bleeding profusely it suffices for them, throughout all the days of their pregnancy and throughout all the days of their nursing respectively, to reckon their uncleanness from the time of their observing their flow; so R. Meir. R. Jose and R. Judah and R. Simeon, however, ruled: Only after a first observation did [the Sages] rule that it suffices for them1 to reckon their uncleanness from the time of their observing the flow but after a second observation they cause uncleanness retrospectively for twenty-four hours or from their previous examination to their last examination.
IF, HOWEVER, SHE SUFFERED THE FIRST FLOW etc. R. Huna ruled: If on three occasions she jumped and suffered a flow she2 has thereby established for herself a fixed period.3 In what respect?4 If it be suggested, In respect of certain days,5 could it not be objected that on any day on which she did not jump she observed no flow?6 — Rather, [the fixation meant is in respect] of jumps.7 But surely it was taught: 'Any regular discharge established as a result of an accident, even though it had been repeated many times, does not establish a fixed period'. Does not this mean that no fixed period whatsoever8 is established? — No, it means that no fixed period is established in respect of days alone9 or jumps alone,10 but as regards days and jumps jointly11 a fixed period is well established.12 But 'is it not obvious13 [that no fixed period can be established] in respect of days alone?14 — R. Ashi replied: [This15 was necessary in a case] for instance, where the woman jumped on two Sundays and suffered a flow while on a Sabbath16 she jumped and suffered no flow but on the Sunday following she observed one without jumping. As it might have been presumed that it had now become known retrospectively that17 it was the day18 and not the jumping19 that had caused the flow,20 we were informed21 that it was the jump of the previous day16 'that was the cause22 and that the reason why the woman did not observe it was because the jump was premature.23
Another reading:24 R. Huna' ruled: If on three occasions she jumped and suffered a flow she has thereby established for herself a fixed period in respect of days but not in respect of jumps. In what circumstances?25 — R. Ashi replied: If a woman jumped on two Sundays and on each occasion suffered a flow while26 on one27 Sunday she suffered one without jumping where it is obvious that it is the day28 that is the cause.29
MISHNAH. ALTHOUGH [THE SAGES] HAVE LAID DOWN THAT [FOR A WOMAN WHO HAS A SETTLED PERIOD] IT SUFFICES TO RECKON HER PERIOD OF UNCLEANNESS FROM THE TIME SHE OBSERVED THE FLOW, SHE MUST NEVERTHELESS EXAMINE HERSELF [REGULARLY],30 EXCEPT WHERE SHE IS A MENSTRUANT31 OR32 IS CONTINUING IN THE BLOOD OF PURIFICATION.33 SHE34 MUST ALSO USE TESTING-RAGS WHEN35 SHE HAS MARITAL INTERCOURSE EXCEPT WHEN SHE CONTINUES IN THE BLOOD OF PURIFICATION33 OR WHEN SHE IS A VIRGIN36 WHOSE BLOOD IS CLEAN.37 AND TWICE [DAILY] MUST SHE34 EXAMINE HERSELF: IN THE MORNING38 AND AT THE [EVENING] TWILIGHT,39 AND ALSO WHEN SHE IS ABOUT40 TO PERFORM HER MARITAL DUTY.41 PRIESTLY WOMEN ARE SUBJECT TO AN ADDITIONAL RESTRICTION [IN HAVING TO MAKE EXAMINATION] WHEN THEY ARE ABOUT TO EAT TERUMAH. R. JUDAH RULED: [THESE MUST EXAMINE THEMSELVES] ALSO AFTER THEY HAVE CONCLUDED A MEAL42 OF TERUMAH.
GEMARA. EXCEPT WHEN SHE IS A MENSTRUANT, because during the days of her menstruation she needs no examination.43 This44 is quite satisfactory according to R. Simeon b. Lakish who ruled, 'A woman may establish for herself a settled period during the days of her zibah45 but not during the days of her menstruation',46 [since the discarding of an examination would be] well justified.47 According to R. Johanan, however, who ruled, 'A woman may establish for herself a settled period during the days of her menstruation', why should she not examine herself seeing that it is possible that she had established for herself a settled period?48 — R. Johanan can answer you: I only spoke of a case where the woman observed the flow issuing49 from a previously closed source,50 but I did not speak of one where she observed it issuing51 from an already open source.52
OR IS CONTINUING IN THE BLOOD OF PURIFICATION. It was assumed that the reference is to one who is only desirous of continuing in the blood of purification.53 Now this54 is quite satisfactory according to Rab who holds that 'it55 all emanates from the same source which the Torah declared to be unclean [during a certain period]56 and clean [during another period]'57 [since the discarding of an examination would be] well justified;58 but according to Levi who holds that 'it55 emanates from two different sources'59 why should she not examine herself, seeing that it is possible60 that the unclean source had not yet ceased to flow?61 — Levi can answer you: This62 is in agreement with63
Original footnotes renumbered.
