Flow Onset until Hefsek tahara
''Your Home'' Mikvah Calander App, Flow Onset until Hefsek Tahara
According to the Ashkenazic custom, you must wait a minimum of 5 days from the onset of a flow before you can try to ascertain whether or not it has ended completely (hefsek taharah). The Sephardic custom is to wait a minimum of 4 days, with the exception of those who follow the psakim of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu of blessed memory, who wait 5 days. The day of the onset is always taken into account.
''Your Home'' Mikvah Calander App, Hilchot Hefsek Tahara
When your flow stops completely, and the minimum number of days have passed, you should bathe your entire body (however, if you only washed the lower part of your body, in retrospect this is acceptable) and try to perform hefsek tahara in the following manner:
Within a period of 2.5 proportional hours (shaah zmanit) before sunset (Your Home calculates these hours for you), perform an internal examination with a white cloth (bedikah, pl. bedikot) by wrapping the bedikah cloth around your finger, inserting it, and thoroughly wiping the entire accessible area. If there are any traces of questionable colors (red, black, brown or yellow tinted with red), the examination should be repeated once again before sunset, and then in the following days until successful.
After you complete a successful hefsek tahara, you should perform an additional bedikah called moch dachuk by inserting a soft white cloth before sunset and removing it after nightfall. Once again, the bedikah cloth must only show natural discharge colored white or pale yellow. Questionable colors must be shown to a Rabbi. If the moch dachuk is completed successfully, you should start counting the seven preparatory days (shiva nekiim) from the next morning; otherwise, if the moch dachuk bedikah is not clean, you have to repeat the hefsek tahara before sunset.
Seven Preparatory Days (Shiva Nekiim)
''Your Home'' Mikvah Calander App, Hilchot Shiva Nekiim
The day after a successful hefsek tahara you should count seven consecutive preparatory days (shiva nekiim) until the mikvah night. White undergarments and white bed sheets should be used throughout the seven preparatory days.
You should make two bedikot each day during the seven preparatory days: one in the morning after sunrise (preferably right after getting up) and one before sunset. If you see blood on the bedikah cloth, you must perform hefsek tahara all over again, and then restart counting shiva nekiim. If you observe a questionable stain you should consult with a Rabbi to find out whether you have to perform hefsek tahara and restart counting shiva nekiim all over again, or not.
If you inadvertently forget to perform one or two of the daily bedikot, you can still carry on with the rest of the shiva nekiim. Some poskim say you should count, in retrospect, the day when both bedikot were forgotten.
Please note that the bedikot on the first, and on the seventh day of the shiva nekiim must be perfomed .
If you experience medical difficulty making all the bedikot, you should consult with a Rabbi about the possibility of performing fewer bedikot.
Preparing for Mikvah Night
''Your Home'' Mikvah Calander App, Preparing for Mikva Night
A tnightfall after the seventh day of the shiva nekiim you should go to the mikvah. Once you emerge from the mikvah you are pure again (tehora) and can resume marital relations.
In order for the mikvah immersion (tevilah) to be valid, your entire body must be immersed in the water. Any foreign object or dirt that adheres to the body or hair is considered an intervening substance (chatzitzah) which prevents total contact with the water, and would thus invalidate the tevilah.
Therefore, there are mandatory preparations that must be carried out prior to the immersion and as close to it in time as possible. You must soak at least half an hour in a bathtub, wash your hair and comb it well to remove tangles, clean under your fingernails and your toenails and trim them, remove dead skin and calluses, remove imperfect nail polish (if you have permanent nail polish and you wish to keep it, you can renew the polish and then it will be considered as an ornamentation rather than a chatzitzah. You must clean your ears, brush your teeth and floss gently. If you dye your hair you can either remove the dye or renew it and then it will be considered as an ornamentation rather than a chatzitzah. You must clean your ear piercings, your nostrils, and the orifices of your lower body. You must clean skin folds (armpits, behind your knees, elbows, under your breasts, and between your toes). You must take off all jewelry and make sure that your body is completely clean.
The Ashkenazic custom is that you immerse once, fold your arms, recite the blessing (bracha) and then immerse again.
The Sephardic custom is that you recite the bracha robed, prior to entering the actual room of the mikvah, and then you take off the robe, enter the mikvah room and immerse immediately.
