Kol Isha during Niddah

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When a wife is in her yemi nidda, is there a restriction of Kol Isha? Thank you!

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Asked on March 17, 2021 4:07 pm
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On the one hand, during nidda, a couple are prohibited from engaging in affectionate physical contact or in activity that is deliberately arousing. On the other hand, they remain married as husband and wife, are accustomed to one another and to living day to day life together, and are also aware that soon they will be fully permitted to each other again. Halacha understands these factors as moderating sexual tension during nidda.

This allows for treating husband and wife during nidda with more leniency than men and women not married to each other. For example, even during nidda, a woman need not be as modestly clothed in front of her husband as she would be in front of other men, and a man may deliberately take pleasure in looking at his wife. During nidda, a couple should still be careful to think about boundaries so that they don't cross into an overtly sexual situation.

Regarding kol isha, too, there may be room for greater leniency when the man and woman are married than when they are not. Though it would still not be permissible for the wife to deliberately sing in an enticing manner or for the husband to listen with intent to become aroused during nidda, halachic authorities debate whether kol isha would otherwise apply:

  • Pitchei Teshuva (YD 195:10) leaves it as an open question;
  • Aruch Ha-shulchan (YD 195:23) rules that kol isha does apply, and Rav Moshe Feinstein (Iggerot Moshe YD 2:75) rules that one should be stringent. Contextual factors for leniency with kol isha, (eg., when the singing is as part of a group and not solo), remain relevant here, even according to this stringent view. A classic contextual leniency raised in this case is when a baby needs to be sung to sleep.
  • Rav Ovadya Yosef (Yabi’a Omer YD IV:15) rules leniently, that a man may hear his wife sing during nidda. Rav Yehuda Henkin (Benei Banim IV:7) writes that this is the case so long as the husband is accustomed to hear his wife sing, and her singing is fairly routine in the home.

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Answered on March 17, 2021 4:20 pm