Talk:Niddah

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plagiarism?[edit]

There seems to be a fair amount of identical text between this article and http://www.beingjewish.com/cycle/niddah.html I dont know which came first or which copied the other —Preceding unsigned comment added by 202.153.4.250 (talk) 06:55, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Reducing the links[edit]

I have radically reduced the amount of links. Some linked articles were off the topic (this is on Niddah, not on sexuality in Judaism). Others were multiple links to the same resource. I have linked to the main resource pages, effectively reducing duplicates.
Niddah probably needs no more than three links. Wikipedia is not a link repository. JFW | T@lk 10:38, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Views of Conservative Judaism[edit]

Great article. I have added the views of Conservative Judaism; since these are not accepted by Orthodoxy (and are obviously a change from how this practice has been understood for a long time) I tried to make it clear that this view was only found within parts of the Conservative movemment. RK

I have disputed the neutrality of this section as I feel that it uses a tone that suggests condemnation and may not be in the spirit of both Wikipedia's neutrality policy as well as Ahavas Yisrael.
Respectfully, Batshua 07:43, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Agree the material that was added to the end of this section is a clear violation of WP:SOAP, an editor's unsourced, strongly-worded, clearly partisan opinion, presented as fact. No factual information or other encyclopedic information provided. Am removing to talk page and it's listed below. --Shirahadasha 16:25, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Keeping the laws of purity promote acute awareness of sexuality and limit stagnation in relationships. However, they are also a challange for both man & woman alike to overcome basal urges. If one questions the authenticity of Judaism as a whole then compliance with these laws will appear difficult at best. As such, compliance with the laws of purity is viewed as a high degree of observence in all denominations of Jewish practice.
Conservative Judaism, a step(s) away from Torah faithfulness, does not enforce these laws communally but is attached enough to recognise them as being something Jewish and deeply rooted in Jewish heritage. Denominations of Judaism which adhere even less directly, if at all, to the Torah's teaching generally do not expect any adherence to these laws or practices nor focus on them.
When viewed from Torah law, births resulting from non-practicing Jews are considered "Ben or Bat Niddah". I.e. the child of a relationship where the parents where not practicing the laws of purity, and it is therefore assumed to be conceived at a time where conjugal realtions are prohibited. The child may have certain legal restrictions and may have a character that shows signs of an uncouth or boorish inclination.
Adherence to these laws are viewed as the best present one can bestow upon the unborn child - giving them the best most 'kosher' start in life, at conception.

Jews and bedroom jokes[edit]

I made one deletion: "Jews do not make jokes about private bedroom matters." Oh yes they do. Not only do non-Orthodox Jews sometimes make jokes, but so do many Orthodox Jews I have known, including Modern Orthodox and Lubavitch. And a (stunningly beautiful) non-Jewish ex-girlfriend of mine worked for a couple of summers in the Satmar Hasidic community, and was privy to (and sometimes the subject of) many such jokes. (For some reason, since she was non-Jewish, and pretty, the men didn't seem to think that regular laws of tzniout applied.) Maybe we can say that Jewish law codes hold that one does not make jokes about private bedroom matters; that would be more accurate. RK

Anectodal and suspect evidence is not a basis for editing a Wikipedia article.38.117.213.19 (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 16:40, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Organisation[edit]

Currently all the sections are the same level, even some with similar subject matter aren't grouped. I won't be hurt by any changes, just stubbing-out a grouping to get it started. —  <TALKJNDRLINETALK>    

On the whole, I personally try to avoid level 4 headers. Good work, though. JFW | T@lk 21:45, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

Spirituality?[edit]

"As society has rediscovered the importance of spirituality," Huh?? Cite some examples of society's rediscoverance of spirituality. I see no evidence of it here...perhaps you are living in another society... Or did you mean Jewish society? I am not qualified to comment on that, but I would assume the spirituality of the Jewish community is not that different from the community of the U.S. (or any other nation) as a whole.

It is indeed a rather bold speculation. JFW | T@lk 08:04, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Could the above anonymous user please sign his comments with the four ~~~~ tildes. IZAK 10:20, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Textual sources[edit]

subject of medieval debate was innacurate and deleted. There are several debates and Im not sure which the author was refering to. thus did not correct.

At the wedding?[edit]

I suppose as a purely practical matter a woman can't be niddah on her wedding day and night. But how is she to know far enough ahead of time to plan the wedding whether or not she's going to be niddah on a particular day? —Angr 16:34, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Avi: There is actually nothing wrong with a woman being a niddah at her wedding. It can be uncomfortable for her but it is not forbidden. In some Orthodox circles engagements are very short (weeks, not months or years) so the timeframe is not necessarily a problem. Other women may choose to use contraceptives to control their menstrual cycles.

Happens all the time. Orthodox women try to take their cycles into account in planning their wedding day, but irregularities happen. A women who marries while a niddah can't consummate the marriage until after niddah ends and she immerses. Not the best situation, but part of being an Orthodox Jew. Best, --Shirahadasha 05:25, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
But if she's niddah, she can't even touch her husband, right? How can they hold hands during the ceremony, or kiss at the end, or dance at the reception? (I don't know if any of those are customary at Orthodox weddings anyway, but if they are...) —Angr 05:28, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Due to tzniut, at least some Orthodox couples refrain from even the mildest PDA anyhow, so it's not a "problem" from that standpoint. I've definitely seen Jewish weddings where the bride and groom don't kiss, as well as ones where they do, I'm not sure that there's a "standard" other than the levels of modesty demanded by the couple's particular community. -- Batshua 07:40, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Chupas Niddah versus the pill[edit]

