The second birth 

Jesus: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Nicodemus: "How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"

Jesus: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."

Nicodemus: "How can these things be?"


Jesus: "Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven."

Jesus: " If the flesh has come to be because of spirit, it is a marvel - yet if spirit because of the body, it would be a marvel among marvels. But I marvel at this, how this great wealth has inhabited this poverty. Woe to the flesh which depends upon the soul, woe to the soul which depends upon the flesh. Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings shall not taste death."

"Thou shalt also make a
laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD:  So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not. "
(Exodus 30)



"One of the oldest traditions of the ritual bath is kept by the Judaism. The obligation to take a ritual bath before the worship already appears among the Jewish people after setting up the Ark of Covenant. There was a copper vessel for ritual washing of hands and feet in front of the tent where the Ark was housed. Much later, after the synagogues came into existence, this ritual bath developed into the ceremony of Micveh. Together with the worship, Micveh forms one of the important pillars of the contemporary Judaism. The ritual bath takes place in a holy well called Micah. There must be a natural flow of water and minimum content of the tank should be 762 liters. Ritual bath are most often built in a place of the natural spring under the synagogue. If rain water is used the Micah bath can be placed elsewhere. Believers come into the bath completely naked, as they were created, and immerse themselves into water completely three times, so that the cleaning water can reach to the most hidden parts of the body."  


According to a preIslamic Tradition Muslim worship barefooted a special object on the eastern corner of the Kaaba in Mecca.
Their destination is 'to kiss' and/or 'to touch'
it. They are seeking refuge. Refuge from misery, refuge from death, refuge from greed of the heart. 
One prerequisite to this is washing the hands, washing the mouth inside, washing the nose inside, 
washing the face
, washing the forearms and washing the feet.

"Let him first sip water thrice; next twice wipe his mouth; and, lastly, touch with water the cavities of the head, the seat of the soul."
(Manu Smriti II 60)



Manu Smriti

1. Learn that sacred law which is followed by men learned and assented to in their hearts by the virtuous, who are ever exempt from hatred and inordinate affection. To act solely from a desire for rewards is not laudable, yet an exemption from that desire is not to be found in this world: For on that desire is grounded the study of the Veda and the performance of the actions, prescribed by the Veda. The desire for rewards, indeed, has its root in the conception that an act can yield them, and in consequence of that conception sacrifices are performed; vows and the laws prescribing restraints are all stated to be kept through the idea that they will bear fruit. Not a single act here below appears ever to be done by a man free from desire; for whatever man does, it is the result of the impulse of desire.

He who persists in discharging these (-prescribed duties-) in the right manner, reaches the deathless state and even in this life obtains the fulfilment of all the desires that he may have conceived.

The whole Veda is the first source of the sacred law, next the tradition and the virtuous conduct of those who know the Veda further, also the customs of holy men, and finally self- satisfaction. Whatever law has been ordained for any person by Manu, that has been fully declared in the Veda: for that sage was omniscient. But a learned man after fully scrutinising all this with the eye of knowledge, should, in accordance with the authority of the revealed texts, be intent on the performance of his duties. For that man who obeys the law prescribed in the revealed texts and in the sacred tradition, gains fame in this world and after death unsurpassable bliss.

