Niddah: refers to someone who is distant, or maybe something related to blood
  • refers to the rules around menstruation vis-a-vis sexual relations, what women are permitted to do while menstruating
  • largely about purities, found in the Order of Purities (not in Nashim, where all other halakhah is located concerning women)
  • From the point of evidence of menstruation, women have to wait seven "white" days after menstruation has stopped before resuming sexual relations with their husbands
    • alternative: some rabbis say wait a few days, or 3 days, but 7 is the most stringent
  • Zavah, also considered uncleanliness, refers to other sources of blood
  • Requires ritual immersion afterwards
    • a woman needs to visit the mikvah on the evening of the 7th white day
    • a man who touches a woman who is impure must visit the mikvah?
    • the punishment is thought to be premature death (based on a story about a man who did not go by niddah laws
  • Women during niddah are prohibited from:
    • mixing her husband's wine
    • making his bed
    • washing his face, hands and feet
    • these are all considered to lead to sexual arousal or intimacy
  • She still can cook food for her family
  • Tannaim (earlier period) did not want to make such a fence around niddah laws, because they didn't want to create too many obstacles for the couple to be sexually intimate (important to know if it was menstrual blood, versus a cut, so they used an instrument to test the blood-Baraita
    • R. Akiva was lenient, called for two-day waiting period. He called for women to attribute the blood to anything but menstrual blood
  • Amoraim were more stringent--seven white days
  • These roles point to a woman's role as serving her husband. Rules of niddah primarily concerned with maintaining purity, and do not account for women's needs/comfort. Modern take on laws of niddah point more to benefiting the woman by creating some space for her. Whereas the author shows that the original intent of the texts are not concerned with women's comfort.
  • Men can be a source of impurity as well (rules pertaining in seminal emissions, Zavim)
  • Some rabbis spoke against sexual relations in daylight because a man might be repulsed by seeing his wife in light, also some say a women should keep up her physical appearance to keep the man interested
  • Some male anxieties: "do not cook in a pot your friend has already cooked in" meaning do not marry your friend's ex-wife (also some talk of not all "fingers" being the same size)
  • Fear of second marriages: they may not be the same, and she may come to belittle him. Fear of adultery, illegitimate children.

Smueli Botach: was in the Lebovitch movement, but kind of parted ways
  • tries to take Talmudic texts and promote it as good for everyone, Jews and non-Jews
  • wrote Kosher Sex, saying that all these Talmudic sayings about men and women are about creating good relations between husbands and wives

The Niddah article seems to be aimed at Boteach