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Halachic Status of Zera

Honoured Rav

I have seen the answer on the site, dated 23 Adar 5771 ‘Cleaning off Zera’. I’m familiar with the halacha in Shulchan Aruch O.Chayim 76:4. I appreciate that the idea that semen has the same din as ‘Tzoah’ (as far as Keriat Shema is concerned) is a chumrah according to some notable Poskim. But according to those Poskim who hold by it, does not the previous questioner have a point? IE, if semen does have the din of ‘Tzoah’, then if it is present outside the body on e.g a couch, would it not invalidate tefillah etc, as Tsoah would – according to those Poskim? If this is so, how long would it be considered ‘active’? With Tzoah, of course, there are halachot as to when it dries and the smell disappears and so on, which are not applicable in the same way to semen.

I’m also interested that although there are many halachot in this context about other body fluids such as urine, I have never come across any mention of discharge of fluid from a woman’s body. Would a normal vaginal discharge (i.e the mucus-type substance – I’m not talking about hilchot Niddah)) perhaps have the same din of ‘Tzoah’? I would be interested to know if this is dealt with anywhere to your knowledge.

Thank you very much for this service.

Yours, BS.


As mentioned in the previous post, and as you note, some poskim give zera the halachah of tzo’ah, as ruled by the Rema (Orach Chaim 76).

The implication is that it has the same halachos of tzo’ah, meaning that once it is dry, and no longer possesses its scent, it will not constitute a problem.

However, while it remains moist, and retains its scent, it will have the halachah of tzo’ah, and one would have to distance oneself from it for davening (concerning clothing see Maamar Mordechai 76:4, in explanation of Magen Avraham).

The halachos of urine are discussed explicitly by the Shulchan Aruch (see siman 76, 77, 78, 82, 87) and by the poskim.

Vaginal discharges that have no bad odor will not present any problem. Those with a bad odor will perhaps be equivalent to urine. I do not know of a source that discusses this, and it isn’t exactly “sh’chiach.”

Sorry for the delay in answering.

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