Sometimes, a bedikah cloth or a stained garment needs to be brought to a halachic authority to determine whether it is a niddah color. (Black stains, or stains where it’s unclear whether there is a red/pink/orange hue, generally require a question. Light browns with no hint of a reddish tint do not. Other shades of brown may.) It is to a woman’s benefit to ask a question rather than just “wait another day or two”. This is particularly true in cases where she is trying to conceive.
The cloth or garment with the stain should first be left to dry undisturbed in a clean place and then placed into a clean plastic bag or envelope.
In some communities, Yoatzot Halacha are available to evaluate cloths and stains. Click here for a directory of Yoatzot Halacha outside of Israel. To find a Yoetzet Halacha in Israel, please write to us or call our hotline.
Some women feel comfortable bringing a cloth or undergarment directly to a Yoetzet or Rabbi. Other women prefer to ask their husband, or the rabbi’s wife, to serve as an intermediary when consulting a rabbi. A Yoetzet or Rabbi may have a mailbox or other location where you can leave a cloth in an envelope with a covering note; you should first make certain they are in town and will receive it promptly.
In order to give an accurate ruling, the halachic authority should have the following information (if you are not asking the question in person, include a note):
1) Your name (optional) and phone number, email, or other way to contact you (mandatory). The process can be done anonymously without giving your name. (You can even leave an assumed name with your phone number.)
2) For a bedikah cloth – on what occasion was the bedikah performed (e.g.,hefsek taharah, moch dachuk, on which of the seven clean days, on which day of anticipated menses)?
3) For a stain – at what point in your cycle did it occur (before or after mikveh immersion, during the seven clean days, on a day of anticipated menses)? Did you feel a hargashah before discovering the stain? Do you know of any plausible alternative source for the stain?
4) Any relevant medical information (e.g., recent medical tests, midcycle staining, IUD or contraceptive pills), especially regarding fertility (e.g., pregnancy, pregnancy loss, childbirth, breastfeeding, trying to conceive, fertility treatments).
5) Any relevant mental health information (e.g., medications or diagnoses).
6) Any extenuating circumstances (e.g., emotional strains, marital challenges, difficulty conceiving, difficulty in getting to the mikveh within a reasonable time, your wedding is imminent).
7) Any other information you think might be relevant.
Upon receiving an answer, it is generally a good idea to ask whether you should continue to ask about stains of this color in the future, or whether you can assess it yourself.
Whenever possible, the actual stain or bedikah cloth should be brought to the halachic authority for evaluation. When a woman does not have access to a halachic authority, we recommend Tahor App, which uses sophisiticated color calibration technology to allow women to send accurate photographs for rabbinic evaluation. Tahor is currently available for iPhones and for some models of Android phones. If necessary, it is also possible to send cloths by overnight mail or delivery services.
This page deals primarily with questions of stains and bedikot that need to be evaluated visually by a halachic authority. Other niddah questions – like halachic questions about Shabbat, kashrut, and so on – can be asked in person, over the phone, by email, Whatsapp or Messenger, and so on. Yoatzot Halacha answer questions in the community, through this website and over a telephone hotline.