Taharas (taharat) Hamishpacha

THE  SECRET BEHIND THE SUCCESS OF THE JEWISH FAMILY
This booklet is meant to be an informative basis for understanding the  concepts behind observing the mitzva(Divine commandment) of Taharat Hamishpacha,  which in Hebrew means "family purity". This concerns the relationship between  husband and wife, regulation of their marital relations in accordance with the  woman’s menstrual cycle and immersion in a kosher mikvah in order to render the  woman pure after she has experienced bleeding from her uterus . Those of you who  are not familiar with the term may ask what is a mikvah? I once asked this  question to a woman who had recently come to America from Russia. She looked at  me with a puzzled expression and then said, "Oh, I know. You mean bar mikvah?"
She had heard of Bar Mitzvah but I realized then that she had no idea what a  mikvah is. She was confusing the Hebrew words. Unfortunately many people in the  world today are not aware of this important mitzvah of mikvah. Basically a  mikvah is a ritual pool of water, built according to very specific requirements  in the Torah. The bor or actual pit of the mikveh must be filled with rain water  which is drawn by natural means into the pit and then this pit or bor is  connected to a larger pool of regular water (through a hole ) and the entire  pool then attains the status of a kosher mikvah. Immersion in the mikvah renders  a woman pure after she has uterine bleeding (ie. due to her period, after giving  birth or for other hormonal reasons).

 One does not have to be an observant Jew to keep the laws of mikvah: it  is something which can be done by any Jew, no matter what their level of  observance or commitment. One might well ask why a non-observant Jew would  desire to keep mikvah? Well, many people do so because they find that it  enhances their marital relationship and romance, many people who could not  become pregnant were blessed with children upon going to the mikvah and many  women simply feel that there are health benefits involved (health in both a  spiritual and physical sense, since the two go hand in  hand).

Mikvah is a mysterious word to some women. But over the past twenty  years there has been a tremendous revival of this wonderful Jewish tradition.  What is it that is attracting thousands of modern, twentieth century women to  start keeping these beautiful laws which have been part of our Jewish tradition  for so many thousands of years?
Perhaps it is the element of romance that mikvah adds to a  marriage…..or the wonderful feeling of joy and spirituality that accompanies  immersion in the mikvah waters…or simply the knowledge that for generations  Jewish women have faithfully kept these traditions and laws because they are  truly the foundation and secret to the success and purity of the Jewish
family.

In the Torah (Bible) we find that Sara, Avraham’s wife, had a special  blessing in her home: her Shabbat candles burned from one Shabbat to the next,  there was a special blessing in her dough, and a cloud of protection rested over  her tent because she observed the laws of mikvah. Rivkah, Rachel and Leah also  had these same blessings because they followed in Sara’s footsteps. And this is  a gift that all Jewish women are able to have since we are all daughters of  Sara, Rivka, Rachel and Leah.

Taharat Hamishpacha is commonly translated as "family purity". But what  does purity really mean? In Judaism, pure and impure are completely spiritual  concepts. "Tameh" is the word for impure, and anything tameh has a spirit of  unholiness within it: it carries a strong potential for negativity. Contact with  something tameh closes a person to Godliness and makes it difficult to  experience true joy. "Tahor" is the word for pure. Anything tahor leads to  happiness and spirituality: to closeness to God and a feeling of elevation.  These are spiritual terms and are defined by God Who created the world and  instilled within the world forces of holiness and forces of  unholiness.

 Mikvah and purity go together. Men also go inside the waters of a  mikvah in order to achieve spiritual purity. This is the traditional Jewish way  to purify one’s body and mind. The waters of the mikvah are referred to by the  Rambam (Maimonides, a great Jewish scholar) as the "waters of pure knowledge".  What does this actually mean? Impurity includes within itself thoughts of evil  and the knowledge of "sin". Pure knowledge is the concept of pure thoughts: of  innocence and spirituality. This is the state that existed in the Garden of Eden  before Adam and Eve sinned. Immersion in the mikvah purifies one’s mind and is  the remedy for bad thoughts and negative  thinking.
In fact, on a spiritual level, the waters of the Garden of Eden come to  every mikvah and at the time of immersion it is as if one is entering the Garden  of Eden and achieving that original level of purity and innocence. That is one  reason why we do not wear clothing, jewelry etc. when we go in the mikvah  because in the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve did not wear clothing until they  sinned since they were originally on a very high level spiritually and their  bodies were a vessel for the light of their souls, thus allowing them to feel  true closeness to God at all times . Only after their sin when the world lost  it’s status of purity and consciousness of Godliness, not wearing clothes became  immodest and engenders feelings of shame within a person. The entire idea behind  the sin of eating the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge was that people suddenly  gained a knowledge of unholiness: the side of impurity. People suddenly  understood the idea of being separated and cut off from Godliness which brought  about a feeling of tremendous shame. However, at the time of immersion in a  mikvah we try to recapture the innocence and spirituality that our forefathers  once knew.

 When a woman has her menstrual period (or some other bleeding from her  womb such as after giving birth etc.) that blood is "tameh" and the woman  becomes "Nida". Actually any bleeding from the uterine lining (due to natural  menstruation or a discharge due to hormonal changes etc.) could render a woman  Nida depending upon where and when this bleeding is found. Nida actually means  separated. It is connected to the word nidche which means to be far.  I also heard once that it shares a root in Hebrew with the word "nedar" which means a vow.. In the  Torah, certain people called nazirs would take a vow to separate themselves from  certain physical experiences in order to reach a higher spiritual level. For  example, they would vow to abstain from drinking wine etc .
 The concept of separation and holiness always go together just as God  separated us from the other nations of the world in order that we should be a  holy nation to Him.
 Under the marriage canopy (the chupa) a woman becomes sanctified to her  husband by separating from all other men and keeping herself special for her  husband. That is why the word for marriage is "kiddushin" which comes from the  same root as kedusha (holiness). The same idea applies to a woman at the time of  being Nida. She separates from physical relations with her husband until  immersing in the mikvah in order to reach a higher plateau in her spiritual  growth and in her relationship with her husband. Of course, the husband also  grows spiritually at this time and learns to become the master of his physical  desires. It is a very positive time: a time of learning and developing, a time  of renewal.

 The Lubavitcher Rebbe explained the following, according to the  teachings of Chassidus: Before the sin of Adam and Eve with the snake, evil was  not a part of the human being and the human body was totally pure and holy,  knowing only the consciousness of Godliness and purity . After the sin happened,  evil entered into the body and psyche of a person, human consciousness fell from  a level of holiness and evil became a complex part of humanity. The Rebbe  explained that a Jewish body is holy and by nature wants to push outward  anything unclean or unholy. So the period a Jewish woman experiences each month  is her body’s way of rejecting and discharging the knowledge of evil . It is a  woman’s job to bring purity to the world and to her marriage and to rectify the  original sin of Eve.

 After her period a woman counts seven clean days (days which represent  her longing to re unite with her husband and since husband and wife mirror the  relationship of God and the Jewish people, this indicates the kind of longing  the soul has to be connected to God and the recognition of how far we are  spiritually from true holiness ). Part of the laws of counting seven clean days  is that a woman cannot be discharging semen during the seven clean days. We know  that it takes 72 hours for the body to discharge semen. And in case a couple  would have intercourse during twilight ,when it is unclear which day it is and  how to begin counting those three days, the women actually came to the rabbis  and requested that it be necessary to wait a minimum of four days from the time  bleeding commences before starting to count their seven clean days to avoid  making any mistakes. It became a custom to add one more day for various halachic  reasons, making five days that a woman must separate from her husband when she  becomes nida before she can begin to count her seven clean  days.
The strength of a Jewish custom is very strong and one may not change  that on one’s own. Please note: certain sephardim have the custom to wait only  four days rather than five (as long as all bleeding stops by the fourth day) so  if you are sephardic, find out if this is your  custom.
Also please note: women who have difficulty conceiving, possibly due to  early ovulation which occurs during the seven clean days, should consult a Rav,  a Rabbinical expert in that field, as he would know how to advise her and what  leniencies he may be able to help her with so she could get around the problem  of early ovuluation etc. (Sometimes a Rav may advise a woman to keep only four  days instead of five before commencing to count her seven clean days if all  bleeding stops by that time. But of course a Rav must be consulted as a couple  must not make such decisions on her own). In general, any time there is a  problem of infertility, a Rav should be consulted as he may be able to help the  couple halachically to work out a solution to the problem, depending upon what  the cause may be.

 Once a woman successfully completes counting her seven clean days, she  then immerses in the mikveh, which purifies her each time on a higher spiritual  level and thus raises her and her husband to a status of greater kedusha  (holiness) and sanctity. It is an elevation of physicality and an elevation of  consciousness.

  Tevilah is the word for immersion in the mikvah. In Hebrew, tevilah has  the same letters as the word "bitul", which means self nullification. The inner  purpose of mikvah is the idea of nullification of the ego. By immersing in the  waters of the mikvah, one loses oneself and becomes totally submerged in and  nullified to the water. This self nullification causes one to let go of one’s  ego, and this letting go of the ego renders the person a vessel in which God’s  light can rest. God’s Presence can only dwell in a place of humility and  selflessness. There are detailed preparations which go into immersing in the  mikvah. The woman must first bathe herself thoroughly and remove anything that  could be a "chatzitza".

 A chatzitza means an interference: anything which does not allow the  waters of the mikvah to reach every part of the body (ie. ink stains, dirt under  the nails etc.). Spiritually, according to Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, the  purity of the mikvah represents the idea of the soul permeating the body with  joy. A chatzitza represents a worry which does not let the joy of the soul  affect the body totally. The Kabbalah explains that the only positive worry in  life is to worry about a chatzitza and this then substitutes for and eliminates  all other negative worries of life. All preparations for tevilah must be done in  the spirit of preparing for one’s wedding, with great joy. The woman must bathe,  remove dirt, cut finger and toe nails and clean them very well, brush her teeth,  clean out the corners of her eyes, her nose, ears, naval and all other parts of  the body. She must comb out all the hairs on her body so no hairs are tangled  together etc.

 There are more details to learn about preparation but we will only  cover things very generally for the moment (later in greater detail). Once the  woman has completed all her preparations, she is then ready to immerse in the  mikvah waters.

 Some people used to say that women would go to the mikvah in the olden  days because it was good for hygiene since they never could take a bath easily.  But that is obviously untrue because before immersion one must cleanse oneself  thoroughly and only then can one go into the mikvah, and even if a woman takes a  hundred baths but she does not actually immerse in a mikvah, she does not become  pure and she retains her status of tameh and Nida. So it is obvious that the  reasons behind mikvah are spiritual and not for physical  cleanliness.
 The fact that physical cleanliness is part of preparation for immersing  in the mikvah is because cleanliness is associated with Godliness. And when one  prepares properly one then reaps all the spiritual benefits, similar to the idea  that when a radio is plugged in only then can one receive the sound waves and  hear the music. The waves are there all the time but if the right connections  are not made, one cannot appreciate the music. Keeping the laws of Taharat  hamishpacha does have certain health benefits as well, as even doctors have  discovered that not having relations during one’s period lessens the risk of diseases of the cervix, for example. But again, the laws are not kept because of  health benefits. Health benefits do automatically accompany keeping God’s laws  since the Creator of the world certainly knew what things a human being should  do or not do in order to achieve maximum health, both spiritually and  physically. But the laws are kept simply because they were commanded and they  are done in a spirit of humility and acceptance that we cannot fathom the wisdom  of God.

 There are very exact measurements as to the way that a man made mikvah  must be constructed. The ocean , of course, constitutes a natural mikvah.  However, not all bodies of natural water meet the requirements of a mikvah (many lakes do, if they have natural springs of water underneath).For a spring or river itself to meet the requirements for immersion, the water must originate from a spring and not from a collection of rainwater.  Similarly, a natural lake that is fed by river water and springs can be used for immersion. 
​Certainly a regular  bathtub or a swimming pool can never be used as a mikvah for  women.
The measurements of the mikvah have deep spiritual symbolism and  meaning. The mikvah must be 40 seahs deep. 40 signifies wisdom in the Torah:  knowledge.

 There are also complex laws as to the way a mikvah must be built and  how the water must be drawn in to the mikvah as well as which type of water one  can fill the mikveh with: the water must be rain water originally (water from  the Heavens) which fills the cistern (bor) of the mikveh and which is connected  to the body of the mikveh and constantly mixes with the regular water of the  mikveh itself. There are many mystical reasons to all of these laws, as there  are behind all the mitzvot (Divine Commandments). And by keeping these laws one  can feel the tremendous spiritual benefits and the spiritual elevation which
takes place.

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg, in his book "The Covenant of Marriage",  discusses mikvah in the following way:
 The days of first seeing blood (when one’s period begins) parallels the  idea of submission. Upon initially sighting blood, one becomes aware of how  distant one is from God and from true purity. It is a humbling experience: a  feeling of submission to a higher Force. The husband, by being emotionally close  to his wife, experiences the same feelings. They must then concentrate on  preparing to draw close again which does not allow any feelings of despair but  rather gives the couple a feeling of great yearning to   reunite.

 Once the initial days of bleeding are finished, the woman must then  count seven clean days: seven consecutive days free of any bleeding. The woman  examines herself internally twice a day to see if there is no more staining,  even minutely.
 The seven clean days parallel the spiritual work of separation from  evil. During these days the yearning for reunion is very great. But one must  check oneself internally in a spiritual sense as well to be sure all thoughts,  feelings etc. are directed properly toward holiness. One utilizes these seven  days to separate oneself from any thoughts or behaviors which could distance a  person from God.
 The seven clean days is a feeling of yearning and anticipation for the  reunion to come which will then be on a higher spiritual level. Finally the time  for immersion and renewal arrives. Immersion in the mikvah is followed by great  feelings of joy. The couple experiences simcha (happiness) similar to the  feeling they had on the day of their wedding. They refreshen their relationship  and truly appreciate being able to be together physically. Their physical union  also takes on a more spiritual tone.

 According to the Torah, husband and wife are two halves of one soul.  They find each other in this physical world and marry. (That, by the way, is one  reason that a Jew and a non-Jew are not supposed to marry: their souls come from  different sources and are not compatible in the sense of truly being soul  mates).   Up in the Heavenly worlds there are also certain levels of a couple’s  souls which exist constantly. When a woman is pure down here, then also  spiritually it is a time of union of the  souls.
 This union, which manifests itself down here in marital relations, is  able to produce a child. Even if a woman is already pregnant, when she has  marital relations she and her husband still produce spiritual children and new  souls.
The purity of their thoughts and the modesty of their conduct at the  time of their union determines the quality of children they create. And the  concept of purity and modesty permeate all the mitzvot: this is the key to our  connection to God.
Even at the time of relations it is customary for the woman to cover her hair as this brings greater purity to the relationship but this is not a law and if a woman uncovers her hair during relations it is not a problem : this is something husband and wife decide between themselves. The couple must strive to  have pure and holy thoughts as this brings down a pure and holy garment for their child’s soul (which basically means it affects the spiritual, psychological and physical health of the child as well as the middot (character traits).
According to Shulchan Aruch, the holiest position for marital relations is the husband on top, facing his wife. This is particularly important at the time when the woman could conceive and would want to conceive a child in the holiest possible manner. It is permissible to be together in other positions but we are simply discussing the holiest position.  

When a woman is Nida, it would be harmful spiritually for the  couple to have relations then. And in fact, couples who do not observe the  mitzva of taharat hamishpacha often end up fighting and feeling many blockages  to expressing their true feelings or to really feeling close. Many marriages end  up in divorce due to a lack of observing these laws. When it is Nida time, it is  a sign that the couple must learn to communicate withouttouching. This is an  important aspect of marriage : the woman is never made to feel like an  object.

 God created everything to go in seasons and cycles. The woman’s cycle  establishes the physical relations of the couple in the home. After the Nida  time is over and the woman immerses in the mikvah, it is a time of reunion, like  the joy of a bride and groom. This helps to keep the marriage fresh and  exciting.
 When there are times that a husband and wife cannot be together, then  the times that they can be physically close takes on new meaning and their  appreciation for each other never wanes, even after 30 years of marriage. Many  people complain that the romance in their marriage disappears afer a while and  this can cause arguments, boredom, dissatisfaction etc. Through keeping the laws  of mikvah, once a month a couple has an evening filled with romance: an evening  just for the two of them and this is very healthy for a  marriage.

 Children also can appreciate and thank their parents for keeping the  laws of mikvah. When a woman immerses in the mikvah, she is then able to draw  down a pure body and soul for her child: a mind which is not tainted by bad  thoughts, unnatural desires, and so on. It is explained in Torah and mysticism that after immersing in the mikvah, angels accompany the woman home, including the angel in charge of the soul of the child that will be born from that union. 
Since spirituality and physicality are  so closely related, when a child is born from a pure union, both the physical  and mental condition of the child will be purer. Genetic problems,  psychological problems and other difficulties will be minimized. What greater  gift than this could a mother give her child? Judaism believes that every child  is a blessing and the more children a couple have, the more the home is blessed.  Certain souls are designated to come to your family but it is important to bring  these souls into the world in purity, to bring down children who will grow up to  be a source of true "nachas’(pleasure) to their parents and to the Jewish  nation.

 The Jewish family has always prided itself on having successful  marriages and a peaceful home atmosphere. To understand why this has been so, it  helps to understand the concept of marriage. Jewish marriage is considered a  building. One of the blessings we read under the chupa is to have a "binyan adei  ad": an everlasting edifice. Of course, every building needs a strong foundation  in order to prevent it from collapsing. The laws of taharat hamishpacha are that  foundation.

