Kenneth Cohen

Get Rid of Impurities

The Torah speaks of three different individuals who become ritually impure with different levels of impurity.

The most severe type was the leper, who was guilty of arrogance, Lashon Hara, and being unable to be happy at the success of others. He had to remain outside three camps. (When they entered Israel, the leper, could not enter the walls of Jerusalem.)

The other two impurities were connected with an uncontrollable flow in a male, and having in contact with the dead. The former stay out of two camps, and the latter outside of one camp.

The Messilat Yesharim reminds us that the greatest joy that man can experience in this world, is the ability to feel closeness to Hashem. When one reaches this level, he has an extremely strong feeling of contentment and satisfaction. King David expressed this several times in Tehillim.

One must also be aware that there are obstacles along the way, in our quest to attain this connection.

This is reflected by mentioning these different levels of impurity. If we don’t clean ourselves out from our character flaws and insecurities, we will not be able to reach this lofty and worthwhile goal.

This is what is known as עבודת נפש, soul or spiritual work. This must be a priority for us in our lives. If we stay focused and seek Divine assistance, we will be able to remove all impurities, and bask in the glory of G-d.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at