07 August 2008

According Oneself on Tisha b'Av with One's Spouse

This Sunday will be Tishah b'Av. Tisha b'Av shares some similarities with Yom Kippur in that they are both fast days that begin at nighttime and a number of other prohibitions include not applying creams or oils, no wearing of shoes with leather in them, and no sexual relations. As this is my first ever Tishah b'Av being married, I figured I would look into the details of this last prohibition - what are the parameters?
Well, the sages of the Talmud provide no further details beyond abstaining from sexual relations. However, in the thirteenth century, Rabbi Mordechai ben Hillel wrote (בהגהותיו דמועד קטן):
בפרק קמא דכתובות גבי הוא ישן בין האנשים והיא ישינה בין הנשים - פירוש: דתשעה באב ויום הכפורים אסור לישן עם אשתו במטה
In the first chapter of Ketubot regarding "he is to sleep amongst men and she is to sleep amongst women" - the explanation is that one is forbidden to sleep with his wife in bed on Tishah b'Av and on Yom Kippur.
What's interesting about Rabbi Mordechai ben Hillel's statement is that this is actually a creative read of the following two beraisas (the first one is on Ketubot 3b-4a and the second is on 4a):
הרי שהיה פתו אפוי וטבחו טבוח ויינו מזוג ומת אביו של חתן או אמה של כלה - מכניסין את המת לחדר ואת החתן ואת הכלה לחופה ובועל בעילת מצוה ופורש ונוהג שבעת ימי המשתה. ואחר כך, נוהג שבעת ימי אבילות, וכל אותן הימים - הוא ישן בין האנשים והיא ישנה בין הנשים, ואין מונעין תכשיטין מן הכלה כל שלשים יום
Behold: if the bread is baked [for the wedding reception], the animals have been killed for meat, and the wine is properly mixed and then the father of the groom or the mother of the bride dies - we bring the corpse into a room and the bride and the groom into the huppah, they have sexual intercourse, separate from each other, and have seven days of celebration. Afterwards, then they enter into shivah, and all of those days he sleeps amongst men and she sleeps amongst women and we do not hold the bride back from ornaments any of the first thirty days.
הרי שהיה פתו אפויה וטבחו טבוח ויינו מזוג ונתן מים על גבי בשר ומת אביו של חתן או אמה של כלה מכניסין את המת לחדר ואת החתן ואת הכלה לחופה ובועל בעילת מצוה ופורש ונוהג שבעת ימי המשתה ואח"כ נוהג שבעת ימי אבילות וכל אותן הימים הוא ישן בין האנשים ואשתו ישנה בין הנשים וכן מי שפירסה אשתו נדה הוא ישן בין האנשים והיא ישנה בין הנשים ואין מונעין תכשיטין מן הכלה כל ל' יום בין כך ובין כך לא יבעול לא בערב שבת ולא במוצ"ש
Behold: if the bread is baked [for the wedding reception], the animals have been killed for meat, and the wine is properly mixed, and they had placed water on the meat and then the father of the groom or the mother of the bride dies - we bring the corpse into a room and the bride and the groom into the huppah, they have sexual intercourse, separate from each other, and have seven days of celebration. Afterwards, then they enter into shivah, and all of those days he sleeps amongst men and she sleeps amongst women. And similarly, one whose wife breaks into nidah - he sleeps amongst men and she sleeps amongst women, and we do not hold back ornaments from the bride all 30 days. In either instance, they should not have sexual intercourse either just prior or just following shabbat.
After these are quoted, the following is then mentioned (same page):
אמר רבי יוחנן אע"פ שאמרו אין אבילות במועד אבל דברים של צינעא נוהג
Rabbi Yohanan said, "Even though the [sages] said 'there is no mourning on a holiday', nevertheless, private matters are accorded."
