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What is a Hargasha

  1. Chazal learn from the pasuk דם יהיה זובה בבשרה[1] that in order for a woman to become a Niddah on a Biblical level she needs to feel the onset of her flow. That feeling is called a hargasha.[2] There are three major types of feelings (hargashot) that would indicate that her period began and would render her a Niddah.[3]
    1. Many explain that if a woman felt that her uterus opened that is a hargasha.[4]
    2. Others explain that if a woman felt some liquid flow from the uterus into the inner part of her vagina that is a hargasha.[5]
    3. Others explain that if a woman felt a certain shock sensation that caused her to shake that is a hargasha.[6]
  2. Even if she saw blood and didn't have a hargasha she is a Niddah rabbinically.[7]

Hargasha Nowadays

  1. Nowadays most women do not feel any of these conditions. Nonetheless, the poskim assume that women who experience their period are a Niddah on a Biblical level.[8] Furthermore, some say that if she saw a lot of blood which is the usual amount that would come at the time of her period she is considered a Niddah on a Biblical level.[9]
  2. The rules of ketamim do not apply to a bedika cloth even if she says that she didn't feel a hargasha.[10]

Feelings that are Confused with a Hargasha

  1. There are certain phenomenon that can cause a sensation similar to a hargasha. Therefore, if a woman was involved in any one of these activities and then saw blood that could have been emitted from her body it could be that she is a Niddah Biblically and that blood is not considered a ketem.[11]
    1. If a woman urinated: A ketem on a wipe or tissue found after urinating if found immediately it is considered niddah blood but if it is found after a normal amount of time that a woman would wait to wipe for all of the drops to leave her it is only a ketem.[12] A ketem found on tissue paper isn't a ketem since it isn't mekabel tumah.[13]
    2. If a had tashmish
    3. If a woman did a bedika: Blood found on a bedika cloth according to most poskim is a safek deoritta and it might have come with a hargasha. Some hold it is only a doubt on a rabbinic level. Either way the rules of ketem do not apply.[14]
  2. If a woman was involved in one of those activities and states that she is certain that she didn't have a hargasha according to some opinions she is credible. However, many poskim are strict and say even in such a case there is a concern that the hargasha was masked and the blood is judged as though it came out with a hargasha.[15]
  3. Any blood found on a bedika cloth even if she says that she didn't have a hargasha is treated as though it is possibly Biblical and the leniencies of ketem do no apply.[16]


  1. Vayikra 15:19
  2. Gemara Niddah 57b, Rambam Isurei Biyah 9:1, Shulchan Aruch YD 190:1, Taharat Habayit v. 1 p. 6
  3. Pitchei Teshuva YD 184:1
  4. Trumat Hadeshen, Shulchan Aruch YD 183:1, Pitchei Teshuva 183:1
  5. Pitchei Teshuva YD 183:1 citing the Nodeh Beyehuda YD 55 and Chavot Daat 190:1 who hold that a feeling of a liquid flow is a hargasha, while the Chatom Sofer 145, 153, 167, 171 argues. Taharat Habayit v. 1 p. 14 agrees with the Chatom Sofer that essentially this isn't a hargasha.
  6. Rambam Isurei Biyah 5:17, Pitchei Teshuva 183:1
  7. Shulchan Aruch 190:1
  8. Aruch Hashulchan 183:61 writes that woman do still experience hargasha even if they testify otherwise. Igrot Moshe YD 4:17:12 writes that it is possible for woman to have a slight feeling of a hargasha and miss it. Either way he says that if a woman knows it is her flow she is a Niddah but if she finds blood and doesn't have any feeling of any hargasha it is only a ketem.
  9. Yesod Hatahara p. 3
  10. Taharat Habayit v. 1 p. 17
  11. Gemara Niddah 57b, Sidrei Tahara 183:1
  12. Igrot Moshe YD 4:17:13
  13. Igrot Moshe 4:17:14
  14. Taharat Habayit v. 1 p. 18 cites the Kereti 193:1 who presents two interpretations of Gemara Niddah 57b which differ on the point of whether the blood found with a bedika is a safek deoritta or derabbanan. He proves from the Rambam Isurei Biyah 5:5 and Trumat Hadeshen 47 that it is a safek deoritta. He also cites the Shulchan Aruch Harav Kuntres Acharon 183:2 Rabbi Akiva Eiger 62, and Aruch Hashulchan 183:55 agree that it is a safek deoritta
  15. See Sidrei Tahara 183:1
  16. Taharat Habayit v. 1 p. 17