'''The halachot on this page are specifically for married individuals.'''
There are five stages in the process of a woman becoming purified from her Niddah (impure) status during which she is prohibited to her husband. These stages include: (1) waiting 4 or 5 days, (2) performing a Hefsek Tahara, (3) counting the Shiva Nekiyim and checking during those days, (4) preparing for the mikveh, and (5) going to the mikveh.<ref> Halachos of Niddah (Rabbi Eider p. 33)</ref> This page presents the various laws regarding each of these stages.
==Waiting Before Doing Hefsek Tahara==
# A woman who sees her period needs to wait 4 days according to Sephardim or 5 days according to Ashkenazim and then she can perform a hefsek tahara in order to begin the shiva nekiyim. According to Sephardim, these 4 days are counted from the time when she was last with her husband. Nonetheless, a woman can never count her shiva nekiyim until she did a hefsek tahara and didn’t see any blood. However, according to Ashkenazim, these 5 days are counted from the beginning of her period whether or not she was with her husband recently and even if her husband wasn’t in town.<ref>The gemara Niddah 42a explains that a woman who emits semen is impure and can't count that day for her Shiva Nekiyim. Tosfot Niddah 33a s.v. roeh concludes that a woman can't begin her hefsek tahara until the fourth day after she began to see blood if she was with her husband right before she started seeing.
* Shulchan Aruch 196:11 rules that a woman who sees blood needs to wait 4 days until she can do her hefsek tahara and on that fourth day she can the hefsek tahara. Also, those 4 days are counted from the last time she was with her husband. However, the Rama YD 196:11 rules like the Trumat Hadeshen who says that a woman who sees blood can only do the hefsek tahara on the fifth day and begin the shiva nekiyim the next day. Also, waiting these days applies whether or not she was with her husband recently or even if he wasn't in town at all. The Rama concludes that this is the Ashkenazic minhag and one shouldn't deviate. Halachos of Niddah (p. 33) concurs.
* Sephardic Minhag: Rav Ovadia Yosef in Taharat Habayit (v. 2, p. 392) rules like Shulchan Aruch. On p. 413, he adds that if a woman knew that she only needed to wait 4 days and was machmir to wait 5, if she wants to change her minhag she needs to do a hatarat nedarim. Ben Ish Chai (Rav Paalim 4:20) maintains that the minhag Baghdad was to wait 5 days and it should be maintained. Orot Hatahara 10:23-4 (Rav Zecharya Ben Shlomo) writes that some Sephardim wait 4 days and some 5 days. He adds that the Yemenites hold that immediately after she stops seeing blood, she should wash that area from shichvat zera if they had tashmish within the last 4 days, and then she could do a hefsek tahara.</ref>
## For example, if a woman sees blood on Shabbat, according to Ashkenazim she could do her hefsek tahara on Wednesday afternoon and according to Sephardim she could do her hefsek tahara on Tuesday afternoon. This minimum waiting period only applies if she stopped bleeding before that time, if not she can not do a hefsek tahara and needs to wait another day. If the Shiva Nekiyim continue successfully she can go to mikveh the next Wednesday night.<ref>Halachos of Niddah p. 34</ref>
# The 4 or 5 days are counted according to halachic days starting at night. If a woman saw blood during sunset and nightfall a Rav should be consulted as to determine which day she can begin she 4 or 5 day waiting period.<Ref>See Halachos of Niddah p. 35 who quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe YD 4:17:20) as holding that if a woman saw blood within 9 minutes after sunset she can begin counting her five days from that day and not the night.</ref>
# If a woman sees blood during the day after she, her shul, or community prayed maariv early she can count the 4 or 5 days from that day and she doesn't have to begin her count or 4 or 5 days from that night.<ref>Shach 196:19 quotes the Maharshal as saying that if she saw after she davened maariv she needs to count her 4 or 5 days from that night. The Shach, however, disagrees that it is acceptable to count from the day. Badei Hashulchan 196:161 and Halachos of Niddah (p. 36) are lenient like the Shach.</ref>
===Exceptions to Waiting Five Days===
# If a woman sees blood in the middle of shiva nekiyim she needs to start again, but she doesn’t have to wait 4 or 5 days before she can do a hefsek tahara. Rather she can do the hefsek tahara that day and then start counting the shiva nekiyim the next day.<ref>Shach 196:22, Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 419</ref>
# A bride the first time she is impure after she got married because of hymenal bleeding (or beilat mitzvah) could do the hefsek tahara on the fourth day and she doesn't need to wait until the fifth day as long as she stopped seeing blood on or before the fourth day and she didn't see her regular period afterwards. This only applies if they didn't have tashmish during Ben Hashemashot. If she saw her regular period she must wait to do the hefsek tahara on the fifth day from when she started seeing blood.<Ref>Taz YD 196:5 quoting the Maharal of Prague writes that a bride after beilat mitzvah doesn't have to wait 5 days because the impurity of dam betulim is only rabbinic. However, if they really had tashmish during Ben Hashemashot then she can't do the hefsek tahara until the 5th day after the beilat mitzvah. Igrot Moshe YD 4:17:18 writes that if she sees menstrual blood certainly she needs to wait 5 days and not 4 since that is biblical and not rabbinic.</ref>
# A bride before her wedding according to most poskim doesn't need to wait 5 days before doing a hefsek tahara.<ref>Halachos of Niddah p. 47</ref>
# If a woman saw blood on a Monday and if she would do the hefsek tahara on the fifth day her tevilah night would be Friday night and if the Friday night which would have been her tevilah night follows a Yom Tov, according to some poskim, she may do her hefsek tahara on the fourth day as long as she stopped bleeding by the time of the hefsek tahara. A rav should be consulted.<ref>Pitchei Teshuva 196:15 quotes the Shlah as saying that it is better to do the hefsek tahara on the fourth day to avoid the issue of separating the washing before the mikveh and the tevilah which occurs when her tevilah is on a Friday night that follows a Yom Tov. The Shlah is only lenient if she wasn't with her husband from a day before she saw blood. The Sidrei Tahara 196:42 is lenient even if the couple was together before she saw blood. Halachos of Niddah p. 45 seems to follow the Sidrei Tahara. Halachos of Niddah p. 45 fnt. 100 quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein as applying this even if it is only one day Yom Tov before Shabbat.</ref>
# If a woman sees blood after going to the mikveh before she returned home, she must do a hefsek tahara and count shiva nekiyim, but does not have to wait a minimum or 4 or 5 days. Some poskim the same is true even if she returned home but didn't have relations with her husband yet.<ref>The Pitchei Teshuva 196:16 quotes a dispute between the Nodeh Beyehuda and Peni Yehoshua if a woman who saw blood after having gone to the mikveh needs to wait 4 or 5 days before the hefsek tahara. The Sidrei Tahara 196:39 is lenient like the Peni Yehoshua and Meil Tzedaka, though he quotes the Minchat Solet who is only lenient if she didn't return home yet. Halachos of Niddah p. 48 quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein as agreeing with the Minchat Solet's compromise.</ref>
# The hefsek tahara is a very critical bedika done right before night prior to beginning the count of shiva nekiyim. If a woman didn’t do a hefsek she remains a niddah and can’t begin her count of shiva nekiyim even if days or years passed.<ref>Mishna Niddah 68a, Rashba ([http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=8922&st=&pgnum=384 Torat Habayit 23b]), Tur and S”A 196:5. See Taharat Habayit v. 2 pp. 229-254 whether the need for the hefsek tahara is biblical or rabbinic. The majority opinion including the Rambam (Isurei Biyah 6:20-3) is that it is biblical unlike the opinion of the Or Zaruah 1:338. Nonetheless, based on the Zichron Yosef YD 9 who presents an argument based on rov that today the hefsek is only rabbinic. The argument is discussed at length in the Taharat Habayit. He concludes that in cases of extreme need where a proper hefsek is impossible one should consult a rabbi whether there is room to consider the leniency that was discussed by the Nodeh Beyehuda YD 59.</ref>
# Even if a woman stops seeing blood after 2 or 3 days she shouldn’t perform the hefsek tahara until the 4th day according to Sephardim or 5th day according to Ashkenazim.<Ref>S”A and Rama 196:11. Badei Hashulchan 196:160 says that she shouldn’t do her hefsek tahara on a day earlier than she can begin her shiva nekiyim the night afterwards unless there is a need. </ref>
# The bedika for hesfek tahara should be performed after mincha ketana (2.5 halachic hours before sunset)<ref>Taharat Habayit 13:1. Badei Hashulchan 196:17 cites a machloket Raah and Bet Yosef whether the gemara was referring to mincha gedola or ketana. Aruch Hashulchan 196:19 advises doing it within a half hour or hour before sunset.</ref> and initially it should be performed as close to sunset as possible. <ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 196:1</ref> If it was performed earlier than mincha ketana initially it should be redone after mincha ketana<Ref>Badei Hashulchan 196:15</ref>, however, after the fact, the hefsek is valid.<ref>Rama 196:1, Taharat Habayit 13:1</ref>
# The bedika for the hefsek tahara must be finished before sunset.<Ref>Badei Hashulchan 196:13</ref> If she forgot and didn’t do a bedika before sunset she should ask an Orthodox rabbi what to do.
