for the red heifer ashes water of separation (Num 19:9), which is used for the purification of sin.
The Hebrew letters in the word are :
Noon – depicting activity/life
Dalet – depicting a doorway/to enter
Hey – depicting “Behold”
So, it might be said that the pictograph of Niddah is: “Behold, the doorway to Life!”
Which frankly – in the natural world is absolutely true of a woman’s cycle and in the spiritual world is absolutely true of the waters of YHVH which purify our sin – they are both a doorway to Life – one the life of children, the other Eternal Life.This principle is echoed in Lev 20:21, which says a man shall not lie with his brother’s wife, it is Niddah, uncovering the brother’s nakedness, and they shall be childless. So, in essence, because the Brother’s “doorway to life” has been “beheld” in sin, there is no new life coming from the sinner.I think there is something here to ponder… Niddah – spiritually- Waters of separation for the purification of sins;
in the natural, a woman’s time of menstruation blood flow…Have to say, regardless of my ponderings, I am so grateful for Yeshua’s blood which flowed and purifies my sin!The Conversation which followed:
MD: Hmmm….. both good thoughts to ponder thru!!!!
JARC: love this perspective….
MD: My starting point is Yeshua’s words that if they, the Jews, had believed Moses, they would have believed in Him. This tells me that we will find Yeshua thru-out the Torah, even in the midst of places that don’t make sense in the natural. The law of jealousy, for instance is one of those – but when we realize that Yehovah had reason to be jealous of his bride, and that Yeshua drank the bitter cup for us, saving us from the curse of that cup, the deeper parrallels become so beautiful!
Niddah is another one of those make you scratch your head.
If any man touches her, or the things she sits on while she is in Niddah, then they are unclean/defiled – but only until evening as opposed to unclean and needing to offer a sacrifice. The word for unclean/defiled is tama which in pictograph is a “leader contained in chaos”.
I believe there MUST be a shadow picture of Yeshua or his ministry in this, and I sense it’s tied to the two separate uses of the word Niddah.
Applying Niddah to the Bride of Christ is a very interesting thing to ponder out… the woman’s niddah being a picture of something which happens within the Bride… the red heifer ashes water something which comes about by the Groom/Yeshua??
Since I don’t have the answer to this completely, I appreciate other ponderings and study on the subject.
(ten days later…) MD: This is likely TMI for FB, but at the same time, if someone isn’t honest about what occurs in the natural, the spiritual metaphors will be lost…. So, I’ll take the risk of giving TMI…During Niddah, I always feel a drawing inward. It’s a strong pull to slow down, to “go inside”… I’ve used the word “introspection”, but that didn’t fit well. The Inward pull is more than introspection tho that happens. It’s more than just drawing into myself for a few days….
I finally today, put words to it:
Niddah is when the physical (body, chemistry, cycle) calls the spirit and soul of the woman to go deep into the Him Space – He in Me. It is the experience of being set apart into the waters of cleansing and healing of Yeshua.
I find it to be a time when music and verse and conversations and all about me just accentuate this deep spirit to Spirit communication that is taking place when I allow myself to slow down enough to listen. Often no real words are spoken, but I find myself keenly aware that I’m deep in conversation with the Giver of Life and Love. As the old home for life is shed and cleaned away in the natural, so too, the old is being released and cleaned away and my soul prepared to host New LIFE.
For me, the “red tent” of ancient times, is simply that a metaphor for the place where I meet Him in Me, where I slow down and take in all He has to cleanse and refresh my spirit for the month ahead, to be a fit vessel for the LIFE which He will offer the world thru me.
SBS: You make it sound so lovely. I always thought the red tent was merely to prevent murder in the camp. 😉 Seriously though, I’m glad it’s beautiful for you. It’s not at all for me, even when I do slow down to pay attention. For me, there isn’t a spiritual meaning to it. I’m a body. It happens. And then by God’s mercy, I move on. I know enough to know that the process is doing something vital in the physical, because of how out of sorts I am if I miss a month, and you know me and my interest in body theology – so I have to believe something deeper is probably happening. If nothing else, the chemical wash of hormones is effecting emotions, etc, and maybe I could see something I don’t usually. But even so – it’s still miserable, no matter how much I try to embrace it – and not just physically, though that too. It’s when I’m mentally and psychologically at my worst.
MD: 😀 on your red tent thoughts.
