Is niddah different than zavah? What are zav/zavah, and how does a person purifies?
It is said that a woman (niddah or zavah) or a man (zav) who touches (or sits, for example on a bed or a couch) an object the object becomes impure and if another person touches the object he/she becomes impure as well. How then does the person purifies? Hand washing (3 times/ 1 time)? Or does that person have to go the Mikveh? If a Mikveh is not possible what could the person do? Thank you.
Niddah and Zavah are 2 different types of ritual impurity that come from a woman bleeding uterine blood. Because of concern for confusing the 2, any time a woman sees blood we treat her like the more stringent Zava, which requires 7 clean days and immersion in a mikvah.
Zav refers to an emission from a man which renders him impure. the ramifications of this impurity are not relevant in our times as they relate only to impurity which effects the purity of food and sacrificial offerings, both of which are not relevant today [we are no longer careful with regards to food as we assume all our food have impurity, the obligation to purify from this was only for eating sacrifices and some form of tithes in purity which is no longer practiced – until the building of the third Temple, may it be soon].
When these laws were relevant, purity was obtained only through immersion in a mikvah and at times through a sacrificial offering.
The same is true of a Niddah and Zava, the only relevant laws practiced based on their impurity is that of being forbidden from marital relations until the above process is completed.