I'm surpised that no-one here has mentioned that when a Jewish bride is a Niddah at her wedding the entire ceremony is called a "Chupat Niddah" (it's not a desirable scenario, and is generally avoided, because the bride and groom do not go home together after their wedding, a rather unfortunate outcome for both) and that therefore many Orthodox women who are engaged to be married go to a doctor and receive a precsription for a dosage of a safe oral contraceptive pill that stops their menstrual period for a month or two during which time the actual marriage is scheduled to be held. They stop taking the pill a few days after the wedding night when, in most cases, the bride becomes a Niddah due to losing her virginity after her hymen is broken and dam betulim ("hymenal" bleeding) ensues (in the majority of cases, first-time Orthodox brides are assumed to be virgins.) The percentage of women who do this in the Haredi community is quite high and it is ok'd by most Haredi rabbis. This is nothing new, it's been practiced since the pill was introduced on a mass commercial scale in the 1960s, and was shown to have very few side-effects, especially if taken for a very short duration of a few months. IZAK 09:21, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Hmm, looks like this can go into the article now... IZAK 09:25, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Wait wait wait. Who does this? A person needs a heter to use birth control, and it requires serious risk of death, blindness or insanity. I've never heard of this in my life. The young girl plans her wedding like so. She calculates her menstration the same way a married woman does for nddah purposes, by keeping track of her expected onset over the course of a couple or so months. (AMong Chasidim this is far easier because they typically have seperated engagements of 1 yr; the Litvishe Maaseh of getting married after two months of contact makes it harder, but doable.) She looks for the days when she will be tahor and calculates her wedding day by when she will be tahor. Also, the bride and groom do go home together, they just take litte relatives with them. Like a niece and nephew. These relatives stay with the spouse of the same gender, and both spouses sleep in seperate rooms. Shia1 13:01, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

You have not heard it, but it is true. And the problem with birth control inherent in such pills is taken care of by the rabbinical tradition that (with rare exeptions) "a woman does not get pregnant from the first intercourse". Apart from that, I'd like to correct you on 2 points: Chabad chasidim also typically wait only a few months between the engagement and the chuppah; all the calculations of the girl are messed up by her anticipation of the marriage, which wrecks havoc on her menstrual cycle. Debresser (talk) 16:11, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

old comments merged from Talk:Jewish laws of family purity[edit]

Content from article[edit]

nb: meta-commentary like this always belongs on the talk page. I'm redirecting the article to Niddah, per the merge tag. -- phoebe/(talk) 01:52, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Stub. Here's the scope: right now, the concept of tahara (purity) goes to mikveh. the concept of family purity goes to Niddah (the article focuses on menstruation laws, though there are many applicablities to family life and marriage that are left out. Here is a good book: [1]). The concept of Tzeniut (modest behavior) has its own page, as does Yichud (prohibitions of secluding oneself with a stranger), and Negiah (guidelines for physical contact). All of these are touched upon in the Jewish view of marriage. This article should be an overview, as it relates to family alone. Yes, Jewish laws of family purity is tied to Mikveh, and Menses, and Marriage, but that's not all. Threats to shalom bayit. Birth Control. Dishonest spouses. There is a gamut of things that have not been put in one place.

See also[edit]

I respectfully disagree. "Family purity" is a quasi-translation of the hebrew Tahara, ritual purity, and has a well-established meaning of those aspects of ritual purity that apply within families. Because of this well-established meaning, there was a proposal in Conservative Judaism (described in the Niddah article) to stop using the term "family purity" and substitute "family holiness". If you have reliable sources that some people use the term differently, the article can mention this. An analogous case is the Kashrut articles, where the "Eco-Kosher" view that the term "Kashrut" shouldn't be limited to dietary laws but should encompass views of ethical relations with the environment as a whole was found notable enough to warrant a brief mention. Perhaps this may also be so regarding the view of Taharat HaMishpacha you espouse. Currently, however, no sources have been produced to confirm it, and the Conservative proposal for a conscious change of terminology tends to confirm the opposite. Best, --Shirahadasha 23:08, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

rabbinic literature[edit]

There are a lot of mistakes and inaccuracies in this area of the article. For example running water is never required. This seems to be a common misconception. I will slowly fix the errors.Benignuman 04:26, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

It's worth noting that although outside the topic of Rabbinic Judaism, Falashan Jews required immersion in running water among other special niddah practices, although I understand that upon immigration to Israel their practices have become more assimilated. Best, --Shirahadasha 03:13, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
That will be worth noting indeed, as soon as you can bring a source for that information. Debresser (talk) 16:06, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Priestly code?[edit]

What with documentery hypothesis stuff. Most people never heard of the priestly code and the holiness code (didn't it used to be just the P document?) and it is irelevant to the subject of niddah. Why not just discuss leviticus where all this is written. Why is this viewed as two codes anyway one is the description of the reality of niddah and one is the laws and punishments related to it. It sounds like just two chapters of the same code?Benignuman 19:17, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

A couple of Wikipedia editors seem to have a fetish of taking every reference to the Bible and turning it into a reference to one of the documents in the Documentary hypothesis. Best, --Shirahadasha 03:07, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Restructuring article[edit]

The current article is written in classical historic fashion of "Bible", "Rabbinic literature" and "Modern Judaism". The result is that the Orthodox laws of Niddah are more or less arbitrarily divided between the latter two categories. There are still traces of a binary divide between "Orthodox Judaism" and "Progressive Judaism": in this area Conservative Judaism is distinctly different from both in theory (although less so in practice).

