Previous Folio / Niddah Directory / Tractate List / Navigate Site
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah
We have learnt: HOW LONG MAY PROTRACTED LABOUR CONTINUE? R. MEIR RULED: EVEN FORTY OR FIFTY DAYS. Now this might quite possibly happen according to Rab on R. Adda b. Ahabah's interpretation,3 but according to Levi4 does not this present a difficulty?5 — Levi can answer you: Was it stated that she was clean throughout all these days?6 [No; if the birth occurs] in the days of menstruation7 she is regarded as a menstruant and only when it occurs in the days of her zibah7 is she clean.8
Another reading. R. Levi ruled: [The birth of] a child is a cause of cleanness9 in those days only in which a woman may normally become a major zabah.10 What is the reason? It is written in Scripture,11 Her blood many days.12 Abba Saul in the name of Rab13 ruled: Even in the days in which she may normally become a minor zabah. What is the reason? Days14 and All the days14 are written in the context.15
We have learnt: HOW LONG MAY PROTRACTED LABOUR CONTINUE? R. MEIR RULED: EVEN FORTY OR FIFTY DAYS. Does not this present a difficulty against both of them?16 — Was it stated that she was clean throughout all of them?17 [No;] if she was in labour during the days of her menstruation she is regarded a menstruant and only where this occurred during the days of her zibah18 is she clean.
It was taught: R. Meir used to say. A woman may sometimes bleed19 for a hundred and fifty days20 without becoming a major zabah.21 How? The two days22 preceding the period of her menstruation,23 the seven days of menstruation, two days after menstruation,24 fifty days25 which childbirth causes to be clean, eighty days26 prescribed for a female birth,27 seven days of menstruation28 and the two days29 after the menstruation.30 If so,31 they32 said to him, might not a woman bleed all the days of her life and no major zibah would occur in them?33 — He replied: 'What is it that you have in mind? Is it the possibility of frequent abortions? The law of protracted labour34 does not apply to abortions'.35
Our Rabbis taught: A woman may sometimes36 observe a discharge on a hundred days and yet no major zibah would result from it. How? The two days37 prior to the time of menstruation,38 the seven days of menstruation, two days after menstruation,39 eighty days following the birth of a female child,40 seven days of menstruation and the two days39 after menstruation. What new law does this41 teach us? — That the law differs42 from him who ruled that it was impossible for the uterus to open without some bleeding, [since thereby]43 we were informed that it is possible for the uterus to open without previous bleeding.44
R. JUDAH RULED: … SUFFICES FOR HER etc. It was taught: R. Judah citing R. Tarfon ruled, Her [ninth] month suffices for her45 and in this there is one aspect of a relaxation of the law46 and one of restriction.47 How? If she was in labour for two days at the end of the eighth month and for one day at the beginning of the ninth month, even though she gave birth to the child at the beginning of the ninth month, she is regarded as having born it in zibah;48 but if she was in labour for one day at the end of the eighth month and for two days at the beginning of the ninth, even though she bore the child at the end of the ninth month,49 she is not regarded as having given birth in zibah.50 Said R. Adda b. Ahabah: From this51 it may be inferred that R. Judah holds that it is the shofar52 that is the cause.53 But could this54 be right,55 seeing that Samuel stated: A woman can conceive and bear only on the two hundred and seventy-first day56 or on the two hundred and seventy-second day57 or on the two hundred and seventy-third day?57 He58 follows the view of the pious men of old; for it was taught: The pious men of old performed their marital duty on a Wednesday only, in order that their wives59 should not be led to60
Niddah 38ba desecration of the Sabbath.1 'On a Wednesday', but not later?2 — Read: From Wednesday onwards.3 Mar Zutra stated: What was the reason of the pious men of old? — Because it is written, And the Lord gave her conception [herayon],4 and the numerical value of herayon5 is two hundred and seventy-one.6
Mar Zutra further stated: Even according to him who holds that a woman who bears at nine months does not give birth before the full number of months has been completed,7 a woman who bears at seven months may give birth before the full number of months has been completed, for it is stated in Scripture. And it came to pass, after the cycles of days8 that Hannah conceived, and bore a son;9 the minimum of 'cycles'10 is two,11 and the minimum of 'days10 is two.12
R. JOSE AND R. SIMEON RULED: PROTRACTED LABOUR CANNOT CONTINUE FOR MORE THAN TWO WEEKS. Samuel stated: What is the reason of the Rabbis? Because it is written in Scripture. Then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation,13 which implies: Only 'as in her menstruation' but not as in her zibah; from which it follows that her zibah is clean for14 'two weeks'.