- Pregnant and nursing women.
- Though a flow resulting from a jump is obviously an accident.
- This is explained presently.
- Is the period fixed.
- I.e., if the jump and resulting flow took place, for instance, on three Sundays, every subsequent Sunday is regarded as the fixed day so that even in the absence of a jump, if on examination she discovered a flow, her uncleanness is not retrospective, while if she failed to examine herself she is deemed to be unclean on the presumption that the flow had appeared at the fixed time.
- Which proves that the day itself is not the fixed period. How then could a Sunday on which she does not jump (cf. prev. n.) be regarded as the fixed period?
- Sc. on any day she jumped she is presumed to be unclean unless on examination she found herself to be clean.
- Even in respect of jumps.
- The Sundays, for instance, (cf. supra, p. 69, n. 7) on which she did not jump.
- On any day other than a Sunday.
- I.e., a Sunday on which she jumped.
- If she jumped on any Sunday that day is deemed to be her fixed period.
- Since each discharge was preceded by a jump.
- The answer being in the affirmative the difficulty arises: What need was there to teach the obvious?
- The ruling that no fixed period is established in respect of days alone.
- As on the Saturday on which she jumped she suffered no flow while on the Sunday following on which she did not jump she observed one.
- The Sunday, since it was the third on which she observed a flow.
- Cf. prev. n. but one.
- And Sunday might consequently be regarded as her fixed period irrespective of whether she jumped on it or not.
- By the ruling under discussion (cf. supra n. 10).
- Of the discharge on the Sunday.
- Lit., 'the time of jumping had not yet arrived'. Her fixed period, therefore, is only a Sunday (not any other day of the week) on which she jumped (and no Sunday on which she did not jump).
- Cf. nn. on first reading supra, mut. mut.
- Lit., 'how is this to be imagined?'
- Cur. edd. in parenthesis, 'and on the Sabbath (Saturday) she jumped and did not observe (a flow)'. Cf. Elijah Wilna's glosses.
- Cur. edd. insert 'another' in parenthesis.
- In this case the Sunday.
- Of the discharge. Hence the ruling that a fixed period has been established 'in respect of days'.
- Morning and evening; in order to make sure that there was no discharge whatsoever.
- Who, having suffered a flow, is unclean for seven days irrespective of whether she had a flow or not on any of the last six days.
- After a childbirth.
- Cf. Lev. XII, 4. The examination would be purposeless since even the appearance of blood would not affect her cleanness.
- WHO HAS A FIXED PERIOD.
- Before or after.
- Newly married
- During the first four nights (cf. supra n. 9).
- To make sure that the objects she handled during the previous night are clean.
- Cf. prev. n. mut. mut.
- Lit., 'passes'.
- Lit., 'to serve her house'.
- Lit., 'at the time of their passing away from eating'.
- Cf. relevant n. on our Mishnah.
- That no examination is necessary.
- I.e., during the eleven days between the periods of menstruation. If, for instance, she suffered a menstrual flow on the first day of two consecutive months and also on the fifteenth day (which is one of the eleven days of zibah) of the same months, while on the first of the third month she had no menstrual flow and on the fifteenth of that month she again observed a flow she (on account of the three observations on the fifteenth) establishes for herself a settled period on the fifteenth of the subsequent months though the first two observations had taken place during the eleven days of zibah.
- If, for instance, she suffered a flow on the first and on the fifth day of one month and again on the fifth of the two subsequent months no settled period is thereby established for the fifth of the month, because during menstruation, a woman normally bleeds and a recurrent discharge proves no settled habit.
- Lit., 'beautiful', 'right'. Such an examination could serve no useful purpose whatsoever. It cannot serve the purpose of ascertaining whether she is clean (since she is in any case unclean even in the absence of a discharge) and it cannot serve the purpose of enabling her to establish a settled period (since no settled period can be established during the seven days of menstruation).
- Cf. prev. n. but one mut. mut.
- On each of the three occasions.
- If, e.g., the flow made its first appearance (cf. infra 39b) on the first day of three consecutive months as well on the twenty-fifth of the second month. In this case the first day of each subsequent month is regarded as the settled period, because the first two of the three discharges originated from a closed source (there having been no flow before) while the last (though it appeared after the menstruation had begun on the twenty-fifth of the previous months) is also regarded as originating from a closed source since the discharge on the twenty-fifth which originated from a closed source is deemed to be the commencement of the flow on the first of the following month that followed it.
