It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask

In Parshat Metzora we read (Vayikra 15:19): “When a woman has a discharge and the discharge will be blood in her body, for seven days she will be in the state of Nidda (the period of time when she is ritually impure from the day when she first sees blood and according to the Rabbis, an additional eleven days. During that time, a woman is not permissible to her husband until she immerses in the Mikvah, the Ritual Bath).”


In Tur, Yoreh Deah 183 the Rabbis teach that the woman only becomes a Nidda if the blood comes from the uterus.


The Rabbis explain that when she sees blood she should make sure that it is not from an external source such as a wound on her body before declaring herself a Niddah.


Ramban suggests that she may get a stain from something bloody like working with blood or shopping in the shuk (market) where there are bloody chickens.


If she can attribute the blood to someone else then she would not be considered a Nidda. Dr. Deena Zimmerman suggests that a woman who was drawing blood in a lab, cleaning chickens or helping a child with a nosebleed is probably not a Nidda.


Although the laws of Nidda are extremely complex, the Rabbis go out of the way to find leniencies whenever possible.


Some women are afraid to ask Rabbis questions about Taharat HaMishpacha (family purity) because they are not comfortable discussing if the blood came from the uterus or not with a man. This is unfortunate since whenever possible, the Rabbis will give a more lenient Psak Halacha (ruling).


In Israel, it is easier since there are so many Rabbis available that a woman doesn’t have to ask her local Rabbi who she will end up seeing in shul on Shabbat for a psak. There are also many Torah scholars who are experts in the area of Taharat HaMishpacha.


We learn from here that whether a question seems simple or a little more complex, it doesn’t hurt to ask! As for the woman who is uncomfortable asking- you can always send your husband!