Our Rabbis taught: A woman may sometimes be in labour15 for twenty-five days and no major zibah would intervene.16 How? Two days preceding her menstruation period;17 seven days of menstruation, two days following menstruation and the fourteen days which18 the childbirth causes to be clean. It is impossible, however, for her to be in labour for twenty-six days, where there is no child,19 without giving birth to it is in zibah.20 But if there was no child would not21 three days suffice?22 — R. Shesheth replied. Read: Where there is a child. Said Raba to him: But was it not stated 'where there is no child'? Rather, said Raba, it is this that was meant: It is impossible for her to be in labour for twenty-six days, where there is a child, without giving birth to it in zibah; and where there is no child but an abortion she is a zabah even after three days. What is the reason? — The law of protracted labour23 does not apply to abortions.
MISHNAH. IF A WOMAN WAS IN PROTRACTED LABOUR DURING THE EIGHTY DAYS24 PRESCRIBED FOR THE BIRTH OF A FEMALE, ALL KINDS OF BLOOD THAT SHE MAY OBSERVE25 ARE CLEAN,26 UNTIL THE CHILD IS BORN, BUT R. ELIEZER HOLDS THEM TO BE UNCLEAN.27 THEY SAID TO R. ELIEZER: IF IN A CASE WHERE THE LAW WAS RESTRICTED IN REGARD TO BLOOD DISCHARGED IN THE ABSENCE OF PAIN,28 IT WAS NEVERTHELESS RELAXED.29 IN REGARD TO BLOOD DISCHARGED DURING PROTRACTED LABOUR, IS THERE NOT EVEN MORE REASON TO RELAX THE LAW30 IN REGARD TO THE BLOOD OF LABOUR IN A CASE WHERE31 IT WAS RELAXED32 EVEN IN REGARD TO A DISCHARGE IN THE ABSENCE OF PAIN?26 HE REPLIED: IT IS ENOUGH THAT THE CASE INFERRED33 SHALL BE TREATED IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE ONE34 FROM WHICH IT IS INFERRED. FOR IN WHAT RESPECT WAS THE LAW RELAXED FOR A WOMAN IN THE LATTER CASE?35 IN THAT OF THE UNCLEANNESS OF ZIBAH36 ONLY; WHILE SHE IS STILL SUBJECT TO THE UNCLEANNESS OF THE MENSTRUANT.
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: She shall continue [in the blood of her purification],37 includes a woman who was in protracted labour during the eighty days24 prescribed for the birth of a female, viz., that all kinds of blood that she may observe are clean, until the embryo is born,38 but R. Eliezer holds them to be unclean. They said to R. Eliezer: If in the case where the law was restricted in regard to blood discharged in the absence of pain before the child was born,39 it was nevertheless relaxed in regard to blood discharged in the absence of pain after the child was born,40 is there not even more reason to relax the law in regard to the blood of labour after the child was born40 in a case where it was relaxed in regard to the blood of labour before the child was born? He replied: It is enough that the case inferred41 shall be treated in the same manner as the ones from which it is inferred. For in what respect was the law relaxed for a woman in the latter case?42 In that of the uncleanness of zibah only, while she is still subject to the uncleanness of the menstruant. They said to him, We would submit to you an objection in a different form: If in the case where the law was restricted in regard to blood discharged in the absence of pain before the child was born,39 it was nevertheless relaxed in regard to blood discharged at such a time43 in protracted labour, is there not even more reason that, where 'the law was relaxed in regard to blood discharged in the absence of pain after the child was born,44 the law should be relaxed in regard to blood discharged at such a time43 during protracted labour? He replied: Even if you were to offer objections all day long it must be enough that the case inferred44 shall be treated in the same manner as the one42 from which it is inferred. For in what respect was the law relaxed for a woman in the latter case?42 In that of the uncleanness of zibah only, while she is still subject to the uncleanness of the menstruant. Raba observed, R. Eliezer could successfully have offered the Rabbis the following reply: Did you not explain Her blood45 thus: 'Her blood' refers to blood that is normally discharged, but not to such as is due to childbirth?46 Well, here also, it may be explained: And she shall be cleansed from the fountain of her blood,47 'her blood' refers to blood that is normally discharged but not to such as is due to childbirth.48 But might it not be suggested49 [that if a discharge occurred] during the days of menstruation she is a menstruant, [while if it occurred] during the days of zibah she is clean? — Scripture said, She shall continue,50 which implies: One form of continuation throughout all these days.51
- To Next Folio -