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

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Husband with OCD

2 October, 2021

Question:

Dear Yoetzet,

I am writing this as a husband who really suffers with ‘ocd’ like behaviours regarding specifically the area of niddah but also other areas of halacha. My wife and I try our best to keep the halacha and BH we have always managed but at times it really affects our relationship. There have been times where I am too overwhelmed and convinced there is an issue that I have effectively forced my wife into being a niddah when she was tahor. I am seeking help from a local Jewish therapist. I have a few questions which I would like some clarification in, and any help would be greatly appreciated.

I struggle a lot with the issue of blood after relations. I understand that blood found on a man is very serious even if it is only a small amount, due to the concern of a masked hargasha during intercourse. This makes life very difficult. I always avoid looking at myself out of fear of seeing something problematic. Even after having washed myself after intercourse I will constantly worry about any dirt found on my hands. If I see anything resembling blood in the sink, or on my hands, or on paper I have been writing on, I will immediately worry that it is blood from my wife even if I have washed myself.

Another related issue is if I find a stain on the bedsheet. We use dark sheets and as I understand that if a couple have waited a little a stain can be treated as a kesem without hargasha. However, I worry about stains that may have come from my organ. Many times, I have found white patches on my side of the duvet that my organ has brushed against and I will obsessively look at them to ensure there is not the tiniest speck of blood in it.

This may all seem over the top, and as I said I am seeking help to manage my behaviour. If possible, however, can you please explain whether the scenarios I have described raise any halachic issues? If I wash myself thoroughly after intercourse can I reasonably assume any dirt or blood is not from my wife and therefore not an issue? Also, what should I do about stains on the bed sheet or sink?

Above are just a couple of examples of the things I struggle with daily but there are many others and I have no one other than my wife and therapist to discuss them with. Currently I do not have a Rabbi to discuss this issue with. Do you know of a Rabbi who has experience in this area who would be understanding and able to pasken?

Many thanks


Answer:

We are sorry to hear of your struggles with OCD and niddah and we appreciate the sensitive nature of this question.

Generally speaking, if a man finds blood following relations on anything other than his sexual organ itself or on a towel used to wipe it, the bleeding is assumed to be from another source. Blood found on a colored towel or disposable tissue may also be disregarded, as long as the husband did not wipe within seconds of relations.

Stains in the sink are assumed to have been there from before or to be something other than blood. The halacha concerning sheets is as you wrote. A tiny speck of blood within a white stain on a dark sheet would not be problematic, both because it is tiny and because the sheet itself is dark.

Once you’ve washed yourself, nothing you find on your hands, on paper, or on any other surface could possibly be a problem.

Even blood found on the male organ does not necessarily mean that the woman is niddah, depending on the circumstances. And even if your wife were to become niddah during relations, this would not be considered a witting transgression. Halacha was made for human beings, not angels, and God is forgiving.

Generally speaking, if your wife is not concerned that there has been bleeding during relations, you should rely on her assessment and assume that your doubts are not of halachic concern.

[The original answer included a referral to an expert local Rabbi with a background in counseling.]


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