Answer from Rabbi’s wife
6 February, 2005
I have been married for 15 years and have always had trouble with spotting, so I wind up asking a lot of "shailos". We recently moved to a new community, and my husband dropped off a shaila envelope at the Rabbi's house. The Rabbi's wife called me several hours later and told me that her husband would be busy all day, but that she had looked at the bedika and thought it was okay. Are women allowed to give p'sak on these questions, and if so, am I allowed to decide for myself? I have a lot of experience and a good halachic education.
Someone who is familiar with an area of halacha can often practice that halacha without consulting a rabbi. We do so everyday by deciding what bracha to make on the food we eat, for instance. The problem with bedikot is that there is much debate about the different colors which are problematic, and there are different traditions concerning those colors. Rabbis spend years doing shimush (attending practice sessions of training by their rabbi) in order to learn to determine which colors are okay in the tradition he carries.
White and yellow discharges need not be shown to a rabbi. A bedikah which has a red stain doesn't have to be looked at either, because it clearly invalidates the clean days (except if it comes at an unexpected time or under special circumstances, such as after a medical procedure). Any color which is unclear, such as brown, pink, or orange, has to be looked at by a halachic expert in this field.
If you have a recurring discharge, ask your rabbi if this is a color which you have to bring to him in the future.
If the Rabbi's wife was designated by the rabbi to screen bedikot and she has the appropriate training and experience, it is acceptable for her to okay the bedikah. Just make sure that that is what she was doing; she might have just been reassuring you, and expecting to get you an answer later.
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