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

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Negative feelings during niddah

1 March, 2021

Question:

Hi. I am reaching out to you because I am struggling immensely with keeping taharas hamishpacha. I’m married a little over a year. Since I was engaged, I had a difficult time accepting all the halachos and I feel very negative about them. I feel contaminated, dirty, and put down by all the details and harchakos. I have a heter from before I got married to do only 3 bedikos. But everything else is causing me enormous stress and suffering. I cry every time a bedika/garment has to be checked and the negative feelings are constant throughout the nidda time. I’m not sure what to do anymore.

I’m very right-wing/yeshivish and my husband isn’t really willing to not keep what he learned in terms of halachos/harchakos. But I can’t continue the way things are. I’m crying a lot and it’s affecting my ability to function.

Thank you.


Answer:

We are sorry to hear of your struggles with taharat hamishpachah and the ensuing stress and suffering.

We hope that it can be of some comfort to you to know that the halachot are not intended to put a woman down, nor do they signify that she is contaminated or dirty. To quote the Rambam at the end of Hilchot Mikvaot:

It is clear and evident that tumah and taharah are decrees of the Torah. They are not among the things that a person’s mind can decide and they are among the chukim (laws without rational explanation). And so too the immersion from tumah is among the chukim, for tumah is not mud or excrement that passes away in the water, but a Torah decree and the matter depends on the intention of the heart…

You may find it helpful to try to pinpoint what about observance of these halachot is causing suffering. Think about what bothers you, and whether you and your husband can work out ways to make you feel better.

Often, little details can make a big difference. For example, not passing an item directly to a spouse can feel cold or distancing. But it can also be done in a way reminiscint of a particularly attentive helper making a special delivery. Learning the halachot in-depth can help lead to minor adjustments that honor halacha while also making a difference for a couple’s experience of harchakot.

Can you identify which aspect of bringing a bedikah or garment to be checked causes you stress? If you repeatedly have questions about similar colors, a Rav or Yoetzet Halacha may be able to help you learn to evaluate those colors for yourself. Would it be easier for you to ask online? If so, you can try the Tahor app, which uses special color calibration technology to send an accurate image to be evaluated by a Rav.

After you’ve identified a few specific areas of difficulty, we recommend bringing this question and answer to your husband at a time when you are not in niddah, discussing how you feel and then perhaps brainstorming some ideas. We recommend asking how he feels, as well. It is important that your husband understand that you are raising these difficulties because you’d like to find a way to feel better without compromising your halachic commitment.

You may also find it helpful to meet, privately or together with your husband, with an experienced kallah teacher or Yoetzet Halacha, who may be able to help provide some guidance or insight. If your negative feelings and struggles continue after these steps, you may wish to consider professional counseling.

As you think through these issues, please feel free to get back to us with any further questions. If you’d like to share your location with us, we can also try to make a referral to a local teacher or Yoetzet Halacha. Referrals to religious therapists can be found at nefesh.org or www.gethelpisrael.com.


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.

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