 And we can see that in the more recent decades when many people have not kept the laws of mikvah due to ignorance or misunderstanding, the quality of  marriages have not been the same and the rate of divorce has been much  higher.  Also society has degenerated in many ways. When a husband and wife conduct themselves according to the laws of the Creator of the world, the laws of purity and mikvah, they not only keep their relationship holy and pure, but they even affect, on a cosmic level, the purity of the entire world. They bring to the world holiness, stability, kindness and morality. So this is not just a personal choice: this is something affecting the entire world.

Our sages assure us (and history testifies to this fact) that when a  couple observe the laws of taharat hamishpacha, the husband and wife will remain  as beloved to one another as on their wedding day. The separation is only a  temporary one for the purpose of elevation. And this separation can be used as a  mini-vacation and we know that "distance makes the heart grow fonder". The  Lubavitcher Rebbe once said that when a couple are together at the time when  they should be far, then they will be far when they should be close. And of  course when they separate at the proper times then when they should be close  they will become extremely close to one another and truly feel one. When a  marriage is based on sanctity and holiness, the relationship becomes one in  which God Himself is revealed and becomes a partner. This is reflected in the  feeling of peace and contentment which prevails in a Jewish  home.

 And the woman, being the mainstay of the home, is really the one who  sets the tone for the purity and happiness of the family. Consequently, not  observing the laws of family purity can cause marital strain and tension and can  have devastating affects on a Jewish couple leading to arguments, lack of  marital harmony and possibly even divorce.

 The position of the Jewish woman in the home is a very esteemed one according to  the Torah. Throughout the ages Jewish women have always saved the Jewish nation  from destruction. It is in the merit of the Jewish women that the Jews were  redeemed from slavery in Egypt and it is in the merit of the righteous women of  this generation that the Jews will be redeemed from exile. The Jewish woman is  entrusted with the three most important laws: preparing for Shabbat and Yom Tov,  keeping kosher, and bearing and raising the children based on the laws of  observing taharat hamishpacha. So essential is mikvah to a Jewish family life,  that the Jewish community is required to sell its shul (synagogue) and even its holy Sefer Torah if they lack sufficient funds to build a mikvah! The mikvah  takes priority over all else because it directly affects the quality and purity  of one’s children and it affects generations. It is the basis for success in  bringing up children who will be open to Torah and Jewish values and who will  understand the concept of true modesty and beauty (as it says in the Torah "Kol  kevuda bat melech penima: the glory of the King’s daughter is within" Modesty  and the laws of taharas hamishpacha go together since that is all part of the  purity upon which a Jewish home are based and modesty is a trait which all  Jewish women possess deep within).
All Jewish women have a right to enjoy the respect and happiness that  comes with properly observing the wisdom of the Jewish traditions. I have a  friend who recently came from Russia. She is not yet observant although she is interested in Judaism. But she did agree to try going to mikvah. And to this day  she faithfully goes to mikvah every month. Her husband is in fact as happy about  it as she is because every time she goes to the mikvah, her husband somehow  manages to find a job after that or has additional business. He anxiously awaits  her time of tevilah. It is a secret between the two of them that they believe  God will bless them with work and money (along with health and all other  benefits) when she goes to the mikvah.
And in fact Kabbalah explains that one of the secrets of immersion in  the mikvah is that it changes all difficulties in life to chesed (kindness) and  makes things easier, which can include making a living easier as well. I once  asked this Russian friend if she finds it at all difficult to observe these  laws, and she replied, "I love it. And my husband loves it too because it really  works!"

BASIC LAWS
PLEASE NOTE: THE LAWS, AS EXPLAINED BELOW, ARE A COMPILATION OF INFORMATION OVER SEVERAL YEARS FROM MANY ORTHODOX RABBIS.  HOWEVER, IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION THAT YOU ARE NOT SURE ABOUT, OR YOU HAVE A BEDIKA SHAYLA , PLEASE CONTACT AN ORTHODOX RAV WHO  IS AN EXPERT IN THESE LAWS IN ORDER TO OBTAIN PRACTICAL ADVICE AND HIS RULING IN YOUR PARTICULAR SITUATION.

 First of all, it is important to explain the function and role of the  rabbi in the observance of the laws of family purity. Part of observance of  these laws involves many questions (in Hebrew: shaylas). For example, at times  a woman may experience staining either during counting of the seven clean days  or at other times, or she may find a stain of a questionable color while making  an internal examination. At such times it is necessary to ask the expertise of a  Rav. Just as one would consult a doctor and trust his advice if there is any  problem, in the same way one asks a Rav who is an expert in the laws of Nida  when a question arises. 
God does not put all the responsibility for the laws on the shoulders  of the woman. A Rav is an orthodox rabbi who is specially trained and learned in  all areas of Jewish law (halacha). Not all rabbis may become a Rav. A Rav is a  higher level, so to speak, sort of like the status of a doctorate over a masters  degree . And when a Rav answers questions according to the guidelines of the  Torah, God then gives the Rav a certain inspiration to receive the correct  answer and to know what to declare as being kosher and pure or impure. In fact,  so important is the Rav that what he declares kosher actually becomes so even if  it seems to everyone else that it is impure. For example, at times a woman may  show a stain to a Rav that she is sure it is not "kosher". But the Rav may very  well declare the stain clean. Once the Rav says something, it takes on halachic importance and in Heaven it is declared the same  way. The entire world was created through Divine Speech. Speech therefore  has a power within it to create. And when a person speaks from a basis in Torah  (which is God’s wisdom) then he can actually change nature and affect the  physical world.
It is very important to find a Rav that one feels comfortable with and  one should never feel embarrassed to ask a question since that is the job of the  Rav: he deals with shaylas all day and nothing is strange or embarrassing to  him. So the first thing every couple observing the laws of family purity must do  is become acquainted (even by phone) with a Rav whom they can call whenever they  have a question.

 WHAT  DOES THE WORD NIDA MEAN?
Nida means separated. A woman who is Nida must separate from physical  relations with her husband until she immerses in the Mikvah. But this separation  is only for the purpose of bringing her to a higher spiritual level. Through  menstruation she rids herself of spiritual impurities and the immersion in the  Mikvah renders her pure on a level of true holiness  (Kedusha).

 A woman should never joke and say that she is Nida when she is not  (even if she is angry with her husband). In Jewish law a woman’s word is very  much trusted and therefore she must not make light of this responsibility: she  must not joke with such an important Mitzvah.

 HOW  DOES A WOMAN BECOME NIDA?
 According to the Torah itself, in the past a woman would become Nida  when she had bleeding (even a minute amount) accompanied by a particular  physical sensation (called hargosho in Hebrew). That physical awareness of the  commencement of bleeding was a necessary prerequisite to render the woman Nida  in those times. The Rambam explains that feeling as a a“trembling of the body”  as the blood leaves the uterus. Or, if a woman felt that her cervix opened. A  third possible sensation was that a woman felt a flow of liquid leaving the  uterus [not to be confused with a feeling of liquid oozing from outer edge of  the vaginal canal – which is not considered a‘sensation” at all and which women  do feel nowadays as well].     The above mentioned sensations are very rare in  today’s day and age, and most women never feel such sensations at all. A woman  becomes a Nida now when she has her menstrual flow, or any flow of blood which  is more than staining or spotting, which is considered as if it came with a  sensation, even though such a sensation was not noticeable. Once the amount of  blood is enough to constitute a flow , she becomes Nida according to the  Rabbonim.
You may read in various books on taharat hamishpacha this idea  about a hargosho, whereby they may mention that if a woman feels such a  hargosho, she must immediately make a bedika. However, since nowadays we cannot  recognize those feelings as being particularly related to a menstrual flow, and  women are not aware of these particular physical sensations when they  menstruate, it is generally accepted that women should not do such additional bedikas at all. The only thing that counts nowadays is having an actual flow of  blood, which is a substantial amount, (or after giving birth a woman becomes  Nida). Staining (very minimal bleeding) would only render a woman Nida according  to the rabbonim (the rabbis) and therefore there are many details as to exactly  how and when a woman becomes Nida from a stain.
Another way way that a woman  becomes Nida is if she finds even a minute amount of blood upon inserting  internally a bedika cloth, or inserting internally toilet paper or any other  material. If she finds actual blood, even a tiny amount, on anything which was  inserted internally, she would become Nida unless there is reason to believe the  blood came from the cervix or vaginal canal, and not the uterus, at which point  a Rav should be consulted for his determination.      Please note: it is not  considered a bedika to wipe externally with toilet paper or a cloth.  But if your intention is to slightly insert the toilet paper to ascertain if there is bleeding and you do find blood, you need to consult a Rav as to your status. 
 Blood  inside a discharge of mucous would also be a problem if it is found upon an  internal examination but not if it is found upon toilet paper when wiping  normally. Finding blood upon toilet paper is usually not a problem because  toilet paper is a material that is not mekabel tumah (does not receive impurity). Therefore if one wipes oneself normally after urination (it is a good idea to wait about 30 seconds after finishing to urinate before wiping) and one does not insert  the toilet paper internally (like a bedika)  but only wipes externally, then even if she sees a red color  (even if it is a bit larger than the size of an American penny) this does not  render her Nida as long as she does not experience a real flow like during menstruation. Finding a light brown color on toilet paper is not a problem  either and can be disregarded.
If however a woman is in a rush and she wipes  herself before she has really finished urinating and she then finds a red color  on the toilet paper, it could be a problem and she has to consult a rabbi.  
There are rabbis who may advise women not to look at toilet paper and in general  a woman does not have to look at toilet paper ….however, if a woman has a  problem whereby she stains a lot, then it is not really proper for her to avoid  looking at toilet paper in order to ignore the problem if she feels something is  there, because if she feels that she is discharging blood then she has to see  what is going on……and of course if she sees an amount of blood which is more  than what should be, then she has to consult a Rav to find out her status. But  in general, toilet paper is not a problem as long as the amount of blood seen is  not too much. And it does not matter what color the toilet paper is: even white
toilet paper is okay.
If a woman had an internal exam by a doctor and blood  was seen on his instrument or glove after the exam, a Rav should be consulted to  determine the woman’s status. But if a woman had a pap smear or a similar exam,  as long as the doctor did not enter the uterus and no blood was seen after the  exam, the woman would not become Nida.
After marital relations if the husband wipes himself and finds blood, even a small amount, a Rav must be consulted because marital relations are a bedika of sorts and blood found could render the woman nida, depending on the cause , timing, color etc.  If any blood stains or dark brown stains are found on whatever the husband uses to wipe himself (even if it is a colored cloth), that should be kept and shown to a Rav for determination of status.

 WHAT  IS A BEDIKA EXACTLY?
 As mentioned before, a bedika is an internal examination. It can be done sitting on the toilet or standing (with one leg raised) but it is often easier to do a bedika sitting down rather than standing. A bedika is performed with a small, white, soft cotton cloth which should first be  inspected on both sides for any dirt, little threads etc. which might cause  confusion (ie. red threads which one could mistake for blood) and then it is  wrapped around the index finger and inserted into the vagina as far as it is possible to go comfortably . It is then rotated gently , wiping the inside of  the vaginal area carefully, and upon removal it is looked at by daylight to see  if there are any stains on it.
PLEASE NOTE: even the tiniest red or black stain on a bedika cloth which is inserted internally would render a woman nida. (the only exception is if one has something else to attribute the stain to such as an internal injury in the vagina and in such a case a Rav should be consulted to determine one's status and how to do bedikas etc.) The size of the stain on a bedika cloth makes no difference. even the tiniest red or black stain is not pure. Of course a stain of a questionable color on a bedika cloth would have to be shown to a  Rav for determination as to whether it renders one nida or not.
The bedika cloth in Hebrew is called an "eyd" which means a witness. It  is a witness to the purity of the woman. It is said that angels collect these  cloths and present them to G-d in order to attest to the purity of the woman and  to the purity of her child.
Bedika cloths are generally available in one’s local mikvah. Bedika  cloths must be looked at in daylight rather than at night (but one need not hold  them up to direct sunlight: it is best to shade them a little.). The cloth should be looked at to see if there is any  stain of an impure nature or a stain of a questionable color which would require  asking a Rav about.
A bedika cloth must be white. One cannot use a colored material for doing a bedika. If you have no white bedika cloths available you can use a SOFT white cotton material but you should inspect it to see that it has no colored threads or any dirt on it that could cause confusion. However, it is best to always make sure you have on hand an adequate amount of bedika cloths.  
Please  note:  a bedika done with the finger without any cloth is not valid, and a bedida done  with toilet paper is not valid either. However if a bedika was done with toilet paper (ie. you are traveling and have nothing else with you) it could be valid (a Rav should be consulted) and any questionable colors on the toilet paper should be saved to be shown to a Rav.

 Sometimes on a bedika cloth there is a tiny streak of some dirt that is  on an outer part of the cloth which did not even enter properly when you did the  bedika. If you are sure that part did not go inside and it looks like the dirt  is from an external source, it can be disregarded. Sometimes there may be a tiny  speck of some color which is so small it is hard to even see: that is usually  considered nothing as well . If it is so small that the naked eye can barely see  it or determine what the color is, then it is usually nothing. But if you see a  very reddish dot on a cloth, even if it is tiny, if you see it is truly red  looking, then you must ask a Rav and it usually would render the woman Nida  unless the Rav says it is a thread or something like that. At times pink or red  threads are mixed in with the weave of the bedika cloth or could come from  outside and can cause confusion but if you are sure it is a thread, you can  disregard it as well. One should never tamper with a bedika cloth but sometimes  if you are positive what you are seeing is a thread, you can very gently and  lightly try to move the thread : if it is an actual thread it will move to  another area of the cloth and can be seen as an actual thread. If it is blood,  it may smear into the cloth or may not move at all. But never try to remove a  color from the cloth as that could affect the correct judgment of a  Rav.

 I would like to take a moment here to mention an example. A woman  started to do a bedika on her 7th clean day, but she only inserted the cloth  very slightly and then withdrew it for a moment, and on that cloth she saw a  clean clear discharge (a pure white color), but towards the side or edge of the  cloth (on the dry area) she saw a small brownish stain! She really got nervous  worrying perhaps this would invalidate her seven clean days and being that it  was the 7th day, she was very worried. She then took a clean new bedika cloth  and did a proper bedika, entering fully, rotating the cloth etc., and when she took out the cloth again she saw the same clean white discharge and no brownish stain at all. So she  asked a Rav about it and he told her it is not a problem because that brownish  stain was probably some external dirt that accrued to the cloth as she attempted  to enter. But because the brownish stain was not near the clear white discharge  and the second bedika showed again only a clear discharge with no color to it,  then the Rav said it was not a problem because any internal staining would have  some type of color mixed into the discharge. So he said she could assume it was  from an external source. Of course, one should always ask a Rav to be sure in  such a case, but I wanted to mention this point since some women really do get
nervous over these type of shaylas and it often is not even a problem. That is  besides the fact that the brownish stain was probably a shade of brown which  also was not a problem. But in this situation the Rav told her she did not have  to ask any Rav to look at the bedika cloth. He saw no problem with the whole  situation just by speaking on the phone . So very often you will get an answer over the phone: it is always imperative to call and speak to the Rav. Never assume something is no good until you ask. 
 And sometimes a woman knows her own body and simply feels that a  certain stain is not from her internally, or she feels somehow instinctively  that she is pure. When speaking to a Rav always mention that point as well  because sometimes it makes a difference to his ruling. But one must never assume  on one’s own whether one’s status is pure or not. It is imperative to ask a Rav  in any case of doubt.

 HOW  OFTEN SHOULD BEDIKAS BE MADE?
 There are certain times when bedikas are necessary (ie. During the  counting of the seven clean days). But during the days when a woman is  permissible to her husband she should not make bedikas. The reason is because  any blood found on a bedika cloth (even a small amount) renders a woman Nida  even if it is not the time for her period. Finding a small amount of blood on  her underwear or bed sheet does not make her Nida. But on a bedika cloth which  is inserted internally, finding even a minute spot of blood would render the  woman Nida.

Please  note:  if toilet paper or any colored cloth or anything else is inserted internally  either during the seven clean days or at any other time, and even if there is no  intention to do a real bedika, if blood is found on that toilet paper or cloth, it creates a big shayla and may render the woman Nida. So be very careful when  and how you make bedikas. If you are not sure about something, call a Rav before  doing anything on your own.

Please  note as well:  after marital relations, if your husband cleans himself with a colored cloth, a  white cloth or with toilet paper or napkins, if he finds a blood stain at that  time a Rav must be consulted because marital relations constitutes a bedika of  sorts and it would therefore not make a difference if the husband cleans himself  with a colored garment or a white garment. If blood is found (and the period did  not commence) a Rav must be consulted to determine the woman’s status. But it is  very important for the husband to note the color of the blood he sees or even to  wipe it onto a tissue to keep to show a rabbi because it may not be a real red  color and hence the woman may not be considered Nida. Also the woman should  mention to her husband if she has pain upon intercourse and he should mention  that to the Rav if she did have pain as that may indicate a cervical infection  or injury. Bleeding from the outer cervix is not Nida  blood.

Please  also note:  if a woman makes a bedika and somehow drops the cloth (ie. in the toilet ) or  loses it before she even gets a chance to look at, it is considered as if she  did not do a bedika and she would have to make a new  bedika.
 If she glanced at the cloth and thought she saw a reddish or brownish  color and then she loses the cloth, she must consult a Rav as to her  status.

