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Preparing the Heart and Mind for Prayer..

Immersion in order to prepare the heart and mind with holy and pure thoughts
for prayer, Torah study, and the performance of physical mitzvot

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12. 'A Ba'al Keri is barred from reciting words of Torah. Where is it written? (Brachot 20-22, D'varim 4:9-10). "And you will make them known to your children" which is floolwed by, "The day that you stood before G-d, your L-rd, at Horeb." From this we infer that just as the Torah was received with dread and awe, trembling and fear, and all who experienced a seminal emission were barred from it, so too must the study of Torah be experienced be experienced with dread and awe, and those who experienced a seminal emission are forbidden to participate. Thus it is said: all who are ritually impure are permitted to study Tirah because they are yet able to study with dread and trembling, but one who experienced a seminal emission is forbidden to study Torah, because his   emission was brought about through frivolity and levity on his part. Hence, a Zav or one who had relations with a woman in the state of Neiddah must first immerse himself before he engages in the words of the Torah, even though Ezra's immersion does not absolve him from the seven days of impurity.' (Rashi).
13. 'He broke throught the ice in order to immerse and be able to study Torah'. The prophet thus teaches us about immersing onself while in difficult circumstances, even before the edict of Ezra, and in instances when there is no absolute obligation to immerse, from  "B'nayah Ben Yehoyadah, Ben Ish Chai, who decended into the well on a snowy day." (Shmuel 2:23, Berachot 18b).
14. Words of the Torah do not contract ritual impurity!
As it is written, "Behold, My words are like fire, says G-d."
R. Yehudah Ben B'tairah says, just as fire cannot become ritually impure, words of the Torah can not. those who are lenient, because Mikavaot were not redily available, and where immersion caused neglect of Torah study and neglect of the observance the Mitzvah of "be fruitful and multiply". Those who are stringent, in order to prevent scholars from being constantly .. like roosters. But anyone who is stringent with himself in this matter will enjoy length of days and years. 'It happened the R. Yehudah experienced a seminal emission and was walking by a riverbank. His students asked him, "Our master, teach us the laws of Derech Eretz!" He immersed in the river and instructed them. Then they asked, "Did our Master not teach us that a Ba'al Keri may not study the laws of Derech Eretz while ritually impure?" And he replied, "Although I am lenient with others in this matter, I am stringent when it comes to my own personal conduct." (Yirmiyahu 23:29)
15. 'Four miles ... for prayer'
Rashi says, 'One should exert himself in order to pray with a Minyan in a synagogue.'  Tosephot says, 'One should exhert himself inorder to immerse himself in a Mikvah for his prayer. Though we are accustomed to follow the teachings of R. Yehudah Ben Betaira when it comes to the words of Torah, that only applies to study, and reciting the Sh'ma, but when it comes to praye, one is obliged to immerse.' (Chullin 122b)
Rav Huna asked, 'Why do you disparage this immersion of the Ba'al keri that Ezra ordained, in favor of R. Yehudah Ben Betairah's opinion? If it is on account of the hardship of immersing in cold water, is it possible to immerse in a warm Mikvaot!' 'Although most people practiced the teaching of R. Yehudah Ben Betairah, many others were stringent and immersed. Since the Sages abolished the decree of Ezra only because the people could not abide by it', (Tosphot, Babba Kama 82b). 'But in our days, where warm men's Mikvaot are plentiful and situated near synagogues, and it is thus easy to immerse, certainly one who is able should be careful about it. On the Shabbat one should be careful that the Mikveh waters should not be too hot, but rather cool or lukewarm. Secondly, reguarding the prohibition against squeezing on the Shabbat, one should not dry his hair afterward. And thirdly, in order to prevent carrying water into the public domain, one would wait until he is completely dry before leaving the Mikveh site.' (Orchot Yosher, ch 11, p. 40 by Hagaon R. Chaim Kaniefsky).
16. "Say to the Choanim, the children of Aharone." (Va'yikra 21:1, Ma'or Vashemesh)
"The fear of G-d (only if present) in a state of purity, will endure forever," to the end of generations, (T'hlim 19:10). It is impossible to reach the ultimate in the fear of G-d, to study and pray with trembling fear, and to grasp the essence of Torah and Mitzvot unless one is stringent about maintaining the decree of Ezra. And if one learns Kabbalah while in a state of impurity, he can come to heresy. In fact, the cult of Shabbtai Tzvi, may their names be obliterated, became heretics because they studied Kabbalah while in a state of bodily impurity. "And you will make them known to your children and your children's children," it is impossible to teach students and implant the fear of G-d in their hearts if one is not careful to immerse in accordance with the decree of Ezra. But if one sanctifies and purifies himself in his youth, and he studies his whole life long in a state of sanctity and purity, he will attain lofty heights of the fear of G-d, and be able to draw the souls of Israel to their Creator, Blessed be He, and to guide them in the practice of Torah, Mitzvot and the fear of G-d. The light of this individual's holiness will shine onto his students, and his student's students, who will follow in his footsteps, to the end of generations, like Aaron.' 'The only scholorly works accepted by all of Israel were those whose authors were stringent in the decree of Ezra.' "Say to the Choanim," that is, say to those who serve G-d, who are refered to as "Choanim", that they should be disciples of Aaron, and should go about in purity and sactify like Aaron. And then not a single Jewish sould who comes close to them will become ritually impure. On the contrary - they will merit drawing sould closer to the Creator, Blessed be He.'
17. Nowadays there is a particular obligation to publicize immersion for men, which indirectly also incourages the observance of family purity and sancity.

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