We have learned that many women have an established veset kavu’ah – a regular menstrual cycle that allows them to predict with some accuracy when they will experience their menses (see daf 5). The Mishna on today’s daf discusses the concept of a veset ha-guf, where the woman knows to expect that she will menstruate because of some physical exertion that she performs. The Mishna teaches:
These are the symptoms of fixed menstrual cycles: After the woman yawns, sneezes, feels pain near her stomach or in her lower abdomen, secretes a discharge, or after a type of feverish shuddering overtakes her, or any other similar symptoms. Any woman who established a pattern for herself by experiencing one of the sensations three times before the onset of menstruation may be deemed to have a fixed menstrual cycle.
In explanation of the Mishna’s statement that “any other similar symptoms” will also be considered a settled veset ha-guf, Abaye says “it was intended to include one who ate garlic and saw menstrual blood, one who ate onions and saw menstrual blood, and one who chewed pepper and saw menstrual blood.”
The Mishna needs to present a statement that includes eating these foods, since this experience is qualitatively different that the others listed in the Mishna. The Mishna describes involuntary physical events that cause a bodily reaction. Eating onions or garlic is a deliberate action that leads to a natural, albeit unintended outcome in this particular woman’s case. In this way, this veset ha-guf also differs from voluntary activities such as jumping, which may also establish a veset ha-guf under certain circumstances (see daf 11). In many contexts, the effects of jumping would be considered an ones – something that is beyond an individual’s control – while eating is such a natural event that any after-effects would not be considered an ones.