Relations during clean days
16 March, 2009
If my husband and I had intercourse before the seven clean days ended, does this invalidate the mikvah? In other words, can I not go to the mikvah that month?
Having relations during the seven clean days means you have to wait to resume counting the seven days, but does not cancel the complete clean days counted prior to the incident and does not affect the obligation to immerse in the mikveh.
When a couple has had relations during the seven clean days, the day of the relations and the following three days cannot count as clean days. Once four days (including the day on which relations took place) have passed, the wife continues to count the clean days where she left off in her count and immerses after completing seven clean days. Even during the waiting days, she should continue to perform bedikot. The wife can and should immerse the night following her new day seven.
For example: A woman performs her hefsek taharah on Sunday afternoon. She and her husband unfortunately have relations on Tuesday night. Monday and Tuesday still count as her first two clean days. She cannot count the four days from Wednesday through Shabbat as clean days. (Halachically, Wednesday is considered the day of relations, since days are measured from sunset to sunset.) Sunday is thus her third clean day. She immerses on Thursday night.
Although having relations during the clean days is a serious error, it does not invalidate all of the couple's efforts to keep these laws of niddah this cycle. Until the wife immerses, any act of relations is prohibited, no matter what has passed during the interval.
While they wait, the couple has the opportunity to discuss the best way to avoid this situation in the future. The laws of harchakot, though they may seem daunting, are designed largely to help with this. The couple should also perform acts of teshuvah (repentance), such as prayer and giving charity.
This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.
For further questions or comments:
The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.
Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.