10. But by Sruti revelation is meant the Veda, and by Smriti tradition the Institutes of the sacred law: those two must not be called into question in any matter, since from those two the sacred law shone forth. Every
twice-born man, who, relying on the Institutes of dialectics, treats with contempt those two sources of the law, must be cast out by the virtuous, as an atheist and a scorner of the Veda. The Veda, the sacred tradition, the customs of virtuous men, and one's own pleasure, they declare to be visibly the fourfold means of defining the sacred law. The knowledge of the sacred law is prescribed for those who are not given to the acquisition of wealth and to the gratification of their desires; to those who seek the knowledge of the sacred law the supreme authority is the revelation (Sruti). But when two sacred texts (Sruti) are conflicting, both are held to be law; for both are pronounced by the wise to be valid law. Thus the Agnihotra sacrifice may be optionally performed, at any time after the sun has risen, before he has risen, or when neither sun nor stars are visible; that is declared by Vedic texts. Know that he for whom the performance of the ceremonies beginning with the rite of impregnation (Garbhadhana) and ending with the funeral rite (Antyeshti) is prescribed, while sacred formulas are being recited, is entitled to study these Institutes, but no other man whatsoever. That land, created by the gods, which lies between the two divine rivers Sarasvati and Drishadvati, the (sages) call Brahmavarta. The custom handed down in regular succession since time immemorial among the four chief castes (varna) and the mixed (races) of that country, is called the conduct of virtuous men. The plain of the Kurus, the country of the Matsyas, Pankalas, and Surasenakas, these form, indeed, the country of the Brahmarshis (Brahmanical sages, which ranks) immediately after Brahmavarta.

20. From a Brahmana, born in that country, let all men on earth learn their several usages. That country which lies between the Himavat and the Vindhya (mountains) to the east of Prayaga and to the west of Vinasana the place where the river Sarasvati disappears is called Madhyadesa (the central region). But (the tract) between those two mountains just mentioned, which extends as far as the eastern and the western oceans, the wise call Aryavarta the country of the Aryans. That land where the black antelope naturally roams, one must know to be fit for the performance of sacrifices; the tract different from that is the country of the Mlekkhas (barbarians). Let twice-born men seek to dwell in those above-mentioned countries; but a Sudra, distressed for subsistence, may reside anywhere. Thus has the origin of the sacred law been succinctly described to you and the origin of this universe; learn now the duties of the castes (varna). With holy rites, prescribed by the Veda, must the ceremony on conception and other sacraments be performed for twice-born men, which sanctify the body and purify (from sin) in this (life) and after death. By burnt oblations during the mother's pregnancy, by the Gatakarman (the ceremony after birth), the Kauda (tonsure), and the Maungibandhana (the tying of the sacred girdle of Munga grass) is the taint, derived from both parents, removed from twice-born men. By the study of the Veda, by vows, by burnt oblations, by the recitation of sacred texts, by the acquisition of the threefold sacred science, by offering to the gods, Rishis, and manes, by the procreation of sons, by the great sacrifices, and by Srauta rites this human body is made fit for union with Brahman.

Before the navel-string is cut, the Gatakarman (birth-rite) must be performed for a male child; and while sacred formulas are being recited, he must be fed with gold, honey, and butter.
30. But let the father perform or cause to be performed the Namadheya (the rite of naming the child), on the tenth or twelfth day after birth, or on a lucky lunar day, in a lucky muhurta, under an auspicious constellation. Let the first part of a Brahmana's name denote something auspicious, a Kshatriya's be connected with power, and a Vaisya's with wealth, but a Sudra's express something contemptible. The second part of a Brahmana's name shall be a word implying happiness, of a Kshatriya's a word implying protection, of a Vaisya's (a term) expressive of thriving, and of a Sudra's an expression denoting service. The names of women should be easy to pronounce, not imply anything dreadful, possess a plain meaning, be pleasing and auspicious, end in long vowels, and contain a word of benediction. In the fourth month the Nishkramana (the first leaving of the house) of the child should be performed, in the sixth month the Annaprasana (first feeding with rice), and optionally any other auspicious ceremony required by the custom of the family. According to the teaching of the revealed texts, the Kudakarman (tonsure) must be performed, for the sake of spiritual merit, by all twice-born men in the first or third year. In the eighth year after conception, one should perform the initiation (upanayana) of a Brahmana, in the eleventh after conception (that) of a Kshatriya, but in the twelfth that of a Vaisya. The initiation of a Brahmana who desires proficiency in sacred learning should take place in the fifth year after conception, that of a Kshatriya who wishes to become powerful in the sixth, and that of a Vaisya who longs for success in his business in the eighth. The time for the Savitri (initiation) of a Brahmana does not pass until the completion of the sixteenth year after conception, of a Kshatriya until the completion of the twenty-second, and of a Vaisya until the completion of the twenty-fourth. After those periods men of these three (castes) who have not received the sacrament at the proper time, become Vratyas (outcasts), excluded from the Savitri (initiation) and despised by the Aryans.

