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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah

Folio 64a

GEMARA. It was stated: If a woman observed a discharge on the fifteenth day of one month, on the sixteenth of the next month and on the seventeenth of the third month, Rab ruled: She has thereby established for herself a settled period in arithmetical progression,1  but Samuel ruled: No settled period can be established unless the progression is repeated three times.2  Must it be conceded that Rab and Samuel differ on the same principle as that on which Rabbi and R. Simeon b. Gamaliel differ? For it was taught: If a woman was married to one man who died and to a second one who also died, she may not be married to a third one; so Rabbi. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel ruled: She may be married to a third but may not be married to a fourth?3  — No, all4  may concede that the law is in agreement with R. Simeon b. Gamaliel but it is this principle on which they5  differ here: Rab holds that the fifteenth day is included in the number while Samuel holds that the fifteenth, since the observation on it was not in arithmetic progression, is not included in the number.6

He raised an objection against him: If a woman had been accustomed to observe her discharge on the fifteenth day7  and this was changed8  to the sixteenth, intercourse is forbidden9  on both days.10  If this was changed11  to the seventeenth day, intercourse12  on the sixteenth is again permitted13  but on the fifteenth14  and the seventeenth15  it is forbidden. If12  this was changed to the eighteenth intercourse12  is again permitted on all the former dates;16  and17  is forbidden only on the day after18  the eighteenth and onwards.19  Now does not this20  present an objection against Rab?21  — Rab can answer you: Where a woman was accustomed to observe her discharge on a certain date22  the law is different.23  But as to him who raised the objection, on what possible ground did he raise it?24  — [He assumed that the case of] one who was accustomed to a settled period had to be stated:25  As it might have been presumed that since she was accustomed to observe her discharge on a settled date and this was changed, the change is effective26  even if this27  occurred only twice, hence we had to be informed [that28  the change must have recurred three times].

An objection was raised: If she observed a discharge on the twenty-first day of one29  month, on the twenty-second of the next month and on the twenty-third of the third month, she has thereby established for herself a settled period. If she skipped over30  to the twenty-fourth31  day of the month, she has not established for herself a settled period.32  Does not this33  present an objection against Samuel?34  — Samuel can answer you: Here we are dealing with the case of a woman, for instance, who was accustomed to observe her discharge on the twentieth day and this35  was changed to the twenty-first.36  An inference from the wording also justifies this view;37  for the twentieth day was left out38  and the twenty-first was mentioned.39  This is conclusive.

FOR A WOMAN MAY NOT REGARD HER MENSTRUAL PERIOD AS SETTLED UNLESS THE RECURRENCE HAS BEEN REGULAR etc. R. Papa explained: This40  was said only in regard to the establishment of a settled period,41  but as regards taking the possibility of a discharge into consideration42  one occurrence suffices.43  But what44  does he45  teach us, seeing that we have learnt: IF SHE WAS ACCUSTOMED TO OBSERVE A FLOW OF MENSTRUAL BLOOD ON THE FIFTEENTH DAY AND THIS WAS CHANGED TO THE TWENTIETH DAY, MARITAL INTERCOURSE IS FORBIDDEN ON BOTH DAYS?46  — If the inference had to be made from there,47  it might have been presumed that the ruling48  applied only where the woman was still49  within her menstruation period,50  but where she is not within her menstruation period51  she52  need not consider the possibility of a discharge,53  hence we were informed54  [that even in the latter case the possibility of a discharge must be taken into consideration].

NOR IS SHE RELEASED FROM THE RESTRICTIONS OF A SETTLED PERIOD etc. R. Papa explained: This, that it is necessary for the change to recur three times before a settled period can be abolished, was said only where a settled period had been established by three regular occurrences, but one that was established by two recurrences only may be abolished by one change. But what55  does he56  teach us, seeing that we learnt: A WOMAN MAY NOT REGARD HER MENSTRUAL PERIODS AS SETTLED UNLESS THE RECURRENCE HAS BEEN REGULAR THREE TIMES?57  — It might have been presumed58  that one occurence59  is required for the abolition of one,60  two61  for two62  and three61  for three,62  hence we were informed63  [that even for two occurrences64  only ones is required].65  It was taught in agreement with R. Papa:66  If a woman had a habit of observing her menstrual discharge on the twentieth day,67  and this was changed to the thirtieth, intercourse is forbidden68  on both days. If the twentieth day68  arrived and she observed no discharge, she is permitted intercourse until the thirtieth but must consider the possibility of a discharge on the thirtieth day itself.69  If the thirtieth day arrived and she observed a discharge, the twentieth68  arrived and she observed none, the thirtieth arrived and she observed none and the twentieth68  arrived and she observed one, the thirtieth68  becomes a permitted day70

