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Baal Keri and Purification


Greetings Rabbi,
What is a baal keri, and how does a baal keri purify himself?
If the baal keri touches an object (any object or clothes) then does that object (or clothes) become impure? If another person touches that object (or his clothes), does he/she become impure, and if so then how does he/she purify, by washing (3 times, or by washing under the faucet), or immersion in a Mikveh?
Thank you for answering.


A baal keri is one who has a seminal emission. His purification is done through immersion in a mikvah. There is no obligation to purify one’s self from this impurity in our day and age when there is no temple and sacrifices and we are not careful to eat our food with purity. Nevertheless it is a commendable practice to purify one’s self from keri before prayer or Torah study. A baal keri does not transfer impurity to objects.

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  1. You mention that it’s a commendable practice to purify one’s self from keri before prayer or Torah study. However you neglected to answer the question as to how such purification is achieved (mikveh or “tisha kabim”)

    You also write that a baal keri does not transfer impurity to objects, this is not fully accurate. While the point is currently moot, the truth is that a person who had a seminal emission has the status of “Rishon Letumah”, and transfers “tumah” to food and drink. Semen itself has the status of “Av Hatumah” which conveys “tumah” to people, clothing, and vessels that come in contact with it.

    1. ideally mikveh, if not possible tisha kabim works bedieved

      correct,see mishna zavim 5:11, peirush harash keilim 1:1, rambam avos hatumos 5:1, cf. tosfos niddah 22a sv. ela who seems to hinge this on the question of whether a bal keri is tamei on account of “emitting” or “touching” the semen. i was referring to the practical applications of tumah as they apply to us.

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