For the week ending 9 June 2012 / 18 Sivan 5772

Nidah 16 - 22

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • The effect of fear on the menstrual cycle
  • Propriety in marital relations
  • Perspective on predestination
  • Some health hazards to be avoided
  • Doubts as to the source of menstrual blood
  • Conflicting indications in cases of doubt
  • Which colors of menstrual blood make a woman impure
  • The power of smell in judging nature of blood
  • Which sort of birth causes impurity
  • The difference between creation and formation

A Second Opinion

A woman brought menstrual blood before the Sage Rabbah bar Bar Chanah and he ruled that she was ritually impure. She then took the same blood to Rabbi Yitzchak, the son of Rabbi Yehuda, and he ruled that she was ritually pure.

The gemara discusses why the second Sage could rule as he did, but Tosefot asks how was it permissible for this woman to consult another authority after receiving a ruling from the first. The gemara (Avodah Zarah 7a), after all, states that if one has received a ruling of impurity from one authority he should not consult another in order to receive a different ruling.

This restriction, answers Tosefot, applies only to the second authority who assumes the right to reverse the ruling of the first, and not to the person seeking a second ruling. The one seeking a ruling can ask as much as he wishes because this will motivate the authority to be more careful in making a judgment and can also result in revealing any error made in the original ruling.

  • Nidah 20b

What the Sages Say

"My sons, do not bury me in black clothes or white ones. Not black because I may be resurrected among the righteous and will look like a mourner among the grooms; not white because I may not merit and will appear like a groom among the mourners."

  • Rabbi Yanai to his sons - Nidah 20a

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