40. With such men, if they have not been purified according to the rule, let no Brahmana ever, even in times of distress, form a connexion either through the Veda or by marriage. Let students, according to the order of their castes, wear as upper dresses the skins of black antelopes, spotted deer, and he-goats, and lower garments made of hemp, flax or wool. The girdle of a Brahmana shall consist of a of a triple cord of Munga grass, smooth and soft; that of a Kshatriya, of a bowstring, made of Murva fibres; that of a Vaisya, of hempen threads. If Munga grass and so forth be not procurable, the girdles may be made of Kusa, Asmantaka, and Balbaga (fibres), with a single threefold knot, or with three or five knots according to the custom of the family. The sacrificial string of a Brahmana shall be made of cotton, shall be twisted to the right, and consist of three threads, that of a Kshatriya of hempen threads, and that of a Vaisya of woollen threads. A Brahmana shall carry, according to the sacred law, a staff of Bilva or Palasa; a Kshatriya, of Vata or Khadira; and a Vaisya, of Pilu or Udumbara. The staff of a Brahmana shall be made of such length as to reach the end of his hair; that of a Kshatriya, to reach his forehead; and that of a Vaisya, to reach the tip of his nose. Let all the staves be straight, without a blemish, handsome to look at, not likely to terrify men, with their bark perfect, unhurt by fire. Having taken a staff according to his choice, having worshipped the sun and walked round the fire, turning his right hand towards it, the student should beg alms according to the prescribed rule. An initiated Brahmana should beg, beginning his request with the word lady (bhavati); a Kshatriya, placing the word lady in the middle, but a Vaisya, placing it at the end of the formula.

50. Let him first beg food of his mother, or of his sister, or of his own maternal aunt, or of (some other) female who will not disgrace him (by a refusal). Having collected as much food as is required from several persons, and having announced it without guile to his teacher, let him eat, turning his face towards the east, and having purified himself by sipping water.

His meal will procure long life, if he eats facing the east; fame, if he turns to the south; prosperity, if he turns to the west; truthfulness, if he faces the east.

Let a twice-born man always eat his food with concentrated mind, after performing an ablution; and after he has eaten, let him duly cleanse himself with water and sprinkle the cavities (of his head).  

Let him always worship his food, and eat it without contempt; when he sees it, let him rejoice, show a pleased face, and pray that he may always obtain it. Food, that is always worshipped, gives strength and manly vigour; but eaten irreverently, it destroys them both. Let him not give to any man what he leaves, and beware of eating between the two meal-times; let him not over-eat himself, nor go anywhere without having purified himself after his meal. Excessive eating is prejudicial to health, to fame, and to bliss in heaven; it prevents the acquisition of spiritual merit, and is odious among men; one ought, for these reasons, to avoid it carefully.

Let a Brahmana always sip water out of the part of the hand (tirtha) sacred to Brahman, or out of that sacred to Ka (Pragapati), or out of (that) sacred to the gods, never out of that sacred to the manes.

They call the part at the root of the thumb the tirtha sacred to Brahman, that at the root of the little finger the tirtha sacred to Ka (Pragapati), that at the tips of the fingers, the tirtha sacred to the gods, and that below between the index and the thumb, the tirtha sacred to the manes.

60. Let him first sip water thrice; next twice wipe his mouth; and, lastly, touch with water the cavities of the head, the seat of the soul and the head. He who knows the sacred law and seeks purity shall always perform the rite of sipping with water neither hot nor frothy, with the prescribed tirtha, in a lonely place, and turning to the east or to the north.

A Brahmana is purified by water that reaches his heart, a Kshatriya by water reaching his throat, a Vaisya by water taken into his mouth, and a Sudra by water touched with the extremity of his lips.