# If she is going to daven maariv before sunset or if the majority of the community is going to daven maariv before sunset she should do the hefsek tahara before that time.<ref>Rama 196:1 quoting the Trumat HaDeshen writes that once she davens maariv or the community does it is considered nighttime and she can no longer do a bedika. The Rama also cites the Maharil who argues that for purposes of niddah the night is determined by sunset and not maariv or tosefet shabbat. Badei Hashulchan 196:31 writes that initially one should be strict for the Bach to check before accepting Shabbat and again afterwards right before sunset.</ref> After the fact she could do a bedika afterwards until sunset.<ref>Rama 196:1, Badei Hashulchan 196:32, Orot Hatahara 10:25</ref>
## When the community accepts early Shabbat and the bedika is done prior to that point, some say that the moch dachuk should also be inserted before that time<ref>Badei Hashulchan 196:31</ref>, while others hold that it is sufficient to insert it before sunset. <ref>Orot Hatahara 10:25</ref>
# If she did a bedika before she davened maariv or the community davened maariv and then saw blood she should do a bedika afterwards before sunset.<ref>Rama 196:1, Badei Hashulchan 196:33</ref>
# Initially, a woman should do a bedika with a moch dachuk and leave it there all of Ben Hashemashot. <Ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 196:1, Taharat Habayit 13:1</ref>
# The moch dachuk should be left inside during the entire length of Ben Hashemashot. For Ashekanazim, a woman should leave it there the amount of time they would wait to end Shabbat after sunset, however, if it is difficult she can take it out earlier.<ref>Badei Hashulchan 196:21</ref> For Sephardim ben hashemashot can be assumed to be 15 minutes.<ref>Taharat Habayit 13:1. See Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 261 where he writes that even those who are strict for Rabbenu Tam don’t need to be strict to leave the moch inside during all of shem hashemashot of rabbenu tam.</ref>
# If it is very painful or if she’s concerned that doing a moch dachuk will cause bleeding she shouldn’t do the moch dachuk at all since she already did a good bedika before sunset.<ref>Badei Hashulchan 196:21, Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 261</ref>
==Counting the Shiva Nekiyim==
# The seven days of shiva nekiyim must be consecutive and if she sees blood even on the last days she must start again. <ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 196:10, Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 371</ref>
# A woman who in the middle of her count thought that she was tameh and stopped counting for some days and then realizes that really she was tahor, some poskim write that the woman needs to begin counting again, however, others argue.<ref>The Meil Tzedaka (no. 63) writes that a woman must be cognisant of the days of her shiva nekiyim in order for them to count, however, if she thought she was tameh in the middle of her shiva nekiyim and then realizes that she was tahor she is considered tameh and needs to start again. Pitchei Teshuva 196:4 quotes this. Rav Ovadia Yosef in Taharat Habayit p. 338 writes that the majority of poskim argue with the Meil Tzedaka and so in a case of need there’s what to rely on to not follow the Meil Tzedaka.</ref> A person should consult with their rabbi if this situation arises.
# A woman doesn’t need to verbally count each day of the shiva nekiyim.<ref>Shlah (Shaar Ha'otiyot, Ot Kuf, Kedushat Hazug, no. 377) writes that there is a mitzvah of a woman to verbally count each day of the shiva nekiyim. Radvaz 4:27 (no. 1102) writes that there is no mitzvah for a woman to verbally count the days of her shiva nekiyim. He explains that it is different than sefirat haomer because the mitzvah of counting shiva nekiyim is dependent on whether she wants to purify herself to her husband, however, sefirat haomer is an obligatory mitzvah. Maharam Rotenburg 4:292 agrees that there's no mitzvah for a woman to count verbally. Rav Mordechai Willig (Niddah Shiur 3 on [http://www.yutorah.org/sidebar/lecture.cfm/862119/rabbi-mordechai-i-willig/niddah-shiur-3/ yutorah] min 51-2) explained that a person shouldn’t tell his wife to follow the Shlah as we’re certainly not on his level of piety.</ref>
# On each day of the shiva nekiyim a woman should do a bedika once in the morning and once in the afternoon before nightfall. <ref>S”A 196:4.
* The Rosh (Niddah 10:5) writes that a woman should do a bedika each day of the shiva nekiyim lechatchila. This is also the opinion of the Rashba ([http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=8922&st=&pgnum=385 Torat Habayit 24a]) and Ramban (Hilchot Niddah 9:23).