 WHAT  IF A WOMAN FINDS A BLOOD STAIN ON HER UNDERWEAR OR HER BED SHEETS OR HER  CLOTHING?
If the underwear is white or the sheets are white (such as during the  time when she is counting her seven clean days, since at that time she is  supposed to wear white underwear and put clean white sheets on her bed), then if  the stain is larger than the size of an American penny (the size is measured  according to the total area of the stain) the woman would generally be  considered Nida, depending upon the color of the stain (if it is red or very  dark brown). If the color is pale brown or even orange or pale pink etc. or  different shades of colors, then it has to be shown to a Rabbi for  determination.
However, if the stain is smaller than a penny, the woman would not be  Nida. The reason is that there could be many reasons for staining: ie.  Irritation in the vagina, external skin irritations, hemorroids, insect bites,  cervical infection etc.Only bleeding from inside the womb itself renders a woman  Nida.
 If a stain is larger than a penny then it becomes more significant and more likely to be from the womb. This is the law for stains on clothing or bedding. As mentioned before, stains on a bedika cloth are not affected by size and even a minute stain would be a problem.

 On underwear we do NOT add together different stains: each stain is  evaluated separately for its size. So you may find several small stains which  are separate and the woman would not be nida even if when added together they might be larger than a penny. If however a woman finds a lot of  small stains consistently, she should ask a Rabbi to determine her  status. (Later we will discuss stains found on  various parts of the body: there the law is different and the stains are added together)

 Please note: a stain is measured according to those parts which are  reddish or dark brown and therefore it is possible for a woman to see a large  stain (larger than a penny) of a very pale brown color or even a clean looking  color, and inside that stain or on the outer edges could be other reddish parts  which would actually add up to less than a penny, and therefore the woman would  not be Nida. The shape o f the stain does not matter: it could be long, round,  etc. The total area is measured, not the  shape.

 But remember; the color of the stain makes a difference. You may find a  large stain, larger than a penny, but it is a very pale brown color or perhaps a  pale orange color or perhaps a color which is hard to determine….to your eyes,  you may think it is red or pink, but it is very important to show stains to a  Rav to determine the color because many stains are kosher. Until you are very  experienced with colors, never assume a stain is not good. Always ask and you  will be quite surprised about many answers.

However, if underwear or sheets are colored (any color other than  white) , and during the days that a woman is permitted to her husband she should  make a practice to wear only colored undergarments, then a stain larger than a  penny would generally be okay as long as it is not the usual time for her period  or she does not have an actual flow of blood (ie. the staining is not too much).  Of course a real flow of blood (more than simply staining or spotting) would
cause her to be Nida unless the bleeding is definitely known to come from  another cause (ie. Cervical polyps etc.). The cervix is connected to the womb  but bleeding from the outer area of the cervix does not render a woman Nida.
However, if a woman has constant spotting she must consult a Rav. If a doctor  ascertains that there is a cervical injury or problem, then spotting could be  attributed to that.

This is why during the days she is permissible to her husband she  should wear colored underwear. It is not necessary to wear black underwear or  very dark colors, although a woman may do so if she prefers that. The reason one
does not have to wear black is that if she experiences more than a little  staining and she has actual bleeding, if the underwear is so dark that she could  not see the color, she may have to assume she is Nida. If she can see the color  and determine it is perhaps light brown or whatever, then she may not have to  assume she is Nida. A Rav should of course be consulted concerning all of these  matters.

Please  note:
If a woman finds a stain on her colored underwear or sees a discharge which has  a reddish hue to it (ie. sometimes she may discharge semen or some mucous which  has some brownish or reddish color mixed with it), she should NOT wipe off the
stain with toilet paper or any other white cloth to determine if it is actually  blood or to see the actual color. She should consult a Rav if she is unsure  about anything

 ALSO  PLEASE NOTE:
IF ONE SEES A STAIN EITHER ON HER UNDERGARMENTS, CLOTHING, TOILET PAPER OR BODY,  ONE SHOULD NEVER MAKE A BEDIKA. ONE SHOULD ALWAYS ASK A RAV FIRST BECAUSE DOING  A BEDIKA AND FINDING A REDDISH COLOR WOULD RENDER HER NIDA , BUT OFTEN STAINS ON  CLOTHING, UNDERWEAR OR TOILET PAPER WOULD BE DECLARED CLEAN BY A RAV. SO ALWAYS  ASK THE RAV: DO NOT DO A BEDIKA ON YOUR OWN!

 Concerning blood stains on her clothing: if the clothing are colored  then it is the same law as for colored underwear. If the clothing is white and  she finds a blood stain yet she did not find any stain on her underwear, a Rav  should be consulted. However, if she does find a stain on white clothing, even  if her underwear are colored yet she also had some staining on her underwear,  she could be Nida if the stain is larger than a penny and also depending upon  whether or not the clothing could have come in contact with the vaginal area  (and at times even sleeves could come in contact with the vaginal area, ie. when
wiping herself after using the toilet etc.). One also should take into  consideration whether she handled any type of food or product that could have  been responsible for the stains on her  clothing.
 If the garment she is wearing is a mixture of white and other colors,  if the stain or even part of the stain is on the white part, she has to measure  the size. On the colored area she can ignore  it.

 In all cases of doubt a Rav should be consulted. It also depends  whether or not there is anything reliable to attribute a stain on clothing to:  ie. if she was cutting up meat and it may have splattered on her clothes etc.  Why is blood on a colored garment "acceptable"? By Torah law, only on white  (which is symbolic of purity) are we obligated to take notice of blood. This is  Torah law. We do not have to be holier than God asks us to be. Many times  bleeding may not actually be Nida blood and therefore we wear colored garments  to make things less complicated and reduce the risk of rendering oneself Nida  needlessly. Of course if a woman stains constantly even when wearing colored  undergarments, she must speak to a Rav to determine her status. Speaking with a  Rav is always helpful as very often the Rav can offer useful advice to help the  woman retain her pure status as much as possible. One should never assume she is  Nida without asking an expert.

 WHAT  ABOUT BLOOD STAINS FOUND ON THE LOWER BODY? (IE. THIGHS, LEGS)
 If a stain which is not attributable to an actual cause (ie. scratching  a mosquito bite or some other injury etc.) is found on the inner thighs or inner  calves of the legs or on the upper toes, ankles or heels and is more than the  size of a penny, the woman would generally be considered Nida. If it is less  than a penny, then the woman would not be considered Nida. A Rav could be  contacted in case of any doubt or if the woman feels this blood is not blood  from her uterus. Blood stains found on the outside of the legs or thigh would  generally not render a woman Nida, nor would stains found on the front or back  surface of the thigh or calf as it would be unusual for blood to fall on those  parts of the body. The law for stains found on the body is slightly different  than the law for stains found on a garment. On garments separate stains are not  added together. On the body, however, if there are several small stains that can be attributed to the same source (assumed to be from the womb)  then  they are added together to see if the size is still less than a penny. If so, it  is fine and she is still pure. If not and the stains added together would equal more than the surface area of a penny, she would generally be considered Nida. But there is room to be  lenient even here if the stains are of a questionable color (ie. a light brown)  or if the stains are all very separate and each one is less than the size of a  penny. Of course if she has something to attribute the bleeding to (ie. she scratched a mosquito bite and it was bleeding or she had some scratch or cut) then she would not be nieda.  But in all cases of doubt (for example, if a woman wears underwear  constantly day and night and sees no stain on them and finds a stain only on her  legs, it may be attributable to something else) a Rav should be  consulted. The laws of stains are complex and it is best to ask a Rav if you are not sure.

 Please note; blood found on the hands is also a little different .  Since hands are always busy and there are many things that could cause a woman  to come in contact with blood during the day (ie. a nosebleed, a scratch,  cooking meat etc. etc.) then blood stains on hands are not added together . As  long as each stain is less than a penny, it is fine. A bloodstain on the back of  the hand or on the wrist or forearm would generally not render a woman Nida  since those areas generally do not come in contact with the vaginal  area.

 WHAT  COLORS OF BLOOD RENDER A WOMAN DEFINITELY NIDA?
 Red or black are Nida colors, even if dried up particles. Red which is  found on a white colored garment if it is less than the size of a gris (a US  penny) is still pure. But black, even if it is smaller than a gris may render a  woman nida. A Rav should be consulted when finding a black color on a white  underwear. Gray can also be a problem but is not a very common color generally  to find . Pink is usually a Nida color but if it is very pale it should be shown  to a Rav for determination . Sometimes it is really pale orange, or light brown which are okay. 
There are many shades of brown: if brown is more reddish, or a rusty red color,  it can be a problem.  A dark brown like coffee without milk must be shown to a  Rav. A Rav must be consulted until a couple can realize what is considered light  brown, dark brown etc. 

 WHAT  COLORS ARE DEFINITELY CLEAN?
 Any green, blue, white or pale yellow color do not render a woman Nida.  If a stain is light brown immediately upon exiting the body, it is definitely  clean. Very light brown on underwear is always ruled as kosher. But if a stain  on a bedika cloth looks pinkish and then becomes light brown later, that has to  be looked at by a Rav.

 WHAT  COLORS ARE QUESTIONABLE AND REQUIRE THE DETERMINATION OF A RAV?
Very dark yellow (which has a slightly reddish or orange hue), other shades of  brown such as dark brown , and other pale colors which are hard to determine  exactly (they may look a bit orange or a bit pink and yet be unclear). Certain shades of blood do not signify internal bleeding and would not render a woman  Nida. For example, the uterus may be healing and there could be a brownish  discharge. But it is sometimes hard to determine the different shades of brown:
there is a coffee color, chocolate color, dark brown color etc. That is why a  Rav needs to be consulted. Certain shades of brown are kosher and certain shades  of brown are not. A Rav would be able to say if the shade of brown is pure or if it indicates actual internal bleeding. Usually the redder or darker the color,  the more of a problem it is.
Generally very light brown is okay. A brown  color which is like milk chocolate  or coffee with milk is okay. A chestnut  color is also generally okay.
Many times two stains may look very similar to our eyes. A Rav may  declare one stain clean and the other unclean. There can be very slight  differences which a Rav is trained to observe. It is important to always ask  when in doubt.

 In order not to feel embarrassed when asking a Rav, you can put the  bedika cloths or underwear in an envelope with details as to which day or exam  it is from along with your phone number and put it in his mailbox, or you can  give it to his wife or have your husband bring it to the Rav. If a person lives  far from a Rav, it is good to call on the phone to determine whether or not a  shayla must actually be sent in and if so it can often be sent via overnight  mail etc.

 WHAT  ABOUT BLOOD STAINS FOUND ON TOILET PAPER? Here the law is a bit different. Generally a small stain (even if it is  slightly larger than a penny) is acceptable on toilet paper if the woman merely  wiped herself normally (without inserting the toilet paper internally at all).  Also it is important to wait at least 30 seconds before wiping after urination to avoid problems.  However, since the laws of finding a stain after urination are complex, many  Rabbonim advise that in general a woman should avoid looking at toilet paper but  of course if she feels that her flow began it is necessary to look to see if she is truly nidda. Blood seen in toilet water (as long as there is no blood found anywhere else, such as on toilet paper or underwear or the body) does not usually render a woman nida because water is not mekabel tumah (does not receive impurity).  So if after urination you notice blood in the toilet water, you would not necessarily be nida . However, if it is a large amount of blood a Rav must be consulted and often it is advisable to wait a day to see if your period actually begins because it could mean one's period is soon going to start. So if you do see actual blood in the toilet water which you cannot attribute to anything , then you should wait a day before having marital relations just to be sure your period is not beginning. But all of this should be discussed with a Rav.
sometimes a reddish color in the water is not from blood but could be because you ate beets. Yes, beets can create a red color in urination, or when having a bowel movement. 
If you do see blood in the toilet, do not do a bedika. In general if you find stains etc. do not do a bedika without asking a Rav if you should do so. But of course if you did do a bedika and the bedika was clean then there is no problem of nida at all. 

The  general rule when looking at toilet paper should be the  following:
After urination, she should NOT wipe herself immediately and certainly  not while there is still some dripping. She should wait about 15 to 30 seconds  before wiping so that any stain found would be less problematic. (The reason it is not so problematic this way is because urination could mask the feeling of the womb opening and in past generations , when women could differentiate the feeling of the womb opening, wiping immediately after urination created definite shaylas if a stain was found. Nowadays we no longer really know what the womb opening feels like, nevertheless we are still strict about stains found immediately after urination. that is why the Rabbonim advise never to wipe right after urination and not to look at paper that is used immediately after urination unless you wait the minimum time of around 30 seconds).
If she sees a very large stain of a very red color on her toilet paper, she must consult a Rav. If she finds a smaller  stain (even if larger than the size of a gris (a penny) it is not usually a  problem. A large size, even around the size of a quarter, is also not really a  problem on toilet paper if there is no flow and it is not the time she is  expecting her period. But in any case of doubt, one should speak with a Rav. One  would be surprised how very often things that we think are problematic are  really not. A woman’s mind would be at ease if she consults a Rav and does not  make her own decisions on matters she is not sure  about.
However, if a woman was in a rush and wiped herself in haste, before  she was even finished urinating, then any size stain could be a problem and a  Rav must be consulted.

During the time that a woman is permitted to her husband  (after tevilah), women who have problems with staining often line their  underwear with toilet paper (or panty liners) since a stain coming out directly  on the toilet paper lining would not allow the woman to become Nida (unless of  course it is an actual flow of blood or her period really started). A small  amount of blood which comes out directly onto toilet paper which is lining one’s  underwear, would not cause one to become unclean, even if the stain looks quite  large, even larger than the amount of three american quarters (as long as there is not a true flow of blood) . In any case of doubt a  Rav should be consulted.
 Most rabbonim permit a woman to use panty liners (same idea as toilet  paper) during her seven clean days whether or not she has difficulty with  staining problems, and even if she finds a stain which is larger than a penny  (as long as it is not larger than the size of about three quarters) then she  would still remain clean as long as the panty liner is very thin and is made out of paper material. Therefore, if women do prefer using panty liners during their seven  clean days, they do not have to be so concerned with the idea of a stain being  larger or smaller than a gris. That only applies to stains on white underwear (a  material that is mekabel tumah).  But it is advisable when using panty liners to change the liners often so new stains do not fall upon old stains causing confusion as to the size, color etc. If there are any questionable sizes or colors, save the panty liners to show a Rav. 
Certainly when a woman has problems with excessive staining, then she  is permitted to use panty liners or to line her underwear with toilet paper  during her seven clean days. Please note, however, that since blood can get  absorbed into panty liners or pads, if there is a considerable amount of blood or stains then one must take into account the idea that some could be absorbed in the pad  and therefore one should consult a Rav and even show him the panty liners if one  is unsure as to how much staining is actually taking place. If the staining is  excessive then it may be considered bleeding and one would be  Nida.
The reason a larger size stain is permissible on toilet paper (or panty  liners made of a paper type of material) is because paper is not mekabel tumah,  it is not a material that becomes unclean, and therefore if a stain is found on  toilet paper lining the underwear, it is not a problem if it is not an excessive  size and even if the toilet paper is white.  As long as it is just staining and not an actual flow then on an inferior quality paper such as toilet paper or panty liners the stain would not be so significant. Howeve , as mentioned before, this applies only if the woman  merely wiped herself normally after urination and she found a stain on the  toilet paper which is not very large. That would generally not be a problem. But if she wiped immediately after urination or even in the middle of urination and she found a stain, she must consult a Rav. If a woman is not sure about anything, she should ask a Rav. You can even save  the toilet paper to show the Rav.

 Some Rabbonim advise that during the clean days, it is better not to use pink colored toilet  paper as little particles could remain on her body and cause confusion on a  bedika cloth at the time she makes her bedikas. If one sees a stain of blood on  toilet paper the day one is expecting one’s period to begin (dates are discussed  later), one should consult a rav. One generally is not nida if the amount is not  too much, but one has to be careful and watch to see what  develops.

 Same thing if one begins spotting a few days before one’s period  begins: one does not really become nida if the spotting is on colored underwear  or on toilet paper and is not too much. However, it is advisable to avoid  intercourse if it is close to the time of one’s period if she already sees  staining. She should wait to see what develops. But one does not have to avoid touching or handing things to each other until the period actually  begins.

 However, if the spotting or staining is excessive (ie. very large  stains of a dark or bright red color etc. or constant staining) then one would  most likely be considered nida even if the actual flow did not begin yet. A Rav  should be consulted in any cases of doubt.

 Please  note:
Do not use toilet papers for bedikas at all as that also creates a problem and  could render the woman unclean if the toilet paper is actually inserted  internally . Toilet paper is not valid for a bedika  anyway!

 After tevila (after immersion in the mikvah) one changes to colored  underwear but one may also use panty liners. The panty liners do not have to be  colored. The same halacha is for panty liners as during the seven clean days:  stains up to the size of about three quarters are permissible. More than that  should be shown to a Rav.

 WHAT  MUST A WOMAN DO IF SHE BECOMES NIDA (EITHER THROUGH HAVING HER NORMAL PERIOD or  THROUGH STAINING ETC)? 
 She must separate from her husband: in other words, they must not sleep  on the same bed anymore and they must not have marital relations in any form or  any physical contact. She must wait until all bleeding stops, do a hefsik tahara  exam and then count seven consecutive days referred to as seven clean days  (whereby she checks herself internally twice a day, morning and afternoon) to  determine that she has no further staining or bleeding. On the conclusion of the  seventh day of her seven day count, she then prepares herself to immerse in a  kosher mikvah. After her immersion she is permitted to her husband  again.

