I am basing this question on this quote from the Wikipedia page on Hasidic childbirth customs:

At the beginning of pregnancy, a woman's separation behavior depends on the regularity of her menstrual cycle prior to becoming pregnant: if her menses occurred at regular intervals, she should observe the same 12-day separation pattern for three months; but if her menses occurred irregularly, she observes ritual separation for one month only. (Finkelstein & Finkelstein 1993)

I had never heard that some couples continue to separate on a schedule while the woman is pregnant. I assume that this is done in case the pregnancy turns out to be a false alarm. Does this actually happen in some communities, and how common is it?

  • Also, I assume she does not go to mikvah at the end of the separations while pregnant (again, assuming there is no bleeding). Or does she?
    – SAH
    Mar 21, 2013 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


I'm going to say that whoever wrote the wikipedia article did not understand the sources they were reading. First let me state the noticeable problems. According to Halakha a woman may not tell her husband that she is Tameh when she is not (Even HaEzer 77 and Nosei Kelim). It would give her the status of a moredet, which is a person (a mored in the case of a man) who refuses to have marital relations with their spouse. Saying a bracha at the mikvah would then result in a brakha l'vatala (a blessing said in vain), as the woman has no obligation to go to the mikvah.

Now let us look at the actual halakha. Regarding a pregnant woman the Shulachan Arukh YD 189:33&34 says:

A pregnant woman, after three months into her pregnancy, and a nursing woman all twenty-four months after the birth of the newborn do not establish a Vesses(a regular start of her period). This is valid even if the child died or if she stopped nursing him since her periods are on hold during the all pregnancy and all twenty-four months. A pregnant woman once the pregnancy is noticeable and a nursing woman all twenty-four month do not suspect their previous Vesses. Even if she had a Vesses Kavua and it turned up during this time she is not required to make a Bedika and is permissible to her husband. Even if they have a heavy discharge and see in the very Onos that they are used to see, it is only a coincidence.

Now regarding a woman who has a regular cycle the Shulhan Aruch YD 184:2 says:

At the time of her Vesses, he must separate from her for one ona; not from all physical closeness, but only from relations. If the Vesses is during the day, he must separate from her the entire day even if the Vesses is at the end of the day, and he is immediately permitted that coming night. Similarly, if it is at the beginning of the day, he’ll separate the entire day but is permitted the entire previous night. The same rule applies if it (the Vesses) is by night, he’ll separate the entire night but will be permitted the previous and coming day. (All this applies) whether she established the Vesses in three times or only in one time.

So according to these two halakhot it is necessary to separate for one ona (12 hour period according to the proportional hour) during the ona that she is expected to have her cycle. The Or Zarua (which coincidentally is what most Chassidim hold by, and thus is pertinent to our discussion) on the Gemara Nidda 63b holds (depending on how you read him) that either they must separate for the ona she expects and the previous one as well (a 24 hour period; Chabad custom see Shulhan Arukh HaRav ad loc) or for the ona before and after the ona she expects which would make a 36 hour period (Satmar and Gerrer custom relying on my see Ohel Shlomo ad loc).

  • 1
    YD 185:1 ? That just says he has to wait for her to tell him that she went to the mikva.
    – Double AA
    Mar 22, 2013 at 6:47
  • @DoubleAA Whoops. I meant 185:3, not 185:1. Take a look at the Taz 185:2 as well, it is interesting. Mar 22, 2013 at 6:59
  • I still don't see a prohibition in 3. If she wants to fake it, that shouldn't be assur (except midin lying or moredet maybe); she should just be aware not to say a bracha at the mikva.
    – Double AA
    Mar 22, 2013 at 7:25
  • It would definitely be moredet. For which her husband may leave her and marry another without a Get or giving her Ketubah... It is a fairly serious problem. However if you wish I will find the halakhot of Moredet and place their source in the text in place of the YD quote. Mar 22, 2013 at 7:34
  • 2
    Thanks for this answer. The Wikipedia page is just totally wrong, then, right? No Hasidim actually separate 12 days a month during pregnancy...?
    – SAH
    Mar 24, 2013 at 16:46

This is because it is possible to get a period while pregnant, and it's even possible to get pregnant again while already pregnant (i.e. not twins). This is called http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superfetation

The halacha takes this into account, and therefor all taharas hamishpacha practices continue like normal during pregnancy.

Someone who has a Chazakah (a regular pattern) needs to clear that pattern three times in order to stop it (not just during pregnancy, always). Nothing changes during pregnancy - the pattern needs to be cleared three times. (As far as I know this is just an Onah - i.e. an internal check and one day/half day separation, not an actual 12 day separation. I've never heard of anyone separating for 12 days for a chazakah, pregnancy or otherwise. That part of the article may be inaccurate.)

  • I think you need a better source for superfetation, if it's not actually a load of nonsense. That Wikipedia article is a load of nonsense. Did you look at their references at the bottom of the page? Everything is from Newsweek or Daily Mail, etc, except for one useless article geared at laypeople, which doesn't actually discuss the issue at all. I call fake.
    – Shimon bM
    Mar 21, 2013 at 23:24
  • And what do you know. Here's a good overview of why it's likely a complete myth when it comes to humans: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20394608
    – Shimon bM
    Mar 21, 2013 at 23:25
  • 1
    @ShimonbM Did you actually read that abstract? It does not say it's a myth, it says that no mammals do it routinely, and discuses how to distinguish it from twin discordance. I can not read the actual article so maybe there is more in there, but the abstract certainly doesn't say it's a myth.
    – Ariel
    Mar 22, 2013 at 0:14
  • @ShimonbM Also, The Talmud in Nidah 27a says it's impossible, Yevamot 12b says it is. This disagreement is resolved by saying that's it's possible, but extremely rare. In any case the main question here are the halachos of Niddah, not pregnancy - i.e. can there be blood while pregnant.
    – Ariel
    Mar 22, 2013 at 0:17
  • 1
    @ShimonbM Ariel: How about settle this SE style? skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/ask
    – Double AA
    Mar 22, 2013 at 6:49

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