Harchakot of Niddah
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Harchakot (Hebrew: הרחקות, tran. separations) are supplementary Rabbinic restrictions intended to prevent a couple from excessive intimacy which could lead them to biblically forbidden conduct during the niddah period. Couples tend to have a certain level of familiarity, routine, and habitual rapport, therefore, the Sages - with their psychological understanding and insight - saw the need for these additional restrictions. Accordingly, these precautions only apply to married couples and does not pertain to interactions with women whom a man invariably may not touch.
These precautions commence with the wife's menstruation and extend until the culmination of her purification process: immersion. This prohibition remains even if a woman reached menopause, when she no longer experiences menstrual cycles, and in the past has not followed the requisite steps to purification; she must unfetter herself with a count of hefsek taharah, seven clean days, and immersion.
- 1 Touching
- 2 Intimate Speech
- 3 Seclusion
- 4 Harchakot of Eating and Food
- 5 Using the Spouse's Bed
- 6 Separating Beds
- 7 Sitting Together
- 8 Passing Objects
- 9 Looking at One's Wife
- 10 Hearing her Sing
- 11 Smelling her Perfume
- 12 Acts of Service
- 13 A Niddah Going to Shul and Cemeteries
- 14 Links
- 15 Sources
- Physical affection of any sort is prohibited to a couple during the wife's niddah period. To safeguard this, the Rabbis prohibited any form of physical contact, even of infinitesimal and unaffectionate nature.
- Moreover, the couple must refrain from touching the others outfit that is being worn (e.g., one spouse cannot remove dirt off the other's coat while he/she is wearing it). This is prohibited even if the other can not feel the touch. They must also also prevent their outfits from touching. These restrictions apply only to garments worn, one may however touch the other's clothing while not worn.
- Couples may share an umbrella, provided it is large enough to accommodate both with no touch.
- During this period, couples must be cautious not to engage in conviviality or lightheartedness, for such behavior often breeds physical closeness. They must also refrain from confabulating flirtatiously or frivolously.
- A husband may - and should - praise and complement his wife on her dress, cooking, skills or the like during this period, as this is not considered intimate speech. The same applies to speech conventionally used by couples to cultivate a pleasant atmosphere in the home.
- Presenting a gift to the other during this time is permitted, provided this gesture not lead them to act intimate or touch.
- Reading a book together is permitted, provided that they are cautious not to touch one another.
- There is a dispute between the authorities in regards to the permissibility of couples engaging in sports and games (eg. ping-pong, tennis) during this period. Leniency understandably is provided that they do not come to lighthearted or physical behavior.
- The laws of Yichud prohibit the seclusion of a man and a woman forbidden to each other, with the goal to obviate the two from improper intimate behavior. These laws do not apply to married couples during the menstruation periods, and they may be secluded in private quarters. However, if a bride is a niddah at her wedding, the law is different, where the newlyweds may not even be left alone together, particularly at night, until the completion of her purification.
Harchakot of Eating and Food
Eating at the Same Table
- Couples dining often suggests intimacy. The Rabbis therefore called for caution in such an intimate setting, forming the restriction of eating at the same table without a physical reminder (often called: "heker") of the niddah status. Examples of such reminders include: placing an object or food item on the table that is not normally kept there and will not be used during the meal, eating on separate place-mats (if they do not regularly do so) and the changing of seats if if they typically have designated places. Sitting far apart from each other on a long table also serves as a sufficient reminder.
- According to some authorities, this requirement is not needed when dining accompanied by other adults or with children old enough to be embarrassed by intimate behavior.
- According to some authorities, drinking or noshing on a small snack does not mandate a reminder.
- A sefer or siddur should not be used as a reminder as this constitutes irreverent usage of Holy Books. (See Respecting Holy Books).
Eating from the Same Plate
- The Rabbis also forbade couples from sharing a plate while eating together. This prohibition applies at all times, even while dining with others.
- They may use a shared central serving platter, provided they place the food on their own plates or on the table before eating.
- They may dip their bread in a shared salt dish.
Drinking or Eating a Spouse's Leftovers
- The Rabbis also prohibited the husband from drinking his wife's leftovers, as this is an act that denotes endearment. This restriction applies specifically to the male, the wife however, may eat or drink her husband's leftovers.
- The husband may partake of his wife's leftovers in any of the following circumstances:
- The drink was transferred to another utensil. This is beneficial even if the contents were then poured back into the original utensil.
- If someone else drank from the cup after her drinking, separating between their drinking.
