NIDAH 66 (7 Av) - Dedicated in memory of Dr. Simcha Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens, N.Y., Niftar 7 Av 5757, by his wife and daughters. G-d-fearing and knowledgeable, Simcha was well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah. He will long be remembered.
1) HALACHAH: AN INTERNAL EXAMINATION WITH A TUBE
OPINIONS: The Beraisa teaches that if a woman sees blood when having relations with her husband three consecutive times, she may not remain married to him. If she sees blood when having relations with her second husband three consecutive times, she may not remain married to him. If the same thing happens with the third husband, then she may perform the internal examination described in the Gemara in order to determine whether the blood is coming from her womb (and she may never have relations again, because it causes her to have a flow of Dam Nidah) or from a wound.
If the internal examination is a reliable indication of the source of the blood, then why does the Gemara not suggest that she perform the examination after having relations for the third time with her first husband in order to permit her to remain married to him?
(a) RASHI (DH l'Fi) writes that the examination cannot permit her to remain married to her first husband because it is not a foolproof indication that she does not see Dam Nidah as a result of having relations. If the results of the examination are negative (that is, if no blood was found coming from the womb), it is still possible that she bleeds from the womb as a result of having relations. Staying with her husband would bring her into a situation of accidentally committing a transgression punishable with Kares. She is permitted to use the examination only when there is no other option (after having relations for the third time with the third husband).
(b) TOSFOS (DH v'Tivdok) says that if the woman wants, she indeed may perform the examination after the third Be'ilah with her first husband. The Beraisa is only advising her to get divorced, because if she performs the examination and it shows that blood is coming from her womb, she may never again have relations with any man.
(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 4:21-22) rules that the examination does not permit her to remain married, even to the third husband. The fact that she had relations three times with three men and saw blood each time establishes a Chazakah that she sees blood as a result of having relations, and she may not remain married to any of them, even after she performs the internal examination. The examination serves to permit her to marry a fourth husband.
The MAGID MISHNEH explains that the Rambam maintains that she may not rely on the examination after establishing a Chazakah for seeing blood during relations with a particular man. This is because of a concern that they might stay together even before she performs the examination on the assumption that the examination will show that she is not bleeding from the womb, and it will turn out that they are mistaken. According to this reason, it would be permitted -- according to the Rambam -- to perform the examination after having relations less than three times with even the first husband, since she has not yet established a Chazakah.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 187:3) cites the opinions of Rashi and Tosfos ((a) and (b) above). The REMA writes that a woman may rely on the opinion of Tosfos and perform the examination while still married to her first husband. The SHACH (YD 187:14), however, rules that it is proper to follow the stricter approach and not rely on the examination while still married to the first husband.
If the woman feels pain while having relations and then finds blood, all agree that she may rely on the examination to remain married to her first husband (as Tosfos rules).
2) HALACHAH: THE OBLIGATION TO CLEAN THE HAIR AND BODY BEFORE IMMERSION IN A MIKVAH
OPINIONS: The Gemara (end of 66a) quotes Rava who says that a woman should not perform Chafifah (cleaning before immersing in a Mikvah) with Neser (natron; see, however, Teshuvos ha'Rivash #35, and Teshuvos ha'Tashbatz 1:28), a substance which, when used to clean hair, severs the hair, causing it to become tangled and to constitute a Chatzitzah during the Tevilah), or with Ohel (sand, or an alkaline plant), a substance that makes the hair stick together.
The Gemara implies that Chafifah must be done only to the hair. Is this indeed the extent of the requirement of Chafifah?
(a) The Gemara in Bava Kama (82a) teaches that Ezra enacted ten decrees, one of which was that a woman must perform Chafifah before her Tevilah. RASHI there (DH ha'Ishah) explains that she must perform Chafifah with a comb on the day that she immerses so that there should be no Chatzitzah. The Gemara there (end of 82a) asks how can it be that this is merely an enactment of Ezra when the Torah itself states, "He shall wash his flesh (Es Besaro) in the water and become Tahor" (Vayikra 14:9), teaching that nothing should separate between his flesh and the water? (See Rashi there, DH Besaro, who writes that the words "his flesh in the water" imply that all of his flesh must come into contact with the water, with no intervening substance.) The words "Es Besaro" teach that something subordinate (Tafel) to the flesh, such as one's hair, must be immersed. Since the Torah says that there must be no Chatzitzah between the hair and the water, why was it necessary for Ezra to make such an enactment? The Gemara answers that mid'Oraisa it suffices merely to look and check if the hair has become knotted, or if there is some dirt that forms a Chatzitzah. (See RAN to Shevuos (6a of the pages of the Rif) who writes that mid'Oraisa she must look at and check all of her body, and not just her hair.) Ezra instituted that she also must perform Chafifah, which Rashi explains to mean "combing," in order to ensure that the hairs are not stuck together and to reduce the chances of any Chatzitzah.
TOSFOS here (DH Im) cites RABEINU TAM who maintains that Chafifah applies only to the head. He cites proof for this from the Gemara here that says that a woman must perform Chafifah only with hot water, because cold water causes hair to harden and does not remove the dirt (Rashi DH Mashru). Rabeinu Tam infers from the fact that the Gemara does not mention that a woman must perform Chafifah "on her head" only with hot water that Chafifah applies only where there is hair (i.e., on her head), and thus it is not necessary to mention "on her head."
(b) Tosfos cites RABEINU SHEMARYAH who explains in the name of RASHI that Chafifah must be performed on the entire body and not just on the hair. He cites proof from the Gemara later (67b and 68a) which relates that Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak said to the wife of Aba Mari, the Reish Galusa, that she could not go to the Mikvah because she had not brought servants with her to bring water and heat it up (see Rashi to 68a, DH Avdi). Rabeinu Shemaryah infers from the fact that Rav Nachman said that one needs servants to bring hot water that Chafifah is necessary for the entire body. If Chafifah was necessary only for the hair, then one would not need servants to bring such a small quantity of hot water.
(Rashi later (67b, DH Rubo; see Insights there) also seems to follow this view. Rashi explains that when the Gemara says that mid'Oraisa an intervening substance is considered a Chatzitzah only when it covers the majority of the body and the person is bothered by it, it refers to the majority of hairs which are tangled. TOSFEI HA'ROSH there points out that according to Rashi, when there is a Chatzitzah on the body the Tevilah is invalid even if it is only on a minority of the body, and even if it does not bother the person. Since the law of a Chatzitzah on the body is stricter than the law of a Chatzitzah on the hair, it follows that there is an obligation to perform Chafifah on the body.)
HALACHAH: Tosfos concludes that one must perform Chafifah on the entire body. This is the ruling of the SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 192:1), and this is the universally accepted practice of Jewish women.
Nevertheless, the SHACH there (192:2) writes that the practice to perform Chafifah on the entire body is only a custom and not an absolute requirement. Therefore, the Shach (192:17) rules that if a woman did not perform Chafifah on her hair before Tevilah, the Tevilah is invalid even b'Di'eved. If, however, a woman performed Chafifah on her hair but forgot to perform Chafifah on her body, the Tevilah is valid b'Di'eved if, afterwards, she found no intervening substance on her body that would constitute a Chatzitzah. The reason for this is that even though the custom follows the ruling of Rashi, the Halachah follows the ruling of Rabeinu Shemaryah, and therefore failure to perform Chafifah on the rest of the body does not invalidate the Tevilah b'Di'eved. (D. BLOOM)