The bracha for the tevilah is:
"ברוך אתה ה' אלו-קינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציוונו על הטבילה"
Preparing for Special Mikvah Nights
''Your Home'' Calander App, Preparing for Special Mikvah Nights
When the mikvah night falls on a Friday night, all your preparations must be completed before candle lighting.
When the mikvah night falls on a Saturday night (motzei Shabbat), the Sephardic custom is that all the preparations must be carried out after Shabbat is over. The Ashkenazic custom is that you wash your body and hair and complete all the preparations before Shabbat, and then on motzei Shabbat, you must wash again, comb your hair and inspect your body to verify that no dirt has adhered.
Motzei Shabbat which is Yom Tov
If the mikvah night falls on motzei Shabbat which also happens to be a Jewish holiday when work is forbidden (Yom Tov), your preparations must take place on Friday. Before going to the mikvah you must inspect your body to verify that no dirt has adhered.
Friday Night after Two Days of Yom Tov
If the mikvah night falls on a Friday night while Thursday and Friday are both days of Yom Tov, all your preparations must be done on Wednesday. Afterwards, you should try to avoid any contact with a sticky substance or feed little children until after you immerse in the mikvah. If there is no one else to do it for you, you should make sure to wash your hands. On Friday night prior to the immersion, floss your teeth gently and thoroughly inspect your body to ascertain that it is completely clean.
Postponed Mikvah Nights
It is not permitted to immerse in the mikvah on the nights of Yom Kippur and Tish'a B'av, or on the night of an anticipated separation day. On these occasions, the mikvah night must be postponed to the following night.
Anticipating a New Flow – Separation Days
''Your Home'' - Mikva Calander App - Separation Days
The halacha requires abstaining from marital relations when the onset of a new flow is anticipated. These separation times are known as your anticipated separation days.
The calculation of the anticipated separation days, according to the halacha, depends on the type of your monthly cycle (veset, pl. vesatot).
Types of Veset
Veset kavua means that the monthly cycle has one of the following two patterns and therefore can be anticipated accurately.
Every month, whether 29 or 30 days, the onset of the flow occurs on the same Hebrew calendar day and during the same onah (e.g., the day onah on the 5th of Kislev, the day onah on the 5th of Tevet, the day onah on the 5th of Shvat etc.).
The number of days between two consecutive flow onsets (haflaga, pl. haflagot) is constant, and the onsets occur during the same onah.
Veset ha'dilug means that the monthly cycle has one of the following two patterns:
There is a contant increase or decrease in the calendar date between consecutive flow onsets, and the flow onsets occur during the same onah (e.g. the day onah on 20th of Kislev, the day onah on 22nd of Tevet, the day onah on 24th of Shvat, the day onah on 26th of Adar, or: the day onah on 26th of Kislev, the day onah on 24th of Tevet, the day onah on 22nd of Shvat etc)
The difference between consecutive haflagot (dilug) increases or decreases by a fixed number of days (e.g., 27, 28, 29 days or 26, 28, 30 days, or: 30, 29, 28 etc), and the flow onsets occur during the same onah.
Veset ha'dilug like veset kavua has a pattern which allows accurate anticipation of a new flow.
Veset She'eino Kavua
Veset she'eino kavua means that the veset is irregular and does not allow an accurate anticipation of a new flow. Most women have Veset she'eino kavua.
Determining the Anticipated Separation Days
Anticipated Separation for Veset She'eino Kavua
If your flow is irregular (veset she'eino kavua), the new flow onset cannot be anticipated accurately. Therefore the halacha states that flow onset must be anticipated and separation must be observed in the following three instances described below: onah beinonit, veset ha'chodesh and veset haflaga.
Onah Beinonit – The Average Cycle
You should count 30 days from the onset of the last flow (the day of the onset is counted as the first day) and observe the laws of harchakot during the same onah as that of the last flow onset. This anticipated separation is the onah beinonit according to the letter of the law (me'ikar ha'din).
According to some opinions, you should observe this separation for both onot of the 30th day. This stringency is known as onat cartei vepaltei.
There is another stringency called onah beinonit le'chumra. Those who follow the Sephardic poskim don’t observe this chumra. This stringency states that you should also observe separation during the night onah on the 31st day from the onset of the last flow (i.e., from sunset on the 30th day until sunrise on the 31st day). Some people observe onah beinonit le'chumra for two onot and refrain from intimacy also during the following onah, which is the day onah of the 31st day.
