10 01, 2021

Does Zoom Solve Yichud Problems?

January 10th, 2021|Even HaEzer, Sex|

QUESTION

New York, NY

Does the Rosh HaYeshivah hold that a person occasionally glancing at an unmarried couple through a zoom video call could be considered a shomer/et for purposes of yichud? If so, does internet quality matter?

ANSWER

Assuming that the couple is in view, definitely. See Iggrot Moshe EH 4:65.2 – who speaks about being aware that something is going on, even if not directly seeing,

בחלון הפתוח לרה”ר או לחצר שנמצאים שם הרבה אינשי, אם הוא למעלה ממקום שיכולין לאינשי שמחוץ […]

7 02, 2019

Abortion in Halakha: A Study Guide

February 7th, 2019|Lifecycles, Marriage and Family, Niddah, Non-Jews and Other Religions, Science and Medical Ethics, Sex|

Guided Questions for Chavruta Learning

  1. Sources 1-7 were covered in the previous sheet.  Look at sources 8-12.  Do they indicate that a fetus has the legal status / protections of a human life or not?  Which ones indicate yes, which ones indicate no?  If one were to claim that it was a life, how would she reconcile all the sources?  How would one do so if she were to claim that it was not a life?  Is there a middle position?  How would you articulate it: quasi, potential, or something else?  What halakhic category would destroying such a […]
26 07, 2016

Yichud in a Shul

July 26th, 2016|Sex|

Question:

לגרסה העברית לחצו כאן / Read this teshuva in Hebrew

I am the rabbi of a shul, and recently I was working there after it had already grown dark outside. I realized only later that there were two women working in the shul office on a different floor at the same time. To avoid yichud, I thought that she could lock her door and I could lock mine, but realized as I have a master key that wasn’t much use. One woman is married and the other is single. There are cameras in the building […]

26 07, 2016

Public Displays of Affection

July 26th, 2016|Niddah, Sex, Tzeniut|

Question:

לגרסה העברית לחצו כאן /Read this teshuva in Hebrew

I am a kallah teacher and was asked if I have any halakhic or rabbinic sources about public displays of affection—from simply holding hands to hugging and kissing in public. The woman also considered that the guidelines might be different in front of intimate family rather than in a large public space, such as at a wedding, etc. The husband is leaning towards a more stringent approach, but she wants “to do the right thing, not just the stricter thing.” She wants real answers rooted in sources that […]

26 07, 2016

Harchakot During Aveilut

July 26th, 2016|Aveilut, Lifecycles, Niddah, Sex|

Question:

לגרסה העברית לחצו כאן /Read this teshuva in Hebrew

I am currently sitting shiva for my mother a”h. I am also currently in niddah and my mikveh night would be tomorrow night. I know that during shiva I’m not allowed to have sex with my husband but I wanted to know if I could go to the mikveh so that we can hug and touch, at least in a non-sexual way. I could really use a hug from my husband and his reassuring touch during this time. Would we also be allowed to sleep in the same bed?

Answer:

Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear of […]

22 07, 2015

Levels of Obligation in Shemirat Negiah

July 22nd, 2015|Marriage and Family, Niddah, Sex, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

What is the origin of our current expectation of extra marital shemirat negiah (abstaining from touch)? Is this truly a halakhic obligation?

ANSWER

Thank you for the question. The first thing to note is that not all forms of touch are the same. There is casual, non-sexual touch; there is intimate, and yet non-sexual touch; and there is sexual touch. Even within sexual touch, there is touch that is very proximate to the act of intercourse, and touch that, while sexual, is more distant from the act of intercourse. Halakha in general does not lump all acts along a spectrum into the same […]

22 07, 2015

Taking Valium to Tolerate Sex

July 22nd, 2015|Even HaEzer, Marriage and Family, Sex|

QUESTION

I was was sexually abused as a child by my father. Working with a therapist, I am working through the process of consciously remembering and trying to heal the trauma. I have a supportive, understanding husband who understands when I don’t want to or am not able to have sex, but I love him and don’t want to always say no to him even when that would be my preference. Is it ok to take Valium before sex so I can tolerate it as a gift to my husband?

ANSWER

Let me start by saying how my heart goes out to you […]

21 07, 2015

Lesbian Sex in Halakha

July 21st, 2015|Even HaEzer, LGBTQ, Sex|

QUESTION

I am a single bi-sexual woman living in NYC. What are the halakhic parameters of lesbian sex? What is mutar and what is assur? What is the letter of the law and what is the spirit of the law? I’ve never been sexually active with another woman though I would very much like to do so.

ANSWER

Halakha defines sexual intercourse as penile penetration of the anus or the vagina. Thus, (anal) sex between two men is defined as sex and forbidden by the Torah, while sex between two women is not defined as sex, and thus not forbidden in the Torah’s list of arayot, sexual […]

20 07, 2015

Condoms in Halakha

July 20th, 2015|Marriage and Family, Sex|

QUESTION

Is a condom ever permitted according to Halakha?

ANSWER

First, please note than an extensive presentation of the relevant sources on both sides of the issue, can be found in my source packet on birth control (in particular, the teshuvot of Rav Moshe, sources 41-44).

To respond briefly here – It is generally understood by the larger community that condoms are always forbidden. Amongst the poskim also, the dominant, although not unanimous, voice is that barring life-threatening situations (for example, a doctor who was poked by a dirty needle and is waiting for the results from an AIDS test, […]

20 07, 2015

Separating on Marriage Night (Dam Betulim)

July 20th, 2015|Marriage and Family, Niddah, Sex, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

If a couple has sex the night of their wedding do they need separate immediately following intercourse? It feels like a punishment for couples who actually wait, not even being able to enjoy the a full night together and then separating for at least 12 days.

ANSWER

If the woman is a virgin and her hymen is not perforated then after the first act of vaginal intercourse, she and her husband have to separate. This is the principle of דם בתולים, that the first hymeneal bleeding, in the Talmudic and Geonic period, was treated as menstrual bleeding. This practice even grew to […]

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