* The Mordechai (Niddah no. 737) quoting the Roke’ach (317 s.v. boel) as saying that the women should do a bedika twice a day. The Bet Yosef adds that it seems to be against many rishonim who hold once a day is sufficient. Nonetheless, S”A 196:4 writes that one should check daily twice a day.</ref>
# After the fact, if a woman checked on days 1 and 7 twice a day, the woman may go to the mikveh the night of the 7th. In general if she missed bedikot she should consult a rabbi.<ref>The Tenayim in the Mishna Niddah 68b argue if a woman only checked days 1 and 7 if that works, Rabbi Eliezer says it does, Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Akiva hold that it doesn’t. Rav and Rabbi Chanina in 69a argue whether according to Rabbi Eliezer after the fact if it is enough to just check day 1 or 7 or both are necessary. The Rosh (Niddah 10:5) and Rashba ([http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=8922&st=&pgnum=385 Torat Habayit 24a]) rule like Rav that after the fact day 1 or day 7 works. However, the Smag writes that one should be strict for Rabbi Chanina that even after the fact day 1 and 7 is necessary. The Shulchan Aruch writes that one should be strict for the Smag.</ref>
# After the fact, if a woman only checked once a day and not twice a day, some poskim hold that is sufficient.<ref>Sidrei Tahara 196:16. Rav Mordechai Willig (Am Mordechai on Shulchan Aruch p. 125) and in [http://www.yutorah.org/sidebar/lecture.cfm/863353/rabbi-mordechai-i-willig/niddah-shiur-13-shivah-nekiim-continued-/ a shiur on yutorah.org (Niddah Shiur 13, min 40-50)] is even lenient initially to avoid a woman causing herself to bleed unnecessarily and also because of how difficult it often is to check before nighttime. He added that if one wanted to be strict one should check the 1st and 7th day twice. Also, the one bedika should be done in the morning.</ref>
# A blind woman can do a bedika and show it to her friend to check that it is clean.<ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 196:7</ref>
# A deaf person who can speak or a mute who can hear are considered perfectly healthy and can do bedikot for themselves. However, a woman who is deaf mute or one who became deranged needs a healthy woman to perform bedikot for her and help her calculate her vestot.<Ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 196:8</ref>
# A woman who wants to perform more bedikot than are necessary whether she is in her shiva nekiyim or is tahor is praiseworthy.<ref>Mishna Niddah 13a, Shulchan Aruch YD 196:9</ref> However, if she has a bruise in that area and might bleed, she should not perform extra bedikot. Additionally, she should not perform extra bedikot before and after tashmish as described elsewhere. <Ref>Badei Hashulchan 196:132-3, Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 370</ref>
# Ashkenazim are strict about how to treat a ketem (stain) during the first three days of shiva nekiyim, whereas in the last 4 days sometimes a ketem is tahor because we assume that it came from something else. However, a ketem that’s a k’gris or smaller is tahor even in the first three days of shiva nekiyim.<ref>Rama 196:10</ref> If a woman has a bruise in that area that is actively bleeding and stained during the first three days of shiva nekiyim needs to consult a posek.<ref>Rama 196:10 is lenient, but the Shach argues. Badei Hashulchan 196:146 is strict unless this bruise will bleed for a long time.</ref> Sephardim treat the ketem the same during the first 3 days as the last 4 days.<ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 196:10, Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 372)</ref>
==Preparing for the Mikveh==
# Besides the washing a woman must check herself to be sure that she doesn't have any chatzitza on herself before going to the mikveh.<ref>The gemara Bava Kama 72a explains that the idea that a women has to check herself before going to the mikveh is a biblical obligation. The [http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9381&st=&pgnum=401 Rashba (Torat Habayit 31a)], Ran (Shavuot 6a s.v. masrich), and Ramban (cited by Tur 199:1) write explicitly that the obligation to check oneself for a chatzitza before going to the mikveh (iyun) is biblical. Shach 199:2 agrees. However, the Bet Yosef 199:6 s.v. lechen suggests that the Tur held checking was only a rabbinic obligation. See the [http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=412&st=&pgnum=181 Shaarei Tzion 30] who suggests that this might also be the opinion of a number of rishonim, though he admits that his approach isn't supported by much evidence.
* Taz 199:4 explains that washing one’s body also accomplishes the checking, however, the Shiurei Tahara 199:5 argues that washing doesn’t fulfill the obligation of checking, though one could check oneself while one is washing and that suffices for the checking. Badei Hashulchan 199:12 quotes both opinions without ruling one way. The Laws of Niddah v. 2 p. 438 seems to side with the Taz; to quote "generally when a woman bathes and washes herself thoroughly with the intention and concentration to remove any chatzitza it is considered the equivalent of physically or visually inspecting her body."</ref>
# A woman shouldn't wash her hair before going to the mikveh with cold water or a type of cleaning agent that would make her hair tangled or fall out.<ref>Gemara Niddah 66b, Shulchan Aruch YD 199:2</ref> The minhag is for a woman to use shampoo or the like and then afterwards to just use hot water and comb the hair. Even though we're not sure that the shampoo or the like are acceptable for this washing, the washing in hot water without any shampoo and combing suffices.<ref>Badei Hashulchan 199:24 explains that it is possible that some of our soaps or shampoos have ingredients from the types of cleaning agents that the gemara says not to use. Nonetheless, it is acceptable since afterwards the practice is to wash the hair with hot water and comb it which itself is a sufficient washing of the hair before tevilah. Taharat Habayit v. 3 p. 243 also writes that the minhag is to use shampoo and conditioner without jell and then wash the hair with hot water.</ref>
# The practice is for the woman to take a hot bath to accomplish this cleaning, though if a women couldn't take a bath but could take a shower that is sufficient.<Ref>Badei Hashulchan 199:17</ref>
# Initially a woman should do her washing immediately<ref>Badei Hashulchan 199:38 writes that initially she should do the preparations at night right before tevilah as close as possible. However, after the fact if she couldn't go to the mikveh a few hours later that night she doesn't need to the preparations again. Taharat Habayit (v. 3 p. 246) quotes some who say that within 3 hours is sufficiently close. </ref> prior to going to the mikveh. A proper minhag is that a woman start her washing for the mikveh at the end of the day and continue into the night until she goes to the mikveh. <ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 199:3.
# In cases of extenuating circumstances it is permitted to do the washing before going to the mikveh entirely during the day or entirely at night.<ref>Rama YD 199:3. The Taharat Habayit (v. 3 p. 249) writes that it is permitted to do all of the preparations at night even if it is a personal extenuating circumstance such as if she has older children who will find out if she does her preparations during the day.</ref> In such cases a person should consult a rabbi.