- He is not aware that she drank from this utensil (she need not inform him)
- If the wife is no longer present. Moreover, even if she later returns, he may nevertheless continue this drinking.
- Sephardic custom is to be lenient if the cup is partially refilled. Ashkenazim don't accept this leniency.
- Most Sephardic authorities restrict this prohibition to drinking only and do not extend it to food. Ashkenazim, however, prohibit eating leftovers of her food as well.
- According to Ashkenazic custom, if the wife ate from a dish often classified as one, such as finely cut vegetables, anything left over is prohibited to the husband. If, however, a plate contains two large particles of food, and the wife only ate from one, the husband may indulge in the other.
- According to Ashkenazic custom, if the wife took butter or the like with a utensil, and then returned the knife with extra butter on it to the butter dish, it would then be forbidden for her husband to use that butter.
Using the Spouse's Bed
- It is prohibited for the husband to lie or sit upon a bed that was designated for his wife, even while not in her presence. A wife may however sit on her husband's bed, and lie upon it only if he is absent.
- This restriction was specifically to the usage of the other's bed, a designated chair or recliner is not included in this prohibition.
- Although usage of her bed is prohibited even not in her presence, if the wife is away from town for a couple of days, the husband may make use of her bed.
- Sitting or standing upon her bed in order to reach something held above is permitted, as this is not classified as an act of closeness.
- The husband additionally may not use linen or pillows designated exclusively for his wife's use. He may however use his wife's body towel, as the aforementioned requirements apply solely to bedding.
- The couple may not switch mattresses during this period.
- During the menstrual period, the couple may not sleep on the same bed, even if they are fully clothed, and do not touch.
- Moreover, their beds must be separated. There is no absolute required Rabbinic measure for the distance between their beds, however, some require the beds to be far enough apart that the bed along with its linen do not touch, while others require that they be an arm's length away.
- This prohibition of their beds touching only applies when they both are in use by the couple. If only one of them is in bed, this prohibition does not apply
- Some authorities permit the usage of mattresses which come apart but are still attached to a single headboard or foot-board.
- There is a dispute in regards to separate beds situated beneath a suspended canopy.
Benches and Couches
- According to the letter of the law, they may sit on a long bench or even a soft couch ("Safsal HaMitnadned") where each others movement can be felt, provided that they take care not to touch each other. The Ashkenazi custom is to prohibit sitting together on a long bench or couch where the movement of one can be felt by the other. If however, another person sits between them, this would be permitted. This is not the custom of most Sephardi communities, including Teimanim, but it was the custom of the community in Baghdad.
- A couple may travel together in a private car or by public transportation, even when they sit next to each other as long as they are careful not to touch each other or each other's clothing.
- Traveling in a car for a vacation or pleasure trip is permissible. However, some poskim are strict unless the traveling is for a purpose.
- If the couple is using public transportation and they want to sit next to each other, he should sit on the outside and she should be near the window because he can be more careful and they should preferably place an item between them since it is difficult to otherwise avoid contact.
- Some Sephardic authorities recommend being strict on sitting together in transit, even though they are lenient by sitting together in general.
- It is prohibited for the couple to pass objects from hand to hand, instead one should place the object on a surface, or drop it, and the other should pick it up. The Rabbis prohibited this in order to prevent any possibility of them touching. This restriction must be followed even while in public.
- Ashkenazic custom is to be stringent not to lift an object together. If however a large object, such as a baby carriage, needs to be lifted, and the husband and wife are the only ones available, they may carry it together, provided they take care not to touch.  Sephardic custom, however, is to be lenient allowing the carrying of heavy items together.
- Ashkenazim prohibit the throwing of objects in a straight line from one spouse to the other. Throwing something on a trajectory upwards, however, is disputed. Most Sephardic authorities permit even direct throwing.
- During the wedding ceremony, the groom may place the ring on the bride's finger, even if she is a niddah, he does not have to throw it to her. However, it is proper that he be as careful as possible to avoid touching her when giving her the ring. He should place it on the tip of her finger, and allow her to let it slide down her finger.
- At a berit milah (bris or circumcision) if the mother wants to hand the baby to her husband who is the sandakthe person who holds the baby on his lap during the berit), it is the Sephardic custom to be lenient by having the baby placed on top of two pillows. The woman holds the baby by placing her hands underneath the bottom pillow, and the husband takes the baby from her by lifting the top pillow along with the baby, while the bottom pillow remains with the mother. (In this way they avoid touching). This custom has deep roots among the great Sephardic sages and the Ge'onim. The Ashkenazim though, are strict in this matter. A woman who just gave birth may not pass the baby directly to her husband who is the sandak. Rather, another man should take the baby from her and hand him over to the father.
