When should a woman immerse in the mikvah?
As we have learned (see yesterday’s daf,), according to Biblical law, a woman who is a nidda counts seven days from when she begins to menstruate, and can immerse at the end of the seventh day, even if her bleeding continues throughout the week. Based on this, Rav teaches that if the woman immerses at the proper time – that is, at the end of those seven days – she cannot immerse during the day, which would be too early, rather she can only immerse after dark. If, however, she waits until the next day, she can immerse during the day, as well. Rabbi Yohanan disagrees, arguing that if she goes to the mikvah during the day her daughter may not realize that it is the day after she has completed her seven days of niddah, and may mistakenly learn that one can immerse on the seventh day.
The Gemara concludes that ultimately Rav agreed that a woman should always immerse at night to ensure that her daughters should not learn incorrect practices. At the same time, the Gemara lists exceptions to this rule:
- Rav Idi ordained at Narash that immersion shall be performed on the eighth day on account of lions.
- Rav Aḥa bar Yaakov issued a similar ordinance at Papunia on account of thieves.
- Rav Yehuda did the same at Pumbedita on account of the cold.
- Rabbah acted similarly at Mahoza on account of the guards of the city gates.
In conclusion, when there is danger at night, women can immerse during the day.
The cities of Narash, Papunia, Pumbedita and Mahoza are Babylonian cities that served as religious centers due to the great Torah Sages who lived there and served as leaders, as illustrated by the regulations that they established in response to the needs of their individual communities.