The onah beinonit is mandatory (me'ikar ha'dyn) whereas onah beinonit le'chumra is a stringency according to some poskim. Therefore, if onah beinonit le'chumra is observed, it must be in addition to onah beinonit.
Veset Ha'Chodesh – Monthly Cycle
You should observe the laws of harchakot due to an anticipated flow onset one month (Hebrew calendar) after the onset of the last flow, on the same Hebrew calendar day and on the same onah (e.g., the day onah of 4th of Kislev, the day onah of the 4th of Tevet etc.). This anticipated separation is called veset ha'chodesh.
Veset Haflaga – Interval Cycle
If the number of days in your most recent haflaga is n, then starting from the onset of your last flow (day 1) you should count n days and observe the laws of harchakot due to an anticipated flow onset on the same onah. This anticipated separation is known as veset haflaga.
According to some poskim there is a stringency called veset haflaga le'chumra. According to this stringency, if your most recent haflaga is shorter than the previous one, you must also observe a separation onah on the day of the longer haflaga, in addition to the mandatory separation onah of veset haflaga.
Anticipated Separation for Veset Kavua
If you have an established veset kavua that is based on a fixed haflaga, you should observe the laws of harchakot due to an anticipated flow onset only on the day and onah of the fixed haflaga.
If you have an established veset kavua that is based on a constant monthly cycle, you should observe the laws of harchakot due to an anticipated flow onset only on a fixed day and onah each Hebrew calendar month.
It is important to note that if the fixed monthly cycle or the fixed haflaga is shorter than 30 days you must also observe the onah beinonit separation.
Anticipated Separation for Veset Ha'dilug
If you have an established veset ha'dilug, you should observe the laws of harchakot due to an anticipated flow onset only on the fixed onah of the newly updated dilug (veset ha'dilug).
It is important to note that if the updated dilug is shorter than 30 days you must also observe the onah beinonit separation.
Onat Or Zarua (stringency)
There is a stringency called onat or zarua, where you also observe the laws of harchakot during the onah preceding any one of the 3 mandatory separation onot for veset she'eino kavua, i.e., the onah before onah beinonit, veset ha'chodesh, and veset haflaga. Those who follow Sephardic poskim do observe onat or zarua. Those who follow the psakim of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu of blessed memory must observe onat or zarua only for onah beinonit.
Establishing Veset Kavua and Veset Ha'Dilug
You can establish veset kavua which is based on a fixed monthly cycle after three consecutive flow onsets that occur on the same day of the Hebrew calendar month, and on the same onah.
You can establish veset kavua that is based on a fixed haflaga after three consecutive fixed haflagot (4 flow onsets) provided that the last three flow onsets occurred on the same onah.
You can establish veset ha'dilug after three consecutive haflagot (4 flow onsets) provided that the 3 haflagot had a fixed dilug (i.e. they varied each time by a constant amount) and the last three flow onsets occurred during the same onah. After the fourth flow onset, even though veset ha'dilug has been established, you must still observe the anticipated separation days for veset she’eino kavua namely, onah beinonit, veset ha'chodesh and veset haflaga. Only after the fifth flow onset you start observing the anticipated separation days according to your updated dilug.
Please note that if your dilug is shorter than 30 days you must observe, in addition to veset ha'dilug also onah beinonit.
As long as veset kavua or veset ha'dilug are not established, you must observe the anticipated separation days for veset she'eino kavua: onah beinonit, veset ha'chodesh and veset haflaga.
Annulling Veset Kavua or Veset Ha'Dilug
If you have established veset kavua or veset ha'dilug and your recent flow onset deviates from the anticipated fixed pattern, you should observe the anticipated separation days according to your established fixed monthly cycle or your established fixed haflaga, or your established dilug. In addition, you should observe the three anticipated separation days for veset she'eino kavua, i.e., onah beinonit, veset ha'chodesh, and veset haflaga.
If the onset of the next flow matches the established fixed pattern, you may resume observing the anticipated separation days according to veset kavua or veset ha'dilug.
If you observe a deviation from the fixed established pattern of veset kavua three times in a row, veset kavua is annulled and you must resort to observing the anticipated separation days for veset she'eino kavua.
