Hefseik Taharah Before HaNeitz HaChamah


Riverdale, NY

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


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 to suggest to women to do a hefseik taharah on day 4, if possible, because that always allows for a cutting of the extra day of the 5 days (Terumat HaDeshen 245) if there is a need that comes up at the end of shivah nikiyim (i.e., one of them called away suddenly for a long business trip). You can’t retroactively wait only 4 days, unless you did a hefseik taharah on day 4. Of course, my wise wife tells me that it is way to confusing to have it as a regular practice to do day 4, wait a day, and then start shivah nikkiyim on day 6. Of course, one could do a hefseik taharah on day 4 and day 5, but I digress.


2. Assuming we wanted it to be day 5, davka, for some reason, or more practically – assuming the question is about a bedikah on day one that was after Amud HaShachar before HaNeitz HaChamah. Then:
a. The only reason for wanting it to be daytime is the position that bedikat layla does not count, based on a discussion in the Rishonim if מקצת היום ככולו applies to nighttime or only daytime. See Rashi and Tosafot on Pesachim (81a):

רש”י ד”ה אי נמי – ולפי הדברים למאן דאמר מקצת היום ככולו תחלת הלילה עולה .לספירתה ואין צריך עלות השחר.

תוספות ד”ה אי נמי – מדלא משני ברואה בלילות משמע דספירת לילה הויא ספירה
תוספות נזיר דף טז עמוד א – ולי נראה דמשנה שלימה היא בפרק תינוקת (נדה דף עב.) ושוין ברואה יום י”א וטבלה לערב [ושמשה] שמטמאין משכב ומושב למפרע ומוכח התם דתחילת הלילה לא הוי שימור.

This is about מקצת not sefirah per se. More suggestive than that, however, is a Gemara in Megilah (20a) talking about shomeret yom – that she has to count part of the following day – meaning daytime – in order to go the mikveh. There the Gemara says it cannot be night because,

בליליא מיהת ליעביד מקצת שימור, ותטבול. קא משמע לן: כיון דבעיא ספירה – ספירה – ביממא היא.

On which Rashi comments,

קא משמע לן – כיון דהאי אחד לאחד משום ספירה היא, מדוגמת ספירת שבעה, כל ספירה דיממא היא, דכתיב וספרה לה שבעת ימים.

At the end of the day, that case is also based on מקצת, as is clear from Tosafot there, but the language suggests a general principle regarding sefirah.

Most suggestive is Tosafot on Niddah (69a),

ד”ה שבעה – דאי אין בדיקת סוף היום עולה לספירה לא היה תקנה לבנות ישראל אלא אם כן יבדקו בעליית עמוד השחר דספירת לילה אינה ספירה.

Nevertheless, a requirement of ספירת יום is not cited anywhere in the Shulchan Arukh proper, although it appears in Pitchei Teshuva (YD 196:9) citing the Noda BeYehudah who thinks it is a real issue, but concludes lekula in his particular case regardless.

The major practical question being whether a mokh, which is taken out at night, can also count as a bedikah for day 1. While the Badei HaShulhan (196:79) not surprisingly rules that night is not good for a bedikah, the Chazon Ish (YD 92:12), is quite skeptical and makes it dependent on the question of whether bedikot are for birur or formal counting. My position is that nighttime is not a concern, certainly not bedieved, and certainly when it is just about a bedikah and not about מקצת היום. My position is best expressed in the words of Shut Mahari HaLevi (1:141), cited in Taharat HaBayit of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (vol. 2, p. 312) that,

שתמה מאד על הסדרי טהרה דאיך מלאו לבו לחלוק בזה על רבותינו בעלי השולחן ערוך הבית יוסף והרמ”א, וההוכחה שהביא מהתוספות לענ”ד לא מוכח מידי

b. It is after Alot HaShachar. While for the issue of vesatot we go by HaNeitz HaChamah and Shekiah, that is because we are breaking the day into two units – day and night – and have to decide which one the veset is linked to. Here, though, the question is whether it is halakhically day or night, and the halakhic day begins with Alot HaShachar. Note that the Gemara in Megillah (20a) that says the ספירה is in day, not night, is referring to the Mishnah that says that Alot HaShachar counts. Tosafot on Niddah (69a), which is also the source for those who would argue for this, also says that Alot HaShachar works.

If there were some relevance of this question to hefseik taharah – then the issue of night is definitely not a problem, since the reason of those who require sefirat yom when not using מקצת is because it is a ma’asei sefirah, and as the Gemara in Megilah says – אין ספירה אלא ביממא – and the pasuk says שבעת ימים. Here – it is hefseik taharah, not sefirah, so not a problem regardless.

So, Bottom Line:

  1. For hefseik taharah – not an issue, since regardless it is day 4, and a hefseik taharah works on day 4, even if you begin counting only on day 6.
  2. Also for hefseik taharah – no one ever required daytime, since it is not sefirah – no pasuk of שבעת ימים, and clearly only a birur, not a formal counting.

For a day 1 of a bedikat shivah nikkiyim that was done before Hanetz HaChamah:

  1. Some say before Alot HaShachar is no good, because you need a bedikat yom. Even for them, this is not a problem if it were done after Alot HaShachar, which is halakhically day.
  2. Even if it were before Alot HaShachar – my pesak would be that a bedikat layla works, certainly bedieved.
  3. If it were before Alot HaShachar and any day other than day 1, it would count, since it would count as the previous day. (e..g, day 3 before Alot Hashachar, counts as day 2).
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