I’m sorry it’s miserable.
To be fair, experiencing the beauty in it is a newer thing for me – as in the past couple years since it’s return following M’s birth. It was just today that I found the words for where I’ve been the last six mos or so … And, for the record, aside from feeding boys, a small bit of housework and writing a bit, nothing of any consequence has happened this week… well and some excellent conversations. 😉
Once upon a time, my cycle was a thing to be endured, grudgingly. And then, in my late 20’s or early 30’s, I was visiting my mom, who was reading “The Wisdom of Menopause” by Christine Northrup MD… I spent some time reading it also and it planted seeds of thought to perhaps see the time of the red tent as a blessing, and to work with it, rather than against.
So, I’ve been in the place of open to possibility that it was something more than to be endured for 6-10 years now… But it’s taken a long time to truly embrace it, and even longer to find the beauty and be grateful for Niddah.
I realize summer would be better timing to suggest it, but given your interest in body theology, I HIGHLY recommend Christine Northrup’s book “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” !!! (please read it sometime!) I quoted it in my blog “Niddah & the red tent” written a year and a half ago here: https://shakamboqer.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/niddah-the-red-tent/
But here is one quote that may be why you find that it’s when you and so many others, myself at times included, are mentally and psychologically at our worst
“There is no doubt that premenstrually, many women feel more inward and more connected to their personal pain and the pain of the world.”
Having our pain, and the pain of the world staring back at us or breathing down our necks can certainly feel miserable. I have a sense that as we continue to turn and face that thing breathing down our necks, as we heal from our personal pain, we will find less staring back at us, and therefore will be less likely to see this body induced “personal truth exposer” as miserable. 😉
Point being, keep being gentle with yourself, and your body. You’re on a journey, He will finish the work He began in you of healing. Who knows – a few years from now, you might find niddah as a beautiful place where there is only a bit of pain to face bravely and quietly…. He is in the business of restoration.
SBS: I like your hopes for me.
I think too that I struggle conceptually because of the stage of life I’m in too. I feel like I wasn’t such a nutcase around this time when I was still married. There were times it felt like a sign of failure, especially when we were trying to expand our family. But for some reason, it felt more natural in that context. Now, it just feels useless, if that makes sense. It’s a reminder that my clock is ticking, a clock that may never be fulfilled.
Too, and I was thinking of this the other day after your first post, I wonder if it’s evidence of a feminist God. (I don’t mean feminist in its icky political sense – only in the sense that women are human). Put yourself in that day. All the women of the household have their bodies synced up together – it just happens – so potentially, *all* the women close to one another are in the red tent at once. Seems like someone has to keep the household going in the meantime. Maybe it’s younger daughters, or maybe it’s sons, or perhaps neighbors step in (though who is to say that the neighbors aren’t red-tented too?), but it seems like somehow, the men are going to have to step into household routines and childcare. Could be completely wrong – and in times of war, I do think my theory maybe flops. Elders maybe step in too.
But what I’m saying is that in a practical sense, it would seem like having all the women in a family outside the camp at once is a very real reminder that women are *human* and we have limits. It doesn’t level the playing field, but in some ways, it’s an enforced extended sabbath rest. I mean, gosh… can you imagine today if Mosaic cleanliness laws were enforced? All the women of child-bearing age in town exiled to the outskirts? What kind of crazy party would *that* be?! I’m thinking wine, I’m thinking chocolate, I’m thinking some whining about men and communal therapy, I’m thinking sleeping in and staying up late. Might be a good deal, you know? Of course, things are different in our day, and there are wonderful men that shoulder household duties all along, and for women who work outside the home (or school outside the home), it would be crazy-inconvenient on all sorts of levels.
But in that case, maybe it *does* prevent murder in the camp – it’s retreat and rest from what otherwise might be a hard life for women. And absence makes a heart (and other things) grow fonder – strengthens families, perhaps, marriages perhaps, ensures a bigger family line… There seem social applications here as well.
MD: I love your thoughts here… they mirror some I’ve thought in the past on the subject. Yeah..
