Can a Cohen marry a bat niddah? Are Cohens generally restricted from marrying baalot teshuva because of the possibility that they may be b'not niddah?

  • 2
    We're all Benei Niddah somewhere up the line.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 23:01
  • 5
    Can you please provide some source or reason why you think this might be a problem?
    – Seth J
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 23:05
  • reb Moshe has a teshuvah on this not for cohen in general why would a Cohen be different? Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 23:12
  • @Seth J, I am asking a priori. I know the questions about who is pagum for a cohen can get very messy, and hence, interesting. I have a guess as to the answer, but I'd like to see sources.
    – SAH
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 23:29
  • @DoubleAA source?
    – y.lub
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 1:14

2 Answers 2


The Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 4:13 says that a ben or bat niddah is 'pagum' (defective). The Beit Shemuel, Chelkat Mechokek and Gra (the major commentaries there) all say that this does not exclude them from marrying a kohein.

  • An explicit source! Very nice. +1. I had thought the answer would be "we don't find an isur".
    – msh210
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 23:20
  • Now that I'm researching this myself...it seems that the Rama Mipano also mentioned it.
    – SAH
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 23:40
  • This is probably the most surprising commentless downvote I have ever received.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 0:44
  • @DoubleAA I feel like peole downvote you see your reaction. Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 18:17
  • 4
    @HachamGabriel I'm honored?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 19:35

I've never seen any restriction brought down in halacha that would prohibit a Cohen from marrying a Bat Niddah.

Moreover, the application of Ben/Bat Niddah has been severly downplayed by 20th century poskim.

The Steipler Gaon: The concern regarding a ben niddah's character is merely statistical. If an individual shows good character, he is obviously an exception and the warning can be ignored.

Another opinion cited by the Steipler Gaon: The blemish of ben niddah is hereditary for an infinite number of generations, not just one, and in fact all of us are likely to have it (or some other blemish) somewhere back in our lineage. So we're all on equal ground and have no reason not to marry each other.

Rav Moshe Feinstein: In many cases we can't be certain the mother was truly a niddah mide'oraita, because maybe she went swimming after her period in a body of water that qualifies as a mikvah, and thereby became tehorah. (Rav Moshe does not discuss the fact that she would most likely have been wearing a tight-fitting bathing suit at the time.)

(All of the above quotes come verbatim from here , although I have learned them originally elsewhere)

The last point about not being a "niddah mide'oraita" is significant: Technically, a woman must have r'iah (seeing) AND hargasha (an internal sensation) to qualify as an actual niddah. It could very well be that in our times, no woman is ever a Torah-level niddah.

So one on hand, we still treat the prohibition of sleeping with a niddah very seriously, because even the possibility of kares (spiritual excision) is a serious matter.

On the other hand, AFTER THE FACT, there are many reasons to say that no one is truly a ben/bat niddah nowadays.

  • 6
    Unlikely that even a tight fitting bathing suit is a chatzitza mideoraita.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 23:31
  • 2
    Also, this comment thread is not the right forum necessarily, but suffice to say that there is much basis to saying that any natural feeling that each women feels is her 'hargasha' and therefore all women are niddot deorayta. (consider for example the argument from silence in the gemara and rishonim about defining hargasha rigorously.) Kullot like you mention regarding the definition of niddah should never ever be put into practice.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 23:38
  • To buttress @DoubleAA's point about a bathing suit: "any impure people who immerse wearing clothing - their immersion is effective, because since the water can enter through [the clothes], they do not constitute a chatzitzah" (Rambam, Hil. Mikvaos 1:7) - he goes on to mention that this applies to a niddah too. Now, bathing suits are generally not waterproof, so the same consideration would presumably obtain too.
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 0:15
  • 2
    @Alex Even without discussing how tight is tight, a chatzitza is only a problem deorayta if it covers the majority of her body and she doesn't want it there.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 0:43
  • @DoubleAA poskim rely on the fact that most niddah is d'rabbanan every single day. Some poskim wanted to say that we "assume" a woman had a hargasha but didn't feel it if she experiences a normal flow - but the majority hold that she has to actually feel the hargasha, and that hargasha today is rare. Following a law d'rabbanan is just as important as a d'oraisa - but it allows poskim today to give lenient rulings in cases of doubt. shemayisrael.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/samples/…
    – user1095
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 9:05

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