The psychology and religion of tahorah and holiness
Dor-Shav, Z. 2005.  BH 15:161-173. CELD ID 21537

By studying Maimonides' definition of tahorah (ritual purity), a unifying principle and psychological relevance for this concept may be reached. Being in a state of tahorah enables a person to give maximum glory to G-d, thus fulfilling the highest purpose of human life. The state of tahorah gives access to the state of holiness. Tahorah also may serve as a symbolic medium that motivates a person toward self-actualization. This also requires that the individual is a member of a constructive social group; has exemplary role models; has good leadership; and knows how to make conscious distinctions regarding his or her time, place, and existential state. The obverse state of tahorah is tumah. Tumah may be described as a state resulting from contact with a creature whose quality of life has been lowered by death, misuse, or an impediment to procreation. Tumah can also result from contact with penitent offerings of idolators or of leaders who violated the public trust.