There are several rules of conduct which husband and wife must observe  during the time that she is nida and which are briefly enumerated  below:

 All marital relations in any manner are forbidden. The husband and wife  may not even touch each other. The reason for all the following restrictions is  so that the couple will not be tempted to be intimate with each other since  contact leads to intimacy. Anything which could even slightly arouse one’s  passions or bring one to thoughts of intimacy is not allowed. The husbands in  particular need constant reminders that their wives are not available during  these times. The wife should not sing in front of her husband. The husband  cannot see any part of his wife’s body which is normally covered. Of course the  wife also should not see her husband undressed but it is more difficult for a  man if he sees his wife uncovered since a man’s passions are more easily  aroused.

 Husband and wife must sleep on separate beds (beds that are not joined  in any way or touching at all: they should be far enough apart, preferably at  least arm’s length). The distance should preferably be at least 50 cm. Nothing  is permitted to connect the beds such as a headboard even if the beds are  technically separate. if they usually have one large bed it is necessary to have  a second bed or mattress for the times of nida

 A man should not sit or lie on his wife’s bed unless she is out of  town. It is preferable that the woman not make the beds in front of her husband  as well. A woman may sit or lie on her husband’s bed but not in his  presence.

 The couple should not directly hand anything to each other (even a  newborn baby). The object or child can be handed through a third party or first  put down and then picked up by the other person. It is also not correct to throw  objects to one another directly, but one may throw an object straight up in the  air and the other person may catch it. The husband may bring a baby to his wife  to nurse in her bed but he may not put the baby on her lap nor hand the baby  directly to her. He may place the baby on the bed near her  however.

 A woman may attend to all her husband’s needs if he is seriously ill  and unable to care for himself properly even if it means handing things to him,  but if she can avoid handing him anything, it is of course preferable to do so .  She should avoid touching him directly if at all possible (ie. better to touch  him by holding a garment and touching him with the garment etc.) She should  avoid pouring water over him if possible. If her husband only has a headache or  a minor illness she may not hand things to him etc. There is an opinion that the  couple can prepare negelvasser for each other.

If a woman is seriously ill her husband may tend to her needs and may  possibly hand medications to her etc. but he should not touch his wife directly  if it is at all possible to avoid doing so. If it is unavoidable, he should try  to use a garment to touch her rather than direct contact. Husband and wife must  not sit closely together on one couch or on the same car seat. If an object or a  child is between them it is okay. The idea is that they should not touch. On a  moving swing or a couch that is very moveable and bouncy one must exercise more  caution and be very careful not to sit near each other or even sit on that swing
or couch at the same time.

 They should not eat alone at the same table unless something unusual  (such as different placemats or different salt shakers etc.) are on the table to  remind them she is Nida or they change seats or something similar to that to  make a difference from usual. That is again to keep them conscious of the fact  that she is Nida so they will not come to any sort of behavior which could lead  to intimacy.

The couple may not eat from the same plate or drink from the same cup.  A husband may eat of his wife’s leftovers only if she left the room or if he is  not aware they are her leftovers or if they are transferred to another plate or  someone else ate of them in between. A woman may eat of her husband’s leftovers.
If a couple is traveling somewhere and they buy a soda, the husband should drink  first and then he can give the remainder to his wife to drink even though it is  from the same can or bottle.

 If there is a central bowl, such as popcorn, husband and wife cannot  eat from that same central bowl unless they take out the popcorn and eat it from  their hand or transfer it to another plate, or if someone eats in between then  them each time then they can eat from the same  bowl.

 A husband cannot pour a drink for his wife nor can she pour for him  unless she does it in a different manner than usual. The same applies to placing  food in front of her husband. (ie she should do so with her left hand if she is  right handed). A husband cannot designate a specific cup of wine for his wife,  even from Kiddush.

 A woman must be extremely modest in front of her husband (ie. He should  not see her nursing a baby unless she is thoroughly covered: ie . with a blanket  etc.). The couple should not exhibit any sort of frivolous or flirtatious  behavior or talk either. A wife should not put on too much make up or perfume  that would be very noticeable so as not to draw attention to herself.

There are some men who find the Nida time difficult and may react by  ignoring their wives or even by getting angry. Some women get nervous and angry  as well. But once the couple knows this is just the person’s way of handling the  relationship at this time they will not feel upset or insulted. Because of the  discipline and restraint required during the time of Nida, the time of reunion  becomes a more romantic experience. The couple experiences a feeling of  accomplishment and spiritual unity.

 WHAT  IS A HEFSIK TAHARA AND HOW DOES A WOMAN COUNT 7 CLEAN DAYS? 
On the fifth day from the start of her period (or fourth day, if the  couple are sephardic), or any day thereafter when bleeding has stopped  completely, before sunset the woman must wash her lower body (either in a bath  or a shower or in whatever way is available to her) to remove old stains etc.  She can douche if she wants to as well. Then it is preferable to wait ten minutes or so to allow for drying. The bedika is then done either sitting on the  toilet or standing with one leg elevated on the edge of the toilet or bathtub  etc.  I would suggest sitting on the toilet because it is far easier to insert the cloth. Certainly for a kallah ( a new bride) i would recommend sitting on the toilet to facilitate the bedikas. This first bedika is one of the most important and must be thorough. She examines  herself internally by inserting the bekida cloth into her vagina as far as she  can comfortably and then she rotates the cloth slowly and checks in all folds  and crevices to be sure there are no more stains which could interfere with her  counting the seven days. She removes the cloth and looks at it by daylight to  see if there are any colors on it. If no stains of questionable color  are discovered, or if she sees only a clean color, then she is ready to begin counting the seven clean days  starting from the next morning.

 In other words, the seven clean days only BEGIN from the day AFTER the  hefsik tahara. The hefsik tahara is NOT part of the seven clean days. Some women  make a mistake and think that the hefsik tahara exam is the first exam of the  seven clean days and hence they err and immerse in the mikvah one day early,  which is NOT kosher. Therefore it is very important to keep this point very  clear: the hefsik tahara is a separate exam to determine if bleeding has ended.
The seven clean days begin from the next day, the day AFTER the hefsik tahara.  So if a woman makes her hefsik tahara on Sunday night, Monday morning would  begin the first of the seven clean days and Monday would be the first day. Hence  her seventh day would be the following Sunday and she would immerse on Sunday  night.

 If she does find stains during the hefsik tahara exam, she may keep  trying to make bedikas until one exam comes out clean, up until sunset (meaning  while it is still daylight, before the sun goes down: around the time of  lighting Shabbos candles).

 If the woman is clean and the hefsik tahara is fine, there is a custom  to then insert another prechecked bedika cloth before sundown and leave it in  until it is dark or until at least about half an hour after sunset (after shekia  time). This is called a moch d’chok exam. This is a praiseworthy custom and part  of the proper and careful observance of taharat hamishpacha, but if it was  omitted it will not generally invalidate the counting of the seven clean days.  This extra moch cloth is actually to determine beyond a doubt that bleeding has  really ended. However, if she omits inserting this second bedika cloth (the moch  d’chok) it is okay and her immersion is still valid. If she had an actual flow  of blood the day that she makes her hefsik tahara, then that additional cloth  assumes more importance and it is more advisable to do the moch. But again, if  somehow for whatever reason it was not done, her seven clean days would still be  valid. If she had to try several times in a row to do bedikas before finding a  clean color, it is not absolutely necessary to insert another cloth (the moch  d’chok) if she finds it difficult or irritating to do so, but it is a good idea  and praiseworthy to do so in order to be assured that all bleeding or internal  staining has really stopped.
 After the moch is removed it may be examined by artificial light: if it  looks clean it may be discarded. If the woman is unsure about the color, she  must save the cloth to be examined the next morning by daylight . However, if a  woman has any sort of problem (such as any injury that could be aggravated by  the cloth being left inside, or even if she has an injury to the anal area or a  condition such as ulcerative colitis whereby she bleeds often from the colon,  since this could cause confusion if any blood gets on the bedika cloth , she is  not obligated to do the moch as sometimes leaving the cloth inside can aggravate
things and cause bleeding , or if there is some blood on the outside area  because of some injury or problem, it might also get on the bedika cloth by  mistake when she removes it thus causing an unnecessary shayla since one would  not be able to know for sure what that blood is from. A Rav would generally  advise against doing the moch in such a case).

 Please make a note clearly that If the moch bedika was forgotten or  omitted, it does not make the seven clean days invalid, whereas omitting a  hefsek tahara exam DOES invalidate the counting of the seven clean days. And if  a woman did do a successful hefsik tahara exam and a moch and then somehow she  had some staining that rendered her nida again during one of the subsequent  seven clean days and she has to begin to count again, she DOES have to make a  new hefsek tahara, but she does NOT have to repeat the  moch.
Any questionable color on either a hefsik tahara cloth or a moch cloth  would have to be shown to a Rav.
If the cloth from the hefsik tahara (and moch) is clean then she can  begin counting the seven clean days from the NEXT  morning.
 It is advisable for a woman to make a bedika sometime during the day on  the day that she would be doing her hefsik tahara (for example on the fifth day  after her period). If she did do a proper bedika during the day (ie. around noon  time for example) and it was clean and then the rest of the day she had no flow  of blood, if somehow she was unable to check herself again closer to sundown, or  she forgot to check again, that initial exam could still count as her hefsik  tahara exam. A woman I know personally used to forget all the time to do her  hefsik tahara at the proper time and she would be late and have to wait until  the next day…a Rav advised her to make a habit of doing a hefsik tahara bedika  earlier, around noon time, and he told her that would count as her hefsik tahara  as long as she did not have any bleeding later on in the day. If she saw some  stains on her underwear she should consult a Rav but if the stains are not  large, it would most likely not be a problem. If a woman was unable to make any  bedika during the day and the first bedika she made was after shekia (the time for lighting the Shabbos candles) that is fine as long as she is within the 18  minutes from shekia time to sunset. If she makes a bedika after actual sunset,  then a Rav must be consulted: it depends upon how many minutes after shekia the  bedika was done, or if this was the first bedika done during that day, whether  there was any bleeding that day or not, etc. etc. But never assume that a bedika  is made too late and the woman would have to wait until the next day. Always ask a competent rabbi.

 After a succesful hefsik tahara exam, the woman should change to clean  white underwear and she should wear white underwear during the entire time that  she is counting the seven clean days. (If she is somewhere and she is unable to  get white underwear, she may use clean lightly colored underwear. It will not invalidate your seven day count if you do not have white underwear available but in general  white underwear must be used and that is the proper procedure for counting the seven clean days). If a woman does not sleep with underwear, she  must use clean white sheets on her beds and preferably a white nightgown. It is  customary for women to put on white sheets if possible when beginning to count  the seven clean days even if they wear white undergarments to sleep. If she  cannot put on white sheets for some reason, then at least the sheets should be  clean and a light color. If she is traveling or somewhere that she does not have  access to white underwear, she should at least wear a clean pair of underwear  which is as light colored as possible until she can change to white. Not having  white underwear or white sheets or a white nightgown will NOT invalidate the  seven day count as long as she does the necessary bedikas and does not have any  staining which renders her impure (meaning a certain amount of staining or color etc.)

 The woman begins from the morning after the hefsik tahara exam to count  7 consecutive days free of bleeding or staining which could render her Nida. She  should check herself twice each day (once in the morning and one in the  afternoon before, and as close to sunset, as possible). Each day she should say  aloud which day it is so she does not lose
track.

 The first three days free of blood establish a chazaka in Hebrew which  means it gives a strength to it and therefore once three consecutive days go by  without bleeding or staining that would render her Nida, the last four of the  seven days are less problematic.

 On the conclusion of the seventh day, she must bathe and prepare  herself to immerse in the mikvah. Only after this ritual immersion is she  permitted to resume marital relations with her  husband.

 It is permissible to swim and take a bath in a tub during the seven  clean days, but the woman should wait at least fifteen minutes after that before  making a bedika. It is preferable on the first and last of the seven clean days  to make her first bedika BEFORE swimming or  bathing.

THERE ARE SOME WOMEN WHO SOMETIMES HAVE DIFFICULTY COUNTING THEIR SEVEN  CLEAN DAYS DUE TO CONSTANT SPOTTING OR STAINING. WHEN THEY DO BEDIKAS THEY OFTEN  FIND STAINS WHICH RENDER THEM NIDA OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND THEY MAY FIND IT VERY  PROBLEMATIC TO CHECK THEMSELVES TWICE A DAY AND COUNT ALL SEVEN DAYS IN A ROW.
IN SUCH A CASE, SOMETIMES THERE ARE PROBLEMS WITH STAINS ON THE WHITE UNDERWEAR.  IN ALL SUCH CASES, THERE ARE LENIENCIES AS TO HOW TO COUNT THE SEVEN CLEAN DAYS  (AND THESE LENIENCIES ARE DESCRIBED IN DETAIL THROUGHOUT THIS BOOKLET). IF ONE  DOES HAVE TO RESORT TO THESE LENIENCIES SOMETIMES, ONE NEED NOT FEEL THAT THE  MITZVA HAS NOT BEEN DONE PROPERLY. BELOW IS THE REASON WHY THERE IS ROOM FOR
SUCH LENIENCIES IN JEWISH LAW:

 There is a positive command to eat in a Succah. The minimum that one  can eat in the succah is an olive size of bread during the first night of  Succot. However, the more that one eats and does things in the succah, the more  he is fulfilling the positive command of living in a succah during succot. If  one picks up a lulov on succot and then immediately puts it down, he has  fulfilled the minimum requirement of the mitzvah of Succah. I f one shakes it in  all directions, holds it during Hallel and hoshanot he has fulfilled more of the  positive command of succot. If however a great loss would be involved, or sholom
bayit, we would tell the person not to fulfill the mitzvah in its fullest form  since when it causes undue distress one can rely on the  minimum.

 The Torah teaches us that when women bleed they have a mitzvah to  “count” seven clean days. How does one fulfill the mitzvah of“counting” seven  clean days? By doing actions [bedikot] to ascertain that she is indeed clean.
Each time that she makes a bedika she is fulfilling the mitzvah of counting the  seven days. The least amount that one can do of bedikot to be considered that  she has ascertained seven clean days, is by doing the hefsek tahara exam, and  one exam on the first and one on the seventh. The complete mitzvah of course is  to ascertain the cleanliness by doing bedikot twice a day for seven days. But in  a case where this will cause great hardship, one can rely on doing the minimum  amount of bedikot to ascertain the cleanliness. Just like many many other  halachot in the Torah, when there is a defined difficulty, we can rely on doing  the minimum but if the difficulty does not exist, then we are commanded to  perform the mitzvah in its entirety.
Therefore, if by performing the mitzvah in its entirety it will cause  that she will not be with her husband for a normal amount of time, she may do  less “ascertaining” even though each time she does ascertain she is performing a  mitzvah, just like by the succah that each time one eats or shakes the lulov one  is performing a mitzvah. But if eating a meal now would cause a great loss of  money, we would tell the person don’t eat in the succah now since one does not  have to do so in this circumstance.
 The same with the bedikot. A woman will become tahor (pure) if she does  the minimum, but if there will not be a defined problem, she should do her best  to perform the mitzvah in its complete form.

 Examples  of some difficulties women may encounter at times: there can be problems with  excessive spotting during the counting of the seven clean days. Sometimes a  woman may find it hard to begin counting her seven clean days before 10, 11, or  even more days have gone by from the start of her period. The reason may be due
to stains on the bedika cloth or stains on her white undergarment. If this is  the case, then Rabbonim allow the woman to put on colored underwear (not very  pale colors such as light beige etc, but a color such as blue, green, yellow  etc.) and to line the underwear with toilet paper (a napkin or paper towel is  also permissible). Stains that fall on that paper (as long as each stain is not  larger than about the size of three American quarters) would be okay and would  not render the woman impure. So the Rabbonim would advise the woman to make a  clean hefsik tahara and then the next day to make one bedika only (she should  try to determine which part of the day she is more likely to be clean: she may  realize she stains mostly in the afternoon and thus should make her bedika in  the morning, or vice versa). She should do one bedika that first day and if it  is okay, then she should wear the colored undergarment for the remainder of her  seven clean days, lining the underwear with toilet paper as well whenever  possible. Then on the last day (the seventh day) she has to make one bedika as  well and if that is clean she can tovel and be pure for her husband. This is not  something to do in general but only if one is having difficulty with staining.
 
 
If a woman has continuous staining or even intermittent staining during her  seven clean days and she is perhaps not even able to do bedikas during the seven  clean days (other than the first day and seventh day when at least one bedika on  each day is mandatory) if after making  a bedika on the seventh day she sees it is okay but during the course of the day she still sees that she continues staining, she should not check herself  further but she should consult a Rav before tevila to see how to proceed.  Sometimes the Rav may tell her to tovel but wait a few hours before relations to be sure there is no further staining. 
However, if she tovels and  she does not feel that she is staining anymore after tevila (or if on the  seventh day she did not see any further staining after doing her last bedika),  then after tevila she need not look or worry about anything. She can be with her  husband without worry.  She should remember to wear only colored underwear though and to use  colored sheets on her bed all the time that she is permitted to her husband..

Women who have a lot of problems with  staining should look into possible vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Some people  are helped with a multi vitamin, calcium and vitamin C. Some are helped with  various herbal remedies. 

