If one is careful and keeps the 7 deoraita days of nida but not the additional zav (chumra) days, is this a problem? Is there a punishment? (I understand this is not for everyone and especially those who are confused about the counting.) Thank you.

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    If the rabbis thought that the confusion was not a universal issue, they would have stipulated exceptions or they would not have made this stringecy. Assuming you happen to not make a mistake, deuteronomy 17:11 mentions a torah prohibition against disobeying the rabbinate in the context of a capital offense, though I am unsure of the details of that.
    – user3114
    Sep 22, 2013 at 21:18
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    I have this feeling that you're not going to be convinced by answers that you read online. I think you should talk to a rav face to face.
    – Chanoch
    Oct 4, 2013 at 0:23
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    the talmud in berachos 1st perek says that violating a d'rabanan is punishable by mita b'yedei shamayim
    – ray
    Oct 8, 2013 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


I really wouldn't call them "chumra" days. They're rabbinically required. And they protect you in case any period is at all funny, you could wind up in a zava situation -- or nida-still-within-the-seven -- without knowing it (in which case mikva and everything accomplishes nothing, it would still be liable to Karet.) It's not just about being "careful." If you're not incredibly knowledgeable, a lot of problems can easily happen.

In theory if a person was lucky and in their situation turned out to be a simple nida start-to-finish, ending correctly at 7 days, then they would have violated the rabbinic prohibition to always wait seven clean days. The Torah commands us to follow the rabbinic enactments, though it's debated by the commentaries whether every rabbinic prohibition therefore carries this Biblical command as well, or whether it simply applies to the general framework.

Generally speaking, intentionally violating a rabbinic prohibition could have been punishable by lashes. (The Talmud talks about lashes for rabbinic prohibitions, but the commentaries have different understandings about how many lashes and in what circumstances; a lot may have been up to the rabbis judging each case. No rabbinic court today uses corporeal punishment, so the takeaway is simply: "don't mess with these rules!") Today we would simply recommend the standard course of repentance -- avoid the sin, regret it, confess it to G-d, commit to avoiding it again.

An unintentional violation should be fixed by educating yourself and ensuring it doesn't happen again, but doesn't bear any other punishment or guilt. (This came up in the context of a woman who discovered she'd been mistakenly counting 6 clean days instead of 7.)


The Talmud in Shabbos 13a-b (translated here) brings the following:

The following breita was taught in the academy of Eliyahu: It happened that there was one student who learned much Mishnah and learned much scripture and spent much time serving Torah scholars, but he died at half his years. His wife would take his tefillin, bring them around the houses of prayer and houses of study and say to [the people there]: “It is written in the Torah: For this is your life and the length of your days. Therefore, my husband who learned much Mishnah, and learned much scripture, and spent much time serving Torah scholars, why did he die at half his years?” And no one would answer her anything. I once visited her and she told me the whole story. I asked her: “My daughter, during the days of your niddah, what did he do with you?” She answered me: “God forbid! He did not touch me, even on my little finger!”

I asked her: “During the days of your white [clothing] what did he do with you?” She answered: “He ate with me, drank with me and slept with me without clothing, but he did not even think about the other thing [sexual relations].” I said to her: “Blessed is God who killed him, because [your husband] did not show respect towards the Torah, for the Torah says: You shall not approach a woman in her time of ritually impure nidah.”

The first Tosfos on 13b quotes Rabbeinu Tam as saying that she went to the Mikva after 7 days to be Tahor biblically, and then again after 7 clean days for the Rabbinic prohibition. This is why the student thought it was permitted. Either way, everything listed there is a Rabbinic prohibition, and his result was "he died at half his years."

(As a side point, one reason for why she went to the Mikva twice I have seen suggested that the first time was so that she could deal with Taharos - she could make food that was a Tahor, and the second time was to satisfy the Rabbinic requirement for marital relations).

  • They are very different kinds of rabbinic prohibitions. Surely not all rabbinic prohibitions are the same
    – Double AA
    Oct 3, 2013 at 22:10
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    @DoubleAA, I don't follow. If anything, it makes the point even stronger, as what is listed is more lenient than actually just being intimate after 7 days.
    – Yishai
    Oct 3, 2013 at 22:24
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    You're case talks about violating lo tikrivu with a deoraita niddah. That's bad. Even if it's only meant as an asmachta, then it's still violating the spirit of the law, which is bad. In the OP's case, all that's being violated is a gezeira that doesn't seem to apply so much in that case because she knows how to count. Not Torah violations. No spirit of Torah violations. So while both cases are "rabbinic violations", I submit the case you cite is more stringent than the OP's. Hence we can't learn the punishment from your case to the OP's.
    – Double AA
    Oct 4, 2013 at 14:27
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    No, it is an argument for not comparing. If you aren't willing to use logic to try to support your comparison, then don't compare at all. The logic doesn't have to be a proof, but it does need to make someone seriously think you might be right.
    – Double AA
    Oct 4, 2013 at 15:59
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    Take it up with the mishna :) It's not that we must treat them differently. We just can't learn from one to the other.
    – Double AA
    Oct 4, 2013 at 16:19

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