My suggestion would be to restructure the article by beginning with the Biblical rules, outline the role of the Talmud and classical commentaries, then outline the classical rules in one place, then discuss contemporary Orthodox practices, then outline the Conservative movement's views, then Reform etc. Will await comments before any attempt at rearrangement. Best, --Shirahadasha 03:07, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree. The current, as it has been for quite a while, reads much like an Orthodox Jewish manual, not an NPOV encyclopedia article. Also, encyclopedic content has repeatedly been deleted, and subtle attacks on non-Orthodox interpretations of Judaism have been substituted. Not good. I have tried to improve the article by including some discussion with references on historical study, and on the responsa within the Conservative movement. (Much of it had been in the article before, and was deleted.) RK (talk) 03:55, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Niddah and Sefer Torah[edit]

I've corrected a common misunderstanding, and perhaps either a deliberate or inadvertent slur, concerning contact with a Sefer Torah by a Niddah. Since a Torah is inherently holy, it canot become ritually impure, and cannot be defiled by a Niddah. R. Yehuda ben Beteira would often say, 'Words of Torah are not susceptible to ritual impurity, as the prophet (Jeremiah 23) cries out, "Is it not so that My words are like fire," says the Lord; and just as fire is not susceptible to ritual impurity, neither is Torah susceptible to ritual impurity'" (B.T. Brachot 22a), quoted in the Jerusalem Post, Parashat Tazira: Blood sisters, Apr. 3, 2008, by Shlomo Riskin. As long as the hands are clean, so she doesn't carelessly soil the Torah, a woman can handle a Torah at any phase of her cycle, and there is therefore no revelation of her status either as Niddah or Tehorah. So there is no violation of modesty inherent in women becoming Rabbis or handling Torah scrolls. Lee-Anne (talk) 14:00, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Your words are not the orthodox opinion, that sees a violation of modesty (and a sacrilige of the holiness of the Torah) not so much in the physical contact with the Torah, but in the role-changing involved when a woman starts fullfilling a function that has throughout Jewish history been a man's.
There exists a custom that a woman should not look at a Torah scroll when she actually has blood (which is less than the time of her being Nidah). This is not a law, but a custom of piety. See Shulchan Aruch Harav 88, 2 and Mishnah Brurah 88, 6. Debresser (talk) 16:04, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Historical Study of Additional Seven Days[edit]

The statements made are based on limited scholarship, without citation, and do not indicate at all that there are Halachic explanations. I corrected to reflect that this section is based non-Orthodox bias.

Non-Orthodox historical study of the seven extra days[edit]

The statement "It initially was a custom of the pious, not a law for all" is not correct. However, it WAS initially a law for all: "The Biblical requirement of niddah is 7 days from the beginning of the menstrual period" (see "Duration of menstruation and niddah status"). I corrected the statement accordingly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Myrrhmayde (talkcontribs) 13:19, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

grammer[edit]

What is the correct usage?

  1. I am niddah.
  2. I am a niddah.
  3. I am in niddah.

If we understand the hebrew, niddah is a descriptive. As such option 1 is correct, similar to "I am white". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.219.162.23 (talkcontribs) 08:12, 7 July 2009

I'm not sure about the technical answer to your question, but in everyday conversation I think either of the first 2 would be ok. I think the second one is actually more common. -shirulashem (talk) 16:54, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
The first: "I am niddah." Debresser (talk) 15:50, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

www.mymikvahcalendar.com link[edit]

There is a dispute regarding the inclusion of an external link to www.mymikvahcalendar.com. I don't think it's clear cut, but I'm inclined to allow the link for a few reasons:

  1. As per WP:NOTLINK, "[Wikipedia is not a] mere collections of external links or Internet directories. There is nothing wrong with adding one or more useful content-relevant links to an article; however, excessive lists can dwarf articles and detract from the purpose of Wikipedia." This link is useful, it is content-relevant, and there aren't excessive links on the page.
  2. Seems to meet all of WP:ELNO (it DOES provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it was a featured article, it's not a website that requires payment, etc.)
  3. The guidelines in WP:SPAMMER seem to all be OK.

Personally, I can't stand extraneous external links, but in this case I think it belongs. -shirulashem (talk) 17:02, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

I second this opinion. Debresser (talk) 15:51, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Suggested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Not moved. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:38, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

NiddahTaharat Hamishpakha — "Taharat Hamishpakha" describes the entire practice. The term "Niddah" only refers to a specified period of the month. --Xyz7890 (talk) 00:04, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

  • Not convinced. We are written in English, not Hebrew; there is a Hebrew Wikipedia for those who prefer it. Niddah is demonstrably the loan word; if you wish to make that distinction, edit the article. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:01, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Not convinced. The term and its scope are so clear and obvious, there is a section in the main Judaism article with a direct link to this page as the main article on the subject. Niddah is the common word and there is no reason to move. --AFriedman (talk) 00:10, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
  • no move - name is descriptive of the article. Tzu Zha Men (talk) 17:00, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

NIDDAH[edit]

This paragraph has an incomplete ending: Either the word "concerning" should be deleted or someone add the appropriate ending to: "The term is overwhelmingly used in Judaism to refer to the rules of Jewish law concerning..." What? Paleocon44 (talk) 02:47, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

I noticed this before, but didn't look into it. After reading this post I looked it up and saw that one word somehow got lost in one of the revisions. Fixed. Debresser (talk) 17:55, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Mishneh Torah References[edit]

I've noticed that a lot of references to Niddah practice on this page are to the Mishneh Torah. These are certainly not valid sources for what people do today, which is the implication of how they're placed. They're certainly legit primary sources for the halacha, but not really the best even for that, as far as contemporary halacha lemaaseh is concerned. Head's up -- as such, I plan to delete them soon with tags for appropriate sources. Savant1984 (talk) 18:44, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

