When does one change to white underwear?
16 March, 2006
First of all, thank you for your site — you have been invaluable to me and many women both in asking personal questions and in clarifying general matters which are unclear to us. This question is one of the latter.
Does the requirement for wearing white underwear during shivah neki'im begin on Day 1 of the seven days, after shekiah on the day of the hefsek tahara, or immediately after the hefsek tahara? If it starts the day or night of the hefsek tahara, how stringent is the requirement? For someone doing the hefsek at work or on the go, it is often very impractical to change underpants, especially when wearing tights or stockings. Should I be wearing white underpants the entire day of the hefsek in preparation for the requirement to switch after the hefsek?
We're glad to have been of help!
The wearing of white underwear during the clean days serves two purposes: it demonstrates that the woman is aware of her seven-day count and it reveals any bleeding that might invalidate the clean days. From the hefsek taharah until sunset, the first reason would seem moot, since the clean days have not technically begun. As long as a moch dachuk is inserted, it would seem that the requirements of the second reason are satisfied. Still, the prevailing practice is to change right after performing the hefsek taharah. Definitely, you should make every effort to change by sunset.
On the go, this can be accomplished as follows: wear white underwear on the day you expect to do your hefsek, with a pad to catch any stains. After the successful hefsek taharah, remove the pad to reveal the white underwear. If, for logistical reasons, changing earlier was impossible, the clean days are not invalidated. But the best practice is to change or to prepare as above.
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