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What is a Hargasha
- Chazal learn from the pasuk דם יהיה זובה בבשרה 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. There are three major types of feelings (hargashot) that would indicate that her period began and would render her a Niddah.
- Many explain that if a woman felt that her uterus opened that is a hargasha.
- Others explain that if a woman felt some liquid flow from the uterus into the inner part of her vagina that is a hargasha.
- Others explain that if a woman felt a certain shock sensation that caused her to shake that is a hargasha.
- Even if she saw blood and didn't have a hargasha she is a Niddah rabbinically.
- 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. 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.
- The rules of ketamim do not apply to a bedika cloth even if she says that she didn't feel a hargasha.
Feelings that are Confused with a Hargasha
- 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.
- 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. A ketem found on tissue paper isn't a ketem since it isn't mekabel tumah.
- If a had tashmish
- 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.
- 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.
- Any blood found on a bedika cloth that was inserted deepkly, even if she says that she didn't have a hargasha, we are concerned that she made a mistake and didn't notice the hargasha because of the bedika, and the blood is treated as safek doraita and the leniencies of ketem do no apply.If the bedika cloth wasn't inserted deeply then it is treated as derabanan. 
- If she says bari li (I am certain) that I didn't have a hargasha, then even if the cloth was inserted deeply blood found on the cloth is only considered derabanan 
- Vayikra 15:19
- Gemara Niddah 57b, Rambam Isurei Biyah 9:1, Shulchan Aruch YD 190:1, Taharat Habayit v. 1 p. 6
- Pitchei Teshuva YD 184:1
- Trumat Hadeshen, Shulchan Aruch YD 183:1, Pitchei Teshuva 183:1
- 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.
- Rambam Isurei Biyah 5:17, Pitchei Teshuva 183:1
- Shulchan Aruch 190:1
- 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.
- Yesod Hatahara p. 3
- Taharat Habayit v. 1 p. 17
- Gemara Niddah 57b, Sidrei Tahara 183:1
- Igrot Moshe YD 4:17:13
- Igrot Moshe 4:17:14
- 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
- See Sidrei Tahara 183:1
- Taharat Habayit v. 1 p. 17
- Taharat Habayit v. 1 p. 18 and Mishmeret HaTahara p. 22