I retract that on further consideration and looking at it. They still aren't the best refs for halacha lemaaseh, but in context they're not bad and I shan't delete them. Anyone know where to find strikethrough in the new interface? Savant1984 (talk) 18:51, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
I also think they are good enough, since they are the factual basis for many modern halachot, and use clear and concise language. Debresser (talk) 21:52, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Passing Objects Without Touching[edit]

Debresser reverted my deletion of "passing of objects even without touching" as an harchaka "added by the sages". I deleted it as a personal custom (minhag) of Rashi, rather than an actual requirement of the Sages (derabbanan). I don't have the daf of the Talmud off the top of my head, but I am fairly sure that what I said is correct: it is a personal custom of Rashi which gained popularity through the Tosafists and others. As far as I know, it is incorrect, then to state it as it is and conflate the two, even though I have no doubt that the Shulchan Aruch does, in fact, do just that. Savant1984 (talk) 01:18, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, but in any article on Judaism, the Shulchan Aruch is a reliable source, and it is decisive in Judaism. Saying that the Shulchan Aruch is wrong in its interpretation is original research at best, and unacceptable in normative Judaism in any case, so not relevant. For your information, it is halacha. Debresser (talk) 02:00, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
As we rabbis like to joke: you can't even beat your wife with a stick while she is niddah. :) Debresser (talk) 02:02, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Um, respectfully, Debresser, saying the Shulchan Aruch is wrong is the 3/4 time job of the commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch. That "passing objects without touching" is halacha I have no doubt is the view of maran hammachaber (the Shulchan Aruch itself), but the article implies that it's a derabbanan requirement like a Talmudic decree, not a matter of minhag avoteinu torah hi (the halachic principle that "the custom of our ancestors is [itself] Torah"). This is, at best, controversial. If I bring sources to cite the controversy with maran hammachaber, will you object to changing the wording and citing that controversy? Savant1984 (talk) 02:24, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Always nice to discuss with you, Savant1984. But I wish you'd stop redoing your edits in the mean time. After all, they are your innovations. Now that they are challenged, please first defend them.
First of all, if commentaries by rabbinical authorities struggle to understand the words of the Shulchan Aruch, we may learn from that 1. to say "wrong" only in last resort 2. take care to be very big rabbis ourselves before we do so. I don't think you and I are up to that, are we?
I can not, and will not object to adding sourced material. I do think that bringing a controversy about a halacha in the Shulchan Aruch is too much detail for this article. Agreeing with you that the precise status of that ruling is subject of discussion, I urge you to leave the text like it is, which is straightforward and uncomplicated. If you stilll feel you have to, perhaps delegate it to a footnote. Debresser (talk) 23:20, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm certainly not a "very big rabbi", but I've seen enough dapim of the Shulchan Aruch to say with confidence that the words of the mechaber are by no means themselves sacrosanct. Nevertheless, I think that this argument is basically irrelevant. :) When and if I get around to finding the relevant material, I'll think about how best to reword it. I agree that the text as it is straightforward and clear from the mechaber, but the distinction is, I think, important, and I doubt that R' Karo himself would really try to argue that a rule we learn as Rashi's personal practice is really of the same legal status as a decree of the Rabbis. Savant1984 (talk) 23:57, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
If its important to you. But I do think ou should keep it in a footnote, because of [{WP:UNDUE]]. Most sources connsider it undisputed halacha. Debresser (talk) 10:43, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Bedikah: "many observant women" or implied "all" -- entangled with the matter of Conservative Opinions[edit]

Debresser has objected to (and deleted) my placing of the word "many" in "It is used by many observant Jewish women to determine whether they have finished menstruation." I take it to be assumed here (not that I object to it) that "observant women" means here "women who observe Jewish law in the area of niddah." Debresser objected, in his edit summary, that "Also, Io though Conservative has its own section. Why mix them back in in every place?" The context of the article here is clearly that of contemporary practical law (halacha lemaaseh bizmeinu), as indicated by the use of the present tense. To restrict that to Orthodox opinions would be to violate WP:NPOV. I have currently replaced "many" with a sentence at the end of the paragraph noting that this is, indeed, required by all Orthodox authorities. (The difficulty of finding WP:RS for matters of consensus among Orthodox posekim I leave for another discussion.) Savant1984 (talk) 02:36, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

