7

Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 301:13, and commentaries state that if a woman wears something only in order that her clothes don't get dirty from her menstrual blood, then that thing is not considered clothing (it doesn't protect her, only her clothes) and she may not go outside with it on the sabbath without an eruv; but that if she is wearing it also so that the blood doesn't go on her own skin and dry and cause her pain, then it's considered clothing (it protects her) and she may go outside with it.

I've never heard of this distinction made practically. As far as I know (which I'll admit is not very far), no woman hesitates to go out of doors on the sabbath with a pad or tampon or liner, thinking first whether there's enough flow to pain her when it dries. Rather, women go outside.

My question is why this is so.

  • Is it because it's accepted that all flows are enough to pain people? (Perhaps people nowadays are less pain-tolerant.)
  • Or is that (to the extent I'm right that women aren't careful) the women are simply wrong and should be more careful?
  • Or what?
7

At Yoatzot.org here, they answer as follows:

If the sole purpose is to protect the woman's clothing, the sanitary napkin should not be worn. But generally speaking, most women are also concerned about discomfort or irritation. Embarrassment may be construed as a type of discomfort.

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