A GUIDE TO THE LAWS OF
FAMILY PURITY

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Chapter Eleven

Halachos (Laws) During Separation

158. What are the separations which are required when a woman is a Nidah?

It goes without saying that sexual intercourse is strictly forbidden, as well as all forms of caressing and physical contact. It should be stressed here that as mentioned in the beginning of this Sefer, there is no difference between a married or single woman in reference to the Nidah prohibitions. Also single boys and girls are not allowed to have any form of physical contact including holding of hands. Likewise it is prohibited for boys and girls to mix and dance together. This prohibition applies even to married couples. See the Shulchan Aruch Chapter 529 section 4 where he prohibits all forms of partying between men and women. (see Biur Halachah siman 339, also see siman 559:4).

Our Rabbis have also prohibited many other interactions between husband and wife in order to prevent anything which could lead to the above prohibitions.

In order to clearly explain these separations, we will list them as they are mentioned in the various scources and will then bring down the various Halachic rulings concerning them.

159. What is one such separation?

In Avos Dírabi Noson (40:1) it is brought down that frivolity and joking with oneís wife when she is a Nidah is prohibited. This prohibition applies even if only talking is involved.

The Pischei Tíshuvah says that even if a husband has to go on a trip and will be away from his wife for a long time, it is still prohibited for him to laugh and be frivolous with her, even if only with words.

160. What would be another separation?

In Avos Dírabi Noson it is brought down that it is strictly forbidden for a husband to touch his wife who is a Nidah, even with his small finger.

161. Is the husband allowed to touch the clothes which his wife is wearing while she is a Nidah?

While she is wearing them, he may not touch them. Along this same line, it is prohibited for the husband to even blow a feather off the dress which his wife is wearing. It is also prohibited for him to throw anything onto the clothes which she is wearing.

The woman also is prohibited from holding a flame from which her husband will light something or warm something up.

184. Can the husband and wife sit together in a car or bus when they are traveling in order to take care of something or for business purposes?
There are authorities who say that they should not sit together in the same seat. Either the wife or husband should sit in the back scat; or a child, a parent, or the wife's brother should sit between them. However, when this is not possible, (as when others are sitting in the back seat), they may sit on the same seat provided that there is a wide object placed between them such as a wide package or an overcoat.
185. Can the husband and wife go together on a bus or in a car when they are traveling for pleasure, such as on a vacation?
They may travel together on a public bus provided that they either do not sit in the same seat together; or, if they are on the same seat, if they make sure to place a wide object between themselves.

There are several different opinions regarding their traveling together in a car for a pleasure trip. Some authorities prohibit it when nobody else is in the car, even when the wife is sitting in the back seat. therefore, a Rav should be consulted as to how a couple should conduct themselves in this matter.

186. Is the husband allowed to listen to his wife singing?
This is forbidden.
187. While a woman is a Nidah, is she allowed to wear perfumes and dress nicely?
Yes; however, she should not overdo it.
188. Is the husband allowed to smell his wife's perfume?
The husband may not smell his wife's perfume while she is a Nidah. In addition, if his wife removes pleasant smelling spices, flowers, etc. from around her neck or from her body, he may not smell them either.
189. In the winter, if his wife is holding a baby whose hat slips off or moves out of place, is the husband allowed to adjust it while she is still holding the baby?
If it is impossible for the wife to do it then her husband would be allowed to adjust the hat because of the cold.
190. If a doctor prescribes eye drops for a woman, is her husband permitted to put them in her eyes?
He is permitted to put in the eye drops if all he does is drop them into her eyes. He is not allowed to hold her eyes open for this purpose; she should be the one holding them open.
191. Can a husband hold an open umbrella over his wife when it is raining?
Yes; he can hold an open umbrella over her to protect her from the rain.
192. Are the husband and wife permitted to use the same toothbrush?
If the wife washes the toothbrush thoroughly after she uses it, her husband may use it after her. (The same tube of toothpaste may be used by both of them.)
193. Can the wife take care of her husband if he is sick?
If there is nobody else who can take care of him, the wife is allowed to do the necessary things which he cannot do for himself. However, she should try as much as possible to refrain from pouring water on his hands, face, and legs. She should also refrain from making his bed in his presence before going to sleep. In cases of emergency, though, these things are permissible.
194. If there is nobody else who can do so, is the wife permitted to hand things directly to her husband when he is sick?
When there is nobody else who can do so, the wife is permitted to hand things to her husband. however, she should be careful not to actually touch him. This leniency also allows her to feed him and to give him to drink, as well as to assist him in standing, sitting, dressing, and in supporting him. In all these cases, she should be as careful as possible to refrain from actually touching him.
195. If it is the wife who is sick, can her husband take care of her?
If it is impossible for the husband to get someone else to take care of her, he is permitted to do so. He should, however, try as much as possible to be careful not to touch her.
196. Is the husband obligated to hire someone to take care of his wife who is sick?
If there are women available who can be hired, then the husband is obligated to do so and is not allowed to be the one taking care of his wife.

The only time the husband is permitted to care for his wife by himself is when it is impossible to get help, even for money. If the expense of hiring help is too great for the husband, a Rav should be consulted.

197. Does this Halachah (Question 196) also apply when the husband is sick?
No. When the husband is sick, he is not obligated to pay money in order to hire help to take care of him instead of his wife. However, he definitely is obligated to try and get someone to help him if he can. Otherwise, his wife is permitted to do so.
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