The Special Spiritual Quality Of Marital Relations

.. As explained in another location1 regarding [the husband’s three obligations to his wife:] food, clothing and marital relations, [and in a spiritual sense, “husband” and “wife” refers to the relationship of G‑d and the Jewish people]:

“Food” is that level which is drawn down within the receptacles of the recipient [similar to food that is ingested]. “Garment,” [an item that surrounds the person,] refers to the flow of G‑dliness that is drawn down in an encompassing manner — a manner that is loftier than the internal manner [of “food”].

“Marital relations” [a union of essence] refers to the drawing down of the Divine Essence, which is a degree that is even loftier than the encompassing level of “garment.”

In addition: The special quality of “marital relations” is not only with regard to that which is drawn down below (a drawing down of the Divine Essence), but also with regard to the Jewish people, that they receive this Divine effulgence without [the concealing and obstructing aspect of] a garment.

We may say, that this is the meaning of the statement of our Sages, of blessed memory: “He who says [I shall only have relations if] I am in my garment and she is in her garment, should divorce her and pay her the money of the kesuvah [that is coming to her, since he is in the wrong].”2

Which is to say, that the negation of “I in my garment...” implies that the drawing down of the Divine Essence is “without a garment” [on His part — revealing the entire Essence], and [the negation of] “she in her garment” implies that this revelation is received [by the Jewish people] without [the concealing and obstructing aspect of] a garment.

(Sefer HaMaamarim Melukat, Vol. V, p. 304)


.. With regard to your question about the sanctification [of marital relations], etc.:

There are many who have the custom that in the days immediately preceding their marriage, they study the two concluding chapters of Reishis Chochmah, Shaar HaKedushah. So, too, with regard to your question, [i.e., study these chapters].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XI, p. 18)

Proper Thoughts

.. Performing the mitzvah of marital relations requires sanctification of one’s thoughts, for the thoughts one has then have a profound effect [on the child that may be born].3

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XII, p. 424)

Before or After Midnight

It is extremely doubtful whether such conduct [of having marital relations only after midnight] is applicable during present

times, as it leads to the person being immersed for very many hours as to when finally, etc., etc.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, p. 455)

The Obligation to Perform the Commandment

.. With regard to your question about performing the commandment of having marital relations since you are [currently lacking Shalom Bayis in your home,] etc.:

I am astounded by the very question, since this is an obligation on the husband and it is also a commandment — see also Torah Or, Megillas Esther, p. 92d.

In connection to the above, you will surely notify me regarding the [newly revived] Shalom Bayis in your home.

It is my hope that you will convey to me glad tidings with regard to the above, particularly if you will exert effort [in this direction]. And “Great is peace, the vessel that contains and sustains G‑d’s blessings,”4 filling all that is lacking and [rectifying] all that is in need of rectification. ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. X, p. 136)

Marital Relations of a Torah Scholar

With regard to the time of marital relations of a Torah scholar, which is “from Shabbos night to Shabbos night,”5 [i.e., exclusively on Friday nights], and the Reishis Chochmah, in Shaar HaKedushah is stringent in this regard ...

.. However, the following must be made known: all the above, [regarding strictures concerning the limitation of relations to Friday nights], both according to Jewish law as well as according to the writings of the AriZal, only apply if acting in this manner will not lead the person to harsher and more sinful conduct.

If, however, there is the slightest doubt that this form of abstinence could lead to untoward results, then it is my considered opinion that you should not act in this manner [of restricting relations only to Friday nights].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XII, p. 389)

Marital Relations of a Torah Scholar During the First Year of Marriage

With regard to your question regarding the time of marital relations of a Torah scholar, which is “from Shabbos night to Shabbos night”6 ... and you desire to know whether there is room to differentiate between the first year of marriage and later years:

I have not seen such a difference cited in any place. And although generally speaking, not having seen something does not serve as conclusive proof,7 nevertheless, in the current instance, since none of the books that deal with this subject make this distinction, then it does serve as conclusive proof.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XII, p. 389)

Negating Abstinence

Delaying Marital Relations

.. In answer to your question in your last letter whether you should push off the performance of the mitzvah [of marital relations] for a month:

You surely should not do so, particularly since matters such as these require the full assent of the second party, and in light of that which is stated in the Codes that it, [i.e., refraining from relations,] is painful for the person, it is difficult to ascertain whether the assent [of the second party] is without reservation.