# The tevilah night is Friday night the washing and preparation should be done on Friday afternoon<ref>Badei Hashulchan 199:62 adds that the preparations should be done before sunset but leaving herself enough time to light the candles.</ref> and completed before sunset.<ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 199:5, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 160:5. According to the Shiltot (see Tosfot Niddah 68a s.v. kach), this is the case of the gemara where it is impossible to do the tevilah by night and so it is done during the day. According to Rashi the preparation are always done during the day.</ref> Nonetheless, between doing the preparation and the tevilah the woman shouldn't be involved in anything that will cause a chatzitza such as touching something sticky.<ref>Taz 199:8</ref> Immediately before the tevilah on Shabbat the woman should wash her concealed areas with water that was warmed before Shabbat, clean in between her teeth, and check herself.<ref>Badei Hashulchan 199:61 based on Shulchan Aruch YD 199:6</
reF> Some say that she shouldn't eat between the preparations for tevilah and tevilah.<ref>Badei Hashulchan 199:62 based on Sidrei Tahara 198:48. [http://www.yutorah.org/sidebar/lecture.cfm/864207/rabbi-mordechai-i-willig/niddah-shiur-20-chafifah-continued-/ Rabbi Willig (Niddah Shiur 20, min 2-15)], however, is lenient if the couple made early Shabbat to eat the meal between the preparations and the tevilah. Even Badei Hashulchan (Biurim 199:6 s.v. tachuf) is willing to be lenient if she's eating with guests or is a guests and she'll be very embarrassed if she doesn't eat.</ref>## If a woman's tevilah night is Friday night she should light candles after doing the preparations for tevilah and then go to the mikveh. If that's not possible, she should light earlier with a stipulation that she isn't accepting Shabbat and then do the preparations and go to the mikveh.<Ref>Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 160:5</ref>
# If Friday day is a Yom Tov and the tevilah night is Friday night then the preparations and checking should be done before Yom Tov. The woman should tie her hair so that it doesn't get tangled over Yom Tov before the tevilah.<ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 199:6. According to Rashi and the Shiltot (see Tosfot Niddah 68a) this is a situation when it is impossible to have the preparations right before the tevilah and so the tevilah is done beforehand in accordance with Rav Chisda (Niddah 67b). Even though Shulchan Aruch only requires preparing (chafifa) for the tevilah before Yom Tov, the Shach 199:11 also requires checking together with the preparations. </ref> Additionally, in between the preparations and the tevilah if it is possible to avoid touching sticky items one should do so and if not, one should wash one's hands immediately afterwards.<Ref>Tur and Rama 199:6. The Bet Yosef argues that this is an unnecessary stringency and therefore he omits it from the Shulchan Aruch. He proves contention from the Ran and Rashba that in such a case the most critical element is the checking which is done right before the tevilah. The Taz 199:10 explains that the reason we are careful to avoid a chatzitza is between the preparations for the tevilah are done before Yom Tov far in advance of the tevilah.</ref> Lastly, on Yom Tov on Friday afternoon the woman should wash her concealed parts with warm water even that which was heated on Yom Tov and check herself right before the tevilah.<ref>Tur and Shulchan Aruch 199:6.</ref>
# If a woman's tevilah night is Saturday night according to Sephardim the preparations for the tevilah should take place on Saturday night.<ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 199:4. According to the Shiltot (see Tosfot Niddah 68a s.v. kach) the gemara Niddah 68a states that whenever possible the preparation for the tevilah should be at night immediately prior to the tevilah. Additionally, according to Rashi (with the emendation of the Bach) the gemara Niddah 68a says that if it is impossible to do the preparation during the day such as if the tevilah night is Saturday night the preparations should take place at night. The Tur and Shulchan Aruch YD 199:4 therefore write that the preparations should be on Saturday night. Taharat Habayit (v. 3 p. 246) writes that Sephardim do not accept the practice to prepare on Friday also.</ref> According to Ashkenazim, the preparation should also take place on Friday afternoon and again on Saturday night.<ref>The Tur 199:4 writes that although the preparations could happen on Saturday night a proper practice is to prepare on Friday and again on Saturday night. The Bet Yosef 199:4 questions why it is a good practice if according to all opinions the gemara warrants doing it at night. The Rama YD 199:4 quotes this practice.
* The Rama 199:4 writes that the preparations on Saturday night only include a little combing, but the Taz 199:7 and Badei Hashulchan 199:59 explain that once it is done before Shabbat the combing will go quicker.</ref>
# In all of the following cases the preparations are separated from the tevilah and as such if possible the woman should be careful not to touch anything sticky and if she does touch something sticky she should wash her hands immediately. Additionally, the preparations should include her tying up her hair<ref>Badei Hashulchan 199:72 adds that she can do anything to prevent her hair from getting tangled.</ref> so that it doesn't get tangled before the tevilah.<ref>Rama 199:6, Shach 199:10, Taharat Habayit v. 3, p. 249-251</ref></ref>
# If Saturday night is a Yom Tov and the tevilah night is Saturday night the preparations and checking for tevilah should be done on Friday afternoon and again on Saturday night she should wash her concealed areas with warm water heated up on Yom Tov<ref>Badei Hashulchan 199:84 clarifies that if she doesn't have warm water, she could use cold water.</ref>, clean in between her teeth, and check herself.<ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 199:6. Shach 199:11 holds that she should also check herself when she prepares on Friday afternoon. Badei Hashulchan 199:67 clarifies that the preparations don't have to be done right before sunset on Friday since anyway the tevilah isn't for another day.</ref>
# If her tevilah night is after a one or two day Yom Tov she should prepare before Yom Tov and also the night of the tevilah.<ref>Badei Hashulchan 199:58 and 199:60 based on Sidrei Tahara</ref>
# If her tevilah night is Saturday night and Yom Tov is Thursday and Friday, some say that she should prepare before Yom Tov and again after Shabbat, while others say that if unless that is the practice she should just prepare after Shabbat.<ref>Badei Hashulchan 199:58 cites this as a dispute between the Shach, who is strict, and Sidrei Tahara, who is lenient.</ref>
# If her tevilah night is Sunday night and Yom Tov is Sunday and Monday she should do her preparations on Friday day and again on Sunday night she should wash her concealed areas with warm water heated on Yom Tov, clean between her teeth, and check herself before tevilah.<Ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 199:6, Badei Hashulchan 199:68</ref>
===If She Forgot to Prepare===
# If a woman forgot to clean herself even if she checked for any chatzitza her tevilah is invalid.<ref>Shulchan Aruch 199:8</ref>
# If a woman prepared for the tevilah and nonetheless found on herself a chatzitza after coming out of the mikveh, if she prepared immediately<ref>Shach 199:14 is strict if the preparations weren't immediately before the tevilah even if they were on the same day and also if the preparations were immediately before the tevilah but the tevilah was at night preparations during the day or the opposite. Badei Hashulchan 199:117 agrees.</ref> prior to the tevilah, she should go to the mikveh again if it is easily possible. However, if she didn't do the preparations immediately before the tevilah she needs to go to the mikveh again, unless she was dealing with that same type of material as the chatzitza she found on herself.<ref>Shulchan Aruch 199:11. Even though in Shulchan Aruch 199:10 the majority opinion distinguishes whether or not she prepared for the mikveh immediately beforehand or not, the Rambam requires her to go to the mikveh either way. The Badei Hashulchan 199:122 writes that we're strict for the Rambam if it is easily possible.</ref> Ashkenazim are strict unless she is certain that the chatzitza didn't exist on her during the tevilah.<ref>Shach 199:16</ref>
# If a woman prepared for the mikveh and then touched something sticky and then went to the mikveh, her tevilah is invalid.<Ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 199:13</ref> However, if she checked herself before going to the mikveh then her tevilah is valid.<ref>Rama YD 199:13</ref>
==Going to the Mikveh==
# A woman who was Tameh as a niddah or zavah stays Tameh forever, even years later, until she goes to the Mikveh.<ref>Gemara Shabbat 64b explains that a Niddah remains tameh until she goes to the mikveh in her proper time. The Rambam Isurei Biyah 4:3 adds that she is a Niddah even years later until she goes to a mikveh. Shulchan Aruch YD 197:1 codifies this.
* Tosfot Yevamot 47b s.v. bemayim discusses the source for the halacha that a Niddah needs to go to a mikveh in order to be tahora. Rav Yehudai Goan explained that the Niddah's tevilah is learned as a fortiori from the fact that the utensils she touches need tevilah. The Ri says that it is the pasuk וְהַדָּוָה בְּנִדָּתָהּ (Vayikra 15:33) as interpreted by the Gemara Shabbat 64b a Niddah remains tameh until she goes to the mikveh in the proper time. The Rabbenu Tam derives this halacha from במי נדה יתחטא (Bamidbar 31:23) as understood by the Gemara Avoda Zara 75b. </ref>
# If her husband is in town it is a mitzvah for a woman to be tovel on the night when she is able to be tovel and not delay it to another night.<Ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 197:2.
