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

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Conveying tumah

17 February, 2004

Question:

I really enjoy your informative and wonderful website here and have a question I would like an answer to or even a point in the direction where I can find information. I am an unmarried young woman and I spoke to someone recently that told me that women during niddah cannot sit on seats or sofas or anything that does not have a covering cloth or tumah is passed, he also mentioned using separate toilets, separate furniture separate everything between a man and woman during this time.
I like to sit on steps and such and hearing this worries me, does this mean if I sit on the stairs during such time I cannot sit there when not niddah ?
Any information about this would be super appreciated as I am eager to know more
Thank you Alot.


Answer:

The status of niddah has two separate aspects:

First, a woman during niddah is t'meiah – ritually impure. This has no practical implications nowadays. Therefore, your friend's statements about sitting on surfaces are not at all applicable today. It will not be possible to practice the laws of tumah and taharah (ritual purity) until the beit hamikdash (Temple) in Jerusalem is rebuilt.

The second aspect concerns the permissibility of physical relations. This does apply today – no physical contact is permitted between a man and a woman while she is niddah. There are some practices, known as harchakot, that are designed to prevent inadvertent touching and apply specifically between a wife and her husband (as opposed to other men). These include sitting on the same soft surface (such as a couch) or the same moving seat (such as a swing). See the articles in Conduct while Niddah for further information.


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