- When a woman is a niddah, a couple is permitted to pass a child to one another, as long as they will not touch, and as long as the child is able to go from one parent to the other on his own, since he is essentially carrying himself (nos'eh et asmo). However, one who is strict and refrains from doing so is praiseworthy. This is for Sephardim. Ashkenazim though, who are strict regarding throwing an object to one another, should be particularly scrupulous in this matter as well. However, even those who are lenient to pass a child when the wife is a niddah, should be strict if the child is extremely small, even if it can go from one to the other by itself (because its size increases the likelihood they will touch). Another case they should be strict is if the child is ill God forbid and too weak to go from one spouse to the other on its own. Even when the baby is able to "carry" itself and go from one spouse to the other on its own, the couple should still pass the child to one another only when it is really necessary. For example, if the baby is crying and will suffer if the father does not take him from the mother.
- Also, if the couple passes the child in a playful manner, that is prohibited, since doing so promotes intimacy.
- It is preferable that a person be strict to not feed his baby while his wife who is a niddah is holding the baby. If necessary though, they may be lenient, if they are careful not to touch each other.
Looking at One's Wife
- A husband may enjoy his wife's look even when she is a nidda and we are not concerned that just looking at her will tempt him to transgress anything. However, he may not look at the parts of the body that are usually covered.
- When a woman is a niddah the husband may not see areas of her body that are usually covered. The definition of what he usually sees uncovered depends on what she would normally wear at home with no one else besides her husband. It is permitted for him to see her hair uncovered when she is a niddah.
- A husband may be present with his wife in the delivery room when his wife is giving birth if his presence helps calm her down but he can't look at his wife when she's actually giving birth.
- A man may not look at the clothes of another woman who he knows even if she is not wearing them so that one doesn't come to improper thoughts. However, he can look at his wife's clothes even when she is a nidda and even if she is wearing them.
Hearing her Sing
- According to those who allow listening to one's wife sing when she's a niddah, it is likewise permitted to hear her play a musical instrument. However, those who are strict on listening to her sing would also be strict on listening to her play an instrument if it could lead to endearment.
Smelling her Perfume
- It is prohibited for the husband to to intentionally smell the aroma of his wife's perfume.
- A husband may smell spices or fragrance held by his wife (eg. during Havdala). It would however be preferable for him to refrain from this.
Acts of Service
- Being a nidda doesn't prevent a woman from serving her husband as she does during her pure days besides for pouring a drink for him, making his bed, and pouring water for him to wash his face. Thus, a woman may cook, bake, set the table, etc. as she always does even when she is a nidda.
Making the Bed
- A husband may not cover his wife with a blanket when she is a nidda.
- It is prohibited for a woman to make her husband's bed in front of him. However, in the following circumstances it would be permitted:
- If she is only changing the blakets and pillows, that is permissible. It is only forbidden to change the sheets and bed covers.
- If it is done not in front of him. Even if he is in the room, if he is looking away it would be permissible.
- If she simply is making up the bed in the morning after he wakes up, that would be permitted. It is only forbidden if she is doing so when the husband is about to lie down.
- All of these laws apply in both directions. Thus, the husband cannot make up his wife's bed, but all of the aforementioned leniencies would still apply.
Pouring Water for the Husband to Wash With
- A woman may not pour water on her husband so he can wash his hands, feet, and face even if she is careful not to touch her husband since this expresses affection.
- Some poskim hold that it is permitted for a woman to fill a bath for her husband but it is better for her to do so not in his presence. Others forbid this.
- There is no prohibition for a woman to prepare water for her husband to wash his hand for netilat yedayim.
- All of these laws apply in both directions. Thus, the husband cannot prepare water for her to use for washing her hands, feet, and face, but all of the aforementioned leniencies would still apply.
Serving Foods and Drinks
- A woman should not pour drinks other than water or serve food for her husband when she is a niddah.
- Sephardim hold that this only applies to wine. A wife may serve her husband food and vice versa.
- This law applies in both directions so a husband may not pour drinks or serve food for his wife.
Pouring a Kiddush Cup
- A wife may not pour a cup of wine for her husband and he may not pour a cup of wine for his wife. Even for Kiddush the husband should not pass his kiddush cup to his wife to drink. If she isn't the only one who drinks from the cup, such as if all of the members of the family drink it is permitted.