WHAT  IF DURING THE SEVEN CLEAN DAYS ONE FORGETS TO MAKE A BEDIKA ON ANY OF THE SEVEN  DAYS OR SKIPS A BEDIKA? 
A
s discussed previously, during the seven clean days one should examine  oneself twice a day: once in the morning and once in the afternoon before  sunset. However, as long as the woman makes a hefsik tahara exam and then at  least one thorough exam on the first day and one thorough exam on the seventh  day, the rest of the days are valid.
 It is also advisable to make at least one other exam during the seven  clean days (Ie. the fourth day or something like that). The reason is that if a  woman got mixed up and forgot to make her bedika on the seventh day, she would  have to being counting all her seven days again! But if she made a bedika on the  fourth day, for example, then that could be considered the first day of her  seven clean days and she would just have to add a few more days to make up the  seven day count.

 If a woman forgot to make the first day’s bedika, but she did a  successful hefsik tahara , then she would have to consult a Rav how to proceed.  But in general she must make the first day’s bedika the next day (which would  have been day 2 of the seven day count as long as she did not have any staining  or problems during the original first day which would have rendered her nida  again)and she must continue thereafter with her remaining bedikas. However,  please note: if that happens, then the rule that the same day as she does her  hefsik would be her night of tevila (immersion in the mikah) no longer applies  since the tevila night would be moved ahead one more night, so it would be a  night later. In other words, if she made her successful hefsik tahara on Sunday  night but forgot to make any bedika on Monday, as long as on Monday she did not  have any bleeding or staining that would render her nida, then she would make  her first day’s bedika on Tuesday morning and would count that as her first day  of the seven clean days and then count the remaining seven days, thus making her
tevila to come out Monday night instead of Sunday  night.

 Rav Moshe Feinstein rules that if a woman sees a stain on her underwear  during the seven clean days, she may skip that day’s bedikas. However, she must  not skip making at least one exam (bedika) on the first day and one on the last  day unless a Rav specifically instructs her to do so and in what way to do so.  So what happens if she finds a stain on her underwear in the morning of the  first of the seven clean days, before she makes a  bedika?
For example, if a woman makes a successful hefsik tahara on Sunday  night, for example, and the next morning she sees some small staining on her  white underwear which would not render her nida, she may decide to skip that  day’s bedikas completely so as not to risk messing up her seven day count. In  that case she could also begin counting her seven clean days from the following  morning, Tuesday morning. But again her tevila would be one day later than  usual.
 In any such complicated situation, she it is best to speak with a  Rav.

 If she forgets to make any exam on the seventh day , it is a huge  problem and she may be required to count over the entire seven days. However, a  Rav should be consulted in such a case: sometimes the rav will ask questions  which may allow the woman a possibility of immersing. So it is imperative to  speak with a Rav.
For example, if a woman forgot to do any bedika on the 7th day and she  did make a bedika on the 2nd day of her seven day count, the second day could  count as day one of her seven clean days and then she would be required to make  a bedika the next day after the 7th day (in other words what now is the 8th day)  and that could count as her seventh day so she could immerse on at night  following the 8th day. However, if for some reason she omitted any bedika on the  second day of her seven clean days, then a Rav must be consulted and it is  possible she may have to count anew her entire seven clean days. In general if  she forgets an exam on either the first or seventh day of the seven clean days,  she should consult a Rav for advice.

 And in general it must be emphasized that a woman must be sure to do at  least one exam on the first and seventh days of her seven clean days, whenever  she does actually start the seven day count. It is very important to be careful  NOT to miss at least one exam on the first of the seven clean days and one exam  on the seventh of the seven clean days. So even if she started her seven day  count a day later than she intended, whatever day she starts becomes her first  day and she must make a bedika that day. And of course she must make a bedika on  the seventh day.

 Please note: if a woman sees a stain on her underwear on either the  first or seventh day of her seven clean days (when it is obligatory to make at  least one internal exam) it is advisable if possible to consult a Rav before  making any bedika as he often can instruct her how to best make the bedika, what  time to make it etc. so she will not disturb her successful counting or the  timing of her tevila. If she cannot reach a Rav, the procedure she can follow if  she notices a stain on her underwear which is small and would not render her  nida on the morning of the seventh clean day, for example, is the following: she  should skip the morning’s bedika and do a bedika in the afternoon instead. Or at  least she should wait a few hours from the time she sees the stain until she  makes the bedika. She can do the bedika anytime during the daylight hours: it  does not have to be late in the afternoon if she skips the morning  bedika.
Or if she made a bedika in the morning and it was good, and then in the  afternoon or midday she notices some staining on her underwear, she can skip the  afternoon bedika. As long as she does at least one bedika on the first day and  one on the seventh, her seven clean days would still be valid and  kosher.

However, in case one may be tempted to take a lenient stand and feel it  is okay to just do a hefsik tahara and one exam on the first day and one on the  last all the time, even if one is not experiencing difficulties counting one’s  seven clean days, I would like to take a moment to explain an important  concept.

 Although that is the minimal halachic requirement and one’s seven clean  days would still be valid this way, nevertheless, when a woman performs a  mitzvah in a way of hidur (enhancement, beyond the letter of the law) this  brings a reciprocal response from Above whereby Hashem showers His chesed and  blessings to the woman and her family, and in fact to all the Jewish nation, in  this merit. Performing a mitzvah beyond the minimal halachic requirements shows  a true love of Hashem and of His mitzvoth which in turn arouses Hashem’s love  for the Jewish people and this brings down tremendous blessings to the  world.
Therefore, unless one is really having a problem counting one’s seven  clean days, it is not proper to avoid doing bedikas during the seven clean days.  In fact, an angel collects each bedika cloth and declares the woman pure, which  does have a beneficial affect upon a child conceived from that union after the  woman goes to the mikvah, and therefore doing bedikas is an important part of  the seven clean days. If someone forgets or is out of the house and unable to  perform one of the bedikas, then it is okay if she omits some bedikas, as long  as she does a hefsik tahara and at least one exam on the first day and one came  on the last day. But the woman who takes her time to perform this mitzvah in the  best manner by checking herself twice a day for each of the seven clean days, is  definitely praiseworthy. As we know, the time of nida is a time of tumah and  spiritual impurity. When a woman checks herself each day, removing impurity and  growing in kedusha until the culmination of the time of her tevila in the  mikvah, then she breaks many impure forces and this brings purity to the world.
The benefits of this mitzvah are not only for herself and her family, but even  has good affects for all the Jewish people. As we know any mitzvah done carefully brings blessings to all the Jewish nation and can in fact bring health  and healing and kindness to the Jewish people everywhere, spiritually and  physically.

 WHAT  IF A WOMAN DOES A BEDIKA AND THE CLOTH GETS FLUSHED AWAY OR LOST BEFORE SHE CAN  LOOK AT? 
In such a case it is not considered to be a problem and she would make  another bedika and utilize that one. If however she glanced at the cloth and saw  a questionable color and then somehow the cloth got lost or thrown away before she could show it to a Rav, she must consult a Rav to determine her  status.

 WHAT  ABOUT STAINS FOUND DURING THE SEVEN CLEAN DAYS ON THE WHITE UNDERGARMENTS OR ON  A BEDIKA CLOTH? 
 As mentioned before, concerning stains on white underwear, if it is  less than the size of a penny it is no problem. If there are several small  stains that are separate, that is also okay as long as each stain does not  amount to more than a penny (it does not matter if collectively they do add up  to more than a penny as long as they are separate stains. Separate stains on a  garment need not be added together).
 A stain larger than a penny that is definitely red would render the  woman a nida and she would have to begin her seven clean day count anew,  starting with making a new hefsik tahara, even that same day before sunset. A  stain with a questionable color must be shown to a Rav. However, please note:  often a woman may see a light brown stain which is larger than a penny and  inside that or on the edges of the light brown she will notice a darker brown or  a reddish color. In that case, she must estimate that if she would add together  all the darker , reddish parts, would that equal to more than a penny or not? In  other words, the pale brown parts of the stain are often not to be worried  about: it is the reddish or darker parts that are the problem. But since they  are inside the paler color which connects them, then they have to be added  together. However, there are different opinions and complex laws concerning  stains, so a Rav should be consulted (even by phone) about all such matters. If  the entire stain looks a dark brown or even a pale pink color, then of course  she must see how large the whole stain is. She should still consult a Rav but a  truly pink color or a very dark brown is generally not  okay.

 If there is more than one color in one stain (ie. A reddish section but  also a very pale brown or yellowish section), If the reddish or pink parts of a  stain do not add up to more than a penny, then she is clean. If she thinks it  would add up ( meaning the total area of the impure colors) to more than a  penny, then she must show the garment to a Rav. She should not automatically  assume it is not kosher. Also, if the woman lines her underwear with panty  liners during the seven clean days, then a stain a little bit larger than a  penny would also be acceptable: the law for panty liners is somewhat different  than the law for underwear. In that case, a stain which is smaller than the size  of three quarters would be acceptable. If it is larger than that, a Rav must be  consulted. If one is unable to obtain panty liners, toilet paper or any  disposable paper product is okay. Also, it may happen that a woman would stain  more than once during the seven days and she would see a new stain falling on  top of an old stain and it could become difficult to ascertain how large the  stains really are and what color they are  etc.etc.
The best thing to do in such a case of frequent staining (since it is  difficult and not always possible to keep changing underwear) is to line the  underwear with white toilet paper (or panty liners) and keep changing the paper  as needed and if there are any stains which would be questionable, those pieces  of toilet paper (or those panty liners) should be saved and shown to a Rav.  Obviously if there is a considerable amount of staining, more than a few stains  a day, then a Rav would have to be consulted to determine the woman’s  status.
 It is a good idea to call a Rav when a stain is found on underwear  because he will often be able to answer by phone, thus saving the woman or her  husband a trip to show him the garment.

 IMPORTANT POINT: If a woman found a stain or stains on her underwear  and at least one of the stains is larger than a penny, if she saw the stain at  nighttime by artificial light and it may have looked pinkish, but then for some  reason the stain got washed away (ie. If she perhaps coughed and urine leaked  out on the stain, or by mistake she washed the undergarment) before she could  see the stain by daylight or show it to a Rav, she can consider that stain pure  as long as it was not very large or very dark or too red looking. Artificial  light often makes the stain look darker than it really is or a different color
than it really is. If the stain was pale by artificial light, one can be  lenient.

 However, with a bedika cloth one cannot be lenient even if one looks at  the stain by artificial light. If there is a questionable stain on a bedika  cloth and somehow the cloth got lost before one could show the Rav, one has to  assume it was not good in general. But one should always consult a Rav because  if , for example, the bedika was from day 4 of the seven clean days, a Rav may  not tell the woman to start her count all over again. He may ask questions to  determine the shade of the color and then decide accordingly what to do. So it  is important to always ask a Rav and not assume in such a case. Also, if an  undergarment got lost before it could be examined to see if there were any  stains (for example, if a woman takes off her undergarment to change it during  the seven clean days without looking at it and she throws it in the laundry and  was not aware if there were any stains, one can assume it is  clean.

 Please note that on any of the seven clean days , any questionable  stain on a bedika cloth from an internal examination must always be shown to a  Rav and any actual red blood on a bedika cloth would render the woman Nida, even  a small drop. For a bedika cloth the rule of a stain larger than a penny would  not apply. Even a tiny drop of blood renders her nida if it is found on a bedika  cloth after an internal exam.
 If she thinks that she may have to start counting her seven days again,  she could make a bedika that same day towards sunset . However, if she feels  doing a bedika at that time may mess up her count, she could call a Rav for his  advice as to how to proceed. Because if a woman sees that she is staining during  the seven days, as we mentioned before, she is permitted to skip that day’s  bedikas (unless it is the first or seventh day). So if a woman sees some  brownish staining or even reddish staining on her underwear on one of the seven  clean days, she should not run to do a bedika. Because if she does a bedika and  finds a red color, she would automatically be Nida. I f she does not do a bedika  and the staining is minimal, she would not be  Nida.

I should mention here that it is permissible to wipe oneself with  toilet paper EXTERNALLY ONLY (not immediately after urination, but it is best  before urination or at least a minute or two after urination) before doing a  bedika in order to ascertain if there is any staining or discharge of mucous  that may be tinged with a brownish or reddish color. But the wipe must be
external, without entering the vagina. Normally, when you wipe, if you  wipe but don't stop in that place but rather just wipe over it, it is not considered a bedika and not considered going inside even though it does touch the surface and may even 'enter' a drop.
 If a stain (which is not too large) is seen on toilet paper after  wiping externally, one is not considered nida but one is permitted to skip that  day’s bedikas if she is worried that she would render herself nida by doing an  internal bedika. Of course in any case of doubt or concern one should speak with  a Rav for guidance in these matters.

 Some women have a problem whereby they may begin counting their seven  clean days without any problems, but on day 4 , 5 or more of the seven clean  days, they may suddenly experience some staining or shaylas on their bedika  cloths. If you see such a pattern develop, or you see that you have this  difficulty, then it is a good idea to wipe externally on those days to determine  if you may be staining so you can avoid doing bedikas then and avoid disrupting  your seven day count.

Please  note:
it is rare to find an actual red blood stain on the fourth or fifth day or more  of the seven clean days. Any stain found at that time on a bedika cloth is  usually more of a brown color and often due to ovulation and is generally ruled  as kosher by a Rav. But if the color is questionable of course one must show the  cloth to a Rav for his determination but make sure to mention which day of the  seven clean days the bedika is from.
 If a woman finds a stain on her underwear on the last of her seven  clean days, on the seventh day, she should consult a Rav as to when or how often  to do bedikas that day (often he will tell her only to check once) so as to  minimize her risk of becoming Nida again. The woman may check herself in the  morning and be clean and then notice some staining later on in the day, in which  case it may be advisable for her not to re-check that day but to consider the  one bedika as sufficient for that day and she would retain her status of kosher  as long as she does not have an actual flow of blood . These are the things a  Rav could advise the woman about. But if she is unable to contact a Rav on time,  she should do her one mandatory bedika of the seventh day and then she does not  have to check herself again if the first bedika was  good.
 The reason is because Inserting internally any bedika cloth to actually  check oneself is very strict by Jewish law and therefore any blood found at such  a time is a problem, so it is permissible to avoid looking internally under  certain circumstances since we are not obligated to look for  problems.

 If at any point in time during the seven clean days a stain found on a  bedika cloth or on her underwear does render a woman Nida again, then she must  start anew to count the seven days. She does not have to wait five days again  before beginning to count the seven days. She can immediately make a new hefsik  tahara and then begin to count from the next morning her seven clean days  again.

WHAT  IF A WOMAN FINDS A STAIN ON A BEDIKA DURING AN EXAM OF HER SEVEN CLEAN DAYS AND  SHE IS NOT SURE IF IT IS OKAY AND SHE CANNOT GET TO A RAV RIGHT AWAY BEFORE  SUNDOWN? 
  In this case the woman should put aside the bedika cloth to show the  Rav and she should make a new bedika, as if making a new hefsik tahara . If that  one is okay, then that would be her new hefsik if the Rav declares the first  bedika cloth impure. But if she checks again and finds another stain, she should  try another time and hopefully it will come out okay. If each time she checks  she still finds a stain, then she should simply wait until the next day rather  than frustrate herself too much.
 However, each time she checks herself she must keep the bedika cloths  (putting each one in a separate envelope and marking on the envelope if it is  the first cloth, second cloth etc. and the day of the week) and show all of them  to a Rav. It is best to allow the cloths to dry before putting them inside the  envelope. She can either put them in flat or fold the cloth . Some women have  the custom to write on the bedika cloth itself which day it is from, not to risk  having the Rav mix up the cloths. It happened once that a woman I knew gave  three shaylas to a Rav and one of those shaylas she was sure was clean. He  called her and told her that that shayla was not good, so she asked him if he is  sure he did not mix up the cloths. His answer was that he was not sure and it is  possible he mixed things up. After she questioned him, she understood he had  indeed mixed up the cloths and luckily she knew which cloth was which and she  was able to determine what was actually a problem and what was not. But for that  reason some women prefer to write on the cloth itself from which exam it is, to  avoid any confusion later (ie. First exam of 2nd day  etc.).

 After giving all cloths to the Rav, he may say to her that the original  exam was no good but the next exam might be okay or perhaps the one after that  was good.

 If none of them are good, then if it is still daytime she can begin  again to make a new hefsik tahara that very afternoon. But if she receives the  answer after sunset, she waits until the next afternoon to start again to do a  hefsik tahara and of course the next day she would begin again to count the  seven clean days. . If she cannot contact a Rav for a few days then she simply  continues examining herself twice each day and collects all the questionable  cloths to show the Rav at one time. Once she speaks to the Ravshe will  straighten out exactly which day her tevilah will take  place.

 If she happens to see staining on one of the days when she is supposed  to continue making bedikas because she could not get to the Rav yet to determine  her status, she should call a Rav before examining her self that day to find out  how to proceed: he may tell her not to check that day and to wait until he sees  if her shayla is kosher or not. Or he may tell her she must check herself that  day but she should wait a few hours before doing so  etc.

 If she finds a stain the last day of the seven clean days, she must do her  utmost to get to a Rav that very day, even if it is close to evening. However,  if she is for some reason unable to get to a Rav, she at least should call a Rav as many times a shayla can be answered by phone. If for some reason she cannot  reach any Rav at all, she must postpone her tevila until the next day when she  can show the shaylas to a Rav. But never assume a shayla is unclean: always ask! 
 
