Mishnah Niddah 2:4, 6: Some Laws of Purity


Lawrence H. Schiffman, Texts and Traditions, Ktav, Hoboken 1998, p.726-727.

Talmudic law continued the biblical regulations of menstrual impurity. Here the Mishnah discusses the requirement to insure purity before and after sexual relations, as well as the nature of the blood which renders a woman impure.

2-4 All women are [considered] in a legal state of purity to their husbands. 160 When the husbands return [home] from traveling, their wives are [considered] in a legal state of purity. The House of Shammai say- she needs to check herself with two cloths for each time they have relations, 161 or examine it [each time] under a candle. The House of Hillel say- It is sufficient for her to use two cloths for the whole night [and examine it in the morning].

6 There are five [colors] of blood which render a woman impure- red, black, [the color of] a bright colored crocus, the [color of a puddle of] water on [red] earth, and [the color of red] wine mixed with water. The House of Shammai say- even [the color of] water that contained fenugreek 162 and [the color of] water that contained roasted meat, but the House of Hillel say that she is pure. 163 And yellow [blood]- Akaviah the son of Mehalalel [declares her] impure and the Sages [declare her] pure. Rabbi Meir says- “If it does not render impure because of the stain [of menstrual,blood], it renders impure because of liquids.” 164 Rabbi Yose says- “In neither way does it render impure.”

159. Trans. A. Oded.

160. Assuming she was pure when he left.

161. Before and after.

162. A red-leafed plant which was used for medicinal purposes.

163. Referring to the last two cases which the House of Shammai say render a woman impure.

164. It makes food susceptible to impurity.

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