Firstly, I'm not asking for halachic guidance, I have my LOR for that. I'm asking a conceptual question.

My understanding is that women become niddah because of the "death" of the "life that could've been" when the egg leaves.

If a woman cannot have children, either for natural reasons, tubal ligation (or severing), or whatever, then there's no egg in the blood, and no "life lost". Why does still render her a niddah?

  • 2
    That’s not my understanding
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Aug 22 '19 at 19:18
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    In terms of practical application today, people generally do not know how to distinguish between a Zavah and a Niddah. Consequently, all blood flows are treated as the more stringent circumstance, meaning Niddah. Aug 22 '19 at 19:21
  • Because death of the life is only symbolic and does not effect the niddah state. Aug 22 '19 at 19:22
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    Just a guess, but we aren't doresh taama dekra? Meaning, the reasons for mitzvos don't change the halacha (assuming this is the correct reasoning). Although that would mean Rabbi Shimon would agree with you (again, assuming this is the correct reasoning. Chazal didn't say it, so maybe everyone would agree)
    – robev
    Aug 22 '19 at 19:24
  • Just thinking out loud: Perhaps the law of niddah isn't only about the opportunity for life that was lost. It also teaches about the passage of time, that life is finite, the life has its rhythms, ... Something about the women, not specific to a potential child. Aug 26 '19 at 21:02

I understand this question in two ways. One, why do we not consider this factor in applying the laws of Nidda, and second, why did the Torah not provide an exception to the laws of Nidda for infertile women?

As to the first question, as a general rule the reason behind the law does not affect the application of the law.

There are two reason for this. One, we can never say what the true reason is, or know if there are not other reasons for the law, and maybe the reason given is actually incorrect. (See Mishna Megilla 4:9, that we may not ascribe God's kindness as the reason for Mitzvos.) Second, even if we could say definitely that a given reason is the true reason for the Mitzva, the Mitzva is not the application of its reason. The reason is a motivation for the Mitzva, but the Mitzva is always defined by its rules.(Also in law, the language of the law is what is binding, not the motivation behind the legislation.)

As to the question why would the Torah not have an exception for women who cannot conceive, there are a few possibilities. First, the reason of Niddah being about the loss of life-giving potential may be incomplete, and there may be other reasons for the Mitzva. Maybe it should be understood in a different way. Possibly the Torah saw fit to make a general rule that applies to all one, even if the reason behind the Mitzva does not apply to their specific case. ("לא פלוג" in Talmudic reasoning).

More practically, before modern medicine there was no way to know if a women could not conceive because she was not ovulating, or for any other reason, so it would not be possible to have a rule based on this.


A woman becomes Tamei Niddah because the Torah says so Vayikira 15,19:
ואשה כי תהיה זבה דם יהיה זבה בבשרה שבעת ימים תהיה בנדתה
When a womans blood flows from her flesh she should become a Nidda for 7 days.
The Toras Cohanim explains this is Dam min hamekor - uterine bleeding as explicitely mentioned Vayikra 20:(ת"כ) יכול מאחד מכל איבריה ת"ל (ויקרא כ) והיא גלתה את מקור דמיה אין דם מטמא אלא הבא מן המקור (נדה יז)

The only exception is a Yoledes (a woman given birth from day 8-40 post giving birth to a boy and 15-80 post giving birth to a girl Vayikra 12,2-8) she is not a Nidda from uterine bleeding. A Besula (virgin) blood is Dam Maka - injury which does not stem from vaginal bleeding.
Miderabanan she is a Nidda for any uterine bleeding see Brochos 31a SA YD 183 and has to wait 7 clean days like a Zava Gedolah (that start after 5 days of last potential contact with husband because of Poletes Shichvas zera-semen).

Chazal (Avos derabbi Nosson 1,7) explained by the Shenei Luchot HaBerit, Torah Shebikhtav, Toldot, Torah Ohr 44

וכבר נודע כי דם נדות הוא משבא נחש על חוה והטיל בה זוהמא, פירסה נדה
The blood of Niddah was a punishment of the sin of the mother of all living (Bereishis 23,20), Chava with the Nachash (snake),

See Maharsha Yuma 67a:

העונות כינה בכל מקום לאודם ע"ש טומאת דם נדה וכמו שכתוב "טומאתה בשוליה" והוא כח טומאת נחש הקדמוני בחטא חוה בתחלת קללתה
The red blood is manifestation of sin and causes her to distance from her Husband as its written "her impurity is in her womb" this is the Nachash effect on Chava and resulting curse

So the blood from the Mekor (uterine bleeding) itself is impure regardless of her potential to conceive

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    @user15464 thanks for your effort which will benefit everyone on the site
    – mbloch
    Aug 25 '19 at 14:20
  • The quote from Sh'la (by the way, he's not usually considered "Chazal") doesn't have a Hebrew word for "punishment" in it. Similarly, the Maharsha quote doesn't say anything about her husband, and certainly not about her Husband (by which capitalized term I assume you mean God?), that I can see.
    – msh210
    Aug 25 '19 at 21:42
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    @msh210 The Shela when saying *ukevar noda" is quoting Chazal in Avos derabbi Nosson 1,7 הרבה ארבה עצבונך והרונך, בעצב תלדי בנים ואל אישך תשוקתך והוא ימשול בך". אלו שתי רביעיות דם: אחת דם צער נדה, ואחת דם צער בתולים which mentions punishment explicitely. The word Nidda quoted in the Maharsha is translated by Onkles as "meruchak" which means distanced from her husband. All these things have to be explained to an average user who does not seem to have your immense knowledge. please undownvote
    – user15464
    Aug 25 '19 at 21:50
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    This explains THAT an infertile woman becomes a niddah. You don't address the kind of taam hamitzvah "why" the question asks for. Aug 26 '19 at 20:59
  • @MichaBerger read the previous comments i Explained in the post that because of the sin of Chava the mother of all living humans, her descendants have to pay for her sin just like you and i don't have unlimited life in this world because of the sin of Adam. I'd appreciate if people would apreciate my answer which has addressed both points of the answer
    – user15464
    Aug 27 '19 at 9:40

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