Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there any reason that a Jewish woman who has permission from her Rabbi to use birth control could not choose a pill that stops her from menstruating? Although certain birth control pills are specifically designed for this type of usage, almost any birth control pill can in fact be used this way. Using any birth control pill in this manner for any length of time is widely considered safe.

Would the simple desire (hers or her husband's) to avoid niddah periods be a sufficient reason for her to do so, or would she need a stronger reason?

share|improve this question
What could possibly be the problem? –  Dave Jun 14 '12 at 23:18
I'm with @Dave. The only halachic issue with the pills is a bitul mitzvas ase, which you mentioned that the Rabbi excluded from the case. –  YDK Jun 14 '12 at 23:51
I remember hearing such an opinion but I never really understood why it should be a problem. The argument was basically that since Niddah is there to 'rejuvinate' the relationship based on a gemara in niddah 31b "Rabbi Meir...", then to not have niddah would be...not in the 'spirit' of the mitzva. I fail to find the argument compelling. –  Double AA Jun 15 '12 at 0:41
@930913 my understanding is that this generally only is an issue where there is a barrier method, such as condoms. As always, of course, one must consult their local orthodox rabbi before using any kind of birth control. –  yoel Jun 15 '12 at 2:57
@SethJ, I don't think that this question is in the same league, tzeniut-wise, as questions about particular intimate activities. –  Isaac Moses Jun 15 '12 at 18:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Basically, if a couple has valid reason to not have children right now, then a pill that prevents menstruation is fine.

Judaism regards having children as a mitzvah, though (as in many things in life) it's complicated and there are caveats. It's recommended -- and according to some, required -- that a couple consult with their rabbi first before using birth control. Note that in circumstances where pregnancy would be highly harmful to the mother, Jewish law may allow and even require birth control.

Of the various forms of birth control, "the pill" is actually considered among the least-objectionable methods, assuming it's medically indicated for this particular couple. (Older versions of the pill often caused breakthrough bleeding, which was a problem as it created a nida status; this tends to be less of an issue today.)

"Wasting of seed" is a moot point. (And I'm somewhat annoyed that people get the wrong idea about this, perhaps with biases from some Christian views.) A husband is obligated to physically care for his wife -- whether she's fertile, pregnant, postmenopausal, or whatever. Whether it's likely to impregnate or not is irrelevant; marital relations are never "wasting seed."

As for philosophically and "what was intended by the Torah" or the like, I can refer you to yoatzot.org and the like; basically, we apply the law as required; it's not our job to extrapolate and cause conflict with marital harmony, which Judaism values highly.

share|improve this answer
To complet @Shalom's point about "wasting of seed", the Beour Halakha (Siman 240, dibur hamath'il ela beona) (hebrewbooks.org/…) quotes the mekubalim which indicate that during the relation nechamot keduchot are created even if the woman is not able to have children. –  allced Jun 15 '12 at 8:58

"Using any birth control pill ... is widely considered safe."

Never ever rely neither on "wide acceptance" nor on a "medical proof". Consult your own common sense. And then bring your thoughts to your wise orthodox Rav.

Pills tamper with the way Hashem intended our body to work. And the fact that such audacity is widely accepted should be alarming to a thinking mind. Unless a Rav explicitly prescribes to take it you should never touch it. Then any possible damage (both on spiritual and material levels) will be covered by "reliance on Rav". At least.

share|improve this answer
I don't know if it was your intent, but it sounds like you are saying that for any medication someone should consult their Rav before administering/taking it. –  Seth J Jun 15 '12 at 17:59
@Pinchas, You could improve your answer by a) indicating whether you're indeed advocating requiring a Rabbinic prescription for all medical interventions; b) if not, indicating why this case is special; and c) citing sources to back up your assertions. –  Isaac Moses Jun 15 '12 at 18:15
@PinchasTishyn, the first, third, and fourth sentences of your final paragraph are all strong statements of fact or policy that you ought to back up with sources. –  Isaac Moses Jun 15 '12 at 18:24
For those interested in a little history related to the idea iterated here, see etheses.dur.ac.uk/3568 and traditiononline.org/news/article.cfm?id=105478 . Both interesting articles relating to completely differet time periods. –  jake Jun 15 '12 at 18:30
@PinchasTishyn, If you tried to build a house or fly an airplane using only what observation, common sense, and rabbinic guidance told you about gravity, you'd be in bad shape. The same is true of dealing with illness. If you want your strong view on this matter, with its significant consequences, to be taken more seriously here, I strongly recommend that you determine whether you can back it up with authoritative sources and if so, edit them into your answer. –  Isaac Moses Jun 15 '12 at 19:16

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.