A twice-born man is called upavitin when his right arm is raised and the sacrificial string or the dress, passed under it, rests on the left shoulder; when his left arm is raised and the string, or the dress, passed under it, rests on the right shoulder, he is called prakinavitin; and nivitin when it hangs down straight from the neck. His girdle, the skin which serves as his upper garment, his staff, his sacrificial thread, and his water-pot he must throw into water, when they have been damaged, and take others, reciting sacred formulas. The ceremony called Kesanta (clipping the hair) is ordained for a Brahmana in the sixteenth year from conception; for a Kshatriya, in the twenty-second; and for a Vaisya, two years later than that. This whole series of ceremonies must be performed for females also, in order to sanctify the body, at the proper time and in the proper order, but without the recitation of sacred texts. The nuptial ceremony is stated to be the Vedic sacrament for women and to be equal to the initiation, serving the husband equivalent to the residence in the house of the teacher, and the household duties the same as the daily worship of the sacred fire.

Thus has been described the rule for the initiation of the twice- born, which indicates a (new) birth, and sanctifies; learn now to what duties they must afterwards apply themselves. Having performed the rite of initiation, the teacher must first instruct the pupil in the rules of personal purification, of conduct, of the fire-worship, and of the twilight devotions. "
(Manu Smriti)


"And the LORD spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place : with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on. And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD'S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place , because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place , until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there: And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people. And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar. And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp. And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung. And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp. And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest's office in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses."

 "In the Torah we read that before the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, God commanded the people to wash their clothing as a symbolic act of purification (Exodus 19:10).

Leviticus 8:6 records the washing of Aaron and his sons when they were ordained as priests to minister in the holy tabernacle. Again, in Leviticus 16:4, God commanded Aaron to wash himself before and after he ministered in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement.

Numbers 19 gives explicit instructions for purification after defilement by a dead body. After bathing and washing his clothes, the "unclean" person had to be sprinkled with fresh water combined with ashes from a sacrificed animal. The Israelites also used this "water of cleansing" to purify themselves and their plunder after they battled with the Midianites (Numbers 31:21-24).

Along with the purposes already mentioned in the Torah, another use of symbolic purification by water became part of early Jewish tradition. This was immersion or baptism for Gentile converts to Judaism. Though the only Biblical requirement for entrance into the covenant was circumcision, baptism became an added requisite. No one knows exactly when or by whom the requirements were changed to include baptism, but it was before the time of Jesus. We know this, because debates on the subject of proselyte baptism are recorded between rabbinic schools of Shammai and Hillel, both contemporaries of Jesus. Whereas the school of Shammai stressed circumcision as the point of transition, the Hillelites considered baptism most important because it portrayed spiritual cleansing and the beginning of a new life. Ultimately the Hillelite view prevailed, as is reflected in the Talmudic writings. Maimonides, that greatly revered 12th century Jewish scholar, summed up all Talmudic tradition concerning converts to Judaism as follows.

"By three things did Israel enter into the Covenant: by circumcision, and baptism and sacrifice. Circumcision was in Egypt, as it is written: 'No uncircumcised person shall eat thereof' (Exodus 12:48). Baptism was in the wilderness, just before giving of the Law, as it is written: 'Sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes' (Exodus 19:10). And sacrifice, as it is said: 'And he sent young men of the children of Israel which offered burnt offerings' (Exodus 24:5)…When a gentile is willing to enter the covenant…He must be circumcised and be baptized and bring a sacrifice…And at this time when there is no sacrifice, they must be circumcised and be baptized; and when the Temple shall be built, they are to bring a sacrifice…The gentile that is made a proselyte and the slave that is made free, behold he is like a child new born."

From all of the foregoing, we see that the use of water to symbolize cleansing and consecration is very much a Jewish concept, and a very ancient one at that."

Ceil Rosen, Jews for Jesus, Issues Volume 2 Number 10  ,  Baptism-Pagan or Jewish?"]
(Author and her research assistants, Bob Mendelsohn and Rachmiel Frydland).

Thanks an credits to


volker doormann  -  2006. 08.01