The more I learn of Torah, the more I see the Father taking care of the women and children, calling the men to be good men. 🙂 There are definitely social applications, social/relational benefits…
Christine suggests that as “inconvenient” as it may be in this culture, we must take the time apart, we must face the pain that comes… and if we don’t we will likely die early deaths induced of a broken heart & stress. She backs that up with her research and that of others. So, yes, in a very real way, following His intent for Niddah truly does prevent “murder” or at least the untimely death of women…
As for you… we shall. We’ll talk in a few years. 😉 and many times in between I’m certain. 🙂
It’s not just my hopes… It’s HIS promise. ((hugs))
MD: As a side note and re another convo we had yesterday – Yes, this is definitely one of those kitchen table talks. I’m giggling thinking of the potential guests at this “table”… I wonder if they had any idea what was coming when they pulled up a chair. LOL I hope tho, that it is more than uncomfortable, more than entertaining, but perhaps a calling forth, perhaps a spark of thought to take them further along their own journeys. 🙂
SBS: OMG, can women professing to be Godly *speak* of such things? Seems like we have a culture that thinks it has the corner on intimate things – but for culture, it’s not intimate, but crass and shallow and surface – the appearance of scandal, which makes it all the more scandal. Sometimes, I think a woman should be able to talk about a uterus in mixed company without the world coming apart. So yes… I *have* thought about the onlookers. But this seems far more holy than all the crap we put up with from media and entertainment all the time. When will we stop apologizing for being women in the church? I get propriety, and modesty, and it has it’s place. But the Bible speaks freely – Women bleed. They’re deemed unclean. Put them outside the city gates. And this is how you become clean again. Facts of life. Welcome to the kitchen table, folks. If we could talk honestly about circumcision there, we can talk about uteri too.
DL: love the ‘blog’ on this thread. must needed REAL info pertaining to the life givers..WOMEN:) we as humanity have been taught to see what YEHOVAH said is blessed and part of HIS LIFE giving, as ICK!! then saying it to ourselves and others speaking it at least as i can rememeber since i was 12!. YET…since i have made it through men tal pause…o what a word, again!…i praise ABBA for the times i did bleed and tell my daughter the same thing. I have sent this thread to her hoping she will see it as it is typewritten from the heart that wants to know along with the outloud pondering of the heard through it all!!! thank you MD and SBS and those who joined in. this is not ‘down and dirty’ YET uplifting and life source!”…yea to wo man and to the MEN whom choose to know and respect the ‘order’ of all of ABBA”S instructions for our ‘bodies good’ and for good life.
I love the play on words with men tal pause!! That is so accurate! and what Christine talks about in Wisdom of Menopause… it is a time of mental pause. If a woman doesn’t take her Niddah to deal with the pain within, it will show up post partum, and if not then, in menopause, and if not then, early death is HIGHLY likely. However, if she takes the time in Niddah, and post partum, and men tal pause, to pause, to think, to reflect, to heal, to grow she comes thru the mental pause and moves from being a home focused life giver, to a world focused life giver. Healthy woman who have passed mental pause well, are the vibrant ones who offer LIFE in a hundred ways – from starting new businesses, ministries, to writing books of substance, to mentoring and loving well. Truly beautiful!!
Indeed – welcome to My Kitchen table!!!
Gotta clarify tho, for any not familiar, Scripture doesn’t actually say put her outside the city gates. It says a man who touches her during Niddah will be unclean until evening, after he takes a bath. But the application of that in ancient culture was reportedly a set aside “red tent” for the women to stay in during Niddah.
( I personally contend that this unclean for the man was not a sin related “unclean” – it just meant he couldn’t go to synagogue/fellowship till he was clean again – which frankly sounds about right to me…. Rub my feet, listen to my day, you’re stuck here anyway, let’s make the most of the time and connect. 😀 )
Yeah – truly. Facts of life. Women bleed. They need set apart time. This is about their gifting as Life Givers. It is needed, necessary and GOOD.
Still laughing about the last line. 😀 LOL
SBS: LOL. Well. That conversation goes down in history as the most awkward I’ve ever had. And, I’m in that mindset- OT today was in part about eunochs, and how Isaiah speaks sort of opposite Deuteronomy about them. All the puns in the Hebrew were great fun. Like at your kitchen table, but seminary students. So there.And, I’m glad for the one brave man-soul who fessed up to being here. 🙂
MD: Yes the kitchen table circ convo was definitely one to go down in history. 😀
Wow, sounds like a seriously fun class. 😀 We’ll have to talk about these puns and euphemisms sometime 🙂
SBS: Ahem. 😉
MD: Me thinks I’ll be C/P ing this one myself and turning it into a blog post…