 DOES  A PAP SMEAR OR AN INTERNAL EXAM BY A DOCTOR RENDER HER NIDA? 
 A pap smear and a regular internal exam generally do not render a woman  Nida as long as the cervix is not actually penetrated . If she has bleeding or  staining after such an exam, a Rav should be  consulted.
 In fact, if on the doctor’s glove or instrument blood is seen, the  woman should ask the doctor immediately what is the reason and source of that  blood so that she knows what to tell the Rav when she calls him. However, it is  advisable for a woman to have a pap smear or have an internal done when she is  already Nida (ie. just before making her hefsik tahara exam is the best time).  Also a woman should mention to the doctor before he does the pap smear that he  should be careful not to penetrate the cervix.

Please note: it is NOT necessary or advisable to make a bedika after an  internal exam. Nor is it necessary to inspect the doctor’s gloves after an  internal exam. Only if the doctor himself mentions he sees blood is it necessary  to look and get all information: Ie. is he sure it is from the cervix?  etc.

 Bleeding due to a pap smear does not generally render a woman Nida nor  does it disturb the counting of her seven clean days since the blood is from the  outer cervix and not the uterus itself. However, if a woman finds blood a day or  two after having a pap smear, she should consult a Rav. It is nevertheless  advisable to do any internal exams when a woman is Nida and before she begins to  count her seven days.

 During pregnancy a woman should also be careful, particularly in the  last month, that the doctor’s internal exams do not render her Nida. There are  many women who refuse to have any internals done during pregnancy at all, unless  there is a definite medical reason to warrant  one.

WHAT  IF A WOMAN TRAVELS DURING THE COUNTING OF HER SEVEN CLEAN DAYS? 
If a woman travels, this does not in any way disrupt or disturb the  counting o f her seven clean days. A woman can begin to count from wherever she  is and she goes according to sunset of that particular geographic area of the  world. If she is on a plane and must make a hefsek tahara exam, she is advised  to do so early enough so that in case it suddenly becomes dark, she does not  miss out on the exam. One day could be only a few hours when traveling,  depending upon sunrise and sunset and arrival  time.
For example, if a woman begins to count her seven clean days on a  Thursday morning, (meaning her hefsik tahara exam was on a Wednesday afternoon)  and her tevila is scheduled for Wednesday night, if she arrives in Hong Kong on  Monday afternoon (which would really be Sunday, middle of the night, Canada  time) she still considers Monday afternoon as one o f the seven clean days and  she continues counting from then, which means her tevila would still come out to  be Wednesday night Hong Kong time (making it actually Wednesday early morning)  in Canada! But that is fine: her tevila would still be kosher. She is just  gaining some time due to her travels. But that is only if she did have seven  days where there was sunset and sunrise. If for some reason there was only  sunshine all the way and the sun never went down at all, she cannot consider the  days she arrives in her destination as the next day but it would be considered  the same as the day of her departure and therefore would have to wait until the  following day to be considered a new day.

 Going the other way would also be a similar situation except that she  loses time: in other words, if the woman makes a hefsik tahara on Wednesday  afternoon in Hong Kong , making her tevila to be Wednesday night (Hong Kong  time) the next week, then if she leaves Hong Kong for example on Thursday  morning arriving back in Canada on Thursday (also in the morning, due to the  time change) she continues counting as if that is her first day even though in  reality by Hong Kong time it is already Thursday night. That would mean her  tevila would come out to be Wednesday night Canadian time but in reality that
would be already early Thursday morning Hong Kong time , thus causing her to  lose 12 hours(in other words to go to mikvah later than she normally would have  done). However, that is also fine: that is the halacha. So traveling may seem  complicated but in reality it is no problem. The woman goes according to the  shekia (sundown) of the place she is in at the
time.

 If a woman will be traveling over the international dateline, such as  going to Australia, then it is advisable to consult a Rav as to the proper  manner to count her seven clean days since she will actually be losing one day  in her travels. But in general there is no problem even if she loses or gains a  day in the travel, she still goes according to sunset and sunrise and counts  like that (so perhaps in reality what would have been two days normally back  home would be only one day because of the travel and time change, she still goes  ahead to count seven days according to the place she is at the time and sunrise  and sunsets).

WHAT  IS TEVILAH AND WHEN SHOULD IT BE DONE ETC.? 
 Tevilah means immersion. It refers to immersion in the waters of a  mikvah. Tevilah takes place in the night time after counting her seven clean  days. On the seventh day, after it becomes dark, she is able to tovel. The  earliest time a woman can tovel is usually 20 minutes after shekia  (sundown).
 It is very important not to postpone or put off the time of one’s  tevila . Certainly a woman must never postpone going to the mikvah in order to  cause her husband to suffer or to get revenge against him if she is angry at him  for some reason, or in order to prevent becoming pregnant. However, it is  important for the couple to be happy and not upset with each other on the night  the wife tovels and therefore it is incumbent upon both husband and wife to fix  up and resolve any quarrels or angry feelings they may have before  tevila.

 If a woman’s husband is not in town, it is customary not to tovel until  he returns. Therefore, if a woman counts her seven clean days but will not tovel  on the seventh day because her husband is not in town, then she puts on colored  undergarments and waits until her husband returns and she is able to tovel. She  does not have to continue making any further bedikas.

It is permissible to go to mikvah before he comes back (even several  days in advance) as long as she then sleeps with some garment of her husband’s  under her pillow the night that she immerses (for Kabbalistic reasons). Some have the custom to sleep with a knife under the pillow, also for kabbalistic reasons: because there is so much holiness surrounding a woman after she immerses in the mikvah, the knife keeps away any unholy forces that try to disturb that purity before she is able to be with her husband. 
But  Friday night she should not tovel if her husband is not in  town. She can and should tovel Thursday night as long as it is already either the actual time for tevila or past the time of her actual tevila. 
It is possible, for example, that the husband may be scheduled to  return just before yom tov or Shabbat (or perhaps the wife is not sure exactly  which night her husband will return and she wants to be in a state of purity  when he arrives back) and it would not be convenient or possible for the wife to  tovel that same night that he gets back, so she may tovel before as long as she has finished  counting her seven clean days properly.
If a husband is out of town for an extended period of time (pehaps a  month or more) and the wife counts her seven clean days and then puts on colored  underwear waiting for a time closer to her husband’s return to tovel, and in  between she has some slight staining which she finds on her colored underwear,  she does not have to count anew seven days: she retains her purity and is able  to tovel at the appropriate time as long as she does not actually have a flow of  blood that would render her nida.

 WHAT  PREPARATIONS ARE INVOLVED BEFORE TEVILAH?
There are several preparations a woman must make before she can tovel  in the mikvah.
 As mentioned before, purity of the mikvah is not a matter of physical  cleanliness, nevertheless physical and spiritual do work together. If a woman  takes 100 showers she is still not spiritually pure until she immerses in a  kosher mikvah. But in order for one to be in the proper frame of mind to be  cleansed o f spiritual impurity, one must also be physically clean and free from  anything that could mar her joy.
Preparations should be started while it is still day (according to the  opinion of Rashi). According to Rabbeinu Achei haGaon the preparations should be  started close to the time of tevila. So in order to fulfill both opinions most  women begin preparations close to sundown. However, it is permissible when  necessary to begin some preparing, even to take the bath, from the time of  halachic noon (around 1:00). The woman must first bathe for about half an hour  in warm water. If she has no bathtub and cannot use one in the mikvah building,  then she can fulfill her preparations only with a shower if necessary, but it is  preferable to bathe. After the bath she must shower and shampoo her hair. Any  shampoo can generally be used, even a shampoo with conditioner, as long as she  rinses her hair very well in warm water afterwards to remove oiliness. Any  oiliness that remains after is not a problem.

She must cut the nails of her fingers and toes. If a woman strongly  objects to cutting her nails, she is allowed to immerse without cutting them as  long as she carefully cleans under the nails and around. But it is preferable to  cut the nails. By kabbalah there is an important reason for cutting nails: it brings chesed and mercy to the world as the nails contain tumah or impurity, especially the nails that grow during the time of nida.  She can do the nail cutting early in the daytime and then  carefully watch that she does not dirty her feet or her hands until the time of  her immersion. And of course she would have to recheck her toes, feet and hands  very well before the tevila. It is very important to be sure all nails are cut  because one missed nail is a problem and one would have to ask a Rav if the  tevila would have to be repeated. Nails can be cut for the purpose of tevila  even during the nine days or chol hamoed etc. During the thirty days of mourning  someone else should cut the nails for her. A woman is allowed to cut both finger and toe nails on the same day for the immersion even if she generally does not  do so. Cuticles are not a chatzitza and should not be  removed.
Hard skin under the feet is not a chatztiza but one should soften the  skin in a bath or warm water. Same with  callouses.
 
Some women like to shave their genital hair and cut the hair on their  heads before going to mikvah: any hair cutting should be done a few days  (preferably three days) in advance of the tevila so that little hairs would not  stick to the body and become a chatzitza.

Hair of the head should be cut a few days before tevila so that any  small hairs that stick to the head or body would fall off by that time and not  be a problem.

 We mentioned previously that a chatzitza is something which does not  allow the waters of the mikvah to reach all parts of the body completely.  Something which bothers the woman is generally a chatzitza . The rule here is  that if something would bother a woman when she goes to a wedding (not her own  but a friend’s or relative’s) then she should remove that as it could be a  chatzitza for her but if it would not bother her, then it is not a problem.  There are also certain personal hakpodas (things women are particular about for  themselves) such as removing hair on their legs and if a woman is particular  about that three times in a row for her mikvah preparations, then she should do  that each time unless she specifies the first time that she is not making this a  habit. One should avoid making any personal hakpoda a habit as there could be  times when one cannot do certain things.

 The following things are accepted as being chatzitzas for most women  and should be removed to the best of one’s  ability:
 Jewellery, rings, earrings, makeup etc. must be removed before tevilah  . If earrings were not worn that day, then the holes in the ears should be  cleaned by running an earring through them.
If makeup does not come off  perfectly, it is not generally a problem but mascara remaining is a problem and  should be removed carefully. However, if one is not sure that all mascara has  been removed perfectly, the woman should dip in the mikvah water just prior to  her tevila, wipe off her eyelashes (since the chlorine in the water removes  mascara!) and then she can do her tevilas.

Nails must be cut normally  (generally one can leave a bit of white showing on the edge of the nails so they  need not be cut too short) and cleaned as much as possible to remove any dirt  underneath or on the nail surface. One does not have to dig deeply to take off  dirt and if there is some dirt on the edges which does not come off after  scrubbing etc. then it is considered absorbed and is not a problem. If a woman  strongly objects to cutting her nails, she must clean them very carefully underneath the edges of the nails to be sure there is no dirt. Nail polish must be removed with acetone  or nail polish remover.
It is preferable not to do manicure or pedicure the day of your tevila. best to do it the day before. but if you did do manicure or pedicure the day of your tevila simply wash the nails well to be sure no oils remain etc.

Hang nails or peeling skin should be removed where possible. But  peeling skin around the fingers for example need not be removed perfectly. If  the amount of skin is big enough to hold EASILY between two fingers one should  remove it. Otherwise it really is not a problem. Women often spend hours trying  to remove all peeling skin and there is no end to that but it is not necessary  and not a problem if they are not large  pieces. peeling skin from eczema is not a chatzitza. just do your best to remove big pieces of peeling skin. dont scrub it hard to irritate the eczema. 

 Skin which is peeling a lot (ie. from a sunburn) one should try to  remove (but first wet the body and then remove as much as possible easily) but  it is not necessary to remove a lot of peeling skin if it does not bother the  woman and especially if it is in an area such as the back where it is difficult  to get to or to be seen. One is not required to do more than is normal and
possible. There is no end to removing peeling skin from a sunburn and therefore  one need not do so to any great extent.

Scabs should be well softened in water before immersion (that is accomplished through the bath preparations). If the skin underneath has healed completely then the scab should be removed. However, if a scab will bleed by being removed or will cause pain or discomfort to remove it,  it need only be softened and cleaned. Sometimes one has very tiny scabs which one can hardly even see: if these are things that do not bother the woman normally, she need not be very concerned about them. She has to simply wash them to be sure no dried blood or mucous is attached to them. If they come off easily she can remove them. But if she misses a scab (for example, she may go to the mikvah and after tevila or after marital relations, she may see a scab which she did not notice before her tevila) she does not have to tovel again because of that. That is why it is good to take a bath in warm water and the scabs become moist and soft and therefore even if a healed scab was overlooked it is not a problem. Using a loofa or firm brush or cloth to scrub the skin is also good and will remove scabs or other dirt easily. One can then assume anything that had to come off would have done so through that scrubbing. 
 
Stains which are flat, such as ink ,one must remove to the best of  one’s ability. Medical benzene or alcohol help for that. So does lemon juice and  even toothpaste can be applied to take off certain stains.A product called Goop is also helpful to remove stubborn stains.
But if the stains do  not come off fully, as long as one tried to the best of one's ability with whatever she has available to remove the stain,  the remaining stain after scrubbing is not considered a  chatzitza. 
A woman in the profession of making carrot juice, for example, need not  worry about the carrot stains since they are normal for her and do not bother her. Also stains from other vegetables are not a chatzitza generally if a woman  does her best to remove them but they leave some coloring (ie. from beets). As  long as she scrubs well and tries all that she can to remove the stains, any  residue of color is not a problem generally.  (
Stains which are thicker, such as milk or honey or paint (that have a  substance to them), one must remove. If such a stain does not come off, consult a  Rav. ​
a product called Goop is helpful sometimes to remove difficult stains.

 A woman who kneads dough for bread must take care that the particles  are removed from her fingers and nails. That is why it is recommended not to  knead dough the day of tevila but in honor of Shabbat or yom tov it is permissible even if her tevila is that same night. But the fingers must be  cleaned carefully before tevila.

 The naval must be cleaned normally.

The ears must be cleaned normally to the distance of how far the little  finger could enter the ear. She should feel with her finger for any hard pieces  of dirt and remove them. Normal wax remaining is not a problem. There is no need  to use Q tips and in fact it is preferable not to. A small amount of hydrogen peroxide can be put inside the ear to clean and dissolve the
wax.

Mucous outside the eyes or hardened in the corners of the eyes must be removed as well.

Pus outside a wound (but not inside), or dried up blood, are  chatzitzas. Pus inside a wound must be removed after 72
hours.

 The nose must be cleaned normally. A running nose is not a  problem.

 Teeth must be brushed well and dirt in between removed. It is  preferable not to use dental floss if the teeth are close together since dental  floss could tear and get stuck in between the teeth and that would create a real  shayla. Many Rabbonim advise women not to floss at all. It is preferable to use  a toothpick and preferably a plastic toothpick. (If somehow a piece of dental
floss did get stuck in the teeth and does not come out, if you buy tape dental  floss and use that it usually does not get stuck and it will remove the piece  which is stuck)
If a woman does not floss and she is unsure if she has any dirt in  between any of her teeth, as long as she does not feel any food in between and  nothing bothers her, then she may tovel. It is customary on the day of tevilah  not to eat foods such as meat, chicken (or even foods like corn, mango or  pineapple) that get stuck in the teeth. A worry about food in between the teeth  means that she feels as if something is stuck there. If not, she is not  obligated to clean minutely between each tooth looking for  dirt.

 A temporary cap which is not cemented down is not a chatzitza unless it  falls off easily. But a Rav should be consulted in such a case. One should  consult a Rav about a temporary filling. A permanent filling or cap is not a  problem.

 One must remove any clips or pins or elastic bands from the hair. Hair must be washed in warm or hot water and combed out completely. Lice and nits are  generally a chatzitza (particularly if there are a lot of them) but in some  locations where lice are very common (such as Israel or France) they may not be  considered a chatzitza, however the lice should still be removed as much as  possible with a special lice comb and a shampoo to kill live lice should be  utilized if possible. It is a good idea to have another woman check her hair  before tevila, if at all possible . A Rav should be consulted how to proceed if  in doubt. After cleaning the hair from lice a woman should NOT lie down to rest  as that could cause lice to multiply.

 Dandruff is not a chatzitza but if a woman has an unusual amount of  dandruff that covers most of her hair, then she should apply baking soda mixed  with water as a paste for her scalp and rinse it off well as that would remove a  lot of dandruff. A dandruff shampoo such as Head and Shoulders can also be  used.

 Loose hair is NOT a chatzitza. It is not necessary to spend hours  trying to remove loose hairs from the head etc. And even during tevila if a  woman noticed some hair sticking to her skin when she comes out of the mikvah,  it is not a problem unless it is wrapped around a finger tightly. Otherwise  loose hair is not a chatzitza.

Tangled or knotted hair is a problem and that is why hair must be  thoroughly combed before tevila. Hair all over the body must be combed and must  not be tangled at all.

Skin must be washed well. Sometimes a little dirt or stickiness remains  (ie. From a band aid or bandage that was on the skin) and that must be washed  off well. Sweat deposits should be rubbed off if they are brown in color as that  would constitute dirt. If they are white that is just dry or flaking skin and is  not a chatzitza. A thorn or splinter fully embedded in the skin is not a
chatzitza but if it protrudes even a little, then it must be removed with  tweezers. Can be softened with a little olive oil  first.

Something which is permanently inside the body such as a pacemaker is  not a chatzitza. An IUD is a question for a Rav because of the string that  sticks out.

Stitches that are self dissolving are not a chatzitza. But stitches  that have to be manually removed are a problem and a Rav must be  consulted.

