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

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Learning Before the Wedding

As a chatan and kallah (bride and groom) approach marriage, they begin to observe the halachot related to niddah, mikveh, and sexual intimacy.

For first-time kallot and chatanim, this realm of halacha will be almost entirely new. Brides typically learn these halachot with a kallah teacher, and grooms with a chatan teacher. Some couples may also meet together with a teacher. Frameworks for learning vary greatly with respect to style, time commitment, cost, and halachic approach.

It’s important for the couple to make a concerted effort to find teachers who are qualified and experienced and who share their general religious worldview. This is one of the most important elements in wedding preparation; in both the short and long term, a kallah or chatan teacher can have significant impact.

We suggest collecting a few recommendations and speaking to the different teachers to determine who would be the best fit. If there is a concern after the first meeting, or even later, that this teacher is not a good match, one should not hesitate to find another, more suitable teacher.

Points to consider when choosing a teacher:

  • What teaching experience does the teacher have?
  • What halachic and professional qualifications does the teacher have? Is the teacher knowledgeable?
  • Does the teacher seem respectful, approachable, sensitive, and responsive? Is this someone easy to talk to about intimate, personal concerns?
  • Does the teacher share the couple’s general hashkafa and approach to halacha?
  • Does the teacher’s style seem to match how the kallah (or chatan) learns best?
  • What is the teacher’s syllabus? How does it balance halachic topics with other aspects of marital preparation? Does it cover related halachic topics, such as head-covering and family planning? How does it balance source-based learning with practical halacha?
  • Has the teacher completed additional training in related areas (e.g., sexuality, couples counseling, reproductive health)? For brides who have experienced sexual trauma, specialized training can be especially important.
  • What is the teacher’s availability between sessions, as wedding preparations get underway, and also after the wedding?
  • Is the kallah’s teacher open to consulting or communicating with the chatan’s teacher (and vice versa)?
  • Is the teacher familiar with the halachic tradition that the couple will follow (e.g., Ashkenazi, Chabad, Syrian, etc.)? A couple typically follows the husband’s traditions in this area, with the exception of mikveh immersion itself—which typically follows a kallah’s mother, but there can be exceptions to this.
  • How does the teacher work with rabbis? Who is the teacher’s halachic authority for questions that arise?
  • What, if any, book does the teacher use or recommend? (See our annotated list of books here. LINK to this section of resources and links)
  • Is the teacher’s class structure (number of meetings, length, cost, location) realistic?

Resources and Links

  • Yoetzet Halacha Tova Sinensky has written an important blogpost, full of tips for kallot.
  • Kallah Companion, our online kallah curriculum, can supplement in-person kallah courses.
  • Our website includes lists of helpful online resources and books on the laws of niddah and related issues.
  • In Israel, Tovim Hashnaim  is a service that helps connect kallot and chatanim to qualified teachers.
    Yoatzot Halacha, in Israel or worldwide, may also teach kallot or help make a referral.

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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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