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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah
R. Abba enquired of R. Huna: Must5 a woman examine herself immediately [after intercourse] in order to make her husband liable to a sin-offering?6 The other replied: Is it at all possible for an examination to take place immediately [after intercourse], seeing that it was taught: 'What is meant by "immediately"? This may be illustrated by the parable of an attendant7 and the witness8 who stand at the side of the lintel9 where the witness enters immediately after the attendant goes out, this being the interval which the Rabbis allowed as regards wiping off10 but not as regards examination'?11 — The question rather is whether she must wipe herself.12 Some there are who say that it was this that he13 enquired of him:14 Must a woman examine herself [after intercourse]15 in order to make her husband liable16 to a suspended guilt-offering?17 — The other replied: She should not examine herself. But [why should she not] examine herself, seeing that none could be the worse for it?18 — If [she were to do] so19 her husband would be uncertain in his mind20 and he would keep away from her.
AND ALSO WHEN SHE IS ABOUT etc. R. Ammi citing R. Jannai remarked: And this is the test21 of virtuous women.22 Said R. Abba b. Memel to R. Ammi: The Tanna learnt MUST,23 [how then could] you learn 'virtuous women'?22 — The other replied: Because I maintain that whosoever observes the enactments of the Sages may be described as24 virtuous.25 Said Raba: Would then26 one who does not observe the enactments of the Sages merely lose the designation of27 virtuous man but would not be called wicked? Rather, said Raba, as for virtuous women the testing-rag, with which they have examined themselves before one intercourse, they do not use it before any other intercourse, but those who are not virtuous use it and do not mind.
[Reverting to] the main text,28 'R. Zera citing R. Abba b. Jeremiah who had it from Samuel stated: A woman who has no settled period may not perform marital intercourse before she has examined herself'. Said R. Zera to R. Abba b. Jeremiah: Is it29 only one who has no settled period that must have an examination while a woman who has a settled period requires no examination?30 — The other replied: A woman who has a settled period must have an examination31 only when she is awake32 but not when she is asleep;33 while a woman who has no settled period must have an examination whether she is awake or asleep. Raba observed: Could he34 not reply35 that a woman who had a settled period must be examined36 in respect of clean things37 but not in respect of her husband [alone]38 while a woman who had no settled period must have an examination even in respect of her husband [alone]?39 As, however, he did not give such a reply it may be inferred that Samuel holds the view that in respect of her husband alone38 a woman40 needs no examination.41
Our Rabbis taught: The wives of ass-drivers,42 labourers43 and people coming from a house of mourning43 or a house of feasting44 are in respect of their husbands45 deemed to be in a state of presumptive cleanness and the latter may, therefore, come and stay with them whether they are asleep or awake. This, however, applies only where the men46 left the woman in a state of presumptive cleanness but if they left them in a state of presumptive uncleanness each woman is forever regarded as unclean until she announces to her husband 'I am clean'. But how does Samuel47 explain this case?48 If it refers to a woman who has a settled period, does not a difficulty arise from the case where she is awake?49 And if it refers to one who has no settled period, does not a difficulty arise both from the case where she is awake and from that where she is asleep?50 — As a matter of fact it refers to one who had a settled period51 but52 as the husband had solicited her53 there can be no more reliable54 examination than this.55
Niddah 12b— The other replied: Brewer,1 no; because [otherwise]2 she would become repulsive to him.
R. Kahana stated, 'I asked the women folk of the house of R. Papa and of R. Huna son of R. Joshua, "Do the Rabbis on coming home from the schoolhouse require you to undergo an examination"? And they answered me in the negative'. But why did he3 not ask4 the Rabbis themselves? — Because it is possible that they imposed additional restrictions upon themselves.5
Our Rabbis taught: A woman who has no settled period is forbidden marital intercourse and is entitled neither to a kethubah6 nor to a usufruct7 nor to maintenance,8 nor to her worn-out clothes.9 Her husband, furthermore, must divorce her and may never marry her again; so R. Meir. R. Hanina b. Antigonus ruled: She must use two testing-rags when she has marital intercourse; they render her unfit10 and they also render her fit.11 In the name of Abba Hanan it was stated: Woe to her husband.12 'She is forbidden marital intercourse', because she might13 cause him moral injury. 'And is entitled neither to a kethubah', since she is unfit for cohabitation she is not entitled to a kethubah. 'Nor to usufruct nor to maintenance nor to her worn-out clothes' because the provisions14 embodied in the agreed terms of a kethubah are subject to the same laws as the kethubah itself.15 'Her husband, furthermore, must divorce her and may never marry her again'. Is not this obvious?16 — It was necessary in the case where she was subsequently cured.17 As it might have been presumed that [in such a case] he may remarry her we were informed [that this is forbidden], because it may sometimes happen that having proceeded to marry another man she would be cured and [her first husband] would then say, 'Had I known that to be the case I would not have divorced her even if you had given me a hundred maneh', and the get would thus be annulled and her children would be bastards.18
'In the name of Abba Hanan it was stated: Woe to her husband'. Some explain: He said this in opposition to R. Meir,19 because [Abba Hanan maintains that] she must be allowed to collect her kethubah. Others there are who explain: He said it in opposition to R. Hanina b. Antigonus,20 because [Abba Hanan maintains that intercourse is always forbidden] since thereby she might21 cause her husband to sin.
Rab Judah citing Samuel stated: The halachah is in agreement with R. Hanina b. Antigonus. But in what case? If it is one where the woman is engaged in the handling of clean things, has not Samuel [it may be objected] said it once?22 And if it is one where she was not engaged in the handling of clean things, did he not say [it may again be objected] that as far as her husband is concerned she requires no examination, for did not R. Zera in fact state in the name of R. Abba b. Jeremiah who had it from Samuel, 'A woman who had no settled period may not perform marital intercourse before she examines herself', and it has been explained to refer to one who was engaged in the handling of clean things?23 — He who taught the one did not teach the other.24
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