- Even on one of the three occasions.
- As is the case spoken of in our Mishnah where even the first observation would be made during menstruation where the source is already open.
- But had not yet commenced then, i.e., a woman after childbirth who concluded the seven unclean days for a male or the fourteen unclean days for a female (cf. Lev. XII, 1-5).
- The ruling that no examination is necessary on the seventh or fourteenth day (cf. prev. n.).
- The blood discharged within forty or eighty days respectively after childbirth (cf. Lev. XII, 1-5).
- Cf. supra, n. 3.
- The thirty-three days after the seven for a male and the sixty-six days after the fourteen for a female (cf. Lev. XII, 4f).
- Lit., 'beautiful', 'right'. Such an examination would be purposeless since after the seventh and the fourteenth day respectively the woman would in any case be clean irrespective of whether there was any discharge or not.
- The unclean source being open during the first seven and fourteen days respectively and after the forty and eighty days respectively when the clean one is closed, while the latter is open during the thirty-three and sixty-six days respectively when the former is closed.
- Where there was a continuous issue from the unclean period into the clean one (cf. infra 35b).
- Unless there was an examination and it had been ascertained that there was a definite break in the flow at the end of the seven and the fourteen days respectively the woman might still be unclean even though the unclean period prescribed had passed. Why then should no examination be necessary?
- The ruling that the menstruant needs no examination.
- Lit., 'whose'.
Beth Shammai who hold that 'it1 all emanates from the same source'.2 But would the Tanna teach an anonymous Mishnah3 in agreement with the view of Beth Shammai?4 — This is an anonymous ruling that is followed by a divergence of opinion, and wherever an anonymous ruling is followed by a dispute the halachah does not agree with the anonymous ruling. And if you prefer I might reply: Was it stated,5 'desirous of CONTINUING'?6 It was only stated, 'CONTINUING'.7 But if the woman was already 'continuing'7 what was the purpose of stating the ruling?8 — It might have been assumed that she should examine herself in case she establishes for herself9 a settled period, hence we were informed [that no examination is necessary] because no settled period can be established [by the regularity of a discharge from] a clean source for that of an unclean one. This is satisfactory according to Levi who stated that there are two sources,10 but according to Rab who stated that there was only one source10 why should she not examine herself seeing that she might have established for herself9 a settled period? — Even in that case she cannot establish a settled period in the clean days for the unclean ones.
SHE MUST ALSO USE TESTING-RAGS WHEN SHE HAS MARITAL INTERCOURSE etc. We have learnt elsewhere: If a young girl, whose age of menstruation11 had not yet arrived, married, Beth Shammai ruled: She is allowed12 four nights,13 and Beth Hillel ruled: Until the wound is healed.14 R. Giddal citing Samuel stated: They15 learnt this16 only in the case where bleeding through intercourse had not ceased, though she subsequently observed a discharge that may not have been due to intercourse;17 but if bleeding through intercourse had ceased18 and then she observed a discharge19 she20 is unclean.21 If one night has passed without intercourse and then she observed a discharge she is unclean. If the colour of her blood changed22 she is unclean.
R. Jonah raised an objection:23 OR WHEN SHE IS A VIRGIN WHOSE BLOOD IS CLEAN [she need not use testing-rags]. But why should she not rather use testing-rags24 seeing that it is possible that the colour of her blood had changed? — Raba replied, Read the first clause: EXCEPT WHERE SHE IS A MENSTRUANT OR IS CONTINUING IN THE BLOOD OF PURIFICATION, from which it follows that only in those cases no examination is required but that a virgin whose blood is clean does require one.25 But, then, are not the two rulings26 mutually contradictory? — The former27 refers to one who had marital intercourse, where it might well be assumed that the membrum was the cause of the change;28 while the latter29 refers to one who had no marital intercourse.30 So it was also taught: This31 applies only in the case where 'bleeding through intercourse had not ceased, though she subsequently observed a discharge that may not have been due to intercourse, but if bleeding through intercourse had ceased and then she observed a discharge she is unclean. If one night has passed without intercourse and then she observed a discharge she is unclean. If the colour of her blood has changed she is unclean.32
