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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah
Raba delivered the following discourse: A woman may wash her head on the Sabbath eve4 and perform immersion at the termination of the Sabbath.5 Said R. Papa to Raba: But did not Rabin send in his letter the message that 'a woman must not wash her head on the Sabbath eve and perform immersion at the termination of the Sabbath'? And, furthermore, is it not surprising to yourself that a woman should be allowed to6 wash her head in the day time and perform immersion at night seeing that it is required that immersion should follow immediately after the washing of the head, which is not the case here? Raba subsequently appointed an amora7 in connection with this matter and delivered the following discourse: The statement I made to you is an erroneous one,8 but in fact it was this that was reported in the name of R. Johanan, 'A woman may not wash her head on the Sabbath eve and perform immersion at the termination of the Sabbath'; and, furthermore, it would be surprising that a woman should be allowed to6 wash her head in the day time and perform immersion at night seeing that it is required that immersion should closely follow the washing of the head, which would not be the case here. But the law is that a woman may wash her head in the day time and perform immersion at night. And the law is that a woman may wash her head at night only.9 But does not a contradiction arise between the one law and the other? — There is no contradiction: The former refers to a case where washing in the day time is possible while the latter refers to one where this is impossible.10
MISHNAH. IF A MENSTRUANT EXAMINED HERSELF ON THE SEVENTH DAY11 IN THE MORNING AND FOUND HERSELF TO BE CLEAN, AND AT TWILIGHT12 SHE DID NOT ASCERTAIN HER SEPARATION,13 AND AFTER SOME DAYS SHE EXAMINED HERSELF AND FOUND THAT SHE WAS UNCLEAN, BEHOLD SHE IS14 IN A PRESUMPTIVE STATE OF CLEANNESS.15 IF SHE EXAMINED HERSELF ON THE SEVENTH DAY16 IN THE MORNING AND FOUND THAT SHE WAS UNCLEAN, AND AT TWILIGHT17 SHE DID NOT ASCERTAIN HER SEPARATION,13 AND AFTER A TIME SHE EXAMINED HERSELF AND FOUND THAT SHE WAS CLEAN, BEHOLD SHE IS14 IN A PRESUMPTIVE STATE OF UNCLEANNESS.18 SHE19 CONVEYS, HOWEVER, UNCLEANNESS FOR TWENTY-FOUR HOURS RETROSPECTIVELY OR DURING THE TIME BETWEEN THE LAST AND THE PREVIOUS EXAMINATION, BUT IF SHE HAD A SETTLED PERIOD, IT SUFFICES FOR HER TO BE DEEMED UNCLEAN FROM THE TIME OF HER DISCHARGE. R.20 JUDAH RULED: ANY WOMAN WHO DID NOT,21 FOLLOWING THE AFTERNOON, ASCERTAIN HER SEPARATION TO A STATE OF CLEANNESS IS REGARDED AS BEING IN A PRESUMPTIVE STATE OF UNCLEANNESS.22 BUT THE SAGES RULED: EVEN IF SHE EXAMINED HERSELF ON THE SECOND DAY OF HER MENSTRUATION AND FOUND THAT SHE WAS CLEAN, AND AT TWILIGHT SHE DID NOT ASCERTAIN HER SEPARATION, AND AFTER A TIME SHE EXAMINED HERSELF AND FOUND THAT SHE WAS UNCLEAN, SHE IS REGARDED AS BEING IN A PRESUMPTIVE STATE OF CLEANNESS.23
GEMARA. It was stated: Rab ruled: She24 is a certain zabah, but Levi ruled: She is a doubtful zabah. What do they refer to? If it be suggested: To the first clause [it could be objected]: Was it not stated, BEHOLD SHE IS IN A PRESUMPTIVE STATE OF CLEANNESS? If, on the other hand, they refer25 to the final clause,26 one can well see the logic of regarding the woman27 as a doubtful zabah,28 but why also29 a certain zabah seeing that she has examined herself and found that she was clean?30 The fact is that when the statements of Rab and Levi were made they were given as independent rulings:31 If a menstruant examined herself on the seventh day in the morning and found that she was unclean, and at twilight she did not ascertain her separation, and after some days she examined herself and found that she was unclean, Rab ruled: She is a certain zabah, but Levi ruled: She is a doubtful zabah. 'Rab ruled: she is a certain zabah', since she was previously found to be unclean and now also she was found to be unclean, she must be definitely unclean. 'But Levi ruled: She is a doubtful zabah', because it might be assumed that the discharge may have been discontinued in the intervening time.
Niddah 68bLevi also taught the same ruling in a Baraitha: After these days1 irrespective of whether she examined herself and found that she was clean or whether she examined herself and found that she was unclean, behold she is to be regarded as a doubtful zabah.
