Zekeina Daya Sha'ata

Nidah (1:5) | Yisrael Bankier | a month ago

A woman that has a regular period is defined as nidah, which affects her in two ways, until she becomes tahor. Marital relations are forbidden and she is source of tumah. The masechet opens with a debate regarding a woman that sees dam (blood) and discusses how far into the past we need to be concerned that she was already a nidah. We discussed this debate previously (see 6(55)). There are however certain cases where everyone agrees daya shaata. In other words, she is only tameh from the point she saw dam and not prior. The Mishnah explains that a women that has a veset (a fixed, regular and predictable period) is one such case. []{dir="rtl"}

The third Mishnah begins with R' Eliezer listing four women that are also daya shatata: betula, me'uberet, menika and zkeina. The fourth and fifth Mishnah explain each of these terms.

The Mishnah (1:5) records the debate regarding the definition of a zekeina to whom daya shaata would apply. The first opinion is a woman who is advanced in age and has not seen dam in night days. The Gemara explains she is considered old, when she is referred to as eima, and title given to an elderly lady, and it does not bother her. R' Eliezer however continues that we would apply daya shaata to any women who has passed ninety days without seeing dam, (Barternura). We shall try to understand the opinion of R' Eliezer.

A number of difficulties are raised in this Mishnah. Recall that R' Eliezer listed four women, one of which is the zekeina -- elderly lady. If the second opinion in the Mishnah is R' Eliezer, then why did he list the zekeina? Anyone that has not see dam in ninety days would qualify.

The Melechet Shlomo writes that the second opinion in our Mishnah should read R' Elazar rather than R' Eliezer. The Melechet Shlomo cites a number of examples in the Gemara where R' Elazar is cited as the one who presents this position, as proof. Indeed, in the Yerushalmi we also find the second opinion present as R' Elazar.

The Rashash (9a) however maintains the version of the Mishnah as we have it and explains that R' Eliezer's statement here is necessary to understand the Mishnah above, that it is only these four women. R' Eliezer finds the first opinion in this Mishnah difficult. If a zekeina needs to wait ninety days, then how is she different from any other women? If that was true, then why did I receive from my teachers that the zekeina is in the list of four? It must therefore be that a zekeina does not need to wait ninety days. The Maharsha (11b) also understands that the difference would be that according to R' Eliezer once a lady reaches the age of a zekeina she would not need to wait ninety days. We find therefore that there is a difference between the zekeina and other women.

Nevertheless, one might still ask that if that is the case, that any women who has not seen dam for ninety should also qualify, then R' Eliezer should have included this case as case number five. The Matan Be'Seter (7b) explains that in the third Mishnah, R' Eliezer was conveying that which he received from his teachers -- and that was the list of four women. This additional case in our Mishnah, is one that he presented based on sound logic, and was therefore presented separately.

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