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

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Internal washing and toilet paper during clean days

14 April, 2005

Question:

I have two questions:

1. Can I clean myself internally prior to bedikot during the seven clean days, just as I do prior to the hefsek tahara? I will often have some brown staining on the bedikah cloths for several days after my period ends, which invalidates the seven day counting.

2. I understand that while one is tehorah, one is not "supposed" to look at tissues etc. What is the status, though, during the seven clean days?


Answer:

1. Prior to the hefsek taharah, it is customary for a woman to clean herself internally, so that no residual blood should interfere with beginning her clean days. In contrast, during the seven clean days, we are trying to confirm that a woman has not resumed bleeding. Therefore, a practice clearly meant to remove blood, such as douching or deliberate internal washing, should be avoided (unless one has a specific ruling for a particular case). Once, when daily bathing was not the norm, it was even recommended not to wash oneself at all during the clean days. Nowadays, people generally bathe or shower frequently, and it is acceptable to bathe during the seven clean days as usual. We recommend waiting roughly twenty minutes after washing before doing a bedikah, both so that it reflects what is really happening, and so as to allow the natural lubricants to return to prevent injury with a dry bedikah.

Brown stains do not always invalidate the seven clean days, even when found on a bedikah cloth. If the color is not red or pink, but brown, be sure to show the bedikah to a halachic authority to determine whether it is okay.

2. The problem with looking at toilet paper is connected to the rabbinic debate about the status of toilet paper, and to the problem of a stain found after urination, where there may have been a hargashah. (Please see the articles on Stains and Toilet Paper for a more detailed explanation.) You should therefore avoid looking at toilet paper during the seven clean days as well, to avoid getting into this halachic dilemma. There is no reason to anticipate a stain on toilet paper.


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