* Is it a mitzvah for a woman to go to the mikveh immediately when she is able to become tahora? The gemara Shabbat 121a, Niddah 30a quote a dispute between the tenayim whether there is a mitzvah to go to mikveh immediately when it is possible. Tosfot Niddah 30a s.v. ushma minah tevilah write that Rabbenu Chananel held like the majority opinion in Niddah that going to the mikveh at the first opportunity is a mitzvah. However, Tosfot argue that it couldn't be a mitzvah as we see the practice isn't for a Niddah, Shomeret Yom, or Zavah go to mikveh as soon as is possible.
* Application: One possible practical application is a concept the Smag (Lavin no. 111) mentions that if it is a mitzvah then a woman should go to the mikveh when she can become tahora even if her husband isn't in town.
* Halacha: The Maharil (responsa 196), Maharik responsa 35:3, Shach 197:3, Taz 197:2 in explaining the Rama, and Badei Hashulchan 197:10 in explaining Shulchan Aruch all hold like Tosfot that there is no mitzvah for a woman to go to the mikveh immediately when she is able to become tahora. Nonetheless, the Bet Yosef 197:2 adds that everyone agrees that there is a mitzvah for a woman whose husband is around to go to the mikveh at the first opportunity because of the mitzvah of Onah unless her husband doesn't care. Taz 197:2 and Taharat Habayit v. 2. 445 agree.</ref>
# Some say that a woman shouldn't go to the mikveh if her husband isn't in town because of a concern of danger.<ref>Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 445 quotes the Shvut Yakov 3:77 that woman wouldn't go to the mikveh if their husbands weren't in town out of a concern for evil spirits and he supports this concern. [http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=20829&st=&pgnum=164 Torah Lishma 216] in fact argues that there's no real basis for this concern but since people are worried it is good to be careful.</ref>
# If the woman's Tevilah night is Friday night or Motzei Shabbat are they certainly permitted to go to the mikveh that night. However, if a woman could have gone to mikveh before Friday night or Motzei Shabbat and she didn't intentionally without a real reason, some poskim hold that she may not go to the mikveh on Friday night. Some are lenient even in such a case to let her go to the mikveh on Friday night. <ref>
* The Gemara Beitzah 18a states that it is permitted for a Tameh person to go to the mikveh on Shabbat and it doesn't appear as though he is fixing himself since observers will think he is just going to washing himself to cool himself off. The Trumat Hadeshen 255 based on the Mordechai explains that nowadays the Ashkenazic minhag isn't to bathe in cold water on Shabbat at all and therefore, someone who goes to the mikveh does appear to be fixing themselves (metaken) and so it is an issue to go to the mikveh on Friday night. However, this only applies if the woman going to the mikveh is going when it isn't her first chance to go. If it is her first opportunity then for the mitzvah of pru urevu it is permitted for her to go on Friday night.
* Bet Yosef 197:2 argues that it should be permitted just like it was in the days of the gemara and doesn't even quote the Trumat Hadeshen. The Darkei Moshe 197:3 concludes that if the woman couldn't have got to the mikveh for any halachic stringency until Friday night she can go then. Even this stringency he writes only applies in a place where this is the minhag.
* The Taz 197:4 holds that anytime a woman couldn't go to the mikveh before the 7th day because it was impossible she can't go on Friday night. If, however, her husband wasn't in town until Friday afternoon and she didn't go to the mikveh, she can not now go on Friday night as it was possible for her to go earlier. Bach 197:3 similarly is strict even if there's no minhag.
* The Rama 197:2 rules that unless there is a minhag otherwise if a woman didn't go to the mikveh since her husband wasn't in town she is allowed to go to the mikveh on Friday night. Bach 197:3 in understanding the Trumat Hadeshen and the Shach 197:3 agree. The Badei Hashulchan 197:29 quotes that the achronim agreed that our minhag today is to allow women to go to the mikveh Friday night if it was pushed off for any reason, based on the Rama and Shach. Additionally, even if it was pushed for no reason, the Badei Hashulchan writes one could be lenient to go to the mikveh Friday night even though some argue.
* Going to the mikveh on Motzei Shabbat is a separate issue. Based on Rashi's reading of the gemara Niddah 67a it is less than ideal to do the preparations for the mikveh at night on Saturday night and then go to the mikveh as he holds that the preparations should be done by day. To be concerned for the opinion of Rashi, the Maharil (responsa chadashot 96) writes that a woman should go to the mikveh on Motzei Shabbat unless that was her first opportunity. The Rama 197:2 codifies this opinion but adds that it only applies where there is a minhag to be strict about this. Badei Hashulchan 197:38 writes that the consensus of the achronim is to be lenient to allow women to go to the mikveh on Saturday night even if they intentionally pushed off mikveh earlier.
* Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 452 writes that the Sephardic minhag is like the Bet Yosef who permits going to the mikveh on Friday night even if her tevilah night was earlier. </ref> Nonetheless, a woman may not intentionally delay her tevilah night to Friday night.<Ref>Taharat Habayit v. 3 p. 254</ref>
## If a woman wasn't able to go to the mikveh before Friday night for some reason that made it impossible for her she is certainly allowed to go to the mikveh on Friday night.<ref>Rama 197:2, Taz 197:3 like the Trumat Hadeshen unlike the Bach</ref>
# If a woman is going to the mikveh Friday night she should be careful not to squeeze out her hair.<ref>Because of the concern of squeezing water out of hair the [http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=8785&st=&pgnum=98 Raavad (Baalei Hanefesh Shaar Hatevilah)] writes that a woman shouldn't go to the mikveh on Friday night. However, the Bet Yosef 199:6 argues that we shouldn't follow the Raavad against the majority of rishonim. This is also the ruling of Shulchan Aruch YD 199:5. Nonetheless, Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 452 adds that one must be careful not to squeeze out the hair on Shabbat.
* According to the gemara Shabbat 128a squeezing water out of hair isn't considered sechita (squeezing) that is prohibited on Shabbat. The Rambam Shabbat 9:11 codifies this. The Maggid Mishna Shabbat 9:11 and Bet Yosef 330:1 explain that even though there's no biblical prohibition there still is a rabbinic one. Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 452 shows that the minority opinion of the Sefer HaEshkol is that there is no rabbinic prohibition either. In any event, the Maadenei Yom Tov (Mikvaot no. 37 fnt. 10) explains that the rabbis didn't prohibit going to the mikveh on Friday night because of this concern of squeezing out hair because of the mitzvah of pru urevu.</ref> Some say is permitted to dry the hair by placing a towel on the hair gently so that the water is absorbed.<ref>Ben Ish Chai (Pekudshei II no. 8), Taharat Habayit v. 3 p. 279</ref>
# A woman recite a bracha on going to the mikveh on Friday night as she would any other night.<Ref>Biur Halacha 323:7 s.v. yimalenu asks how it is permitted to recite the bracha for going to the mikveh on Friday night if it will be clear that the woman is going to the mikveh for a mitzvah and not for just cooling off, which is a problem of appearing like fixing oneself (see Gemara Beitzah 18a). He answers that perhaps since in the action of going into the mikveh itself she doesn't appear to be doing a mitzvah it is permitted to recite the bracha beforehand (Sephardim) or afterwards (Ashkenazim). Nonetheless, he concludes that this is a dispute between Tosfot Yevamot 46b and Rambam. Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 458 quotes the Kol Gadol 15 who answers that the woman should recite the bracha quietly so that no one can tell she's reciting a bracha.</ref>
# Many defend the practice of going to a mikveh on Friday night even though it is lukewarm.<ref>Chacham Tzvi 11 holds that it is forbidden to go to the mikveh Friday night if the mikveh is heated but it is permitted if it is just heated enough to remove the chill. Nodeh Beyehuda OC 2:24-5 holds that it is permitted to go into a mikveh even if it is lukewarm. Lastly, the Korban Netanel (Bameh Madlikin 22:100) believes it is permitted even if the warm is warm. Nonetheless, the Mishna Brurah 326:17 proves that there is a prohibition to bathe in lukewarm warm on Shabbat. Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 460-6 agrees.