I solved the problem in another way, easier a lot. We already have a section for Conservative views. The main body of the text is about normative, orthodox, Judaism. So no need to specify that every time. Debresser (talk) 09:22, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Whoa, Debresser, to say that contemporary Orthodox Judaism is the normative Judaism is very much in violation of WP:NPOV. The founding thesis of the Conservative/Positive-Historical/Masorti approach is precisely that academic approach to Torah study and having that influence one's perception of Judaism is compatible with normative Judaism. It's a major theme of the work of gedolim like Sabato Morais, Solomon Schecter, and Solomon Schechter. That the opinions of rabbis who accept academic method and conclusions (i.e., Conservative) are ipso facto marginal is certainly the Orthodox view -- heck, it's basically why there is an "Orthodoxy" as such -- and should certainly be presented as such here, but it's definitely not okay as an organising principle of Wikipedia -- and is, by the way, offensive. (This is, of course, not relevant to the article itself -- WP:NOTCENSORED -- but I hope that people will keep it in mind in discussion.) Reverted. Savant1984 (talk) 13:07, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
You know what, I agree with you. That was POV. But that is besiders the point. The point is that we have a section for Conservative views, and it is bad editing to add those two sentences about the Conservative point of view outside of that section. IMHO. And the additional problem of doing so, is that is makes it necessary to specify every time whether we are talking about Orthodox or Conservative point of view, which may come a little confusing, as in our case. So why not leave the Conservative point of view intheir section, perhaps enlarge them, and avoid the problems? Debresser (talk) 23:24, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
I see what you're proposing as entailing essentially this: We create a subheading under "Practical Law": Orthodox. In that subsection we have what there was before I added anything. New subsection: Conservative. We repeat essentially all the material, except cite that there are some Conservative authorities who rule leniently on xyz in manner abc. My problem with this (essentially quite redundant) approach is twofold: 1) It's really pretty awkward and weird to repeat so much. If we write, on the other hand, "same as Orthodox, except" that's still awkward, and aggravates my second problem, viz.: 2) It really carries an implication of delegitimation to have Orthodox practice be what's stated first and have everything else be discussed with that as the baseline. On the other hand, my writing handled Conservative poskim the same way uniquely Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Gerer, etc. practices or opinions are mentioned about particular practices. This method doesn't privilege one POV (which in almost all English-language material on Judaism, is usually Ashkenazi (especially Polish) Orthodox) over any other, while stil making clear what are things that only some Sephardim do, some Conservatives do, some Charedim do, Gerers, etc. Savant1984 (talk) 00:07, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Sorry for opening a new thread before checking existing ones. After looking over this diff, I side with Savant. Unless we're going to have a separate section titled "Niddah in the Gerrer community", to have one regarding the conservative community presents an undue POV. The phrasing used of "The _____ community rules on this matter _____" seems fine whether you fill the blank with Chabad or Jewish Renewal. The material should be divided according to topic, not community.

Regarding Klein's book, I agree with Debresser that it was out of place. Perhaps a section should be created for popular lit on the topic (Lamm, Klein, Zimmerman, Knohl). The only challenge I see to this is that it is just begging for WP:LINKSPAM. Joe407 (talk) 03:35, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

I disagree. Conservatism is a relatively modern movement in Judaism, with varying and instable practises. When writing about Judaism, we should stick to the traditions of Orthodox Judiasm, which are time-honed and more stable, and award sectons to the various related movements (including Conservatism, Karaism and others) as relevant. Just imagine what would happen if we were to mention the various rulings and customs of each and every movement and community! As I see it, this is not a matter of personal preference, but of good editing. Debresser (talk) 10:41, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
First, I don't feel so strongly about the inclusion of Klein, but I think it's in there because it was compiled by one of the pre-eminent halachists of the Seminary of the time and remains a standard halacha lemaaseh guide in the Conservative community to this day. That it details the laws of niddah (and without any of the leniencies given in the recent responsa) seems quite noteworthy regarding Niddah in the Conservative movement.
Back to the more important issue: Debresser's assertion that "Orthodox Judaism" constitutes "time-honed and more stable" traditions in contrast with Conservatisms "modern . . . varying and instable practises" (sic) is the Orthodox POV. Again, it must be stated where appropriate, but as an organising policy of Wikipedia simply violates WP:NPOV. The whole point of the work (both written and life-project) of founders of what we now call the Conservative movement was that 1) the modern-academic approach is compatible and positive in the study and practice of Judaism, and, by contrast, 2) the ossification of Jewish law and ideology represented by those traditionalists who rejected the haskalah out of hand (who formed what we now call the Orthodox community) were misrepresenting normative, historical Judaism. As an adherent of Frankel, Schechter, etc., I agree; if we were organising Wikipedia according to my (Conservative) POV, the "practical law" section would refer exclusively to Conservative sources, with a separate section for "Orthodox" opinions and practices. But that would violate WP:NPOV. Insomuch as halachic practice is much more uniform in the Orthodox community than in the Conservative one (not least because far more laypeople give a hoot in the former than the latter, something noted appropriately in this article and elsewhere), this is 1) really irrelevant, and 2) probably speaks against Orthodoxy as the indisputable straight continuation of "time-honed" premodern practices -- see not only Conservative, Progressive and secular authors on the topic, but also Haim Soloveitchik's famous "Rapture and Reconstruction". Savant1984 (talk) 13:02, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
It occurs to me that it's nearly Shavuot in the land of Israel by this time. I'm in the Diaspora, so I'll be offline until Thursday night at the earliest. Chag sameach to all Jews! Savant1984 (talk) 13:26, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
What is POV about that? Conservatism is a young movement in Judaism. It basic creeds are ill defined, and it has no unified line in its "halacha". Some choose to accept one thing, others another thing, and so on. No POV here. When you hear the 10 commandments on Shavuot, try consider that they have been interpreted consistently for many centuries and millenia, and connect to those roots. Happy holiday. :) Debresser (talk) 16:08, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Respectfully, I'm having an hard time reading your reply as having much more content than "uh-uh". Rabbinic Judaism generally hasn't had "well-defined creeds", or a "unifed line" of halacha. That Rabbinic Judaism has dogmas and laws is of course, true -- I think Solomon Schechter's essay "The Dogmas of Judaism" deals with the former well.
I do try to think about how the 10 (and other 603) commandments have been interpreted for many centuries and millennia (though not always "consistently"). I just don't think that it's consistent with that tradition of interpretation to insist that anyone who denies that one particular Rabbinic midrash about how the written Torah was written (i.e., Moses writing every letter at God's dictation) constitutes a dogma about an historical event, and that anyone who denies it is an heretic (which is the "Orthodox" position). I think that that Tradition supports the Rabbinical Assembly's approach to dealing with allegations of mamzerut much more than the Rabbinical Council of America's or the Chief Rabbinate of Israel's and the rest of the Orthodox rabbinical groups', etc. My POV, and I think the mainline classical Conservative POV, is that Orthodoxy is a "young movement in Judaism", and, to go farther than most would like, is characterised primarily by its contempt for lo titgodedu -- the halachic prohibition on sectarianism. Ultimately, however, our debate about this is irrelevant to Wikipedia; Wikipedia needs to be neutral between our POVs. I recognise your POV that Orthodoxy is premodern Judaism, continued, with the consistent line of interpetation, etc. It's notable and needs to be included. I'm just saying that it's not appropriate as an organising principle of Wikipedia. Happy Shavuos! Savant1984 (talk) 16:44, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

