Yoledet or Nida?

Nidah (3:6) | Yisrael Bankier | 7 years ago

The third perek of masechet Nida introduced the consideration of a yoledet. A woman that gives birth to a male is tameh for one week and any of the dam during the remaining thirty-three days is tahor. If she gives birth to a girl, then she is tameh for fourteen-days and for the remaining sixty-six days, the dam is tahor. The perek deals with cases where a woman expels something and addresses whether she is a yoledet.

The Mishanh (3:6) explains that if she miscarries, but is unsure whether it was a male or female, she must be concerned for more both scenarios. In other words, she is tameh for longer out of concern that it may have been a girl, yet her duration for dam tohar is shorter since it may have been a boy.

The Mishnah continues that if she is unsure if she even expelled a fetus then she must also be concerned that she may be in nida. The Bartenura explains that she therefore has no dam tohar. He adds that according to those that maintain that immersion at the required time is a mitzvah she would also be required to immerse on the fortieth day out of concern that she miscarried a boy.

The Tosfot Yom Tov explains that the Bartenura’s second point would also apply in the first case. In other words, if she was only unsure if it was a boy or a girl, according to the opinion that immersing at the correct time is a mitzvah, she would immerse on the fortieth day as well. The Bartenura however raised the point here, since without it, there would be no reason for the Mishnah raise the concern that she may have given birth to a male. Being concerned that she was a nida or gave birth to a girl would be been enough to come to the same conclusion.

The Tosfot Yom Tov however cites the Gemara (30a) that explains that there there is another reason in our case why she must be concerned that she may have miscarried a boy. If the woman sees dam on thirty-fourth day and then again on the forty-first day, she would not be able to immerse until the forty-eight day. This is because when she sees dam on the thirty-forth day, she could now be a nida, if she was originally a nida. If however she was a yoledet (boy or girl) then this is a dam tohar. When she sees dam again on the forty-first day then we will have an issue. If she was nida originally and therefore a nida on the thirty-forth day, she would now be a zava-ketana and be able to immerse the next day (if she is clean). If however she gave birth to a boy, then she is now a nida and would need to wait to the forty-eighth day to immerse. Note that this delay is only introduced with the concern that she gave birth to a boy, for if she gave birth to a girl, then all the dam seen thus far would be dam tohar.

The Tosfot Yom Tov directs us to the Tosfot that uses this reasoning to answer another question. In our case, why are we concerned that she may have given birth a girl. Since she may not have miscarried a fetus and even if she did, it may have been a boy, then it should be considered a sefeik sefeika – a double doubt – and we should rule leniently. The Tosfot answers that if we did that, and disregard the concern, then it would lead to a contradiction. We just discussed that if she saw dam on the thirty-forth day and then on the forty-first, she would need to wait until the forty-eighth day out of concern she gave birth to a male. That concern is also a sefeik sefeika – we do not know if it was a fetus and even if it was it may have been a girl. Employing the leniency of a sefeik sefeika in this case is therefore not possible since it would lead to two contradictory leniencies.


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