- A husband may not pour his wife wine or pass her the kiddush cup. If someone else besides the husband and wife drink from the kiddush cup there is no issue with the husband and wife both drinking from the kiddush cup. It doesn't matter whether that person drinks between or after them.
A Niddah Going to Shul and Cemeteries
- Ashkenazim have a minhag that woman don't look at the sefer torah when they are a niddah and don't go to a cemetery when they are a niddah unless she would feel bad by not being able to go to the cemetery.
- During this period women may - and must - recite all blessings and prayers as usual.
- Harchakos Passing Items, Beds, Eating together by Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky
- Harchakos Part 1 by Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz
- Shabbat 13a, Responsa Rosh (no. 47) and Responsa Rashba (vol. 1, no. 1188). See Rama (Even HaEzer 21:5) for various modesty ethics that must be practiced while interacting with women in general.
- Shulchan Aruch and Rama (Yorei Deah 195:1), Torat HaTaharah (p. 95), Taharat Yosef (3:1)
- Taharat Yosef (3:2)
- Tosfot Shabbat 13b (s.v. biymey) point out that from Rashi (Ketubot 61a s.v. michalfa) it appears like there would have been leniencies of harchakot when a woman was counting her shiva nekiyim after she stopping seeing blood. Rabbenu Chananel (Ketubot 61a) also seems to hold like rashi. Tosfot argue that this is incorrect since until the woman completed her shiva nekiyim and went to mikveh she is equally forbidden to her husband with a penalty of karet. The Rashba (Torat Habayit 4a), Raavad (Baalei Hanefesh p. 10), Rosh (Ketubot 5:24), and Rambam (Isurei Biyah 11:18) hold that really there is no difference between a women when she is seeing blood and when she is in her shiva nekiyim. (See Rashba who argues that Rabbenu Chananel only meant if she went to mikveh twice. See the Rivash 425 and Ramban Shabbat 13b who forbid this practice of going to mikveh twice.)
- Ravyah (Niddah no. 173) and Or Zaruah (1:360) permit non-affectionate touch. All other Rishonim reject this opinion. This includes, Tosfot (Shabbat 13b s.v. biymey), Ramban (Hilchot Niddah 8:3), Rashba (Torat Habayit Hakatzar 4a), and Rambam (Isurei Biyah 11:18). Following them, Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 195:2) prohibits any touch, even when not done for pleasure.
- Rashbatz (Responsa Tashbetz, vol. 3, no. 58), Pitchei Teshuva (Yoreh Deah 195:3), Darchei Tahara (pg. 41), Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 86)
- Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 108)
- Shulchan Aruch and Rama (Yoreh Deah 195:1) citing Avot D'Rabbi Natan (2:1). See Shach who points out that although Avot D’Rabbi Natan actually writes that they may not speak "any unnecessary speech", Tur (195:1) and Rashba (Torat Habayit 3b) explain that this only refers to intimate speech, and that which is construed as regular conversation between adults is permitted.
- Responsa Be'er Moshe (vol. 3, no. 155). See The Laws of Niddah (Rabbi Nacson, pg. 39 with footnote 65) who exemplifies statements included in this category: "The food tastes great" or "This dress looks very nice on you".
- Nitei Gavriel (Niddah 33:4) quoting Chazon Ish
- Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 109), The Laws of Niddah (Rabbi Nacson, pg. 38)
- Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 108)
- Mishmeret Hatahara (vol. 2, pg. 264) quoting Rabbi Elyashiv as forbidding. This was the opinion of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein as well (cited by Halachos of Niddah by Rabbi Eider, pg. 137). Chut Shani (Niddah p. 223) however, argues and permits this. See also Responsa Be'er Moshe (vol. 3, no. 123) who writes that the custom is to permit this. He does however recommend various precautions couples should implement during recreational play.
- Sanhedrin 37a, Rav Kahana's discussion with an heretic. Tosfos (v.s. HaTorah) explain that this is because the two will anyhow be permitted to each other in due course, Yichud is not problematic. Alternatively, the Rosh (Hilchot Niddah, Siman 2) explains that in order to make marital life possible and practical by allowing husband and wife to live together, our Sages derived that their seclusion is permissible. See Shulchan Aruch (Even Haezer 22:1).
