17 Cheshvan 5782 / Saturday, October 23, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayeira
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Examinations and Purification    

Examinations and Purification

Breslev Israel is pleased to present a nutshell course in Jewish family purity. This week, we learn about internal examinations and how a Nidah purifies herself.


The Laws of Family Purity, Part 4

Internal Examinations (b'dikos)
19. What special internal examinations are required of a newly-married woman after her wedding?
When a woman is first married, there are several examinations required by both her and her husband. One of the reasons for these examinations is to ascertain that the woman does not bleed as a result of intercourse. It should be stressed that these examinations to determine that the woman does not bleed as a result of intercourse apply only to a woman with an Irregular Period. If a woman has a Regular Period, we assume that she is always clean aside from the time when she expects her period.
20. What is the Halachah if a woman ascertains that she does see blood as a result of intercourse?
In such a case, the couple should contact a competent orthodox Rav who will advise them on how to proceed.
21. What should be done if a woman knows she started to bleed during intercourse or if she sees blood right afterwards?
The woman must tell her husband immediately since he may not separate from her in the usual manner. He must wait until his erection is relaxed and then separate from her. The Shulchan Aruch advises that if the man supports his weight upon his hands and feet, this will help relax an erection.
Naturally, this woman is now a Nidah and all the Halachos of Nidah apply.
As mentioned in the previous question, if a woman bleeds during intercourse or right afterwards, a competent Rav should be consulted immediately.
22. Are there any other times when a woman with an Irregular Period has to make internal examinations?
A woman with an Irregular Period is obligated to make internal examinations on the Interval Date (yom haflagah). If she forgets to make these examinations, however, she is still permissible to her husband. It would, however, be advisable to examine herself before having marital relations.
She is also obligated to make internal examinations on the 30th and 31st day which is the Average Cycle (o'na beinonis) and on the same date of the next Hebrew month the Monthly Date. If she forgets any of these examinations, she remains prohibited to her husband until she does make a proper internal examination.
How a Nidah Purifies Herself
23. When a woman is a Nidah, what is the first step she must take in order to purify herself?
As soon as a woman sees blood (or a stain which is unclean), she immediately has all the laws applicable to a Nidah. In order to begin the process of purifying herself, she must first wait at least five days, counting the day she first saw blood as the first day. After waiting these five days, the woman can make her Hefsek Taharah examination in the late afternoon of the fifth day before sunset.
24. If a woman’s bleeding starts right before sunset, from when does she begin counting her five-day waiting period?
The five-day waiting period begins from the day the woman starts to experience bleeding, even if her period starts only a short while before sunset. Thus, if her period starts on Sunday in the late afternoon, Sunday is already considered as the first day. Sunday night would then begin Day #2, since according to Halachah the day begins with the previous evening. In this example, the woman could complete her five waiting days on Thursday in the late afternoon, before sunset.
25. If a woman only bleeds for a day or two, does she still have to first wait at least five days before she can begin the process of purification?
Yes. The custom among most Jews who are Ashkenazim is to wait at least five days. The custom among most Jews who are Sefardim is to first wait six days, and the custom among Yemenite Jews is to first wait seven days.
26. What is the Halachah if a woman is unable to complete her Hefsek Taharah examination before sunset?
If a woman is still staining and cannot complete her Hefsek Taharah examination, some say that she can still examine herself up to a few minutes after sunset. However, there are many who say that an examination which is made even a second after sunset is invalid and has to be repeated the following day. It is, therefore, most advisable for a woman to make this examination at least 15-20 minutes before sunset. Since there are various opinions, however, if the woman does make the examination a few minutes after sunset, she should take note of the exact time and consult a competent Rav as to its validity.
In view of the above, it is obviously very important for every woman to know the time of sunset in her area. It should be noted that the time of sunset changes every day, and a chart should be obtained listing the exact time of sunset for each day in her local area.
27. How should the woman wash herself on Shabbos?
When washing herself on Shabbos, the woman may not use any kind of washcloth or sponge; she can only use her hands. In addition, she should not use a cake of soap; liquid soap may be used if desired. In case no warm is available, the woman may wash herself with cold water.
28. Is it permissible for a woman to go outside on Shabbos while wearing a sanitary napkin, a tampon, or while she has the Moch Dochuk inserted internally?
A woman is not allowed to go outside while wearing a sanitary napkin if she is wearing it for the purpose of keeping her cloths from getting dirty. Likewise, it is preferable not to go out with a tampon which is inserted internally if the purpose is to keep her cloths from getting dirty.
However, if her flow is heavy and the blood will dry up on her skin and cause pain, it is permissible to wear either a sanitary napkin or tampon outside.
It is permissible to go outside on Shabbos while wearing those sanitary napkins that are made with adhesive which stick to the woman's undergarments, even if the woman is wearing the sanitary napkin only to protect her clothing. It should be noted, however, that these napkins must be stuck onto the woman's undergarments before Shabbos, since it is prohibited to remove or to stick on new napkins on Shabbos itself.
While a woman has the Moch Dochuk examination cloth inserted, it is prohibited for her to go outside on Shabbos since it is considered carrying.
29. How should a woman make the Hefsek Taharah examination during the Nine Days?
During the nine days preceding Tisha BAv, bathing is normally prohibited. However, for the purpose of making a Hefsek Taharah examination, a woman is permitted to bathe herself in warm water and to make all the necessary preparations. However, on Tisha BAv itself, or on Yom Kippur, the woman should only wash the vaginal area, and a little between her legs.
To be continued.
(Reprinted with kind permission of Yeshivat Neveh Tzion and www.neveh.org)

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