The accepted halacha is that one who has relations with a woman who is a niddah is punished with kares. But if a woman is no longer menstruating (let's assume several days after it stops), but has not visited a mikvah, does the Torah explicitly state that the couple still receive kares? Is there a lesser punishment written in the text of the Torah for this?

In short, is the concept of mikvah of rabbinic origin or derivation (even by strong implication), or is it spelled out in the Torah itself?

  • Hello, guest. Welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thank you for your question. Why exactly are you interested only in direct Written Torah sources and not rabbinic sources?
    – Daniel
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 16:18
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    Re "Mikveh doesn't seem to be mentioned explicitly in Vayikra": Something can be considered prohibited mid'oray'sa even if not written explicitly in the Torah. This is either because we have a tradition that God taught Moshe the prohibition or because the rabbis have inferred it from the wording of the Torah.
    – msh210
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 16:22
  • To daniel, well, I personally consider D'oraisa more binding that d'rabbanon. to explain further would require us sitting down for coffee and a long discussion.
    – guest
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 16:25
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    And to msh201, I understand that, but I am curios just about the stright pshat from the Torah itself, without consideration of Torah she'beal peh. For explanation, again, come sit down to coffee with me.
    – guest
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 16:26
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    Where do you see the Torah differentiating between an actively menstruating and post-menstruating woman?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 16:48

1 Answer 1


It's of Biblical force and punishable as such, but yes we need to apply the Oral Law (namely one of Rabbi Yishamel's 13 principles) to spell it out.

Rambam Laws of Prohibitions on Relations 4:3:

ד,ג במה דברים אמורים שהטומאה תלויה בימים, בשטבלה במי מקוה אחר הימים הספורים. אבל נידה וזבה ויולדת שלא טבלו במי מקוה--הבא על אחת מהן, אפילו אחר כמה שנים--חייב כרת, שבימים וטבילה תלה הכתוב: שנאמר "ורחצו במים" (ויקרא טו,יח)--בניין אב לכל טמא, שהוא בטומאתו עד שיטבול.

The Tuma only depends on the number of days if she has immersed in mikva waters after the counted days. However a Nida, Zava, and woman-who-gave-birth who did not immerse in mikva waters -- one who has relations with them, even after several years -- is liable to Karet. The law is dependent on days and immersion, as it says (Lev. 16:18): "and they shall immerse in water" -- this shows us the pattern for anyone tamei, they remain so until immersing.

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    Just an FYI, the MT version which is divided into individual books and sections has embedded anchors and allows you to link to specific paragraph as follows: mechon-mamre.org/i/5104n.htm#3 Commented May 25, 2014 at 6:19

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