- Ketubot 4a: "A groom whose wife began to menstruate at the time of the wedding, he sleeps among the men and she sleeps among the women, until she becomes ritually pure." Shulchan Aruch 192:3; Taharat Habayit (vol. 1, pp. 488-492). In such circumstance, a competent Halachic authority should be consulted.
- Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 195:3), Taharat Habayit (vol. 1, pg. 119). See also The Laws of Niddah (Rabbi Nacson, pg. 33)
- The Mishna Shabbat 11b establishes that it is forbidden for a man to eat with his wife when she is a zavah so that they don't come to sin.
- The Rambam writes that it is forbidden for a man to eat on the same place as his wife when she is a niddah. However, the Raavad (Shaar Haperisha no. 1) argues that it is forbidden even on the same table. Ramban (Hilchot Niddah 8:3), Tur and Shulchan Aruch YD 195:3 follow the Raavad.
- Does Heker Work? The Ravyah (Niddah no. 173) writes that it is forbidden for a man to eat with his wife when she is a niddah even if there is something unusual on the table to remind them. He writes that the rabbis of Narvona agreed with him. The Hagahot Mordechai (Shabbat no. 452) cites this opinion. The Gra YD 195:8 and 88:2 discusses these opinions and their proof from Shabbat 13a. However, the Raavad (Shaar Haperisha no. 1) holds that it is permitted for a husband to eat at the same table with a niddah as long as there is something to remind them such as only one eating on the tablecloth. The Rashba (Torat Habayit 3b), Tur and Shulchan Aruch 195:3 agree. See the Ramban (Hilchot Niddah 8:3) who allows using something unusual only if there's no other table available.
- What this dispute might be based on? The Sidrei Tahara 195:7 explains that there's two concerns of eating at the same table. The first is that merely eating together is a symbol of endearment. The second is that by eating together at the table they might come to share food on the same plate as we find by eating milk and meat at the same table. He tries to show that this was a dispute between the Raah and Rashba and that the Rosh was concerned for both approaches. According to the first approach, the Sidrei Tahara concludes, that having something unusual on the table is ineffective since either way their eating together will still cause endearment. But according to the second approach as long as there is something unusual on the table they will remember not to share food.
- Yesod Hatahara p. 12
- The Rabbenu Yerucham (cited by Bet Yosef 195:3) rules that it is permitted to eat at the same table while seated different from where they typically sit. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 153:6 and Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 119) hold like Rabbenu Yerucham. See Badei Hashulchan (195:37) however who writes that some are strict not to rely on this leniency.
- Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 110), The Laws of Niddah (Rabbi Nacson, pg. 33)
- Masat Binyamin (112, quoted by the Pitchei Teshuva 195:3) considers the presence of others as a heker. Shiurei Bracha (195:11), Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 110), Darkei Tahara (pg. 44) rule this way as well. Rabbi Mordechai Willig (Niddah Shiur 125) is lenient regarding this as well. Badei Hashulchan (195:34) however cites the Rashba (Mishmeret Habayit 3b) who held that the presence of others does not help, and the Raah (Bedek Habayit 3b) also only permitted if someone sat in between the husband and wife. He does however agree that this is room to be lenient Halachically.
- Responsa Tzitz Eliezer (vol. 18, no. 23), The Laws of Niddah (Rabbi Nacson, pg. 33)
- Ohel Yakov Kavod U'Kedushat Sefarim (pg. 1) quoting Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky
- Rambam (Isurei Biah 11:18), Rama (195:4,14)
- Masat Binyamin (112) writes that even if others are at the same table this prohibition may not be compromised. Pitchei Teshuva (195:5) asks: what was the need of this ruling, aren't leftovers of one's spouse anyhow forbidden? Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe 1:92) explains that the Masat Binyamin speaks of where the food is small portions where although there is no prohibition of eating her leftovers, this prohibition applies.
- Taz (Yoreh Deah 195:2), Darchei Tahara (pg. 45), Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 117)
- Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 118)
- Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 195:4)
- Rama (Yoreh Deah 195:4). The Shach explains that this act only denotes endearment to males drinking their wives leftovers.
- Rama (Yoreh Deah 195:4), Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pp. 125-127)
- Rama (Yoreh Deah 195:4)
- Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 125). The reason for this is because if he is not aware that she drank from this cup, his action carries no connotation of endearment.