I propose you take this up at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Judaism, because the de facto default in all general Judaism articles is the orthodox point of view, with sections or ammendments for other movements. Debresser (talk) 20:07, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

That is, to a large extent, the de facto status quo, indeed -- something I've been working a little on fixing myself. It's certainly not a standard of the MoS or anything, though, for the (what seems to me to be) obvious reason of NPOV. Note that I did, in fact, post there about our disagreement; the only respondent has agreed with me. Does this mean that you concede the point, though, and we have consensus to restore my edits? Savant1984 (talk) 13:47, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Most certainly not. :) I disagree with you based on this de facto default, with which I agree, and also based on the more "technical" arguments of good editing, as specified above. Debresser (talk) 16:15, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think the fact that this has tended to be the way articles have been written does (or ought to) carry weight here. Let's return to this after Shabbes, though I'm going to be moving on Sunday, and traveling a lot for the week or so after that, so my WP checking may be more sporadic than I'd like. Savant1984 (talk) 16:45, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't know whether Orthodox Judaism is the default in articles on Judaism here. I suspect it isn't. But in an article about a practice which is normative among Orthodox Jews, and definitely not normative among Conservative Jews, it seems fairly obvious that the Orthodox view should be presented as the default, with the Conservative view mentioned in a section of its own. To do otherwise would be giving undue weight to the Conservative view. Again, any observance of niddah whatsoever is extremely fringe among Conservative Jews. To present the Conservative view here on equal par with the Orthodox view, when Orthodox Jews universally hold the observance of niddah to be an absolute requirement, would be inappropriate. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:54, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Respectfully, what Jews (of whatever stripe) actually do do is irrelevant to the matter of practical law, which is what the section is about. If the popular beliefs and practices of self-identified adherents of a religous group constitute what we should consider the normative beliefs and practices, then our articles on Catholicism in particular (but really all religions), ought to look a lot different: we can't possibly, for example, explain the dogma of the Immaculate Conception as normative Cathlic belief, or the official Catholic Christology -- the great majority of lay Catholics neither know nor care. Is citing the Pope's view of a Catholic theological matter in an article a violaton of WP:UNDUE because so few people will actually agree with him or care, even if by affiliation or self-indentification they recognise his authority? By the standard Lisa proposes, that indeed violates WP:UNDUE. All Conservative authorities agree that niddah is obligatory. It is normative as a matter of practical law. Where we talk about what people actually do, we should of course note (and we do in this article) that very few self-identified or affiliated Conservative Jews follow these laws. Savant1984 (talk) 18:18, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
I would argue that Catholicism is irrelevant here. Different religions have different paradigms. I would argue further that a huge majority of Conservative Jews have never even heard of niddah. Unlike kashrut, which they have at least heard of, they don't know niddah from Abu-Nidal. You can reduce that enormous -- overwhelming -- majority a bit by saying "family purity" instead of niddah, but I would go so far as to say that the vast majority of Conservative Jews are entirely unaware that anyone keeps those laws today. For the good folks at JTS to say that it's obligatory really has no meaning when they don't even make any serious effort to see to it that their laity is familiar with the concept. I say this as someone who was raised on the more knowledgable side of Conservative (Ramah staff, 4 years running). - Lisa (talk - contribs) 20:35, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
And one can quite easily get most any lay Roman Catholic to commit material heresy on any one of dozens of dogmas, including ones which carry anethma if held intentionally. I don't see the difference. As far as I can tell, Lisa is simply proposing a unique standard for the Conservative tendency in Judaism: every other religious group's normative beliefs and practices are recorded in the encyclopedia as they are expounded by the duly recognised religious authorities, but Conservative Jewish ones only if they're subscribed to by most of their laity. It frankly seems to me be such a transparent violation of our NPOV pillar as to beyond debate.
I really don't see what the objection is in terms of content: in talking about what the prescriptive practice is, we cite all notable authorities with appropriate labels. In talking about social trends of what Jews do, we cite that -- including, absolutely, that very few self-identified or affiliated Conservative Jews give a hoot. But the latter doesn't make the former "meaningless". Savant1984 (talk) 21:01, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

I want to note that I've reported this dispute at the neutrality noticeboard, as well as at the Wikiproject:Religion board. Savant1984 (talk) 20:03, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

This will probably sound more clueless, than helpful. But it is neutral!  :)
If sect x believes xx. That should be reported. Probably Orthodox first, since it was first chronologically. Then one can say that sect y believes yy. X mandates bathing.(ref) Y does not mandate bathing.(ref)
I can't skim knowledgeably through all of this. But stating different points of view is fairly common in Christian articles. And yes, it is the same as Judaism, though I suspect that branches of Judaism are actually closer. Unfortunately, it seems a human vice that the closer we are in views, the harder it is to understand disagreement. Catholics find it easy to talk to Baptists and Jews, whose views are "somewhat" divergent from Catholicism. Not so easy to talk to Orthodox whose views are nearly identical! Student7 (talk) 20:28, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

non-orthodox opinions and practice[edit]

