Premenstrual staining: Minimum wait and veset calculation
19 January, 2003
When I went to the bathroom Saturday night (after sunset), I saw a large, dark brown stain on the toilet paper. I told my husband that I was a niddah. On Sunday morning, I had a flow of red blood. Since the color of the stain on Saturday night was not red, I don’t know if Day #1 is Saturday or Sunday. What date should I mark on my veset calendar, and when do I start counting the five day minimum before a hefsek?
Brown stains on toilet paper do not necessarily make a woman niddah, but she should consider herself niddah until she clarifies her status. You correctly conducted yourself as if you were niddah from the beginning. However, your five-day minimum wait and veset calculations are not affected for several reasons.
Saturday night after sunset and Sunday morning until sunset are the same day according to the Jewish calendar. Thus, both the stain you found on Saturday night and the bleeding that you saw Sunday morning occurred on the first day of the Jewish week, and Sunday is day 1 of your five-day wait.
Note that when a woman considers herself niddah when she is uncertain of her status, that time can be counted toward her five-day wait. If, for example, you had found the stain on Shabbat during the day, and (because of your uncertainty) you had conducted yourselves as if you were niddah from then until you actually became niddah Sunday morning, then Shabbat would have been your day 1 of the five-day wait.
For the purposes of veset calculations there IS a difference between the night onah (sunset to sunrise) and the day onah (sunrise to sunset). However, what you saw on Saturday night does not factor into your veset calculations, since it is the beginning of the menstrual flow which marks the onah, which for you was Sunday daytime.
Premenstrual staining can create a veset haguf, a veset linked to bodily symptoms. Therefore, you should observe an onat perishah if you again begin to stain around the time you are expecting your period. Since the flow began one onah after the staining started, you should observe a veset the onah after staining starts. We also advise abstaining from relations from the time staining begins, as a precaution against a flow beginning earlier than expected.
Updated 8 August, 2023.
This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.
For further questions or comments:
The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.
Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.