- Rama (Yoreh Deah 195:4)
- Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 128)
- Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 123, Taharat Yosef 3:19:2
- Shach (Yoreh Deah 195:9), Badei Hashulchan (195:59)
- This is the opinion of the Orchot Chaim, quoted by the Bet Yosef (195:4). The Sidrei Tahara 195:8 explains that the eating of food leftovers in not ordinarily done, and it therefore does not cause endearment. See Ben Ish Chai (vol. 2, Prashat Tzav, no. 22) who rules that one should not eat his wife's leftovers as well. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 125) and Halichot Olam (vol. 5, pg. 107) writes that the prevailing Sephardic custom was to be lenient in this regard.
- Rama (Yoreh Deah 195:3), Shach (195:8)
- Igrot Moshe (Yoreh Deah 1:92), Badei Hashulchan (195:51)
- Igrot Moshe (Yoreh Deah 1:92), Mishmeret Hatahara (195:39). He does however quote Rabbi Elyashiv saying that the leftover spread on the knife is not considered leftovers. See Iggrot Moshe (ibid.) who writes that ideally couples should not share a butter dish, although it is Halachically permitted.
- Baalei Hanefesh Shaar Haperisha p. 25) based on Rav Hai Goan, Rashba (Torat Habayit 3b). See Bach (Yoreh Deah 195:5) who is for the opinion that this restriction only prohibits the husbands lying on the bed, while sitting is permitted. The Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 195:5) however rule that even sitting upon her bed is prohibited. Levush (195:5) explains that this was prohibited as to restrain the husband's thoughts.
- Taz (Yoreh Deah 195:6), Pitchei Teshuva 195:8)
- Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 135)
- Pitchei Teshuva (Yoreh Deah 195:90), Badei Hashulchan (Yoreh Deah 195:77), Taharat Yosef (3:25)
- The Laws of Niddah (Rabbi Nacson, pg. 36) from Mishmeret Hataharah (195:59)
- Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 135), Badei Hashulchan (195:82)
- Taharat Habayit (vol.2, pg. 86)
- Badei Hashulchan (195:81)
- Shabbat 13a, Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 195:6)
- Rama YD 195:6, Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 149
- Pitchei Teshuva (Yoreh Deah 195:11) quotes Mekor Chaim saying that Halachically any amount is sufficient. This is the opinion of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef as well (Taharat Habayit vol. 2 pg. 149). Shiurei Shevet Halevi (195:6:2) writes that the beds should preferably be an arm's breath apart, or at the very least the width of a person. Mishmeret Hatahara (195:87) requires an amount which would prevent them from touching with an outreached arm. Badei Hashulchan (195:109) and Rabbi Mordechai Willig (Niddah Shiur 126 (min. 45)) rule this way as well.
- Taharat Habayit (vol. 2 p. 155)
- Mishmeret Hatahara (195:87) permits this. Shiurei Shevet Halevi (195:6:2) however, does not recommend this. Badei Hashulchan (195:107) sees such beds as attached and prohibits this.
- Maharam Elshakar (no. 91) rules that a couple sleeping beneath a canopy would be permitted. Shach (195:11) cites this ruling. Taharat Habayit (vol. 2 pg. 154) rules this way as well. See however Badei Hashulchan (195:108) who argues that Maharam Elshakar was specifically referring to canopies not attached to beds.
- Beit Yosef, Yoreh Deah 195:5
- Shaarei Dura (Niddah no. 18) brings this as a Chumrah that should be implemented. See Responsa Trumat Hadeshen (no. 251, brought by Rama Yoreh Deah 195:5) who brings this prohibition.
There are a number of alternative explanations given for this prohibition:
- Taz (195:6) suggests that this was implemented in order to protect them from coming to improper thoughts.
- Nekudat Hakesef (195:1) considers the feeling of the other's movement as touching or like sleeping in the same bed.
- Trumat Hadeshen (251) implies that the issue is causing endearment which often comes along to sitting next to each-other.
- Aruch Hashulchan (195:19) writes that this serves as a precaution from touch.
- Rama (Yoreh Deah 195:5) from the Agudda
- Taharat HaBayit vol. 2, 12:20. Rav Ovadia argues that even those who were machmir should change their custom once they arrive in Eretz Yisrael.
- Orot HaTahora 9:20 (Rav Zecharia Ben Shlomo)
- Ben Ish Chai (II Tzav 23 and Rav Pealim 3 YD 17) says this is the custom in Baghdad. Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (Darkei Taharah 5:6) similarly recommends that all Sephardim keep this custom nowadays. Orot HaTahora 9:20 explains Rav Ovadia is also arguing on what was the custom in Baghdad, based on a Zivchei Tzedek that he brings in the Mishmeret HaTaharah ad loc. Rav Tal Doar summarizes the views in Tallelei Tohar 4:106.
