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

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Chumrot becoming inconvenient

27 December, 2006

Question:

Firstly kol hakavod to all of you for the wonderful work you do for klall yisrael. My question is regarding onot/vestot.

We have been married, B"H almost 12 years. From the beginning of our marriage we have been keeping the onat Ohr Zaru'ah, as well as day 30 + 31 for the beinonit. (Since then , my sisters who married after me told me that they were taught that it's not necessary to take on the ohr zaru'ah in shana rishona!)

My question is this–which onot are a chiyuv, and which are lichumrah. I am asking only because we are in extenuating circumstances. We have had a crazy past 2 months. First my husband was away for business, longer than usual, which cut down on our mutar days, then the next month, I had to go away and extend my trip, decreasing once again our mutar days. Guess what- shortly after I get back, my husband needs to go away again!

As I mentioned, we have been keeping the onot perisha plus the previous onah, and both days 30 and 31.

looking forward to a prompt reply,
thank you very much!


Answer:

The only onot perishah you are required to keep are the onah beinonit (thirtieth day), yom hachodesh (date on the Hebrew calendar), and haflagah (interval from the start of your previous period). On each of these vesatot you need to separate for one onah. This is one day (sunrise to sunset) or one night (sunset to sunrise), corresponding to the onset of your previous period. There is no requirement to keep extra onot perishah, but some couples take this custom upon themselves. It is certainly inadvisable to take on or keep this custom (or extra chumrot in general which might affect your marriage) when you and/or your husband travel frequently.

When one accepts a custom upon oneself, it eventually becomes an obligation. However, such an obligation is reversible by performing a hatarat nedarim. This involves standing in front of three men and reciting certain paragraphs stating that you are no longer interested in this obligation. Only one of the three needs to know what the obligation was (there is no indication in the recitation). We therefore suggest you contact the rabbi of your community who will arrange the hatarat nedarim, after which you will no longer have to keep the extra vesatot.


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