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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah
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
Niddah 64band the twentieth1 becomes a forbidden one, because the guest2 comes in his usual time.
MISHNAH. WOMEN IN REGARD TO THEIR VIRGINITY ARE LIKE VINES. ONE VINE MAY HAVE RED WINE3 WHILE ANOTHER HAS BLACK WINE, ONE VINE MAY YIELD MUCH WINE WHILE ANOTHER YIELDS LITTLE.4 R. JUDAH STATED: EVERY NORMAL VINE YIELDS5 WINE,6 AND ONE THAT YIELDS NO WINE IS BUT A DORKETAI.7
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.
MISHNAH. IF A YOUNG GIRL, WHOSE AGE OF MENSTRUATION10 HAS NOT ARRIVED, MARRIED, BETH SHAMMAI RULED: SHE IS ALLOWED11 FOUR NIGHTS,12 AND BETH HILLEL RULED: UNTIL THE WOUND IS HEALED.13 IF THE AGE OF HER MENSTRUATION HAS ARRIVED14 AND SHE MARRIED, BETH SHAMMAI RULED: SHE IS ALLOWED11 THE FIRST NIGHT, AND BETH HILLEL RULED: FOUR NIGHTS, UNTIL THE EXIT OF THE SABBATH.15 IF SHE HAD OBSERVED A DISCHARGE WHILE SHE WAS STILL IN HER FATHER'S HOUSE,16 BETH SHAMMAI RULED: SHE IS ONLY ALLOWED THE OBLIGATORY MARITAL INTERCOURSE,17 AND BETH HILLEL RULED: ALL THAT18 NIGHT.
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
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