* The Mishna Brurah 326:7 writes that there is what to rely on to go to a lukewarm mikveh on Friday night. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata (ch. 14 fnt. 14) cites the Divrei Chayim who says that the minhag is that the women go in a warm mikveh on Friday night. However, Rav Yosef Henkin ([http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=2274&st=&pgnum=155 Edut L'Yisrael p. 154] holds that the water should only be lukewarm and not hot.</ref> Sephardim should try to avoid going to a warm or lukewarm mikveh at night and instead go during Ben Hashemashot.<ref>Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 452 suggests going to the mikveh during ben hashemashot so as to avoid the prohibition of bathing in hot water on Shabbat. He cites the Bnei Binyamin p. 104 as saying that it was the minhag yerushalayim to go to the mikveh during ben hashemashot. He explains that since it is only a derabbanan prohibition to go to the mikveh during the day it is permitted during ben hashemashot. He concludes that if it isn't possible to go during ben hashemashot she may go at night and not delay her night of tevilah.</ref>
# A woman may only go to the mikveh on Friday night if her husband is in town.<ref>Rama 197:2. Badei Hashulchan 197:23 explains that when her husband is in town it is permitted to go because of the mitzvah of pru urevu but if not then it is forbidden as it appears like she's fixing her status of tumah (metaken). This is based on the Trumat Hadeshen 255. See Madenei Yom Tov (Mikvaot no. 37 fnt. 10).</ref>
===Tevilah by Day===
# It is forbidden for a woman to go to the mikveh by day whether it is her seventh day of Shiva Nekiyim or even the eighth day or later.<ref>
* The gemara Yoma 6b explains that the biblical law is that a Zavah can go to the mikveh on the seventh day of her Shiva Nekiyim but the Niddah may not go until the night. Nonetheless, Rabbi Yochanan in Gemara Niddah 67b establishes that a woman may not go to mikveh during the day even if it is the eighth day or afterwards so that her daughter doesn't see this and mistakenly learn that it is permitted to go to the mikveh on the seventh day during the day (serach bita). Tosfot 67b s.v. mishum understands that this prohibition applies both to a Niddah and to a Zavah even nowadays after the institution of Rabbi Zeira's chumra.
* The gemara continues to ask why nowadays with the chumra of Rabbi Zeira a woman can't go to mikveh during the seventh day. It answers that the rabbis prohibited it lest the couples is together that day and then she sees blood, retroactively invalidating her tevilah. Tosfot s.v. aval explains that the gemara means that it is forbidden to go to mikveh during the day lest they are together afterwards. Rashi s.v. liydei implies this as well. The [http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=8785&st=&pgnum=90 Baal Hameor (Baalei Hanefesh Shaar Hatevilah ch. 1 no. 1)], however, understands that the gemara means that it is forbidden for them to be together on the seventh day but it is permitted to go to the mikveh. The Ramban (Niddah 67b s.v. ubevaday), Rashba (67b s.v. ubenemukei), and Rambam (according to the Bet Yosef 183 s.v. veyesh) understand the gemara similarly to the Baal Hameor but nonetheless say that because of the prohibition for the couple to be together it is also forbidden for her to go to the mikveh during the day.
* Shulchan Aruch YD 197:3 rules like all of the rishonim besides the baal hameor that it is forbidden for a woman to go to the mikveh nowadays during the day.</ref>
# A bride the day of her wedding can go to the mikveh by day if the Chupah of the wedding is at night.<ref>Rama 197:3, Dagul Mirvavah 197:3, Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 467</ref> In a pressing circumstance it is permitted to have the Chupah by day as long as the yichud is at night.<ref>Badei Hashulchan 197:48 based on Rabbi Akiva Eiger responsa 2:71</ref>
# In cases where it is impossible to go to the mikveh during the night such as because of danger, a woman may go to the mikveh during the day on the eighth day of her Shiva Nekiyim but not her seventh day.<ref>Gemara Niddah 67b, Shulchan Aruch 197:4</ref>
# After the fact, even though it is forbidden, if nonetheless a woman went to the mikveh during the day on the seventh or eighth day it is effective. Some say that it isn't effective if she went on the seventh by day.<Ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 197:5</ref> Even in such a case she should not tell her husband that she went to the mikveh and either way it is forbidden for them to be together until the night.<ref>Rama YD 197:5, Badei Hashulchan 197:67</ref>
===Bracha on Tevilah===
# According to Ashkenazim, the bracha should be recited after she already immersed but is still in the mikveh. She should cover herself with a robe and then recite the bracha.<ref>Rama YD 200:1</ref> There is a practice to immerse before the bracha and again afterwards.<ref>Badei Hashulchan 200:13 citing the Shlah</ref>
# According to Sephardim, the bracha should be recited while she is just wearing a robe outside of the room where the mikveh is and then immediately go into the mikveh without speaking or making any interruptions.<Ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 200:1, Taharat Habayit v. 3 p. 202</ref>
# A woman needs to immerse completely in the mikveh at one time<Ref>The Sifra (Emor 4:7) learns from Vayikra 22:6-7 that a woman needs to immerse completely in water at one time for tevilah. The Rambam (Mikvaot 1:7), Tur and Shulchan Aruch YD 198:1 codify this as halacha.</ref> without anything interposing between her body and the water of the mikveh<ref>The Mishna Mikvaot 9:1 discusses which items are an interposition between one's body and the mikveh. The Rambam (ad loc.) explains that an interposition is an issue between water needs to cover one's entire body directly. The source for this is the gemara Sukkah 6a which learns from Vayikra 14:9 that there can't be anything between the water and one's body. The gemara Eruvin 4a indicates that some of the laws of chatzitza are traditions from Sinai.</ref>, otherwise the immersion (tevilah) is invalid.
# Anything a woman doesn't want to remain on her body all the today is considered a chatzitza.<ref>Gemara Bava Kama 82a explains that a Biblical chatzitza is something that covers a majority of the body and she wants it removed. However, if it is something that covers a minority of her body but she wants removed or something that covers a majority of her body even if she doesn't want it removed is a chatzitza on a rabbinic level.</ref>
# Even if currently she doesn't want it removed but at some later point she does it is still a chatzitza. If a majority of people would want to remove the item even if she doesn't want to remove it, it constitutes a chatzitza.<ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 198:1.