If a woman has a cast on or anything that would not allow the water to reach all areas of her body, she needs to consult a Rav to see whether she can immerse with the cast.  Usually a cast is a chatzitza but if it will be on a long time, a Rav may rule that she can immerse. So in any case of doubt or anything that one is not sure about, consult a Rav.

One must prepare the entire body to be free of dirt or anything which  might prevent the mikvah waters from reaching every part of the body. The woman  must examine in a mirror all parts of her body as well as she can just prior to  the immersion.

 A woman or girl over the age of 12 years must watch when the woman  immerses in the mikvah to be sure all the hair is submerged and no hair floats  above the surface and no limb protrudes from the water so that the immersion
will be valid. Any hair or limb sticking out of the water at the time the woman  immerses would make the tevila invalid. That is why it is important for the  woman who watches the immersion to be a G-d fearing woman and  religious.

 WHAT  IF ONE’S IMMERSION NIGHT IS ON FRIDAY (ON SHABBAT) OR YOM TOV?
 If one’s immersion turns out to be on Shabbos or Yom Tov, one can use  the mikvah if one is within walking distance.
 If a woman lives far from the mikvah, Rav Moshe Feinstein ruled that  there is a way to go earlier during that day, on Friday, but a Rav would have to  be consulted to find out the correct  procedure.

 Otherwise tevilah is postponed until the next night (in which case, one  can put on colored underwear since one already completed counting 7 clean days  and one need not examine oneself internally any further but on the actual day of
the tevila it is a custom to make one more bedika in the daytime). All  preparations for tevilah on Friday night must be made before Shabbos starts,  including combing of the hair. After lighting the candles one cannot do further  combing of hair, nail cutting, etc. If a woman forgot to remove nail polish, she  can pour acetone or nail polish removed directly on her nail and rub it with a  tissue or one’s hand to remove the polish. Same with removing make up if she  forgot to remove some before Shabbos. She can pour on liquid to remove the make  up and then rub it off with her hand or a tissue. Lemon juice prepared before
Shabbos and left in the mikvah building can be used to remove stains on the  hands etc. if something was overlooked. We cannot cut the nails on Shabbos so if  an uncut nail is discovered, a Rav must be consulted. A splinter could be  removed on Shabbos with a tweezer if it is protruding out of the skin. Dirt  around or under nails could be removed with a toothpick, particularly a plastic  toothpick. But one is not allowed to scrape the nails on shabbos with an  instrument used for nail cutting. One cannot remove skin on Shabbos. If a large  piece (large enough to hold easily between two fingers) is discovered, one would  ask a Rav what to do. According to many rabbonim, a woman cannot brush her teeth  on Shabbos but she could use sugar or salt (abrasive substances) and rub then on  her teeth with her fingers and then rinse well as that would remove dirt (being  careful not to cause her gums to bleed since one must be careful not to cause  any bleeding on Shabbos). A scab that is for sure dried up can be removed on  Shabbos and should be, but if one is not sure if it is healed underneath, better  not to remove as it could bleed. Just soften with water. One should visually  recheck the body before tevilah on Shabbos to be sure no dirt is sticking to any  part of the body and there are not chatzitzas, particularly once you arrive at
the mikvah.

 One should run one’s fingers through the hair to be sure it is not  tangled but one does not re comb on Shabbos. (Of course we do check thoroughly  the entire body before Shabbos begins as  well).

 The same rules for tevila on Shabbos apply to tevila for the first  night of yom tov.

 You do not shower before the tevila on Shabbos, however it is customary  to do one tevila just to wet the body and then do the usual amount of tevilas.  In other words, one tevila to get wet, then one more tevila, then the bracha,  then the rest of the tevilas. If one’s tevilah is to be the second night of Yom  Tov, preparations are also made before yom tov begins, on erev yom tov. It is  permissible to tovel the second night as long as one is careful during the first  day not to get dirty with anything that would be difficult to remove (ie. It may  be advisable to wear thick socks all the time and perhaps to even use plastic
gloves when cooking or preparing food). Teeth may be brushed on yom tov but  without toothpaste according to some opinions. According to other opinions, on  Shabbos or yom tov if one needs to brush teeth, one should rub salt or sugar
over the teeth with one’s fingers and then rinse well as this is abrasive and  will clean the teeth without a brush. If her gums will bleed she should be very  careful and she also can clean her teeth with a toothpick (preferably plastic)  or by hand. Hair should be separated with the fingers to be sure they are not  tangled together. If there is any particular dirt such as mud or dirt from food,  the woman may wash this dirt off in cold water, with liquid soap if available.  She should not take a whole shower but she can wash by hand any dirt she  sees.

 If one’s tevila is to be motzoi Shabbos or yom tov (the night after  Shabbos or yom tov, for example Saturday night) she should try to do most of her  preparations on Friday (or erev shabbos or yom tov) and then simply take a  shower and re comb her body, brush her teeth etc. before the tevila. But if she  is unable to do most of her preparations the day before, she can do everything  motzoi shabbos or yom tov as long as she takes her time and does not  rush.

 METHOD  OF TEVILA
 Just before entering the mikvah waters she should check her entire body  to see that nothing adheres to it such as a bandaid etc. and to see that she  removed her contacts, did her preparations properly etc. The mikvah attendant  will also check her.

 She should be careful not to walk to the mikvah without slippers on her  feet. She should recheck the bottoms of her feet before entering the  water.

 She enters the water and then bends slightly forward to go under the  water, with her arms stretched out a little in front of her. Some women jump up  and go under the water. Some women stretch out flat in the water like a fish. The main thing is to go under the water fully.

 The woman goes under the water one time, then says the blessing and  immerses herself again as many times as is customary for her. But on Shabbos and  yom tov, it is customary to immerse one time just to wet the body, then do one
tevila, then make the bracha and tovel more.

 To immerse herself, the woman goes completely under the water. Her eyes  should be lightly closed and her mouth lightly closed as well. Fingers should be  slightly spread apart. Upon emerging above water from the first immersion, the
woman then recites the blessing which is: "Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech  HaOlam Asher kidishanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al hatevilah." Usually the mikvah  attendant will give her a small washcloth to put on top of her head while she
recites the blessing. Many women cross their arms over their chests while they  say the blessing, so as to be more modest.

If the feet are touching the floor of the mikvah or a limb touches the  side of the mikvah while the woman is immersing, the tevila is still kosher as  long as a limb does not touch the side of the mikvah or the mikvah walls the  entire time she is under the water. However no hair may protrude above the water  at the time of immersion. If even one hair protrudes out of the water at  the time of tevila, that tevila is not kosher. (but if a woman immerses several times in a row, usually at least one or more of the immersions will be kosher so it is a good idea to go down several times: the usual custom is three times, but many women immerse seven or nine times or more).

 The woman who supervises the tevilah should announce "kosher" each time  the woman goes under the water. Women differ in the number of times they  immerse ,as mentioned above. Some tovel three times, some seven times and some more. The minimum is usually three, although in a case of emergency even one immersion would be kosher if done properly. 

After tevilah in the mikvah, when she emerges from the water, the woman  who watches her immersion to be sure it is kosher should then wrap a towel  around her or touch her hand since her first contact after leaving the mikvah  should be with a Jew.
This has special spiritual significance and in fact if one leaves the  mikvah and touches an animal first or a non Jew, many women have the custom to  go back and tovel again since this spiritually affects one’s thoughts during  relations and hence affects the children born from that union. It is customary  not to shower or wash off the water after tevila while still in the mikvah  building . At home many rabbonim allow the woman to shower before marital  relations as long as one part of the body is not put under the water . After  marital relations the woman may shower as she wishes to but not on Shabbos or  yom tov.

 WHAT  IF A CHATZITZA IS FOUND AFTER TEVILAH?
 If it is discovered while still in the mikvah building, she should  immerse again. But only an actual chatzitza (such as a bandaid she forgot to  remove). But if in doubt, a Rav should be consulted, particularly if the woman  has already dressed and is nervous to tovel again. But finding a hair on her  body after she dries herself with a towel and is getting dressed would not
constitute a problem at all. A loose hair is not a chatzitza  anyway.
If a chatzitza is discovered after she returns home, then a Rav must be  consulted. But it depends if it is a true chatzitza and she is positive it was  there before tevila. If she is not sure the chatzitza was definitely there  before the immersion, she generally does not have to immerse again. It also  depends upon what the chatzitza is and whether it is something that bothers the  woman (or that bothers most women). It also may depend upon what part of the  body the chatzitza is on. For example, contact lenses must be removed before  tevila but if a woman toveled and then went home and realized she did not remove the lenses, a Rabbi must be consulted but he may be lenient because it is in the  eyes and it is not stuck to the eyeball, but is simply sitting on the eyeball  and the eyes are closed, so there are rabbonim who say one can be lenient in  such a case. But a Rav would have to be consulted in such a  case.
If one got home after tevila and realized she did not remove her  mascara, for example, from one of her eyes, then she would generally have to  tovel again. But in all such matters a Rav should be consulted as the rules are  complex.

 If for example a woman immersed and then discovered one nail which was  not cut, she must consult a Rav because one nail which is uncut when all the  others were cut could be a problem. Or if she found a nail which is peeling off  and it bothers her, she must ask a Rav as this could be a reason for her to  tovel again.

 If the chatzitza is discovered after marital relations, generally the  Rav will not ask her to immerse again, but a Rav must be consulted depending  upon what the chatzitza is. All such questions must be posed to a Rav expert in  these laws. One should not make such decisions on one’s own. Even if it is very  late at night, call a Rav. If you cannot reach the Rav in your hometown, you may  even reach a Rav in another town. Due to time differences you may reach a Rav in  another part of the world where it is daytime rather than night. But do not  assume because it is late at night you cannot ask a shayla and must either wait  until the next night or simply make your own decision. A Rav can always be  reached somewhere for an answer. And if you do not know what Rav to call, call  your regular Rabbi or local Rebbetzin and ask them to get hold of a Rav for
you.

 WHAT  IF ONE’S TEVILA IS DONE IN AN OCEAN?
 It may happen at certain times that one is unable to tovel in a regular  mikveh building (perhaps she is traveling and there is no mikveh, or she is by a  beach and it is too far from a town which has a mikveh etc.). In such cases a  woman may tovel in the ocean. There are in fact women who live in places where  there is no mikvah at all and they rely only on the ocean as their mikvah. 
 
An ocean is a natural mikveh at all times. (Please NOTE; not all bodies  of natural water are mikvahs and therefore before toveling in a lake or a river  one should ask a rabbi to be sure that that particular body of water is kosher  as a mikvah, but an ocean is always a kosher mikvah). However, to tovel in an  ocean one must take care about various matters:
 First of all, the woman must be  sure to go to a secluded area where she will not be seen by other people. 
 Secondly, she must bring along a flashlight or some sort of light so  that whoever accompanies her can watch to be sure her entire body is under the  water at the same time and no hair floats above the surface of the water. She  must be careful not to dirty the bottom of her feet (or between her toes etc.)  with mud or sand before entering the ocean. She can wear rubber thongs to walk  into the water if she likes  and then give them to the attendant with her (but this is not a necessity to wear any thongs: she can also enter the water with her barefeet and just be sure to clean  off her feet and between her toes just to be sure nothing clings to them), and  then she can tovel. Some women prefer to jump up and to tovel without putting  their feet on the ground until finishing all immersions. 
 
If a woman happened to stand on the sand while immersing, as long as  there was no sand stuck between her toes or no mud or tar sticking to her feet,  then her immersion is valid. There is no problem to stand on the sand as long as  there is no tar or sticky substance on it. Once in the water sand does not cling  to the body in general. 

She must also be careful not to close her eyes or mouth too tightly  (out of fear of the salt water). If water enters her mouth, she must be sure no  sand clings to her teeth. But in general once she is in the water nothing should  really cling to her. Nothing inside the ocean is a problem for her tevila. An  ocean is a perfectly kosher mikvah and actually has been used by many women  throughout the ages when no other mikvah facility was available. If nobody is  available to watch her besides her husband or if she is afraid to go to the  ocean unless her husband accompanies her, then he may with her and supervise her  tevila. One word of advice: if toveling in the ocean, it is best to walk into  the water wearing a robe, then slip off the robe, hand it to the person  accompanying her and do her tevila. But always bring along an extra robe or  clothing plus a long towel to leave in a bag on the beach, far enough away from  the water that it would not be swept away by waves, so that in case while  toveling somehow her robe gets lost or swept out of the hands of the attendant,  she has another robe to wear after completing her  tevila.

 DATES  TO OBSERVE
There are certain dates of each month when husband and wife separate  from physical relations because of the possibility that the woman may become  Nida then. It is important for the couple to keep a calendar noting when the  period begins exactly each month. The calendar goes only according to the Hebrew  dates and months! Being together when the woman is Nida is so detrimental  spiritually that couples take extra precautions to avoid any chance of that by  observing certain dates each month as a time of separation from marital  relations because on those days the woman might get her  period.

 The three dates are ona beinonis, which is the thirtieth day of the  month counting from the day one’s period started, the date of the month (Hebrew  date) and the interval of the month (number of day’s between periods counting  from and including the first day of the period as well as the first day of the  next month’s period). But these three dates only apply to a woman who does not  have a regular period. An ona is a period of time (ie. from sunrise to sunset,  or from sunset to sunrise).

REGULAR  PERIOD:
Regarding a woman having a regular period: this means that for three months in a  row her period started on either the same day of the Hebrew month (but that  would include the same part of the day (the same ona), either day or night of  that date), the same day of the week regardless of the interval between periods  (ie. Tuesday, three times in a row, but it has to be the same part of the day or  night as well), or on the same interval (ie. every 28 days exactly) or her cycle  increases or decreases three times by the same number of days each month (ie. if  she got her period on the 26 of Elul, then the next month on the 27 of Tishrei  and the next month on the 28 of Cheshvan then she can expect her next period on  the 29 of Kislev.

 In all cases of a regular cycle, bleeding must commence in the same  part of the day (same onah: always at night or always in the daytime). If one  month she has her period on the 5th of the month at night and the next month on  the 5th in the daytime, that is NOT considered a regular  period!

 It is not very common to truly have a regular period and most women are  considered irregular even though they may have their period on the same date  (for example)for a couple of months in a row, but to actually have this occur  three times in a row is not so common these days. Women’s bodies are weaker in  our generations. Even if some women seem to have a regular period, it usually  will not last for any length of time. A woman who does have a regular period  must only separate from her husband on that particular day that she is expecting  her period (either during the day or night time onah, depending upon when it  started the previous three times ). She does not have to observe any other  dates. But it is necessary to make a bedika at least once during that period of  time when she is expecting her period (two bedikas would be preferable: one in  the beginning of the onah and one towards the end). But if two is difficult for  her, she should make at least one bedika and preferably towards the end of the  onah time. If she somehow forgot to make such a bedika at all and the onah  passed, she is not allowed to be with her husband until she does make a bedika  to show that she is still clean (even a couple of days later). If she bathed or  swam before performing any bedika, a Rav must be consulted. A regular period  would only be canceled if another three months go by and her period no longer  occurs on that date (or in that same way) for three months in a  row.

 Some women establish a regular cycle based upon bodily symptoms (which  is rare) so if a woman experiences a certain bodily symptom which is always  associated with the start of her menstrual cycle and this happens three times in  a row, she may be able to establish her cycle as being regular based upon that,  but a Rav should be consulted as these laws are complext. If a woman notices,  for example, that for three months in a row every single time her period starts  it is accompanied by a certain physical symptom (such as sneezing spells,  temperature change etc.) then a Rav must be consulted as it may become a little  more complex to determine the days she must separate from her  husband.

 Please note: if a woman has a regular period that started, for example,  three times in a row on the 6th of the Hebrew month but then the next time it  started instead on the 7th of the Hebrew month, since she did not yet cancel the  first date of the 6th (because three consecutive times did not go by without  seeing blood on that date) , she must still observe the 6th of the next month as  her possible date but she also observes the 7th. However she does not have to  observe any other dates or intervals etc.

To establish a regular period, one can count the bedika done on the onah date she observes. If she finds a stain that is not pure, she can count that as her period beginning in order to establish a regular period if her stain is found on the date that would indicate a chazaka. 
 A regular period is nullified only after three months go by in a row  where the period no longer occurs on that timing.

A  PERIOD THAT IS NOT REGULAR:
For a woman who does not have a regular period the law is different. She must  keep a few dates each month where she may expect the commencement of her  period.

