Hargashah (Sensation of Menses)
Talmudic or rabbinic sources describe three sensations:
- Her whole body shakes.
- She feels her uterus open.
- She feels liquid flowing.
The third type is complex; it is unclear precisely what is meant and how this sensation differs from the external dampness that many women experience with their natural secretions. A woman should therefore discuss the practical implications of this hargashah with her rabbi.
In certain circumstances, when a woman brings about other strong sensations in the genital area, there is concern that she may in fact have had a hargashah but overlooked it or attributed it to the other sensations. These circumstances include:
- Sexual intercourse.
- An internal examination (bedikah).
Therefore, if a woman discovers a drop of blood or a stain, however small, immediately following urination or sexual intercourse, or on the cloth she used for an internal examination, the laws are stringent because she may have had a sensation which she did not notice at the time. Similarly, if she felt a hargashah and then discovered a stain on her clothing or another surface, she may be niddah – even if the stain does not meet the usual conditions needed in order to cause a niddah status.
If a woman has a hargashah, but detects no obvious bleeding, she should perform an internal examination. If she finds a forbidden color, she is definitely niddah. If she finds a discharge of a permissible color (such as clear, white or light yellow), she may attribute the sensation to that discharge, and is not niddah. If she finds a questionable color (such as brown) she should show it (or arrange to have it shown) to a rabbi. The most complex situation arises if she finds no discharge at all, and in such cases she should consult a rabbi.