Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Affectionate speech

17 May, 2006

Question:

I know harchakos are supposed to prevent any sort of affection or frivolity.

My question is in terms of speech: do you need to change the way you talk to each other too? I understand not being playful, but isn't it important (and permitted) to be encouraging, supportive, warm and even loving?

Firstly: Are you allowed to tell your husband 'I love you'?

What about just telling them you're proud of him? Thanking him for doing a good job? Telling him how lucky I am to have found him? Also, can you discuss how hard it is to be a niddah, for example, can you say something like 'I wish I could hold you in my arms, but we're not allowed?'

Thank you.


Answer:

Affection is not only permitted while you are niddah, it is encouraged. The problem is with using playful affection which is sexual or arousing. For this there aren't really clear cut rules, as each couple is different in what creates arousal. Even an innocent comment in a certain context or setting can be arousing for certain couples, and for that you need to know yourselves and each other. Certainly being not only civil, but loving and caring for each other are essential for building and maintaining the relationship, particularly during niddah. The only absolute prohibition would be actually speaking about sex or sexuality and desire in a way which would lead to arousal. Beyond that, it is a matter of getting to know each other and yourselves, and having restraint where you know it is necessary.


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