* The Raavad in Baalei Hanefesh (Shaar Hatevilah ch. 2) writes that a ring or other jewelry is considered a chatzitza only because she takes it off when she kneads dough. The Rosh Mikvaot no. 25 and 26 quotes this idea. The Tur, Shulchan Aruch 198:1, and Taz 198:23 accept it as the halacha.
* See, however, the Ran Chullin 73a who seems to disagree. See also the Avnei Nezer YD 267:3 who answers how it isn't a contradiction to the Ran Shavuot 7a who cites the opinion of the Raavad.</ref>
# Additionally, something which the woman doesn't care about leaving but covers a majority of her body or hair<ref>The Rambam (Mikvaot 2:15) records a dispute he had with the Geonim whether the hair is judged as an independent part of the body for the purposes of considering a chatzitza. The Geonim held the hair is considered separate and the Rambam includes hair together with the body. Shulchan Aruch 198:5 is strict for the Geonim. </ref> is considered a chatzitza.<ref>Niddah 67b, Shulchan Aruch YD 198:1</ref>
# According to Ashkenazim, initially a woman may not have any chatzitza even if it only covers a minority of the body and she doesn't care if it remains there.<Ref>Rama 198:1 rules that initially a woman have not have any chatzitza even if it covers only a minority of the body and she doesn't care if it remains there. The Hagahot Shaarei Dura (which the Darkei Moshe 198:2 cites as the source for this halacha) writes that initially a woman shouldn't wear a netting that water could go through because of the case where the hat is thicker. The Sidrei Tahara 198:6 comments that the opinion of the Hagahot Shaarei Dura is more strict than the gemara but necessary should be followed. See also the Meiri (Bet Habechira Eruvin 4a) who preceded in Rama in his stringency and he explains (Chiddushim Eruvin 4a) that it is because usually people are concerned about every small chatzitza. Rav Ovadia Yosef in Taharat Habayit v. 3 p. 5 rules that for Sephardim the opinion of the Rama on this matter isn't binding. </ref>
# Strings tied around the hair are a chatzitza unless they are loose.<Ref>Mishna Mikvaot 9:1, Gemara Shabbat 57a, Shulchan Aruch YD 198:2</ref> However, strings tied into the hair braids are a chatzitza even if they are loose.<ref>Rosh (Shabbat 6:1), Tur and Shulchan Aruch YD 198:2</ref>
# One hair tied onto another hair or itself is a chatzitza. Two or more hairs tied as though they were one string into a knot on themselves or onto another hair isn't a chatzitza.<ref>Niddah 67a rules that two hairs tied aren't a chatzitza and one hair is a chatzitza. Bet Yosef 198:5 clarifies that two hairs tied together is considered like one hair tied onto another hair. Shulchan Aruch 198:5 rules that one hair is a chatzitza and two aren't. The Badei Hashulchan 198:31 explains that the two hairs which aren't a chatzitza applies if they're tied onto another hair or themselves but not if they're tied together.</ref>
# Mucus from the eye (rheum) is a chatzitza if it is outside of the eye or inside the eye and dried so that it started to turn green. However, if it is inside the eye and moist it isn't a chatzitza.<ref>Gemara Niddah 67a, Tosfot Niddah 67a s.v. lifluf, Shulchan Aruch YD 198:7. See, however, the Rosh (Mikvaot no. 25) who holds moist mucus isn't a chatzitza even outside the eye.</ref>
# A scab could potentially be a chatzitza and therefore if it is difficult to remove should be soaked in water so that they are softened.<Ref>The Tosefta Mikvaot 6:5 writes that dry blood is a chatzitza. The Rosh Mivaot no. 26 applies this to dry blood on a wound. Shulchan Aruch YD 198:9 codifies the Rosh.
* The Mishna Mikvaot 9:2-4 explains that scabbing on the wound isn't a chatzitza but beyond the wound is a chatzitza. The Rosh (Mikvaot no. 25) compares this to a wound from bloodletting which within 3 days even beyond the wound is moist and not a chatzitza. The Rosh concludes that scabs should be softened before going to the mikveh. The Shulchan Aruch YD 198:2 follows the Rosh that softening the scabs are effective. Shiurei Tahara 198:23 s.v. gam shows that a number of rishonim hold that softening the scabs isn't effective.
* The Bet Yosef 198:15 clarifies that the scab beyond the wound means if it extends past where the opening of the wound was.
* [Rabbi Willig ([http://www.yutorah.org/sidebar/lecture.cfm/865540/rabbi-mordechai-i-willig/niddah-shiur-30/ Niddah shiur 30, min 15-20] holds that a scab which hasn’t healed doesn’t need to be removed and it is enough to soften them by sitting in water until they soften and scratching isn’t necessary. Similarly, The Laws of Niddah v. 2 p. 282 writes that scabs which can be removed painlessly should be removed otherwise they should be softened. Additionally, acne should not be removed as it could leave a permanent scar, instead it should be softened. Badei Hashulchan 198:78 and 198:83 writes that the practice is to remove scabs even if they hurt but if it hurts a lot they should be softened in water and if the scabs won't soften she can they aren't a chatzitza and she can go to the mikveh.
* The basis for the leniency when it hurts to remove the scabs they don't constitute a chatzitza is based on the Mordechai (Shavuot 748) and Smak (no. 293) who say that if it is painful to remove the scabs they don't need to be removed since it isn't considered as though one wants them removed (makpid), though the minhag was still to remove them. The Kesav Sofer 91 explains that perhaps the minhag is based on the concern that makpid depends on the majority of people and since everyone has a different threshold for pain it is possible that others wouldn't consider it painful to remove and so it is still called makpid. The Shiurei Tahara 198:23 s.v. vetzarich lomar learns from the stringent practice of the Sar Mkusi and Maharik (cited by the Bach 198:10 and Taz 198:) that perhaps even if it is painful to remove something it is still called makpid. See however the Kesav Sofer 91 who disagrees with this proof.</ref> If one has scabs that are difficult to remove one should consult a rabbi before going to the mikveh.
# Ink, milk, honey, and blood aren't chatzitzot if they are moist but are chatzitzot if they are dry.<Ref>Tosefta Mikvaot 6:5, Rosh Mikvaot no. 26, Shulchan Aruch YD 198:15</ref> Blood that congealed is a chatzitza.<Ref>Rambam (Mikvaot 2:2) writes that blood that congealed on the skin is a chatzitza. Even though the Bet Yosef cites the Smag who argues with the Rambam, the Shulchan Aruch 198:16 rules like the Rambam. See Zevachim 35a which illustrates that moist blood isn't a chatzitza.</ref>
# Dry skin should be soaked and rubbed to remove any loose skin. Some say that women should not make it her practice to remove any hard skin with a pumice stone. <ref>The Laws of Niddah p. 349. Shiurei Shevet Halevi 198:22(4) writes that the reason why a woman shouldn't have a consistent practice to dry all hard skin is that if she does she so she must continue her practice and then if she forgets one time there is a serious question that should be asked to a rabbi. See Shevet Halevi 3:127.</ref>
# The minhag is to cut the nails before tevilah.<ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 198:18</ref> If she forgot to cut her nails before the tevilah she should cut them and go to the mikveh again<Ref>Rama 198:20</ref> without a bracha.<ref>Aruch Hashulchan 200:1, Badei Hashulchan 200:5</ref> If they were clean and she didn't realize until the next morning a rav should be consulted. <Ref>Taz 198:21 is lenient only after the fact if the nails were clean and she was with her husband, whereas the Shach 198:25 is strict even in such a case. Laws of Niddah v. 2 p. 311 writes that a rav should be consulted. Binat Adam 119:14 and Ben Ish Chai (Shana Bet, Shemini no. 4) agree with the Taz.