If you observe a deviation from the fixed established pattern of veset ha’dilug four times in a row, veset ha’dilug is annulled. However, after the fourth flow onset you must still observe the anticipated separation day for veset ha’dilug in addition to the three separation days for veset she’eino kavua: onah beinonit, veset ha'chodesh, and veset haflaga. After the fifth flow onset you resort to observing the anticipated separation days for veset she'eino kavua: onah beinonit, veset ha'chodesh, and veset haflaga.
Dinei Harchakot during Niddah/Separation Days
''Your Home'' Mikvah Calander App - Dinei Harchakot
According to both, Ashkenazic and Sephardic poskim it is forbidden for the spouses to have any physical contact when the wife is niddah.
Beds must be separated so that a blanket of one spouse cannot slide over to the bed of the other spouse.
It is forbidden for the husband to sit or lie on his wife's bed, and it is forbidden for the wife to lie or sit on her husband's bed in his presence.
The husband is not allowed to see the parts of his wife that are normally covered.
The spouses may not sit next to each other on a soft cushion (e.g., couch) unless another person sits between them.
When the wife is niddah the spouses may not hand an object to each other directly; rather one spouse puts the object down and the other spouse takes it. The spouses may hand an object to each other directly during the separation days, as long as there is no flow.
An object must be placed on the table during mealtime to constitute a reminder for maintaining separation (heiker). According to many poskim there is no need for a heiker when other people are sitting at the table between the spouses. If the children are sitting between the spouses at their regular place, then there is no shinui that constitutes a heiker and one must place an object on the table.
The husband is not permitted to eat or drink his spouse's leftovers in her presence.
When one spouse serves food to the other, it should be done differently (with a shinui), e.g., use the left hand or place it a bit further than usual.
According to the Ashkenazic minhag, a husband is not allowed to go on outings with his wife when she is niddah. There is a leniency when other people are with them or when the outing is for praying at a holy place. The spouses may go on outings during the separation days, as long as there is no flow.
The wife is prohibited from doing activities that might endear her to her husband (e.g., wear excessive makeup or beautiful clothes, change sheets in his presence).
Joking and jesting that might lead to physical closeness are forbidden when the wife is niddah.
''Your Home'' Mikvah Calander App - Traveling during the seven preparatory days
If you fly and cross time zones during the seven preparatory days, you should act according to the local time zone where you are present. For example, if you have to immerse in the mikvah and you fly in the morning and arrive at your destination in the afternoon, you have to wait with the immersion until nightfall (local time) even if it is already nightfall at your place of origin.
You should consult with a rabbi if you travel across the international dateline, and thus gain or lose a day.
Please remember to update the Maayan Hatahara calendar with your new location so that you will receive your reminders on time.
''Your Home'' Mikvah Calander App - Medical Examinations
If a physical examination probed your uterus, you must perform hefsek tahara and count 7 nekiim. If it only reached the cervix, you should consult with a Rabbi.
Blood in the Urine
If you follow the Ashkenazic custom and you see blood in your urine, you must perform hefsek tahara, count 7 preparatory days (including the bedikot) and go to the mikvah. Please note that this does not affect your monthly flow calculations. If you follow the Sephardic custom, then blood in the urine does not forbid marital relations. Women who follow the psakim of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu of blessed memory must do a urine lab test to find out whether the blood comes from the uterus or not.
''Your Home'' - Mikvah Calander App - Tahara after giving birth
You gave birth - Mazel tov!
Birth of a Boy
The minimum number of days that you must wait before you can try to perform hefsek tahara after the bleeding has stopped completely, is the same as for a regular flow, namely 4 days according to the Sephardic custom and 5 days according to the Ashkenazic custom and according to Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu of blessed memory. After you perform the hefsek tahara you count 7 nekiim and then go to the mikvah.
Please note that bleeding after childbirth usually lasts longer than the minimum number of days and you cannot perform hefsek tahara until the bleeding has stopped completely.
Birth of a Girl
You must wait at least 7 days before you can try to perform hefsek tahara after the bleeding has stopped completel. After you perform the hefsek tahara you count 7 nekiim and then go to the mikvah.
Please note that bleeding after childbirth usually lasts longer than the minimum number of days and you cannot perform hefsek tahara until the bleeding has stopped completely.