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Who should be asking a niddah shaala (question): the woman or her husband? Or perhaps there is no difference? Or does it perhaps depend on what the shaala is?

Are there any concerns with one or the other asking that should be considered?

What is the common practice?

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What if they go together? – Double AA May 5 '13 at 13:29

4 Answers 4

When I got married I was told by my Rabbi who gave me a Choson Shmeus that it is the husbands responsibility.

I have no idea what you are talking about when you say "The man often wants to know why, which they are usually reluctant to tell him". I never asked why on a Psak and if I did my Rav would not hesitate to explain.

You say "The man often asks is there room to be machmir which again the rov doesnt like answering". Why would anyone be looking for Chumros when it can lead to sinning?

You say "Often the man goes round asking quite a few rabbonim who may give conflicting replies". I always go to the same rabbi, never going to a different one unless my Rabbi told me to do so. And that was only when he felt there was room to be lenient yet did not want to take responsibility for it so he told me who to go to who will be lenient. In addition my Rabbi takes away the source of the question and does not give it back to you making it impossible to go to a different Rabbi. If your Rabbi does not do that then I recommend you find one who does.

You say "There may be questions the rov has to ask which the man may not always know". That is why we have telephones.

In addition I think the lady is more uncomfortable asking the Rav herself. To the best of my knowledge and from what I have seen it is mostly men asking.

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"That is why we have telephones" lol – Double AA Feb 11 '14 at 22:51

Rabbi Menashe Klein (Mishneh Halachos Vol 7 Siman 135) and Rabbi Moshe Stern the Debretziner Rav (Beer Moshe Vol. 8 Siman 104-105) write that that woman should go. Rabbi Mordechai Gross (Om Ani Chomah Vol. 1, pg. 34) writes that the husband should go. The bottom line is do to what your chosson teacher told you is the custom in your community.

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There is no straightforward halachic preference in this case. Either the wife, the husband, an intermediary or even no one (ie. leaving the cloth in a mailbox with your name on it) may ask.

Each community and Rabbi has established protocols and practices which should be followed. I recommend that each person consult their local Niddah Posek as to how he prefers Shailahs be addressed. You will find that most of them do not have a preference.

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The Mishna in Niddah 8:3 records a case of a woman coming to ask Rebbi Akiva a niddah shailah.

מעשה באשה אחת שבאת לפני רבי עקיבא, אמרה לו, ראיתי כתם. אמר לה, שמא מכה היתה ביך. אמרה לו, הן, וחיתה. אמר לה, שמא יכולה להגלע ולהוציא דם. אמרה לו, הן. וטהרה רבי עקיבא.

This implies that the woman can go, although it's always possible that she wasn't married and was asking Rebbi Akiva for teruma and kodshim purposes, so there was no husband to ask.

On [g Niddah 20b, there is the story of Yalta asking her Niddah question to two Rabbis, one of whom she reports to have asked on a regular basis:

ילתא אייתא דמא לקמיה דרבה בר בר חנה וטמי לה הדר אייתא לקמיה דרב יצחק בריה דרב יהודה ודכי לה והיכי עביד הכי והתניא חכם שטימא אין חברו רשאי לטהר אסר אין חבירו רשאי להתיר מעיקרא טמויי הוה מטמי לה כיון דא"ל דכל יומא הוה מדכי לי כי האי גונא והאידנא הוא דחש בעיניה דכי לה

Yalta brought a blood stain before Rabba Bar Bar Chana, and he pronounced her impure. She subsequently brought it before Rav Yitzchok son of Rav Yehuda and he pronounced her pure.... She told him "Every day he pronounced this type of blood to be pure..."

The Rishonim all assume that Yalta was married to Rav Nachman at the time of this account, and yet she went to ask and not her husband. Some of the Rishonim (for unrelated reasons) suggest that her husband was out of town when this happened, but this happened frequently, as she attests.

R' Yosef Berger in Ner Israel has a special "shailah" box under his mailbox where people can drop off their bedikas if it's late at night, so in that Kehillah it is often neither the man or the woman presenting it.

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