 ONAH BEINONIS (AVERAGE CYCLE): The first date is the thirtieth day from  the first day that her period started. We count by including the first day of  the actual start of her period. If her period was preceded by slight staining  (ie. she saw a stain of blood on her underwear a day or two before her period  began) we do not consider that the first day: for the purpose of calculating her  calendar dates, the first day would be the day that she actually noticed a flow  of blood. However, please note: if a woman has slight staining (even smaller  than an amount that would actually render her Nida) but she still separates from  physical relations from her husband because her period is imminent and she is  afraid it may start at any time, she may not generally count those days as part  of her five day wait before beginning her seven clean days. But in some  circumstances (ie. if the staining was considerable and she is considered  actually nida and is not allowed to be with her husband) then it could be  permissible to include those days as part of the five and therefore a Rav should  be consulted if she is not sure. For the purpose of calculating the 30th day,  she would count from the day her flow started. And the flow is considered to  have started from the time that she saw blood. Even if she felt that she became  nida before, until she actually sees blood she would not be considered as having  started her period. For example, if she was out somewhere and felt that perhaps  her period started and it was close to sunset but she was unable to look until  after dark, her period would be considered to have started from the nighttime,  when she actually saw the blood. On the 30th day after that, husband and wife  must abstain from relations for 24 hours (please note: sephardim usually abstain  for only one onah, during either the day or night, depending upon which part of  the day the period began in). If the period started at night then the next month  the couple would generally separate the ona (day) before, all the way through to  the following sunrise (in other words, 24 hours). Abstaining from the onah  before is a chumra (an extra strictness) according to the opinion of the Ohr  Zaruah and it is not a custom that is accepted by  everyone.
 As mentioned above, many Sephardim separate only for one onah: either  the day or night in which the period started, just like for the other dates  which are observed as days of separation. But there are some Ashkenazim and even  some Sephardim who always separate on the ona of the Ohr Zaruah for all the  dates.
Chabad does separate for 24 hours for the onah beinonis only. 
 During the portion of the day that the period began the month before  (ie. during the day or night) the woman must examine herself to be sure there is  no bleeding or staining . She should examine herself preferably twice but if she  only checked once it is okay but preferably closer to the end of the ona .
However, one only checks from the time and onwards that the period actually  started the previous month: in other words, if the period started at 10:00 pm,  the next month she would do a bedika any time from 10:00 pm on. Or if it started
at 10:00 am, she would check herself the next month from 10:00 am onwards, but  not earlier. Sometimes the period begins slightly and is only noticeable with an  internal exam. That is why it is important to check to be sure the period did  not begin yet. If she somehow forgot to make a bedika, she must examine herself  anytime as soon as possible thereafter (even the next day or night or even a  couple of days later) before resuming marital relations with her  husband. For the onah beinonis she cannot resume marital relations unless she made a bedika. 

 So to review: If her period started at night the month before, on the  thirtieth day after that she must separate from the nighttime (and if one keeps  the chumra of the Ohr Zahrua then she separates as well from the onah before,  the daytime before that). If she forgot to make an exam during the entire day of  the 30th, then she must make the exam the next night of the 31st or the next day  of the 31st before she can resume relations.

 She may bath and swim on the day she separates from her husband,  according to the opinion of the Chazon Ish. Some Rabbonim advise against  swimming or bathing on the onah beinonis (30th day). It is advisable to do a  bedika before bathing if possible. And she must not have relations with her  husband until doing a bedika even if the day passed and she did not check  herself and she did not see any staining or bleeding. The 30th day is the most  strict of the three dates to be kept. If the ona beinonis went by and she  forgot or was unable to perform a bedika, she must do so before resuming  relations. If she bathed or swam before performing any bedika after the onah  passed, a Rav must be consulted as to her status. There are people who keep the  chumra of the Ohr Zahrua (the extra onah) on the 30th even if they do not keep it the other days.
According to Chabad, one simple way to calculate the 30th day or ona  beinonis, is to take the first day of one’s period and count four more weeks and  one day over. In other words, if one’s period started on a Monday, one would  count four weeks more after that and one day over, and observe Tuesday of that  fourth week. Chabad observes the date from sundown to sundown of the next day,  regardless of when the period started, day or night. It is a full 24 hours of  that date. So Chabad does not go according to the Ohr Zahrua keeping the  onah previous to the actual onah. They do however observe a full 24 hour  separation for the onah beinonis only, from sunset to sunset.

 Some Rabbinical authorities advise the couple to abstain from relations  the 31st day as well but that is not a must and depends upon one’s custom. Most  people do not keep this extra strictness. Anyhow the 31st often turns out to be  either the same as the date or the interval.

 INTERVAL DATE: The next date to observe is the time between periods  (the interval date). The woman notes when her period started and also when the  next month’s period starts. She counts the days including the first day that her  period began as well as the day the next month’s period began and that becomes  her interval date. However, the custom of Chabad is different for this  particular matter. The Admor Hazaken, (the Alter Rebbe, first Chabad Rebbe)  writes in his Shulchan Aruch that a woman should calculate the interval date  according to what date she made her successful hefsik tahara. She would then  count from that time until when her next period begins and that would become her  interval date.

 On that number of days the following month she would separate from her  husband either in the night or daytime, depending upon whether her period  started at night or during the day. So it is an onah separation . Again she must  check herself at least once during the day or night, depending upon when her  period started the month before. And again, only from the actual time that her flow began the month before (ie. if it was, for example, 10:00 am then she would check from 10:00 am onwards for that onah) The cloth need not be saved to look at in  daylight if the bedika was made during the night, unless the woman sees a questionable color. She can look at it at night  and throw it out if it looks clean. If she forgot to make an exam altogether,  she does not have to do so later. But many women do a bedika before resuming marital relations because at these times of the month women like to be more  careful.
 As an example of the interval date (according to the way the majority  of people calculate it), if her period began on Tishrei 3 and the next month on  cheshvan 5, then she would count the days including Tishrei 3 and Cheshvan 5
(ie. 32 days) and the following month she would count 32 days from Cheshvan 5  (which might be Kislev 7, for example) and she would observe that as her  interval date. And if the time went by and she forgot somehow to check herself,
as long as she did not experience any bleeding, she does not have to examine  herself again before resuming relations with her husband. But many women do a  bedika before resuming marital relations because at these times of the month  women like to be more careful.

 DATE OF THE MONTH (YOM HACHODESH): The third date to observe is the  date of the month when her period began. For example, if she got her period on  Cheshvan 10, then the next month, on Kislev 10, the couple would also abstain  from relations for that onah, again either by day or night depending upon  whether the period started in the daytime or at night. There are women who have  the custom to keep the additional onah before that but again, it depends upon  one’s custom. The woman should examine herself at least once during that onah  period (ie. Kislev 10 in the daytime, not at night (since her period started in  the morning) she would make an internal exam, a bedika), but if she forgot or  the time passed by without making the bedika, then she is not obligated to make  an internal exam before resuming relations as long as she did not feel her  period start at all.

 For the interval date and the date of the month, there is also the  opinion of the Ohr Zarua that in addition to that onah period of abstinence; the  couple should also abstain for the onah PRIOR to that. Some ashkenazim or  Chassidic communities observe this custom. Sephardim generally do not keep this  custom. They keep only the one onah time period. A nighttime onah would be from  sunset to sunrise. A daytime onah from sunrise to  sunset.

 If a woman is not aware when her period began and she discovered it at  night but she is not sure whether or not it started in the daytime (before dark)  she should assume that it arrived at the time she discovered it and should  consider it to have commenced at night.

 If a woman is aware when her period began but is not sure if the time  was exactly before or after sunset, she also would consider it to have started  at the later time. For example, some women get their periods at the time between  sunset and nighttime. If that occurs, one would assume the period began at  night.

 If a woman became Nida through staining rather than through having a  real flow or her period, then she does not have to observe a 30th day or the  date of the next month . We only observe the calendar dates for a real flow of  blood. But for an unclean stain on a bedika cloth on one of the dates of  separation one would observe the 30th and the date for the next
month.

 If a woman is traveling and her period begins, for example, after dark  on what is in that location the 30th day of the month, but if she would have  been in her hometown it would have been the 29th of the month in the daytime,  nevertheless for the purpose of calculating the next month’s dates of  separation, she goes according to the place she is in when her period started.  So the following month would be the 30th as her interval date, not the 29th, and  it would be at night, not in the daytime.

FOR ALL THE ABOVE MENTIONED DATES, IF A WOMAN DID A BEDIKA ON ANY OF THOSE DATES AND FOUND A QUESTIONABLE COLOR, IF HER PERIOD THEN BEGAN IMMEDIATELY AFTER NIGHTFALL (CONSIDERED THE NEXT DAY) SINCE SHE AND HER HUSBAND ABSTAINED FROM RELATIONS FOR THE PRECEDING DAY, SHE COULD USUALLY CONSIDER HER PERIOD AS HAVING STARTED ON THE DAY SHE FOUND THE STAIN. CONSULT A RAV FOR ANY SUCH SITUATIONS.

 ABOUT  BRIDES
 Before marriage a woman should try to keep a record of her periods for  a few months so she can determine when she will be clean for her wedding. She  must do a hefsik tahara exam and then count 7 clean days before her wedding and  immerse in the mikvah as well. But a virgin bride should be careful when doing  bedikas not to injure herself. Choosing a date for the wedding requires one to take into account when one thinks one's period may begin and how long it usually lasts and then the counting of the seven clean days: the wedding date should be set after that timing as much as possible. Some girls take  hormonal pills to try to make sure they are clean for their wedding night. But hormone pills have their own problems and not necessarily are a good solution. 

For a bride, tevilah in the mikvah can be done during the daytime even on the 7th day if necessary (if her actual 7th day is her wedding day, for example). It is an exception to the  rule that tevila can be done in the daytime and is a special law for brides.  Nevertheless most brides immerse at night, when the mikvahs are open. A bride  may immerse up to four days before her wedding but many have a custom to continue to make one  bedika each day after her immersion until the actual wedding night. This is also  an exceptional rule for brides as generally if someone immerses early (if her husband is out of town ) she does not continue doing bedikas. If after immersion a bride did not continue doing bedikas until the wedding day a Rav should be consulted  but generally it would not affect her status of being considered pure for her  wedding.

 If a woman is Nida at the time of her chupa (the actual wedding day)  then she must consult a Rav as to how to conduct herself during the wedding  ceremony and thereafter. The couple is forbidden to be alone together even at  night until the night that they are able to have their first intercourse. A  virgin becomes Nida after the first intercourse but she only waits four days  (whether sefardic or ashkenaz) and then counts her seven clean days after that  first bridal night, because bleeding from the breaking of the hymen is different  than bleeding due to the period.

 It is normal to have bleeding from the hymen for the first few times  having intercourse but one does not have to separate immediately after having relations the second time or thereafter unless actual blood is found. Even a small staining on the underwear (and colored undergarments should be used) would be reason to ask a Rav but would not usually render the woman nida in such cases.  If there is still actual bleeding after the  second or third time  of intercourse, a Rav should be consulted to determine if the woman is nida or  not. With the exception of the wedding night itself, other times that she  experiences actual bleeding due to virginity she would have to wait five days and then  count seven clean days before she can do her  tevila. But again that is only if there is an actual flow of blood. If there is only slight staining a Rav should be consulted. It also may depend on when she expects her usual period. 

 If the woman has an actual flow of blood (not just staining) at any point in time then she  obviously becomes nida again (even if it is in the middle of her seven day count  after bleeding from the breaking of the hymen) and she must again begin tp count  7 clean days when the bleeding ends. However, if bleeding occurs during the time  she is counting seven clean days, she does NOT wait five days before starting  the seven day count. She can immediately being her seven clean days whenever the  bleeding stops and she is able to make a successful hefsik  tahara.

 Some brides find that they have bleeding from the hymen for a few times  in a row: if the first few times of intercourse is painful and is followed by  slight bleeding then one can assume the bleeding is from the hymen although a  Rav should be consulted in case of doubt. 
 But once there is no longer any pain during intercourse , if there is  then any bleeding (even slight) after that, this must be considered as regular  bleeding and the woman must wait five days (although if you are sephardic and it  is your custom to wait only four in general, then you follow your custom) before  beginning to count the seven days. A bride should be aware that it may take some time before going to the mikvah the  first month or so, but all of that is normal for a new  bride.

 If there was only partial penetration and no blood came out after the  first intercourse , a Rav should be consulted: she may not be nida and they may  keep trying. If however the groom penetrated completely even if no blood is  seen, the woman is still considered nida. She should do a bedika if no blood is  noticed on the wedding night. Once a bride has marital relations without any  pain or bleeding, then if she experiences bleeding immediately after intercourse  she should consult a Rav.

 PREGNANT  AND NURSING WOMEN
 A woman who is pregnant (after the first three months go by) or a  nursing mother, need not worry about anticipating their periods. But a pregnant  woman or nursing woman who does get her period or has an actual flow of blood  must consider herself Nida, wait the usual five days and count seven clean days  and go to mikvah as usual.

From the time that a woman goes into active labor she becomes Nida and  therefore her husband should not massage her back or touch her during real  labor. However, if her membranes rupture before labor starts, a Rav should be  consulted as to her status.

 After giving birth to a baby boy a woman is Nida for 7 days according  to Torah law. After giving birth to a baby girl she is Nida for 14 days .  Nowadays however most women are Nida for five to eight weeks after giving birth,  sometimes even longer. After all bleeding stops she must count seven clean days  and go to mikvah before resuming marital relations. However if staining  continues for too long after childbirth, one should consult a doctor and also  consult the Rav as he may have advice how to check oneself so as to enable one  to become clean and count the seven days  properly.

 It is helpful after giving birth to be as relaxed as possible, as this  aids in healing and proper hormonal balancing. Much staining is often due to  hormonal changes which are aggravated by stress or worry or sometimes even plane  travel. It is advisable not to do much exercise or run up and down stairs too  much as that can delay healing from the placental site inside the uterus. It is  also good not to do heavy work for about a month: ie. that includes a lot of  vacuuming and so on. This may not always be possible, practically speaking, but  the less heavy work one does, the quicker the uterus heals, particularly after  having several children. It is not pleasant to see the house fall apart, but  that is to be expected for a month or so after childbirth and husbands are asked  to have consideration and understanding, particularly since this will help their  wives to become pure faster and go to mikvah sooner, which certainly contributes  to shalom bayit.
 After, God forbid, a miscarriage a woman is Nida as if she gave birth  to a daughter (for at least 14 days, or until all bleeding stops). However, that  is only if the fetus is more than 40 days old. If it is less than that (ie. the  pregnancy was only a few weeks) then she does not have to wait 14 days, only the  usual five days (or longer, depending upon when all bleeding stops) before  counting her seven clean days. However, generally it takes several weeks for all  bleeding and staining to stop after a miscarriage of even a few weeks old  fetus.
It is, in fact, very normal to have staining for quite some time after  a miscarriage so do not panic about that. Sometimes one goes to the mikveh and  when the next period starts, debris from the miscarriage which did not come out  the first time will be evacuated and can cause the period to be heavier or  longer than usual. It sometimes happens that a woman begins counting her seven  days and even on the fifth day or later she may suddenly experience staining or  bleeding which would again render her Nida, causing her to start counting her  seven days over again.
 This in itself can be frustrating and difficult, but it helps to keep  in mind that extended staining and even some bleeding is normal after a  miscarriage or after childbirth, particularly if a woman has had several  pregnancies or children prior to that. However, if staining continues constantly  for more than two months, a doctor should definitely be consulted. If a woman has heavy bleeding for an extended period of time after a miscarriage, she  should also see a doctor as this may indicate retained fragments from the  pregnancy or may indicate hormonal imbalancement  etc.
 If the fetus was more than 40 days old at the time of t he miscarriage,  it is often necessary to do a D & C to remove all debris and to be sure  bleeding stops properly.
Please note:
If  you are pregnant but never went to mikvah, please call  your nearest Chabad house or orthodox Jewish synagogue to arrange to go to mikvah before the baby is born. If  you do go to  the mikvah before giving birth, your child will receive great  spiritual  benefits. This is a special gift you can give your child only  once.
If you  have already given birth , do not worry: you can still go to  mikvah and this  also has a positive affect on your baby's soul. 

 A  WOMAN AFTER MENOPAUSE
 After complete menopause, even if a woman never kept mikvah before and  does not have any further periods, it is important to go to mikvah in order to  be pure for her husband from then on. She must separate from her husband for  five days, do a hefsik tahara exam and then she must count seven clean days and  immerse in the mikvah one last time to remove her status of nida. It is a great  mitzva to do so. Her relationship with her husband will then be pure and filled  with holiness.

 And naturally if after menopause she still experiences at some point in time
bleeding from the uterus (including staining which she cannot attribute to
anything else and it is more than the size of a penny), she must again observe
the above laws and then immerse herself again in the mikvah. However, a woman
after menopause does not have to anticipate her period the next month unless she
experiences her period three months in a row. Otherwise a one time experience of
bleeding or having her period after menopause means she must count her seven
clean days and go to mikvah, but she does not have to keep the dates for the
following month. Only if she has bleeding three months in a row would she then
have to anticipate her period again.

 It is true that at times keeping the laws of family purity may be  challenging and even frustrating. Nevertheless the spiritual rewards are great  and certainly the purity of the relationship between husband and wife brings its  own benefits in terms of peace at home and a constant renewal of the  marriage.
It brings spiritual, physical and psychological health as well for the  husband, wife and their children. It elevates the marital relationship to a holy  level: a level of sanctity which is apart from animalistic desires or simply  pursuing lustful drives.
 It brings about a feeling of purity and kedusha, which makes a couple  feel very connected to G-d and to  spirituality.
 It is the key to happiness in marriage and to producing good, pure  children. It is a tradition and commandment from God which is entrusted to the  Jewish women to uphold faithfully; a unique blessing given to the Jewish family.  This is the foundation of the Jewish home, the key to survival of the Jewish  nation. This is the secret to the success of the Jewish family throughout  history.

CONTACT  THE RABBI
 If for some reason you are not living in an area where you are blessed  to have a Rav nearby, or you do not know of a rabbi who is really an expert in  these laws of nida or in answering such shaylas, you may contact Rav Gershon  Bess in Los Angeles, California. He is an expert in these laws and you can  always consult him by phone and send shaylas via mail. His e-mail address is rgbess@gmail.com You can send  shaylas via mail.  You can also contact your local Chabad house and ask who you can call for bedika or halacha questions.
If you live in a place without a Rav and you need an answer very quickly concerning a questionable color on a bedika cloth or underwear, speak with a Rav and sometimes he may advise you to take a picture of the shayla and scan it to the Rav for his determination.