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Abstention customs

7 March, 2007

Question:

Hello.
I have read that there is a custom of some sort to abstain from relations on the first (and second?) nights of pesach, shavuot, hoshana rabbah, rosh hashannah, and perhaps others that I am forgetting.
How extensively are these "customs" practiced? (I was not taught any in my pre-marital education).
Also, to the extent that they are widely followed, how much does it matter that, for example,one of those days will be my second night with my spouse after an extended separation due to travel?
thank you!


Answer:

It is prohibited to have relations on Yom Kippur or Tisha B'Av.

The nights where there is a custom not to have relations are: the first night of Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh HaShanah, Shmini Atzeret, and yom tov sheni of the above.  There are those who add Aseret Yemei Teshuvah, Hoshanah Rabbah, the first ten days of Av.  Some even add the three days before and three days after Shavuot.

According to the Mishnah Berurah (240:7), these customs are for an individual full of yir'at HaShem, who will not come to any error.  They are certainly not observed by a couple attempting to conceive or by a couple on the night of immersion.

In a situation such as you describe, you would clearly not be obligated to observe this custom.


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