In Religious response to ART, the Judaism section is structured to include all opinions (and cites conservative responsa on Niddah). I'd like to see something similar here. The challenge (as pointed out above) is partly that there is a much larger body of information from the orthodox perspective. User:Savant1984's comment on the Judaism discussion board is a valid one but I'm not sure how to best implement it. Can people propose a structure here and once there is consensus on the structure, implement it in the article? Joe407 (talk) 21:04, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

I think here the way I did it makes sense to me: in the section on practical law, we have the law presented with disputes noted and ideological labels as appropriate. In areas where there's broader difference between the movements -- e.g., institutional responses to mamzerut -- I think it makes sense to have wholly different sections. Here, though, it would just be awkward and redundant. Savant1984 (talk) 21:42, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
I also think the way I did it makes sense. There is a speial section for it. I argued this in detail above, please see there. Debresser (talk) 23:25, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
In the interest of keeping this discussion from going totally all over the place on the page, I'm going to continue it above as well. Savant1984 (talk) 23:58, 17 May 2010 (UTC)


Fully protected for 24 hours[edit]

Ok folks. I locked this up for 24 hours before anyone does anything they regret. Sort it out here and invite folks from the relevant wikiproject to discuss. I add that I haven't a clue about the subject but please discuss here before moving forward (in 24 hours time) Casliber (talk · contribs) 23:56, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

For my part, I'm kind of surprised that Debresser continued to revert my edit even after I gave a source. I'm not sure why he was so adamant about denying the fact, well known to everyone who is Jewish even if there weren't a source, that non-Orthodox Ashkenazi women, with rare exceptions, virtually never observe any kind of niddah whatsoever. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 03:57, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Sorry. I didn't notice the source. Debresser (talk) 09:41, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
But now I did, and I have two comments: 1. If I am not mistaken we discussed this source before in relation with Judaism articles, and decided that it is not reliable (see here). And even if we didn't, it is not a reliable source. 2. This source does not contain the information that is comes to source. It only says "broad sectors of the Jewish community disregard or are ignorant of these laws" without specifying Ashkenazi or Sefaradi, and without mentioning the various degrees of observance below Orthodox.
In short, this source has to go, and so does the change Lisa introduced in this edit. It is clear Wikipedia policy that the burden of proof is on her in this case. Debresser (talk) 09:48, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm honestly also very surprised at your objection, Debresser; it would seem to me that Lisa's edit is uncontroversial. I agree entirely with her that (as much as it pains me) very few non-Orthodox Jews observe niddah. Savant1984 (talk) 15:18, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I'll go further and say that in the face of the fact that this is common knowledge the way it's common knowledge that apples are a fruit (no source needed for that), the burden of proof is on Debresser, or anyone else who wants to contest it. Extraordinary claims, Debresser, require extraordinary proof.
But because I'm such a nice person, I'll offer up some other sources for you.
  • Torah Sparks, out of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. "One area of Jewish law practiced by many Orthodox Jews but ignored by most Conservative Jews is family purity."
  • Blood, Gender and Power in Judaism and Christianity, out of Kenyon College. "Most Conservative and Reform Jews do not incorporate this aspect of Judaism into their life; it is mainly Orthodox Jewish families that practice niddah laws."
  • Ten Principles for Reform Judaism, out of the magazine Reform Judaism. "Others may wish to utilize the mikvah or other kinds of spiritual immersion not only for conversion but for periodic experiences of purification." That certainly doesn't sound like niddah is being observed at all.
  • Contemporary American Reform Responsa, out of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (the rabbinic arm of the Reform Movement). "Except in a cursory way, no discussion of tevilah has been undertaken by liberal Jewish authorities. The custom has fallen into disuse, but was never actually rejected. It is followed for niddah by only a small percentage even within the Orthodox community. The practice has been further hindered by endless Orthodox debates about the technical requirements of miqveh." That's rich. Here's a Reform "responsum" claiming that most Orthodox Jews don't keep taharat hamishpacha. But leaving aside that example of stunning ignorance (or propaganda; it's sometimes hard to tell what the source of misinformation is), that's a pretty clear source about niddah in the Reform Movement.
Now. If you want to ignore statements from the Conservative Movement that say Conservative Jews don't observe the laws of niddah, and statements from the Reform Movement that say Reform Jews don't observe the laws of niddah, I'm not sure what exactly you want in the way of reliable sources. Stop screwing around and edit warring about something that's so obviously true, it took me only a few minutes to find those sources. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:24, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
We are talking about different things. In Israel the situation is very different, and even non-Orthodox people, including of Ashkenazi decent, go to the mikveh. I agree as to the Conservative and Reform movements, but these are close to non-existent in Israel. Therefore, a general statement in this article is impossible. In addition, as a rabbi, I can tell you from personal experience that in Israel women who you would never have expected to do anything about being Jewish, and who indeed don't do almost anything, might still go to the mikveh. In short, the statement is untrue in its present form, and the sources do not support it. Debresser (talk) 17:50, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Then put in a clarification that things are different in Israel and in the US. The statement was vague and unhelpful in its previous form. Furthermore, given that the majority of Jews do not live in Israel (at least Jews according to Wikipedia definition), if you want to tell us that your personal experience as a rabbi in Israel differs, the burden of proof is very definitely on you. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 18:03, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Not really. Your source is valid only for the US and other places with a relatively strong Conservative or Reform population. You should have changed the sentence accordingly. Debresser (talk) 10:23, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with debresser on this one. many jewish women who are otherwise not religious do indeed make a point of mikvah immersion--Marecheth Ho'eElohuth (talk) 18:10, 22 March 2011 (UTC)