- *The Shaarei Dura (Niddah no. 18) writes that a man shouldn't sit on the same bench as his wife but it is only a chumra. The Trumat Hadeshen 251 holds that this only applies to a bench that is wobbly and not connected to the ground. However, if it is attached to the ground there is no concern. The Rama YD 195:5 codifies the Trumat Hadeshen. Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe YD 1:92 compares a car to a bench attached to the ground since it doesn't wobble because of one person's weight. Therefore, it is permissible for a man to sit with his wife on the same bench in the car when she's a niddah as long as they are careful not to touch. Taharat Yosef 3:30 agrees.
- The Trumat Hadeshen 251 writes that it is forbidden for a man to go in a wagon with his wife when she's a niddah if the purpose of their travel is pleasure. Rama YD 195:5 quotes this as the halacha. Igrot Moshe YD 2:83 explains that this restriction only meant to forbid going in a wagon for pleasure but walking together for a pleasure trip is permissible. Similarly, going in a car for a pleasure trip isn't like sitting on the same bench and is permitted even for pleasure.
- Aruch Hashulchan 195:20 writes that it isn't proper to go on a pleasure walk if one's wife when she's a niddah just like the Trumat Hadeshen and Rama forbade traveling in a wagon together for pleasure. Badei Hashulchan 195:93 agrees. Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 144 writes that it is an unnecessary stringency but nonetheless one has to be careful not to speak endearing words and come to levity.
- Taharat Yosef 3:31
- Shiurei Beracha (Yoreh Deah 15), Shayim She'al 2:38:43 says it's for Yirei Shamayim but see the footnotes in Shiurei Beracha, Kaf HaChaim (Palagi, 4:9), Ben Ish Chai (II Tzav 23 and Rav Pealim 3 YD 17), Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (Darkei Taharah 5:6), Tallelei Tohar 4:107 in the name of Rav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul.
- Torat HaTaharah (pg. 98), Taharat Yosef (3:7)
- Shitah Mikubeset (Ketubot 61 s.v. vekatvu, from Talmidei Rabbenu Yonah) explains that the reason it is forbidden for a man to pass something to his wife (and vice versa) when she is a niddah is because passing an object is like touching.
- Tosfot (Ketubot 61a s.v. biymey) writes that Rashi personally was careful not to pass anything to his wife when she was a niddah. Tosfot however argue and permit this. The Rashba (Torat Habayit Hakatzar 4a) and Rosh (Ketubot 5:24) are strict. Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 195:2) rules likewise.
- Torat HaTaharah p. 98. Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe YD 2:77 writes that a couple may not be lenient on harchakot so that she's not embarrassed because harchakot aren't so embarrassing and also they are part of halacha and we shouldn't be embarrassed to keep halacha. Rav Mordechai Willig (Niddah Shiur 123, min. 15-20) disagreed and held that kavod habriyot could be used to permit harchakot in public when it is embarrassing and not in private.
- Igrot Moshe (Yoreh Deah vol. 2, no. 75)
- Torat Hataharah (pg. 117)
- Rama (Yoreh Deah 195:2)
- Pitchei Teshuva (Yoreh Deah 195:2)
- Ben Ish Chai (vol. 2, Parashat Tzav, no. 22) rules that throwing is prohibited. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in Torat HaTaharah (pg. 99), Taharat Yosef (3:7:3) however, permits this, with proof that this is Sephardic custom.
- Torat HaTaharah p. 99
- Torat HaTaharah p. 99-100, Taharat Yosef 3:7:4
- Torat HaTaharah p. 100, Taharat Yosef 3:7:5
- Torat HaTaharah p. 100
- Torat HaTaharah p. 100, Taharat Yosef 3:7:5
- Torat HaTaharah p. 100
- Taharat Habayit 2:12:8, Torat HaTaharah p. 100, Taharat Yosef 3:7:6
- Rambam (Isurei Biyah 21:4), Shulchan Aruch YD 196:7, Taharat Yosef 3:36
- Igrot Moshe YD 2:75, Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 165
- Igrot Moshe YD 2:75, Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 165
- Shiurei Shevet Halevi 195:7:2
- Rabbi Mordechai Willig (Niddah Shiur 126 (min. 52-3), Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 167, Taharat Yosef 3:38. Shiurei Shevet Halevi 195:7:3, however, is strict for the husband to even be present in the room when she's giving birth.