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Lit., 'in skipping'. The eighteenth day of the fourth month, the nineteenth of the fifth and so on are consequently forbidden days.
  2. Sc. only if in the intercourse given, the discharge had actually appeared on the eighteenth of the fourth month. The appearance on the fifteenth is not counted since it was the first of the series when the process of progression had not yet been apparent (v. infra).
  3. Is the case of the husbands, it is asked, analogous to that of the periods, so that Rab's view coincides with that of Rabbi and the view of Samuel with that of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel? But, if so, why should the same principle be discussed twice?
  4. Even Rab.
  5. Rab and Samuel.
  6. Cf. prev. n. but three.
  7. Of the month.
  8. In a subsequent month.
  9. In the month following that in which the discharge appeared on the sixteenth.
  10. The fifteenth and sixteenth.
  11. In the month following that in which the discharge appeared on the sixteenth.
  12. In the month following.
  13. As a discharge appeared on it once only, the prohibition on it also is abolished by one change.
  14. Which was the day of her established settled period.
  15. The day on which her discharge was last observed.
  16. It is permitted on the sixteenth and seventeenth for the reason given supra (prev. n. but two); and on the fifteenth it is permitted because in three consecutive months the discharge appeared on days (sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth) other than the fifteenth which, in consequence, can no longer be regarded as the settled period.
  17. Since the discharge appeared three times on days that represent an arithmetical progression.
  18. Lit., 'from'.
  19. Sc. on the nineteenth of the next month, the twentieth of the one following it, and so on in arithmetical progression in each succeeding month.
  20. From which it is obvious that, since only three occurrences cause the abolition of the old, and the establishment of a new settled period, the first occurrence is not counted.
  21. Who ruled that even a change on two dates in arithmetical progression abolishes the old, and establishes a new settled period.
  22. As is the case in the Baraitha cited.
  23. From that dealt with by Rab. In the former case, the first of the dates under discussion might well be added to the similar dates in the previous months and hence could not be counted as the first in the arithmetical progression. In the case dealt with by Rab, however, either the first of the dates under discussion was one on which the woman observed a discharge for the very first time, or the woman was one who had never before had a settled period or one whose settled period was on a day other than the first of those under discussion. The first day, therefore, may well be counted as one of the three days that establish a settled period.
  24. Sc. did he not know of the difference between a settled and an unsettled period?
  25. Though the same law applies to one who had no settled period.
  26. Sc. the first date is no longer regarded as a settled period.
  27. The change from the date mentioned.
  28. If a new settled period is to be established.
  29. Lit., 'this'.
  30. From the twenty-second.
  31. Instead of the twenty-third.
  32. Since the difference between the dates of the first and the second month was only one day while that between the second and the third was two days.
  33. The first case where three observations, including the first one, establish a settled period.
  34. Who maintains that no settled period in arithmetical progression can be established unless the discharge appeared on three dates exclusive of the first.
  35. The first discharge mentioned.
  36. So that the change actually occurred three times (on the twenty-first, twenty-second and twenty-third) on dates in arithmetical progression exclusive of the first date which was the twentieth.
  37. That we are here dealing with a case where the woman 'was accustomed to observe her discharge on the twentieth'.
  38. From the three dates given.
  39. Had not the woman had the habit of observing her discharge on the twentieth, that date (which is simpler than the twenty-first) would have been taken as an example of the first of the three dates, and the twenty-first and twenty-second would have been taken as examples of the subsequent dates.
  40. That the occurrence must be repeated three times.
  41. Sc. that the uncleanness should begin just at the time of the period and not earlier; and that the settled period should not be abolished unless a change occurred three times.
  42. Sc. to treat the date on which a discharge appeared in one month as one on which intercourse is forbidden in the next month.
  43. Lit., 'in one time she fears'. If, for instance, she observed a discharge on the fifteenth of one month intercourse is forbidden on the same date in the next month.
  44. That we did not know before.
  45. R. Papa.
  46. A ruling which embodies that of R. Papa.
  47. Our Mishnah.
  48. As enumerated by R. Papa.
  49. When the discharge appeared.
  50. As is the case in our Mishnah where the discharge occurred on the fifteenth day after immersion, which is the fourth day (11 days of zibah + 4 days of the 7 of menstruation = 15) of a menstruation period. Hence the restriction when the next fifteenth day (also within the menstruation period) arrives.
  51. But in the zibah period; where, for instance, her discharge appeared on the tenth day after immersion, which is still within the eleven days of a zibah period that follows that of the seven days of menstruation.
  52. Since the zibah period is one during which a discharge is unusual.
  53. And intercourse should, therefore, be permitted when the next similar date arrives.
  54. By R. Papa.
  55. That we did not know before.
  56. R. Papa.
  57. And since this is followed by NOR IS SHE RELEASED … UNLESS IT HAS VARIED THREE TIMES it is obvious that the three occurrences for the abolition of a settled period (the latter case) are necessary only where there were three occurrences for its establishment (the first case). What need then was there for R. Papa's ruling?
  58. If only our Mishnah were available and not R. Papa's ruling.
  59. A change of date
  60. Discharge on a certain date.
  61. Changes.
  62. Discharges on similar dates.
  63. By R. Papa.
  64. Discharges on similar dates.
  65. To release a woman from the restrictions of a settled period.
  66. That one change of date suffices to release a woman from the restrictions of a settled period that had been established by two occurrences.
  67. Of a month.
  68. In the next month.
  69. And must consequently abstain from intercourse.
  70. Because, though in the course of two months a discharge appeared on it, there was none, in the third one, and one change suffices to release the woman from its restrictions (cf. prev. n. but three).