TWICE [DAILY] MUST SHE etc. Rab Judah citing Samuel stated: They learnt this33 only in respect of clean things, but to her husband she is permitted.34 Is not this35 obvious, seeing that we learnt, IN THE MORNING?36 — Rather, if the statement37 was at all made it was in connection with the final clause: AND38 ALSO WHEN SHE IS ABOUT TO PERFORM HER MARITAL DUTY; Rab Judah citing Samuel stated, They learnt this only as regards a woman who was handling clean things, who, since it is necessary that she examine herself39 for the sake of the clean things,40 must also examine herself41 for the sake of her husband, but if a woman was not handling clean things she requires no examination. But what new point does he42 teach us, seeing that we have learnt: All women are in a condition of presumptive cleanness for their husbands?43 — If the ruling were to be derived from the Mishnah43 it might have been presumed that the ruling applied only to a woman who had a settled period but that a woman who had no settled period does require examination.44 But does not our Mishnah45 deal with one who has a settled period?46 — Our Mishnah deals with both one who had a settled period, and one who had no settled period,47 and it is this that was meant,48 that although she had a settled period, since she must be examined for the sake of the clean things she handled she must also be examined for the sake of her husband. But did not Samuel state this49 once, for R. Zera citing R. Abba b. Jeremiah who had it from Samuel stated, 'A woman who had no settled period may not perform marital intercourse before she has examined herself'50 and it has been explained50 to refer to one who was engaged in the handling of clean things?51 — The one statement52 was inferred from the other.53 So it was also taught: This54 applies only to clean things55 but to her husband she is permitted.56 This,57 however, applies only where he left her in a state of presumptive cleanness, but if he left her in one of presumptive uncleanness she remains for ever in her uncleanness until she tells him, 'I am clean'.
Original footnotes renumbered.
- The blood discharged within the forty or eighty days respectively after childbirth (cf. Lev. XII, 1-5).
- Infra 35b.
- Which, as a rule, represents the halachah.
- Whose rulings generally are contrary to the halachah which is in agreement with those of Beth Hillel.
- As has been arbitrarily assumed supra.
- Certainly not.
- Sc. the clean days had already begun.
- That no examination is necessary. Is it not obvious that an examination in such circumstances could serve no purpose whatsoever?
- During the period of clean days, by a discharge at regular intervals.
- Supra 11a.
- Lit., 'her time to see'.
- After the first intercourse.
- In which intercourse with her husband is permitted despite the flow of blood, it being assumed that the flow is not due to menstruation (as is the case with one who married after attaining the age of menstruation) but to the wound that had been caused by the first intercourse.
- Keth. 6a. Cf. prev. two nn. mut. mut.
- Beth Hillel.
- 'Until the wound is healed'.
- As intercourse invariably caused the wound to bleed, any discharge of blood before the wound is healed is attributed to the same cause.
- Even if only on one occasion.
- Irrespective of whether it occurred during intercourse or at any other time.
- Since during one intercourse at least there was no bleeding and the wound may consequently be presumed to have been healed.
- The discharge being attributed to menstruation.
- From that of the blood at the first intercourse.
- Against the last ruling, 'If the colour etc.'.
- Before and after intercourse.
- As R. Jonah expected.
- The one referred to by R. Jonah and the inference from the first clause of our Mishnah cited by Raba.
- Lit., 'here', the ruling referred to by R. Jonah.
- Lit., 'the attendant (euphemism) disturbed them', so that the test after the intercourse would prove nothing: and since no test is to be made after intercourse none is required before it (v. Rashi).
- The inference of Raba.
- And a change of colour would be a clear indication that the wound is healed and the blood is that of menstruation.
- For notes v. those on R. Giddal's statement supra.
- For notes v. those on R. Giddal's statement supra.
- That there must be an examination (v. our Mishnah).
- Even without an examination.
- That the ruling had no reference to the woman's permissibility to her husband.
- When no marital intercourse is permitted.
- Of Samuel, 'They learnt this only etc.'.
- She must examine herself.
- After intercourse.
- It being possible that intercourse was the cause of some menstrual discharge.
- Before intercourse.
- Samuel, by the statement cited.
- Infra 15a.
- Hence the necessity for Samuel's ruling that even such a woman requires no examination in respect of her husband.
- Which begins, ALTHOUGH … A WOMAN WHO HAS A SETTLED PERIOD and to which Samuel referred.
- How then could it have been maintained that Samuel applied the law to one who had no settled period?
- Since (as has explicitly been stated) the former requires examination it is self-evident that the latter also requires it.
- By our Mishnah.
- That even a woman who had no settled period need not be examined as far as her husband is concerned unless she was also in the habit of handling clean things.
- Infra 12b.
- But not to one who was not so engaged.
- Cited in the name of Samuel.
- Samuel himself having made one statement only.
- That examination is required.
- Sc. to ascertain whether the things the woman has handled are clean.
- Even without an examination.
- That to her husband she is permitted even without an examination.