- Gemara Avoda Zara 20b, Rambam (Isurei Biyah 21:21), Shulchan Aruch EH 21:1
- Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 166, Taharat Yosef 3:39, Badei Hashulchan (Biurim 195:7)
- Taharat Yosef 3:40
- Shiurei Shevet Halevi 195:6:2
- Pitchei Teshuva (195:1) from Birchei Yosef, Taharat Habayit (vol. 2, pg. 175). Taharat Habayit adds that this restriction only applies to the husband, the wife may however intentionally sniff her husbands cologne.
- The Laws of Niddah (Rabbi Nacshon, pg. 38) from Responsa Yabia Omer (vol. 8, no. 17)
- Taharat Yosef 3:50
- Taharat Yosef 3:26
- Taharat Yosef 3:56
- Taharat Yosef 3:56
- Taharat Yosef 3:56
- Taharat Yosef 3:57
- Taharat Yosef 3:59. The Gemara Ketubot 61a explains that a niddah can not wash her husband's hands, feet, or face. The Rashba Ketubot 61a adds that it is forbidden even for her to pour the water and him to wash himself since the gemara wouldn't need to say that it is forbidden for her to touch him even in a non-affectionate way.
- The Rashba Ketubot 61a and Taharat Habayit 4a holds that it is only forbidden to pour water on her husband. However, Rabbenu Yonah (Igeret Hateshuva n. 75) forbids even filling a container of water for him to use to wash himself. Shach 195:14 agrees with Rabbenu Yonah. Taz 195:8 argues. Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 199 accepts the Rashba and Taz and therefore permits preparing a bath for him but adds that it is better to do so not in his presence. Shevet Halevi 2:100 who forbids preparing a bath for him even according to the Taz since there's an element of endearment (chibah).
- Taharat Yosef 3:60
- Taharat Yosef 3:61
- Badei Hashulchan 195:128 quoting Piskei Dinim Tzemech Tzedek is lenient to serve water since it is certainly not significant.
- Bach 195:9 and Shach 195:13 hold that the prohibition of serving applies to all drinks and foods, even though the Rashba applies it only to wine. Taz 195:3 believes that the prohibition is limited to wine. Aruch Hashulchan 195:28 agrees. Bear Heitiv 195:9 echoes the Shach. Badei Hashulchan 195:128 rules like the Shach.
- Ketubot 61a, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 195:10
- Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 188
- Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 195:13. Badei Hashulchan 195:159 writes that Shach and those who are strict on other drinks besides wine and food would be strict for also for a husband serving a wife.
- Taharat Habayit v. 2 p. 191
- Taharat Habayit v. 2 pp. 191-2
- Shaarei Dura (Niddah no. 18) writes that a niddah shouldn't go into a shul. The Hagahot Maimoniyot (Tefillah 4:3) comments that the minhag was that a niddah wouldn't go into a shul. The Trumat Hadeshen (pesakim 132) permitted a niddah to go into shul on Yamim Noraim since otherwise they would feel bad not going to shul when everyone else is going. However, the Agur (no. 1388) writes that the minhag was that a niddah would go in a shul but just not look at the sefer torah when it is opened. The above discussion is all quoted in the Darkei Moshe YD 195:5. The Rama OC 88:1 quotes the dispute and concludes that the minhag was that a niddah shouldn't go into a shul. The Mishna Brurah 88:7 writes that the minhag today is to go into a shul but just not to look at the sefer torah when it is open.
- The Pitchei Teshuva YD 195:19 cites the Chamudei Daniel as saying that a niddah shouldn't go to a cemetery to daven. The Mishna Brurah 88:7 writes that a niddah shouldn't go to a cemetery. Shiurei Shevet Halevi 195 writes that a niddah shouldn't go to the cemetery because of a concern of mystical reason of tumah. However, it is permitted for her to go and stand 4 amot from the grave.
- Shaarei Dura (no. 18) forbids niddot from reciting God's name. Darkei Moshe (195:5) also concludes likewise. Accordingly, Rama (Orach Chaim 88:1) writes that the custom is that a niddah is not to pray. See however, Bet Yosef (88:1), Magen Avraham (88:2), Pri Chadash (88:1), Maaseh Rav (no. 58), and Mishna Brurah (88:7) all rule that women are obligated in the recital of all blessings. See also Responsa Tzitz Eliezer (vol. 10, no. 8) who writes that the current day Bais Yaakov seminaries all do not follow the Rama's ruling.