Niddah 64b

and the twentieth1  becomes a forbidden one, because the guest2  comes in his usual time.


GEMARA. One taught:8  A generation cut off.9  R. Hiyya taught: As leaven is wholesome for the dough so is [menstrual] blood wholesome for a woman. One taught in the name of R. Meir: Every woman who has an abundance of [menstrual] blood has many children.



GEMARA. R. Nahman b. Isaac explained:19  Even if she already observed a discharge.20  Whence is this inferred? — Since in the final clause21  a distinction is drawn between one who did and one who did not observe a discharge it follows that in the case in the first clause no distinction is made between the one and the other.22  So it was also taught: Beth Hillel ruled: Intercourse is allowed until the wound is healed irrespective of whether she already23  did or did not observe a discharge.

UNTIL THE WOUND IS HEALED. For how long?24  — Rab Judah replied: Rab said, 'So long as it discharges matter', but when I mentioned this in the presence of Samuel the latter said to me, 'I do not know what that "discharging" exactly means; rather explain.25  So long as spittle is engendered in the mouth26  on account of intercourse'.27  How is one to understand the 'discharging' of which Rab spoke? — R. Samuel son of R. Isaac replied. This was explained to me by Rab: If when standing she observes a discharge and when sitting she does not observe one, it may be known that the wound has not healed; if when lying on the ground she observes a discharge and when lying on cushions and bolsters she does not observe one, it may be known that the wound had not healed; and if when lying on any of these she either observes a discharge or does not observe one, it may be known that the wound is healed.

IF THE AGE OF HER MENSTRUATION HAS ARRIVED etc. It was stated: If she had intercourse in the day time,28  Rab ruled, She has not lost thereby the right to intercourse during the nights. but Levi ruled, She has thereby lost the right to intercourse in the nights. Rab ruled, 'She has not lost thereby the right to intercourse during the nights', because we learnt, UNTIL THE EXIT OF THE SABBATH.29  'But Levi ruled, She has thereby lost the right to intercourse in the nights', for the meaning of30  FOUR NIGHTS mentioned is four 'onahs.31  But according to Rab32  what was the purpose of mentioning FOUR NIGHTS? — We were thereby informed of what is regarded as good manners, viz., that intercourse should take place at night.33  But according to Levi34  it should only have been stated FOUR NIGHTS, what was the purpose of saying, UNTIL THE EXIT OF THE SABBATH? — It is this that we were informed:35  That it is permitted to perform the first marital intercourse36  on the Sabbath,37  in agreement with a ruling of Samuel; for Samuel ruled: It is permissible to enter through a narrow breach38  on the Sabbath although one causes pebbles to fall.39

