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

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The books and websites listed in this section include both practical and philosophical approaches to taharat hamishpacha (family purity), and to the interface between women’s health and Jewish Law. If you would like to suggest additional resources, please write to us.

Please click on a title or topic in the list below for more detailed information.

Accordion Content

Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbanit Chana Henkin, eds. Nishmat Ha-Bayit (English Edition). Jerusalem: Nishmat, Maggid Books, and OU Press, 2021. 408 pages. Clear and comprehensive halachic responses, addressing real-life questions in the areas of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and family planning, written by a team of Nishmat’s Yoatzot Halacha.

Rabbi Shimon D. Eider. Halachos of Niddah. New York: Feldheim. A clear, practical, and detailed presentation of the laws of Niddah and their underlying concepts. Extensive Hebrew footnotes. Covers the laws of becoming niddah, the taharah process, and conduct while niddah, but does not include important topics such as mikveh immersion and vestot.

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu. The Paths of Purity. New York: American Friends of Sucath David, 1986. 228 pages. English translation of Darchei Taharah. A clear, practical and detailed presentation of the laws of niddah, according to both Sephardic and Ashkenazic customs.

Rabbi Yekusiel Farkash. Taharah Kahalachah. Jerusalem, 2015. A clear and practical guide to the laws of niddah. Does not include the extensive footnotes of the original Hebrew version.

Rabbi Binyomin Forst. A Woman’s Guide to the Laws of Niddah. New York: Mesorah Publications, 1999. 373 pages. A clear, practical, and very detailed guide to the laws of niddah. Includes a special section for kallot (brides).

Rabbi Binyomin Forst. The Laws of Niddah. New York: Mesorah Publications, 1997 (vol. 1), 2002 (vol. 2). Two volumes, 527 & 579 pages. Much of the material in this book is found in A Woman’s Guide by the same author. This is a more complex and theoretical presentation, following the order of the Shulchan Aruch, with extensive footnotes.

Rabbi Elyashiv Knohl. The Marriage Covenant. Ein Tzurim: Yeshivat HaKibbutz HaDati, 2008. 297 pages. A clear and friendly guide to Jewish marriage. Includes a thorough and detailed presentation of the laws of niddah and the principles behind them, as well as the emotional and psychological aspects of marriage. There are also sections on the wedding and sheva brachot, and a separate pamphlet on marital intimacy. Presents both Sephardic and Ashkenazic customs.

Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky. The Laws and Concepts of Niddah (RIETS Practical Halakhah Series). Jerusalem: Koren, 2010. 627 pages. Presentation of the complex sugyot of the laws of niddah, beginning with the relevant Talmudic sources, the rishonim and achronim, through the practical applications and contemporary issues. With supplementary notes and rulings by YU roshei yeshiva. Includes a lengthy Hebrew section with primary sources.

Rabbi Yaakov Sprung. Foundations: The Laws of Family Purity. New York: Feldheim, 2003. 112 pages. Practical, succinct guide to hilchot niddah. With annotated sources and a worldwide mikveh list.

Rabbi Rahamim Shaul Sultan. Shoshanat Ha’Amakim, A Rose of the Valley. New York: Sephardic Legacy Press, 1996. 326 pages. A clear, practical, and detailed guide to the laws of niddah according to Sephardic custom. Includes a special section for kallot (brides). Extensive Hebrew footnotes.: A Compilation of the Laws of Family Purity According to the Sephardic Custom.

Dr. Deena R. Zimmerman. A Lifetime Companion to the Laws of Jewish Family Life. Jerusalem: Urim Publications, 2005. 224 pages. A straightforward, practical, and detailed guide to the laws of niddah and their interplay with women’s health at various stages of the life cycle. Includes Hebrew citations of primary sources and extensive discusssions of medical issues. The author is a physician and a yoetzet halacha. This book can be purchased in stores or through

Dr. Rivkah Blau, ed. Gender relationships In Marriage and Out. Hoboken, NJ: Ktav, 2007. 298 pages. Articles based on presentations of the Orthodox Forum.

Rabbi Reuven Bulka. Jewish Marriage: A Halakhic Ethic. New York: Ktav, 1986. 255 pages. Discusses all facets of love and marriage, from theoretical, legal, and practical perspectives. Comprehensive notes and bibliography.

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. Waters of Eden: The Mystery of the Mikvah. New York: NCSY/Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, 1976. 91 pages. A philosophical and mystical exploration of the concepts of mikveh and purity.

Rabbi Maurice Lamm. The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage. 1980. New York: Jonathan David Publishers. 304 pages. Review of Jewish perspectives on love, marriage, and family life.

Rabbi Norman Lamm. A Hedge of Roses: Jewish Insights into Marriage and Married Life. New York: Philipp Feldheim, 1966. 106 very short pages. A philosophical and psychological approach to family purity.

Rabbi Auriel Silbiger. Bread, Fire, and Water, trans. S. Cymerman. New York: Feldheim, 2001. 84 pages. A clear, concise presentation of the laws and meaning of three mitzvot: taking challah, lighting Shabbat candles, and family purity.

Rivkah Slonim, ed. Total Immersion: A Mikvah Anthology. Jerusalem: Urim Publications, 2005. 258 pages. A collection of essays about mikveh andtaharat hamishpacha by women and men. Includes philosophical, mystical, and psychological insights as well as practical advice and personal stories from a wide range of perspectives.

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. Family Redeemed: Essays on Family Relationships. New York: Ktav. 2000.  207 pages. A sophisticated presentation of the philosophy of Rav Soloveitchik.