Having seen the Talmudic pieces related to what Rabbi Mordechai ben Hillel is referencing, we see the creative read he takes: he connects these teachings regarding mourning of
a groom's father or a bride's mother their intended wedding to the mourning-like practices on Yom Kippur and Tishah b'Av.
A few centuries later, Rabbi Moshe Isserles wrote (דרכי משה תקנ"ד:ז):
ומהר"א כתב בהגהותיו דאנו נוהגין בו איסור ושמש בית הכנסת מכריז דברים שבצנעה נוהג. וכך הכי במנהגים ובאגודה. ובהגהות מרדכי דמ"ק הלכות ט"ב דט"ב ויוה"כ אסור לישן עם אשתו במטה. ועיין לקמן סימן תרי"ד דאסור ליגע באשתו ביוה"כ כאילו היתה נדה. ואפשר דהוא הדין בט"ב
Rabbi [? (if someone knows who this is, please let me know - DK)] wrote, in his notes, that "we are accustomed prohibition on it and the gabbai of the synagogue announces private things of which we are accustomed." And such is this in [Rabbi Yitzchak Tyrnau's work,] Minhagim and in [Rabbi Alexander Susslein's work,] Agudah. And Rabbi Mordechai ben Hillel wrote "It is forbidden to sleep in bed with one's wife on Tishah b'Av and on Yom Kippur" (Hagahot Mordekhai, Moed Katan, Hilkhot Tishah b'Av). And see further in [Tur,] section 614 that it is forbidden to touch one's wife on Yom Kippur as if she was in nidah. And it is possible that this is the case on Tishah b'Av.
Rabbi Isserles takes the core of Rabbi Mordechai ben Hillel's creative reading (albeit without the interpretive part regarding the Talmudic quote) and suggests that it might be like that of Yom Kippur in the sense of not touching one's wife.
In the Shulhan Arukh, Rabbi Yosef Karo wrote (שו"ע או"ח תקנד:יח):
יש מי שאומר שלא יישן בליל ט"ב עם אשתו במטה, ונכון הדבר משום לך לך אמרינן נזירא
There is someone who says one should not sleep with one's wife on the night of Tishah b'Av. And this thing is proper on account of saying to a nazir stay far away [from a vineyard].
Rabbi Karo seems to kind of accept Rabbi Mordechai ben Hillel's suggestion, in addition to adding onto it a statement that originated with Ulla (פסחים מ עמוד שני) regarding vinegar and Passover:
אחד זה ואחד זה אסור, משום לך לך אמרינן נזירא, סחור סחור, לכרמא לא תקרב.
Anyways, Rabbi Avraham Gombiner wrote, regarding what Rabbi Karo wrote
ואפשר שלא יגע בה כמו בי"הכ (ד"מ) ונ"ל דביום יש להקל עבי"ד סימן שמ"ב
It is possible that he should not touch her, just like on Yom Kippur. But, it seems to me, there is to be lenient during daytime.
Rabbi Gombiner starts off quoting Rabbi Isserles regarding not touching, but then suggests that one can touch during the day. After that, Rabbi Gombiner then refers the reader to check out section 342 of Yoreh Deah in the Shulhan Arukh, where Rabbi Karo discusses the laws regarding a bride whose mother has died or a groom whose father had died (like the Talmudic citations from above).
Rabbi David HaLevi Segal (about whom I had posted previously) wrote (
ט"ז אורח חיים תרטו:א):
בסי' תקנ"ד דגבי ט"ב לא זכר איסור הנגיעה רק איסור שינה עמה במטה ובאמת שוין הם כמ"ש ב"י בשם הגמ"ר לענין שינה במטה כאן רק שבס' אגודה הביא איסו' נגיע' בי"כ ולא זכר ט"ב ותו נראה לדקדק כאן בש"ע דכתב וכן אסור לישן כו' דהוא מיותר לגמרי דהא אשת חבירו שאסור לישן במטה א' ומותר בנגיעה וא"כ כיון שכ' תחלה איסור נגיעה פשיטא שאסור במטה א' ולענ"ד לחלק דבט"ב לא אסור בש"ע הנגיעה כי באותו יום הולכת בבגדים בזוים ולא יתאו' לה כ"כ משא"כ בי"כ הולכת בבגדים נקיים ובי"כ יש ג"כ לחלק דבלילה יש לאסור אפי' הנגיעה דתשמיש רגיל בלילה אבל ביום אין איסור כ"א בשינה במטה א' אבל לא בנגיע' בפרט שיש אימת היום עליו כמ"ש ס"ס תרי"ב משא"כ בשינה שאז אין עליו אימה יש ליזהר אפי' ביום במטה א' וע"כ כ' כאן תחלה איסור נגיעה שהיא דוקא בלילה וכ"ה באגודה ליל י"כ אסור ליגע כו' משמע אבל ביום א"צ ליזהר ואח"כ כ' הש"ע איסור שינה במטה שהוא אפילו ביום כנ"ל דעת הש"ע והוא נכון
