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

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How deep should bedikot go?

30 August, 2009

Question:

How deep does a bedikah/hefsek tahara have to go? I learned that it has to go as deep as possible, and then into all cracks and crevices, and have always done so. However sometimes my vaginal canal is dry and I can't go so deep, and I never thought that was a problem, I just went as far as possible and then around inside. I recently mentioned this to my husband and he said i have to go until the end of my finger, and is nervous I may have made many insufficient bedikos over time. He has gotten me quite nervous about this too. Please advise.


Answer:

There is halachic debate about exactly how deep a bedikah must go, and some authorities do maintain that the entire finger should enter.  But the consensus is that the woman's finger should enter as deep as possible for her (including cracks and crevices), as you write.  Unfortunately, some women hurt themselves trying to go deeper than they should; halacha clearly does not require a woman to injure herself.  (Besides, such injuries can lead to bleeding, further complicating the situation.) 

Among the bedikot, the hefsek taharah and one other bedikah of the clean days (usually the first of the first day) should be as thorough as possible.  There is a strong halachic basis for the other bedikot to be more shallow.

In cases of dryness, it is a good idea to use a vaginal moisturizer of some sort to facilitate performing a deep bedikah without discomfort.  Slightly wetting the bedikah cloth is another, somewhat less effective, option.

Even if a bedikah was shallower than it might have been for a given woman, it is generally accepted after the fact, so you need not be nervous. 


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