SHE CONVEYS, HOWEVER, UNCLEANNESS FOR TWENTY-FOUR HOURS RETROSPECTIVELY. Must it be conceded that this2 represents an objection against a view of Raba, since Raba stated: This3 tells that4 a woman during the days of her zibah does not5 cause twenty-four hours retrospective uncleanness? — But was not an objection against Raba raised once before?6 — It is this that we meant: Must it be conceded that an objection may be raised against Raba from this Mishnah also? — Raba can answer you: When it was stated, SHE CONVEYS, HOWEVER, UNCLEANNESS FOR TWENTY-FOUR HOURS RETROSPECTIVELY, the reference was to the beginning of this chapter, viz., to a girl who observed a discharge while she was still in her father's house.7 As it might have been presumed that, since clean days intervened, the discharge should be regarded as one at the beginning of her menstruation and she8 should in consequence convey no retrospective uncleanness for twenty-four hours, hence we were informed [that she does].
BUT IF SHE HAS A SETTLED PERIOD. Must it be conceded that this9 presents an objection against the view of R. Huna b. Hiyya cited in the name of Samuel, since R. Huna b. Hiyya citing Samuel stated: This10 tells that a woman cannot establish for herself a regular period11 during the days of her zibah? — R. Huna b. Hiyya can answer you: When we ruled that 'a woman cannot establish for herself a regular period during the days of her zibah' we meant that it is not necessary for her12 to have a change of period three times for the purpose of abolishing a settled period because we maintain that her blood is suspended; and, since her blood is suspended, IT SUFFICES FOR HER TO BE DEEMED UNCLEAN FROM THE TIME OF HER DISCHARGE.
R. JUDAH RULED. It was taught: They said to R. Judah, Had her hands been lying in her eyes13 throughout twilight you would have spoken well, but now, since it might be assumed that she experienced a discharge as soon as she removed her hands, what practical difference is there between the case where she ascertained her separation to a state of cleanness on the seventh day following the afternoon and that where she has ascertained her separation to a state of cleanness on the first day? 'On the first day'! Is there any authority who holds such a view?14 — Yes; and so it was taught: Rabbi stated, 'I once asked R. Jose and R. Simeon when they were underway: What is the law where a menstruant examined herself on the seventh day in the morning and found that she was clean, and at twilight she did not ascertain her separation,15 and after some days she examined herself and found that she was unclean? And they replied:16 Behold such a woman is in a presumptive state of cleanness. What, I asked, is the law where she examined herself on the sixth, fifth, fourth, third or second? And they replied: There is no difference. As regards an examination on the first day I did not ask, but it was a mistake on my part that I did not ask. For is she not on all these days in a state of presumptive uncleanness and yet as soon as the discharge ceased it is deemed to have completely ceased, so also in regard to the first day as soon as the discharge ceased it may be deemed to have ceased completely'.17 What view, however, did he18 hold at first?19 — [That the woman is unclean] since there is20 the presumption of an open source.
MISHNAH. IF A ZAB AND A ZABAH21 EXAMINED THEMSELVES ON THE FIRST DAY22 AND FOUND THEMSELVES CLEAN AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY22 ALSO AND FOUND THEMSELVES CLEAN, BUT DID NOT EXAMINE THEMSELVES DURING THE OTHER, INTERVENING, DAYS, R. ELIEZER RULED: BEHOLD THESE ARE IN A PRESUMPTIVE CONDITION OF CLEANNESS. R. JOSHUA RULED: THEY ARE ENTITLED [TO RECKON AS CLEAN] ONLY THE FIRST DAY AND THE SEVENTH DAY. R. AKIBA RULED: THEY ARE ENTITLED TO RECKON AS CLEAN THE SEVENTH DAY ALONE.23
GEMARA. It was taught: Said R. Eliezer to R. Joshua, According to your view24 you would be counting with interruptions; but did not the Torah state, After that she shall be clean,25 'after' meaning 'after all of them', implying that no uncleanness may intervene between them?26 — Said R. Joshua to him: But do you not agree that a zab who27 observed an emission of semen28 or a nazirite who29 walked under overshadowing branches or mural projections30 counts with interruptions though the Torah said,31 But the former days shall be void?32 And R. Eliezer?33 — All is well there34 since the All Merciful has said,35 So that he is unclean thereby,36 implying that it renders void one day only.37 And if the imposition of a restriction38 be suggested, on account of the possibility of mistaking one uncleanness for another,39 it could be retorted: A zab would not be mistaken for one who emitted semen. All is also well40 with a nazirite who walked under overshadowing branches or mural projections, since Pentateuchally it is necessary41 that the [overshadowing] tent shall be a proper one and it is only the Rabbis who enacted the ruling42 as a preventive measure, and no one would mistake a Rabbinic law for a Pentateuchal one; but here,43 if we were to take into consideration the possibility of a doubtful observation,44 one might mistake this case for one of a certain observation.45
It was taught: R. Jose and R. Simeon stated, The view of R. Eliezer is more feasible than that of R. Joshua, and the view of R. Akiba is more acceptable than those of all of them, but the halachah is in agreement with R. Eliezer.
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