I have already written to many regarding matters such as these, [i.e., practicing abstinence,] that this “pious” form of behavior is actually a matter of laxity and even worse than laxity.

For in our spiritually impoverished generation there are indeed very few individuals who are capable of abstinence without pitfalls, etc., heaven forfend.

May it be G‑d’s will that you cease delving so deeply into matters such as these, for delving into these matters is improper and surely unnecessary.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIII, p. 314)

Practicing Abstinence

With regard to your thought about practicing abstinence, provided you obtain your wife’s permission:

I am not at all in favor of this. Aside from the fact that in the overwhelming majority of instances permission is not granted with a complete heart, it is also extremely doubtful whether such abstinence adds purity and refines one’s thoughts, or G‑d forbid, it does the opposite.

Indeed, it is well known that “he who possesses bread in his basket” is not hungry8 ... [while he who does not have bread at hand is in a continual state of hunger].

Since a person’s spiritual status is in keeping with the feelings of one’s heart (acharei machsheves halev hadevarim holchim), it is therefore my considered opinion that acting in this [abstinent] manner is not the path for you to take to achieve the goal to which you aspire.

See also Torah Or, Megillas Esther, p. 92d, [where the Alter Rebbewrites about those who mistakenly disparage the importance and significance of intimate relations], (“this is not so, for it is indeed a great matter, and [in heaven] above as well it is a great matter...”).

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. X, p. 370)

In general, I do not approve of a person’s conducting himself with such strictures, i.e., to practice abstinence. For in our generation only a select few [who practice abstinence] are able to keep from thinking inappropriate thoughts, if not worse than that.

Who then is to say [that through practicing abstinence] the person’s Torah study and prayer will be conducted in purity? Thus, with regard to the overwhelming majority of people who would act in this manner, the benefit is more than cancelled out by the loss.

This is so much so, that in the situation which you describe, [where it would be dangerous for your wife to become pregnant,] the Tzemach Tzedek has permitted the use of a moch (see his Responsa, Even HaEzer, ch. 92).

In addition to all the above, even when the wife offers her assent to such conduct, there is ample room for argument whether she really is offering her full assent. Moreover, in many instances, the lack of intimate relations has a deleterious effect on the health of the woman.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IX, p. 327)

.. What is definitely in need of rectification is that which you write that the above individual forbade [intimate relations] throughout the week and only permitted it on Shabbos night. Moreover, it seems from your letter that he issued his prohibition in a public and forceful manner.

The concerns regarding what such a prohibition might well engender in our spiritually impoverished generation is easily understood.

If you will be unable to change his mind, then there is a strong possibility that I will write to him about this.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 228)

When Pregnancy Is Dangerous

You write in your letter about what you said to your wife tichye [about practicing abstinence], and she also agreed not to go to the mikveh for many years, as she does not have the strength to bear a child:

I was absolutely shocked by what my eyes beheld in your letter! According to the opinion of many codifiers her offering her assent and forgiveness does not make it valid9 and thus the obligation [to engage in relations] still remains.

Aside from the above, this approach of practicing self-mortification and self-affliction at the expense of others is something I have never heard of!

If indeed it is as you write, that the doctors state that it is dangerous for her to conceive, then [in such a situation] there is a well-known ruling of the Tzemach Tzedek10 (see there) that this is one of the “three [types of] women who can have relations using a moch.”11

I do not wish to go on at length, since this has already been amply explained [in numerous places]; surely the above few lines will suffice.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VI, p. 157)

Remaining “Free for One’s Family”

Try Not to Travel From Home During First Year of Marriage

To an individual who very soon after his wedding desired to travel from his home for the Pesach festival, the Rebbe responded:

It is not advisable to travel [away from one’s family] during the first year of marriage.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIV, p. 468)

Pesach Is to Be Celebrated with One’s Family

.. With regard to your question about traveling here for a stay of several weeks:

Although I do not see the necessity for you to do so, still, since you write that you already have the means to cover most of the expenses, then if you wish to do so, you may as well.

However, I do not approve of your plan of traveling before Pesach and celebrating Pesach here, inasmuch as it is the custom of Jewish men that if at all possible, Pesach is celebrated together with their family.

Since it was not imperative for you to come here until now, surely it will not matter if the trip will be delayed for several weeks.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. X, p. 310)