I understand that in the past it was not hidden from the public that a Nidda was a Nidda, as they wore special clothing.

As we see the רע"ב's explanation in the Mishna in Kethubot 7:6

וּמְשַׁמַּשְׁתּוֹ נִדָּה. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהֻחְזְקָה נִדָּה בִּשְׁכֵנוֹתֶיהָ שֶׁרָאוּהָ לוֹבֶשֶׁת בִּגְדֵי נִדּוּת, וּלְבַעְלָהּ אָמְרָה טְהוֹרָה אֲנִי:‏

This is also codified in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 185:2

ב וְאִם הֻחְזְקָה נִדָּה בִּשְׁכֵנוֹתֶיהָ, שֶׁרָאוּהָ לוֹבֶשֶׁת בְּגָדִים הַמְיֻחָדִים לִימֵי נִדּוּתָהּ, חֲשִׁיבָה כְּוַדַּאי טְמֵאָה.‏

And that now there is a custom of modesty to hide it from the public .

as is seen nitai gavriel, nida 1, 13, 15

and from foot note there end of drackai teshuva, 195, 9

When? and Why? did this change.

  • I'm not sure i get your question. There is a basis in the Talmud for the custom that a woman should not be seen when coming out of the mikveh. The reasoning goes that since everyone knows that she will be intimate with her husband that night it may arouse others, that's why it's done privately. But if she is a Niddah, why would a public announcement of her Niddah status be immodest, on the contrary since she is prohibited to everyone there is no prospect of arousal by anyone! So if your referring to this custom i'm not sure what your asking! – Bach Sep 28 '17 at 1:11
  • @Bach this is new to me (the connection mikvah and arouse) if you can source it , it will be an answer – hazoriz Sep 28 '17 at 1:15
  • But what is your question first? – Bach Sep 28 '17 at 20:40
  • @Bach my assumption (which from your statement seems wrong) was that originally there was no privicy regarding nida status, and that now it is recommended to have privicy, (why the change and sources that this is the minhag now) Gmar Hasima Tova – hazoriz Sep 28 '17 at 21:01

The cause for the change was because in the time of the Talmud both single and married women went to the mikvah after becoming a nidda, thus it was the norm to be in that state of impurity, and had no connotation of intimacy, it simply was a process to purify oneself in order to either partake of Terumah or to enter into the Temple to bring a sacrifice, thus there was a "plausible deniability" as to why a woman was going to the mikvah.

However today, since we do not observe the laws of ritual impurity, and going to the mikvah became exclusive for married woman who went to become permissible to their husbands, it became that going to the mikvah and intimacy have become enmeshed as one; therefore, for modestly purposes it became the norm to act discreetly so as not to publicize the fact that in all likely hood this woman will be having relations with her husband. Despite the fact that we may know it intellectually that most couples are together on a monthly basis nonetheless to activly draw attention to it is a grave sin as the Gemara in Shabbos 33a:

א"ר חנן בר רבא הכל יודעין כלה למה נכנסה לחופה אלא כל המנבל פיו אפי' חותמין עליו גזר דין של שבעים שנה לטובה הופכין עליו לרעה

The Sefer Ikkrei Dinim (Yoreh Deah Siman 21) in discussing the question of a Chuppas Nidda - a bride who is in Nidda. May the Chosson place the ring on her finger which will inevitably lead to touching her? Or must he slightly place it on her finger being careful not to touch her (as is the opinion of the Maharil quoted in Be'er Hetev Even Haezer [61:8]) writes that the minhag is not to be concerned as we do not want to publicize that she is in Nidda.

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    I don't see how this answers the question. This talks about hiding going to the Mikvah, not being a Niddah. – Double AA Dec 2 '14 at 5:23
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    because since nidda nowadays has become direclty linked with intimacy (since single woman dont go anymore) because of tznius we try our best to hide it. its just an exstension of the pre-existing hakpada to not be overt abot going to the mikvah. extremely relevant – Shoel U'Meishiv Dec 2 '14 at 5:28
  • We hide Mikva night to hide when we have relations (something that often happens that night). Telling someone you are a Niddah one day doesn't tell them anything new; they already knew you were having relations about half the time and they don't know where in the Nidda-time you are. There's nothing intimate or un-tzanua about it. – Double AA Dec 2 '14 at 5:30
  • making an 'explicit" mention is different that leaving it to assumption. You assume, albeit it is a strong assumption, that 99% will , but if a couple told me they were in Nidda, now I KNOW they will. Big difference. – Shoel U'Meishiv Dec 2 '14 at 5:53
  • That's 1% is such a big difference? Even if they are in Niddah maybe it'll be 4 or 5 weeks because of spotting from some medication or procedure. You never KNOW at 100%. Going from 99.6 to 99.8 is so big? Why so? If they told you they weren't in Niddah would that also be not-tzanua? Then they might be intimate tonight! There are people who pretend to be Niddah in public always, but everyone else clearly disagrees with you. – Double AA Dec 2 '14 at 5:55

If I might just clarify something here (which has been alluded to above).

Since it is assumed that a couple is likely to have relations on the night the wife goes to the Mikva, there is a strong issue not to let it be known, out of privacy. (One does not broadcast sexual matters.) At the time of the Talmud, and before, the matter was different, since matters of ritual purity had more widespread effects, so the difference was more obvious.

The question here is in regard not to the mikva night, but the entire period during which the couple is permitted to each other. This issue appears to be a stringency that is less universal. (I would also like to know more about it.)

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Presumably when we stopped concerning ourselves with the laws of purity, sometime around the year 200. Until that point I needed to know if someone was a Nida, as it would affect whether I could eat a sacrifice or the like. Since then, unless it's my wife, it's really none of my business.

  • -1: The idea of eating חולין על טהרת הקודש lasted way longer than that (as late as the 19th century in Bagdad). – Yishai Dec 2 '14 at 13:35
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    @Yishai that's fascinating. Did they just ignore the rule of tum'at eretz amemim? (The al taharat hakodesh pretty much becomes unworkable when the center of Jewish life is outside of Israel, for that reason.) – Shalom Dec 2 '14 at 13:53
  • Shalom, that is a good question. I heard that information in a shiur and it was kind of a side point in that context, so no one stopped on it. – Yishai Dec 2 '14 at 14:05
  • @Shalom Isn't the whole point of eating "al taharas kodesh" all about the way you eat? I think we see from the discussions in the g'mara that officially a person's tahara is not affected even when they impose this stringency on themself. – WAF Jan 1 '15 at 12:17
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    Then why does the ShA (YD 195:8) in the 16th century mention the custom of wearing Niddah specific clothing? This answer, despite the claim of "presumably", is presumably wrong. – Double AA Jul 4 '16 at 18:25

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