When I went to the bathroom Saturday night (after sunset), I saw a large, dark brown, stain on the toilet paper. I told my husband that I was a niddah. On Sunday morning, I had a flow of red blood. Since the color of the stain on Saturday night was not red, I don't know if Day #1 is Saturday or Sunday. What date should I mark on my veset calendar, and when do I start counting the five day minimum before a hefsek?
Thank you for your question.
Brown stains must be seen by a rabbi to determine whether they make you niddah. Therefore, if you find such stains you are considered niddah unless and until a rabbi determines that the color is okay. You probably did not have time to ask such a question before your period began the next morning. Since you correctly conducted yourself as if you were niddah from the beginning, it makes no practical difference for the following reasons:
For the purposes of the five day minimum, Saturday night after sunset and Sunday during the day (sunrise until sunset) are the same day. Thus, regardless of the status of what you saw on Saturday night, the definite bleeding that you saw Sunday morning means that Sunday is Day 1 of your period. Thursday is Day 5 and, if bleeding has ceased, the hefsek should be done prior to sunset on Thursday. If the hefsek confirms that bleeding has ceased, then the first of the seven clean days is Friday.
For the purposes of veset, there IS a difference between the night onah (sunset to sunrise) and the day onah (sunrise to sunset). However, what you saw on Saturday night is questionable for a number of reasons and therefore does not factor into the calculation of when next month's period is expected. Next month, the days of perishah (separation when you anticipate your period) are calculated from the definite time of bleeding, that is, Sunday daytime.
A consistent pattern of premenstrual staining can affect the calculation of veset days (even if a rabbi rules that the color is permissible). Therefore, if you stain this way before three consecutive periods, you should ask a question as to whether to anticipate the day of staining as an additional day of perishah.
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