Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nida 71a - Is it embarrassing to be a Nida?

Rav Moshe has a Teshuva regarding whether a woman is required to keep harchakos in public in a way that it will become obvious that she is a Nida. The suggestion is that the kavod habriyos can push off a לא תעשה שבתורה which means a d'oraysa lo ta'aseh if it is passive, and a d'rabonon lo ta'aseh if it is violated actively (based on gemara brachos 20b). Rav Moshe's premise is that he doesn't see any justification to be lenient based on kavod ha'briyos because it isn't embarrassing to be a Nida. All women in their younger years spend 40% of their lives as Nida, so it shouldn't be considered an embarrassing situation.

The difficulty is the gemara which says that when they were tovel the clothes of a woman who died as a Nida (even clothes that were removed before she actually died), the live women who were Nidos were embarrased, so they instituted that they treat all women who die as a Nida in order to prevent embarrassment to those who are Nidos. Clearly, the gemara assumes that the state of being a Nida is embarrassing and therefore it is legitimate to consider it a kavod habriyos concern. Rav Moshe himself deals with this question and is me'dayek from Rashi who says
 - מתביישין - שאפילו במיתתן הם משונין מכל אדם, that the aspect that is embarrassing is not the state of being a Nida but rather the fact that they are being treated differently than everyone else. Therefore, Rav Moshe maintains his position that the state of being a Nida is not considered inherently embarrassing. Of course, this is somewhat subjective, but Rav Moshe holds would qualify as kavod habriyos which is measured objectively.

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