* The Binat Adam 199:14 understood the Taz as saying that if the nail was clean after she came out of the mikveh even though she wasn't sure it was clean beforehand we're not concerned since it is only a safek derabbanan. Taharat Habayit v. 3 p. 84 quotes Rav Shlomo Kluger who discussed that the Taz would even being lenient if the nail was dirty after the tevilah but most achronim don't accept this even according to the Taz.
* The Sidrei Tahara 198:39 points out that the idea of the Taz that if she didn't know if her nails were clean before and she forgot to cut them she can be lenient since it is only a question of a safek derabbanan is subject to dispute. In Sidrei Tahara 199:40 he discusses at length if you could be lenient on a safek derabbanan if originally there was a chazaka of tumah. Taharat Habayit v. 3 p. 84 quotes achronim who support the idea of the Taz based on the Rash (Mikvaot 2:2) that since the tevilah worked on a Biblical level the derabbanan safek doesn't begin. See the Pri Hasadeh 4:104 who relies on this Rash regarding bandages. See Sidrei Tahara and Taharat Habayit for elaboration of this complex topic.</ref> According to Sephardim, if she forgot to cut her nails and they were clean she doesn't need to go to the mikveh again.<ref>Shulchan Aruch YD 198:18 rules that the nail itself isn't a chatzitza. Rav Ovadia Yosef in Taharat Habayit (v. 3 p. 83) writes that she doesn't need to go again if she forgot to cut her nails as long as they were clean. However, the Ben Ish Chai (Shana Bet, Shemini no. 4) holds like the Rama that she should go again.</ref>
# If there was dirt under a nail where the nail corresponds to the top of the finger it isn't considered a chatzitza, whereas if there's dirt on the top part of the nail which is beyond the finger it is a chatzitza.<ref>The Tosefta Mikvaot 6:5 distinguishes between whether the dirt is under the part of the nail that corresponds to the top of the finger which it wouldn't be a chatzitza and beyond that. The Rosh (Mikvaot no. 26) and Rashba (Torat Habayit Hakatzar 32a) hold like this Tosefta. The Rambam (Mikvaot 2:14), however, argues that the nail isn't a chatzitza either way. The Tur and Shulchan Aruch 198:18 rule like the Rosh.</ref> Dough or mud beneath the nail is always a chatzitza.<ref>Mishna Mikvaot 9:2 writes that dough under the nail is a chatzitza. The Rambam (Mikvaot 2:1) equates mud with dough. The Rashba (Chullin 107, cited by Bet Yosef 198:18) explains that dough or mud stick and are a chatzitza but dirt which a woman removes easily isn't a chatzitza if she decided to leave it there and it was on the bottom of the nail corresponding to the finger. The Taz 198:19 rules that mud is a chatzitza under the nail. </ref>
## If a woman's finger is bloated making it is impossible to cut or clean under the nails and because the finger is bloated the dirt isn't seen it isn't a chatzitza.<ref>Mordechai Shevuot no. 748, Shulchan Aruch YD 198:19</ref>
# If she forgot to cut the toenails it isn't a chatzitza after the fact since women don't care about the look of their toenails as much as their fingernails.<ref>Pitchei Teshuva 198:10 quoting Chamudei Doniel. Ben Ish Chai (Shana Bet, Shemini no. 4) agrees. Shiurei Shevet Halevi (cited by Taharat Habayit v. 3 p. 91) is lenient despite the fact that the Raavan (cited by Shach 198:25) writes that there's no distinction between fingernails and toenails.</ref>
# Makeup should be removed before tevilah. <ref>The Rashba ([http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=8922&st=&pgnum=401 Torat Habayit Hakatzar 32a]) writes that hair dye isn't a chatzitza for three reasons. 1) Since the women don't want to remove it it isn't considered a chatzitza if it doesn't cover a majority of the hair. 2) They actively want it there so that it becomes like part of the body. 3) As it is very thin it isn't considered an interposition between the body and the water at all. The Rashba (Meyuchasot LRamban no. 124) in a letter writes that the Ramban agreed with his opinion on this matter. The Rosh (Mikvaot no. 27), Rabbenu Yerucham (Netiv 26 ch. 5), Tur and Shulchan Aruch 198:17 agree. The Tur and Shulchan Aruch even extend this to dye on the face as well.
* (The Shach 198:21 and Badei Hashulchan 198:118 hold that the primary reasons for the leniency are 2 and 3. The [http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=1120&st=&pgnum=423&hilite= Bet Dovid YD siman 98] and [http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=812&pgnum=133 Ohel Yosef siman 40] hold that it is sufficient even if you just have the reason of the dye being extremely thin. For example, they were discussing a woman whose hands were dyed because of peeling nuts and were lenient because it couldn't be removed and it didn't leave any residue. This also seems to be the opinion of the Taz 198:17 citing the Roke'ach. However, the Sidrei Tahara 198:33 argues that the reason that the chatzitza is so thin and doesn't leave a residue isn't the primary reason to be lenient.)
* Nonetheless, The Laws of Niddah v. 2 p. 294 writes that makeup must be removed since it is routinely removed and also it would run when the woman goes in the mikveh. The Mishmeret Hatahara (Rabbi Morgenstern, v. 2 p. 371 n. 229) agrees.</ref>
# Nail polish should be removed before tevilah. If it can't be removed the nail polish isn't a chatzitza unless it was only partially on the nail or cracked. <Ref>The Rashba (Torat Habayit Hakatzar 32b) explains that dyes on the hands are decorative and don't constitute a chatzitza. Many rishonim agree with this and it is quoted in Shulchan Aruch YD 198:17. See above for more details. However, according to Ashkenazim the nail polish has to be removed initially as the Rama 198:1 writes that all chatzitzot should be removed.
* Therefore, The Laws of Niddah v. 2 p. 293 writes that the nail polish should be removed, but if it can't be removed or she was already tovel without removing the polish and it remained intact, the nail polish isn't a chatzitza. This is only true if the nail polish was in a decorative manner such as that she'd be seen publicly like that it isn't a chatzitza but if it is cracked or only on partially it is an issue. Mishmeret Hatahara (v. 2 p. 372) only accepts that it isn't a chatzitza if she always wears nail polish.
* Rav Ovadia Yosef in Taharat Habayit (v. 3 p. 101) writes that the nails should be cut before tevilah, however, if a woman wants to grow them long and polish them and won't be agreeable to cut them, she should be allowed to go to the mikveh but should be told politely that the minhag is to cut the nails before tevilah.</ref>
# Artificial nails should be removed before tevilah. After the fact if she went to the mikveh with the artificial nails some poskim hold that the tevilah is effective.<ref>Chut Shani 198:23, The Laws of Niddah v. 2 p. 293</ref>