Rabbi Elyakim Getsel Ellinson. Woman and the Mitzvot: Guide to the Rabbinic Sources, trans. Raphael Blumberg. Jerusalem: World Zionist Organization Department for Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora. Translations of primary halachic sources on women’s issues, from the Mishna through contemporary poskim, with introductions and extensive commentary. Vol. 2, The Modest Way, 1992. Topics include hair covering, modest dress and conduct, and yichud. Vol. 3, Partners in Life, 1998. Topics include procreation, contraception, and marital relations.

Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin. Responsa on Contemporary Jewish Women’s Issues. New Jersey: Ktav, 2003. 223 pages. Twenty-four modern responsa on a variety of topics including prayer, hair covering, and more.

Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin, Understanding Tzniut. Jerusalem: Urim Publications, 2008. 141 pages. Essays on modest dress and women’s issues, as well as general topics.

Rachel Broncher. A Labor of Love. Targum/Feldheim, 2004. 375 pages. A comprehensive guide to natural childbirth from a Jewish perspective.A Complete Guide to Childbirth for the Mind, Body, and Soul of the Jewish Woman.

Rabbi Baruch and Michal Finkelstein. B’Sha’ah Tovah: The Jewish Woman’s Clinical and Halachic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. New York: Feldheim, 2001. 310 pages. A complete clinical and practical guide to pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, written from a Jewish perspective and incorporating relevant halachic topics.

Rabbi Baruch and Michal Finkelstein, with Doreen Winter. Delivery from Darkness: A Jewish Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Postpartum Depression. Feldheim, 2009. 210 pages. A halachic and clinical guide to postpartum depression, including personal accounts and multiple approaches to treatment.A Jewish guide to prevention and treatment of postpartum depression

Sarah Goldstein. Special Delivery: and More Special Deiliveries: Jewish Birth Stories of Faith and Inspiration. Targum, 2004 and 2007. Real life birth stories and practical advice. More Special Deliveries also includes clinical information about childbirth. Jewish Birth Stories of Faith and Inspiration

Aviva Rappaport. A Jewish Woman’s Guide to Childbirth. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Publications (Feldheim), 2004. 399 pages. An engaging and informative guide to the practical, medical and spiritual aspects of childbirth. Originally published as Happy Birth Day!

Chana Weisberg. Expecting Miracles: Finding Meaning & Spirituality in Pregnancy through Judaism. Jerusalem: Urim Publications, 2004. 365 pages. Presents wisdom and insights garnered in conversations with observant Jewish women for transforming pregnancy into an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth.

Rabbi Baruch and Michal Finkelstein. The Third Key: The Jewish Couple’s Guide to Infertility. New York: Feldheim, 2005. 492 pages. A comprehensive guide to the medical, halachic, philosophical, and emotional aspects of infertility.

Rabbis Jeffrey Saks and Joel Wolowelsky, eds. To Mourn a Child: Jewish Responses to Neonatal and Childhood Death. KTAV, 2013. 167 pages. Includes personal accounts by parents who have lost a child, as well as essays by rabbis and healthcare professionals and selections from traditional Jewish sources.

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. Made in Heaven: A Jewish Wedding Guide. New York: Moznaim Publishing Corporation, 1983. 234 pages. A classic guide to every aspect of the wedding, presenting philosophical insights, relevant halachot, and practical advice. Extensive footnotes give references to original sources.

Dr. Yocheved Debow, Talking About Intimacy and Sexuality: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Parents. OU/KTAV, 2012. A comprehensive and candid guide for parents, addressing this sensitive topic in the context of modern challenges.

Sara Diament, Talking to Your Children About Intimacy: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Parents. Xlibris, 2009. A sensitive and user-friendly resource for parents seeking appropriate ways to discuss intimacy with children and adolescents.

Rabbi Avraham Peretz Friedman. Marital Intimacy:A Traditional Jewish Approach. Northvale: Jason Aaronson, 1996. 139 pages. Presents insights and guidance from Torah sources on sexuality. Now available from Compass Books, Box 3091, Linden, New Jersey, 07036.

Sara Morozow and Rivka Slonim. Holy Intimacy: The Heart and Soul of Jewish Marriage. Shikey Press, 2022. 435 pages. Inspirational insights and practical advice on marital intimacy, incorporating Torah, halacha, chassidut, and psychology.

David S. Ribner and Talli Y. Rosenbaum. I Am for My Beloved: A Guide to Enhanced Intimacy for Married Couples. Urim Publications, 2020. 151 pages. Offers a sensitive, informative, and practical approach to intimacy, sexual anatomy and physiology, sex within the life cycle, and Jewish values and attitudes towards sex.

Jennie Rosenfeld, PhD, and David S. Ribner, DSW. Et Le’ehov: The Newlywed Guide to Physical Intimacy. Gefen Publishing, 2011. Written in sensitive and clear language, with separately packaged illustrations, this book seeks to prepare couples for their intimate relationship.

Toni Wechsler, MPH. Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. William Morrow & Co, Fully Revised and Updated edition, 2015. Classic guide to the Fertility Awareness Method. This book is intended for a general audience and does not include halachic information. For more information and online charting options, see the companion website.

Rabbi Dovid A. Kaufman. The Taharas Hamishpacha Workbook. Lakewood, NJ, 2017. 144 pages.This workbook guides women experiencing anxiety or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder through an evidence-based step-by-step program using proven cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques. It can be used as a self-help book or as a treatment manual in a therapy setting. Can be purchased online or in stores; information on other ways to obtain the book can be requested by email.

Please note that contemporary halachic authorities may have slightly different approaches to certain questions. Therefore, you may find occasional discrepancies between the rulings of the various books and websites available. If you are not sure how to conduct yourself, an individual question should be asked.

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All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

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