In section 554 regarding Tishah b’Av, [Rabbi Yosef Karo] does not mention a prohibition of touching, just of sleeping in [the same] bed with one’s wife. But they are really the same, as he wrote in Beit Yosef in the name of the Hagahot Mordekhai regarding sleeping in a bed here [in section 615]. But in Sefer Agudah, [Rabbi Susslein] mentions the prohibition of touching on Yom Kippur, but does not mention Tishah b’Av. Furthermore, it seems here that one should read closely in the Shulhan Arukh that [Rabbi Karo] wrote “and similarly, it is forbidden to sleep with one’s wife in [the same] bed…” that [touching] is totally permitted, since one is prohibited to sleep in the same bed with someone else’s wife, but one is allowed to touch her. And, if so, since he wrote at the beginning about the prohibition of touching, it is evident that it is forbidden to sleep in the same bed. But, in my humble opinion, one should differentiate this instance from Tishah b’Av, where touching is not forbidden in the Shulhan Arukh, because on that day, one’s wife wears ignominious clothes and one doesn’t really desire his wife all that much, versus Yom Kippur, when she wears clean clothes. And, on Yom Kippur, we can also differentiate regarding nighttime, that there is to forbid even touching, since one is used to having sexual relations at nighttime. But, during the day, the only prohibition is sleeping in the same bed, but not touching specifically, since the awe of the day is upon him, as it is written in the end of section 612. But sleeping is different because then there is no awe upon him, then there is to be careful, even during the day upon the same bed. And therefore, [Rabbi Karo] wrote here at the beginning of the prohibition of touching, since that is specifically at night. And, so, too, is this in Sefer Agudah – it is forbidden to touch the night of Yom Kippur… implying that one need not be careful during the day. After that, Rabbi Karo wrote of the prohibition of sleeping in the same bed [on Yom Kippur], which is even during the day, as is mentioned above the opinion of Rabbi Karo and this is correct.
Rabbi Segal's distinction between Tishah b'Av and Yom Kippur is certainly interesting. Anyways, on how we are accustomed, Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein wrote that married folks are accustomed to sleep in separate beds on Tishah b'Av (ערוך השלחן או"ח תקנד:יז), as Rabbi Mordechai ben Hillel had written.

2 comments:

jdub said...

it's also interesting that they are drawing as a source newlyweds, who apparently would need to sleep separately (he with the men, she with the women) because after all the time of sex being assur, it is now mutar since they are married. Once one is an old married guy, one is presumably capable of sleeping in the same room (perhaps the same bed, assuming no nidah problem)without being overcome by lust.

Moshe said...

If I recall correctly, the Aruch Hashulchan also wrote as follows:

ונכון שלא יגע בה בלילה, אבל ביום אין לחוש
וגם בלילה אין לחוש רק לעולי ימים ומעולם לא נזהרו בזה דישראל לא חשידי ח"ו

I am understanding him to allow touching one's spouse - even on Tisha B'av, unless one has an extreme desire for their spouse. This is an important distinction with the Rama.