10 05, 2021

Does a Dammed River Have the Status of a Mikveh?

May 10th, 2021|Niddah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Philadelphia, PA

Can a lake that was created by damming up a river be used as a keilim mikveh? The dam is that straight line at the bottom of the lake. The lake in question is called “Henion Pond.” You can see the two rivers/streams that lead into it.

 

ANSWER

First, there is no difference between the requirements for a keilim mikveh and one for a niddah, other than a keilim mikveh does not need 40 se’ah if we are dealing with מעיין (not rain water). In such a case, a keilim mikveh needs just enough to fully cover the keli. […]

2 05, 2021

Bedikah For a Women With a Longer Than Average Period

May 2nd, 2021|Niddah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Midwest, USA

Is there a process the Rosh yeshiva recommends for women who regularly take until day 7/8/9 to get a clean hefseik? I’m not talking about women who didn’t understand leniencies around brown and now that we look at their bedikot we can tell them otherwise. I mean women who are regularly seeing red on bedikot until those days. Would you recommend doing everything they can to get a clean hefseik (cleaning, etc.) and if they can get it, then skipping the bedikot during the first several days of 7 nekiyim (and colored underwear of course), or is this not an option? […]

22 03, 2021

Traveling to the Mikveh by Car on Yom Tov

March 22nd, 2021|Amirah LeGoy, Choshen Mishpat, Niddah, Yom Tov, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Washington, D.C.

Good evening! I was contacted by a woman who has to go to the mikveh this Motzei Shabbat, which is the first night of Pesach. She doesn’t live within walking distance of one, and is wondering if she can go on Friday, or if she has to wait until Monday night. She already practices 4+7 due to fertility purposes, so there isn’t any wiggle room there. Is there any way for her to go early? I assume not, but I wanted to check because of their ongoing fertility challenges. Thank you!

ANSWER

I would arrange before Shabbat to have a cab […]

1 01, 2021

Supportive Touch During Niddah in Case of Psychological Distress

January 1st, 2021|Niddah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

My wife is intensely emotional and can have difficulty regulating her feelings. The easiest way to bring her back to a more calm state is with an embrace. We have maintained no touching during niddah despite the obvious challenges associated with it.

The pandemic has been difficult for our family and we have managed, but with very high stress levels. Recently, we have become financially responsible for a grandparent, which is will be a long-term challenge. I’m wondering how I can best help to keep my wife grounded in the practical considerations and decisions we have to make when […]

27 12, 2020

Hefseik Taharah Before HaNeitz HaChamah

December 27th, 2020|Niddah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Riverdale, NY

A woman did a hefseik taharah before הנץ החמה is it good?

ANSWER

Yes. It is fine.

1. Assuming it’s considered night, it’s still day 4. A hefseik taharah works on day 4, and then you can just start counting the shivah nekiyyim on day 6, as normal. Even if there is peleitat shikhvat zera on day 5, it doesn’t impact the hefseik taharah – doesn’t lead to starting over again. Actually, there is a reason […]
22 12, 2020

Number of Bedikot during Sheva Nekiyim

December 22nd, 2020|Niddah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Do you prefer that a kallah to be taught to do 2 bedikot each day during sheva nekiyim lekhatchilah or do we hold that these days one suffices even as a standard practice? If 2 is really the preferred lekhatchilah practice, what is the standard in terms of physical discomfort, emotional anxiety, or other issues that would allow a woman to drop down to 1 per day as their standard practice?

ANSWER

I absolutely do not teach 2 per day. That is the position of Sefer HaTerumah 87 […]

11 03, 2019

Hair Covering (Joy of Text 4.03)

March 11th, 2019|Clothing and Appearance, Lifecycles, Marriage and Family, Niddah, Sex, Women|

These sources accompany the hair covering episode of the Joy of Text podcast.

 

A. Nature of Obligation

The verse in Numbers {source 1} implies that women (perhaps specifically married women) would normally have their head covered. This point is made explicit from Sifrei {source 2}, which emphasizes the fact that this was a norm, and does not frame it as an obligation. 

Rashi {source 3} emphasizes the issue was the loosening or disheveling the hair, not (or not just) its uncovering. He also states that from the context of the verse, we can infer that it was considered shameful for a woman to […]

11 03, 2019

Thinking About Mikveh Before Marriage (Joy of Text 2.1)

March 11th, 2019|Marriage and Family, Niddah, Sex|

Recorded Live at Harvard Hillel! Should an unmarried woman who is in an intimate relationship use the mikveh before marriage? What are the relevant and often competing halakhic, personal, and communal  issues that must be considered? Includes Q&A with Harvard students on this theme and related topics, and heartfelt reflections by our hosts on why this podcast is the most important project they’ve undertaken.

These sources accompany the eleventh episode of the second season of the Joy of Text podcast.

You may also want to check out our source sheet on degrees of sexual touch here.

 

Unmarried Women Not Going […]

11 03, 2019

Childbirth (Joy of Text 2.3)

March 11th, 2019|Birth, Marriage and Family, Niddah|

In this episode of The Joy of Text we will discuss the laws of touch during a natural birth, and we will be joined by Gila Block, founder of Yesh Tikvah, to discuss infertility issues in Orthodox communities. We will ask: Can a husband touch his wife while she is in labor? Do the laws of niddah apply if touch between husband and wife is serving a medical purpose? How do halakhic authorities assess which kinds of touch are intimate and sexual and which are not? How can communities provide support for couples who struggle with infertility? Listen to this […]

7 02, 2019

Abortion in Halakha: A Study Guide

February 7th, 2019|Lifecycles, Marriage and Family, Niddah, Non-Jews and Other Religions, Science and Medical Ethics, Sex|

Guided Questions for Chavruta Learning

  1. Sources 1-7 were covered in the previous sheet.  Look at sources 8-12.  Do they indicate that a fetus has the legal status / protections of a human life or not?  Which ones indicate yes, which ones indicate no?  If one were to claim that it was a life, how would she reconcile all the sources?  How would one do so if she were to claim that it was not a life?  Is there a middle position?  How would you articulate it: quasi, potential, or something else?  What halakhic category would destroying such a […]
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