  • note from the temporary referee passing by - in some ways exacting and esoteric articles are easier than overviews as you can cram in all explanatory sources, provisos, exceptions, local customs etc. -just be sure all sentence reflect what the sources say and don't generalise unless the sources do. It sounds like there are local variations etc. so find sources on all and build something good even already. Casliber (talk · contribs) 12:21, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Page length and redundancy[edit]

Noticing the extensive page length, I propose creation of the additional pages (Niddah (Halachic detail) (for all nuances relating to the Issur aspect -harchakot etc. -as opposed to the Tumah and Taharah aspect) and Stringency of Rabbi Zeira for specifics already listed on this page and for more information that is lacking.

In addition, there seem to be a few concepts repeating themselves (at times even more than twice). I have placed a "under construction" template on the page and invite others to help remove redundant content.

--Marecheth Ho'eElohuth (talk) 17:01, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

At the moment I see no reason to trim this article. There are guidelines for when an article should be split, and we haven't reached them here. In addition, the subject is presented here in its entirety, and splitting it into smaller article would mean loosing part of the present article's clarity. Debresser (talk) 23:40, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

Debresser—I'm in favor of allowing Marecheth Ho'eElohuth to make some major changes to the article, at least temporarily. I have confidence in the edits that I see being made. I am heartened by what I see as quality information being put in, and a reorganizing that seems to make sense. I see little reason why you should not let these changes stand for the duration of at least several days. Bus stop (talk) 18:52, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

I have no problem with the notion of making changes to this article. But some of the changes he makes are not good. Now if he were to make them step by step, we could revert just the problematic ones. Things I oppose are 1. the removal of alternative spellings 2. the use of capitals where such is not called for. Debresser (talk) 03:16, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Specifically, I had no problem with Marecheth Ho'eElohuth's most recent edit. I made a few technical fixes, and removed part of a sentence that was repeated and not relevant to that section, but in general found that a laudable and constructive edit. Debresser (talk) 03:35, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

One thing that I tried to change was the use of capitals for words in hebrew. See Wikipedia:ITALICS#Foreign_terms that they should be written in italics, as indeed is done in part of the article. It would make sence to make one edit just to fix this issue. Debresser (talk) 10:57, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Bus stop for your support! its always good to get a boost from folks once in a while..

I'm kind of confused though with Debresser's focus, everyone agrees it is easier being freinds with the "revert" button than the "edit" one -but here we'd like to see some good contribution. --Marecheth Ho'eElohuth (talk) 14:00, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Even I agree with you on that one. :) Would you mind making them one at a time? Or discussing them beforehand? Or even make a temporary subpage to review them before implementing here. I feel sure we can work this out, and I also am in favor of progress. Debresser (talk) 15:22, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
i cannot commit to getting to this page for another week or so, but in the coming week bez"h id like to spend a few hours over a few days contributing to this article to my ability. i will put up a "under construction" tag for the above mentioned time period and ask that no reverts are made till i remove the tag, at which point i'd (or should i say we'd?) like to see Debresser come on and retouch, add and change as needed. gentlemen, do i have approval?--Marecheth Ho'eElohuth (talk) 16:38, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Doesn't sound good. I'd prefer a discussion of your edits before you make them. And if they are no good, I see no reason not to revert them even before they are finished. In general, since you see there is another editor who seems to have a problem with your edits, I think you really should consider getting consensus before you make them. Sounds like the sensible thing to do. Debresser (talk) 21:51, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
you seem outnumbered here. as Bus stop and The soft voice of Judaism seem in favor of my contributing w/o having your seal of approval beforhand--Marecheth Ho'eElohuth (talk) 23:37, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
I am not sure that is the correct interpretation of their words, nor that they haven't changed their mind in the mean time, perhaps even in view of my oposition. But this is not a matter of counting votes, but of logic. Do as you please, but I think that discussion is almost per definition the best path of action. See also WP:BRD. Debresser (talk) 00:36, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

Deleted sentence[edit]

I have deleted the following sentence: "Because the leaking of semen nullifies the counting of a "clean" day, the Sages enacted that the counting of seven days not begin until a minimum of 72 hours has passed".

To the good of my knowledge, the keri has not much to do with zavah..(or nidah for that matter)--The soft voice of Judaism (talk) 00:20, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

It is true nevertheless. The connection is that the sages worried that perhaps a drop of blood might be conceiled in the semen. Debresser (talk) 08:50, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
indeed, now that u mention it i do recall s/t to that effect. but perhaps we could reword to make the difference understood (as not to confuse with rashi about שלשה ימים אל תגשו אל אשה that we r concerned about ופולטת שכבת זרע מחמת טומאת קרי.

btw, the etymology of niddah that was here yesterday seemed okay to me..no reason to revert --The soft voice of Judaism (talk) 17:14, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

The issue is not so much whether it is correct. It is simply superfluous. The article at present gives a simple and correct etymology, choosing the most relevant occurrence, and no more is needed. It is only confusing, superfluous, and also original research mostly, to give an overview of all occurrences of the this word-root. Debresser (talk) 17:07, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
(jumps up on soapbox and picks up megaphone) Adding my 2c, providing inline references to scholarly sources will (hopefully) ensure material stays on the page for longer and hopefully solve some arguments. Just saying....Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:45, 28 March 2011 (UTC)