The Chazaka in Yemei Ziva

Nidah (4:7) | Yisrael Bankier | 6 years ago

At the beginning of the week we learnt about the difference between a zava and nida.1 When a women sees dam she becomes a nida and needs to count seven days. After those seven days, even if she saw dam during that time, provided that bleeding has stopped, she can immerse in a mikveh and is tahor. The next eleven days, are referred to as yemei ziva. If she sees dam, for one or two consecutive days she must shomeret yom ke’neged yom. In other words, she is zava ketana and if she stops bleeding, she can immerse the next day. If however she sees dam for three consecutive days, she is a zava gedola and must observe seven “clean” days in order to immerse in a mikveh.

The Mishnah (4:7) teaches that during a woman’s yemei ziva, she has a chezkat tahara – a presumed status of being tahor. The Bartenura explains that she therefore would not be required to perform bedikot (checks) even if she was dealing with taharot (see Volume 12, Issue 56) – this is the Rav Yehuda opinion presented in the Gemara (Nida 39a). If however she did see dam during yemei ziva she would need to be concerned that she was already tameh twenty-four hours earlier.

The Tosfot cite R’ Yaakov MiOrleans who presents the following question. Recall that when we began the masechet we learnt that if a woman sees dam, she needs to be concerned that she was already tameh m’et l’et, up to twenty-four hours earlier, unless she had performed a bedika. We also learnt however that there were certain exceptions where no such concern need be addressed. These included a woman with a veset (regular cycle) and women who stopped seeing dam (mesuleket damim). Nevertheless, in all those cases, bedikot are still required. So how then can Rav Yehuda explain that bedikot were not required in our case?

They answer that in the case where a woman has a veset, at the time of the veset she would require a bedika. (At other times, since if she would be tameh m’et l’et, bedikot would help.2) Regarding the cases of mesuleket damim, since most of them are where she has temporarily stopped seeing dam or not yet seen dam, a gezeira was necessary so they would not forget the practice of bedikot when it become relevant again.

The Tosfot R’ Akiva Eiger explains that the case of a woman who has a veset was never a question. He explains that there is a difference between the time that is not her veset and yemei ziva. The reason why a woman that has a veset is not metame m’et l’et is because she is considered mesuleket outside that time. During her yemei ziva she is considered even more mesuleket such that a bedika is not required. If however she does see dam during yemei ziva she would clearly be tameh m’et l’et because since the appearance is out of the ordinary, our concern is now relevant. The real question was from those cases that were mesulekt damim who are relatively more so than a regular woman in yemei ziva. If in yemei ziva, bedikot are not required, then surely it should be the same for a mesuleket damim. To this, the answer of Tosfot that the bedikot for them was a gezeira was necessary.

The Tifferet Yerushalaim explains that the Tosfot’s answer of the gezeira that bedikot are required so that the practice of bedikot are not forgotten, applies to all cases including the woman with a veset. In other words, even for her, the bedikot performed not at the time of the veset itself are because since “the time is approaching and requires a bedika at the time of the veset” which is a single event, we are concerned it will be forgotten. Since however the yemei ziva are few, the same concern does not apply.


1 These categories are learnt from the Torah. See Vayikra 15:19 and 25. Please do not derive any practical conclusions from this article as it does not accord with halacha.

2 This sentence is not explicit in the Tosfot but as explained by the Chidud Halachot cited by the Biurei Tosfot.

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