Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Meineket for two years

20 December, 2004

Question:

Two comments:

1) I have seen bedikah cloths in the haredi supermarkets.

2) I have a theory about why a woman is considered a meineket up to two years. According to the Shulchan Aruch, a baby can resume nursing after a break of more than 72 hours as long as the baby is under the age of two. Wouldn't it be beneficial for the mother to maintain her status as meineket in case the baby resumes for some reason? For instance, some say as a meineket not currently breastfeeding she's allowed to eat on a minor fast day. This would allow her to keep up her strength for breastfeeding if necessary.


Answer:

The halacha of meineket (a nursing mother) is based on a Talmudic discussion (Niddah 9a).  The poskim codified the viewpoint of R. Yosi, R. Yehudah, and R. Shimon, that we consider a woman a meineket for twenty-four months, whether or not she is actually nursing.  The Talmud explains that these rabbis maintained that it takes twenty-four months for a woman's body to return to normal, i.e., recover from childbirth.  The Shulchan Aruch's discussions of meineket reflect this halachic position. 

On the other hand, yours is a very interesting idea, and perhaps it is an underlying reason. Yeshar Koach.


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