Chapter One

How A Woman Becomes A Nidah

1. What does the expression "Nidah" mean?

The expression "Nidah" refers to the status of a woman when she experiences a discharge of blood from her vagina. This discharge of blood does not have to be from the commencement of her menstrual period, for even if a woman sees a small amount of blood, she is considered a Nidah.

In addition, if a woman feels that she is beginning to experience her menstrual flow, but upon making an internal examination finds nothing at all, we assume that a small drop of blood must have issued from her and was lost. She then might also be considered a Nidah. If a woman does not experience any feeling of a discharge, but finds blood or stains of unclean colors on her undergarments or on her body, she is also considered a Nidah. For the Halachos concerning internal examinations, see Chapters 4 and 5. Also see Chapter Eleven for the Halachos concerning the Nidah Prohibitions. It should be noted that there is no difference between a married and single woman in reference to the Nidah prohibitions.

2. If a woman feels a discharge and immediately examines herself but finds no blood, is she considered a Nidah?

If the woman examines herself immediately after feeling a discharge and does not find anything, there is a difference of opinion as to whether or not she is a Nidah. Therefore, a competent Rav should be consulted.

If upon checking, the woman finds a white or other type of discharge which does not cause her to be a Nidah, we assume she is clean.

3. What happens if a pregnant or nursing woman feels a discharge, immediately examines herself, and finds nothing?

In the case of a pregnant or nursing woman who examines herself either immediately after feeling the discharge or a while later, the Poskim (Halachic Authorities) are more lenient, since it is assumed that a pregnant woman will not see blood during her pregnancy. However, there are Poskim who consider even a pregnant woman as unclean in such a case. Therefore, a competent Rav should be consulted.

5. What Halachos (Jewish laws) come into effect when a woman becomes a Nidah?

As soon as a woman becomes a Nidah, she must separate from her husband. This separation includes all forms of physical contact, even that of just touching one's spouse with a finger. This separation applies to the husband as well as to the wife. There are many other Halachos pertaining to this separation which are discussed in Chapter eleven.
7. What is the Halachah (Jewish law) if a woman tells her husband incorrectly that she is a Nidah due to anger, as a joke, or for any other reason?
A Rav must be consulted, since we might accept the woman's statement as true and prohibit her to her husband.
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