It was stated: If a man had marital intercourse40  and found no blood but, having repeated the act,41  he found blood, R. Hanina ruled: The woman is unclean;42  but R. Assi ruled: She is clean. 'R. Hanina ruled: The woman is unclean', for if it were the case that the blood was that of virginity it would have issued on the first occasion. 'But R. Assi ruled: She is clean', because it is possible that something unusual may have happened to her, in accordance with a statement of Samuel; for Samuel stated, 'I could perform a number of acts of intercourse without causing any bleeding'. And the other?43  — Samuel is different from ordinary people since his capability44  was great.

Rab stated: A woman who has reached her maturity45  is46  allowed47  all the first night.48  But this applies only to a woman who had never yet observed a discharge, but if she did observe one she is permitted the obligatory act of intercourse only and no more. An objection was raised: It once happened that Rabbi allowed a woman intercourse on four nights in twelve months.49  Now how is one to understand his ruling? If it be suggested that he allowed her all these nights50  during the period of her minority

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. The established settled period which was changed to the thirtieth no more than twice. (The absence of a discharge on the twentieth in the month in which there was none on the thirtieth is not counted as a deviation from the established habit since there was no discharge whatever in that month.)
  2. The established period that re-appeared on the twentieth.
  3. Lit., 'there is a vine whose wine is red'.
  4. Similarly with the blood of virginity. It may be red or black, much or little.
  5. Lit., 'has'.
  6. Every normal woman has the blood of virginity.
  7. Cf. [G] a grape that yields no wine and is used for eating only. Aliter: Dorketai = dor katu'a. This is explained presently.
  8. In explanation of DORKETAI.
  9. Cf. prev. two notes. A woman who has no blood of virginity cannot have many children.
  10. Lit., 'her time to see'.
  11. For marital intercourse.
  12. Though blood appeared, it is assumed to be that of injured virginity which, unlike menstrual blood, is clean.
  13. This is explained in the Gemara infra.
  14. But she experienced no discharge.
  15. Saturday night. A virgin's marriage takes place usually on a Wednesday, v. Keth. 2a.
  16. Sc. before her marriage.
  17. But no more, since the blood may possibly be that of menstruation.
  18. The first.
  19. The ruling of Beth Hillel in the first clause of our Mishnah.
  20. Before marriage, when she was still in her father's house. Even in such a case, since the age of menstruation had not yet arrived, Beth Hillel allow intercourse UNTIL THE WOUND IS HEALED.
  21. Dealing with one whose age of menstruation had arrived.
  22. Lit., 'no difference whether thus and no difference (whether) thus', sc. whether she did or did not observe any menstrual discharge before her marriage.
  23. Before her marriage.
  24. Is the wound regarded as unhealed.
  25. The statement, UNTIL THE WOUND etc.
  26. Euphemism.
  27. Sc. when intercourse is accompanied by bleeding.
  28. Lit., 'in the days', the four days following marriage.
  29. Implying both the intervening days and the intervening nights.
  30. Lit., 'what'.
  31. An 'onah (period) being either a day or a night.
  32. Who allows intercourse during both the days and the nights.
  33. Lit., 'that the way of … in the nights'.
  34. Who allows no more than four 'onahs.
  35. By the statement mentioned, from which it follows that if intercourse had taken place on two weekday 'onahs only the night and the day of the Sabbath are also permitted 'onahs.
  36. Sc. the one before virginity is finally removed.
  37. Though virginity is injured in the process.
  38. Euphemism. After the two acts of intercourse the opening is still narrow.
  39. Injures virginity.
  40. With a virgin, for the first time.
  41. Within the following four nights.
  42. The blood being deemed to be menstrual.
  43. R. Hanina. How in view of Samuel's statement can he maintain that the blood must be menstrual?
  44. Lit., 'his strength'.
  45. Bogereth, v. Glos.
  46. Even according to Beth Hillel.
  47. For intercourse despite the possibility of bleeding.
  48. Of her married life.
  49. The husband having departed for three months after each of the first three acts of intercourse every one of which has been accompanied by bleeding. Despite the length of time Rabbi regarded the bleeding to be due to virginity.
  50. Lit., 'all of them'.