Many interactions between married couples have possibly or inherently romantic overtones that can lead to desire for intimacy. Therefore, the halacha specifies certain activities that need to be modified or avoided during niddah. Collectively, these proscriptions are often referred to as harchakot.
Torah law prohibits intercourse while a woman is niddah. Other physical expressions of affection, such as hugging and kissing, or touching for purposes of pleasure, are also forbidden. All physical contact is prohibited on a rabbinic level. Because the niddah status is temporary, certain leniencies apply to a married couple when the wife is niddah (for example, they are permitted to be alone together). On the other hand, since a husband and wife have a certain level of familiarity and routine, they must observe additional restrictions, known as harchakot, during this time. These restrictions, which are based on religious and psychological logic and insight, are intended to prevent excessive intimacy that could lead to forbidden actions. The possibility of a married couple losing control, together with the grave consequences if they do, warrants such an array of supplementary prohibitions.
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