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While a woman is nidda and she and her husband are observing harchakot, is it permitted for them to tell each other, "I love you," or is that too suggestive of a statement for the nidda period?

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I've not previously heard the idea that certain speech could be prohibited during niddah (beyond, I suppose, explicit suggestions to transgress). Is that a common restriction? If not, could you say something about why you believe this could be a problem? –  Monica Cellio Sep 4 '12 at 22:07
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@MonicaCellio Well, the Shulchan Aruch rules (YD 195:1) that he cannot act "playfully and lightheadedly with her, even with words, lest they come to sin". Whether "I love you" is included or not remains to be seen. –  Double AA Sep 4 '12 at 22:17
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3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Someone asked this of Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer, a major posek on these matters in Baltimore. He said without hesitation that it was permissible.

His interpretation of the prohibition on "s'chok vekalut rosh" is "behavior that is suggestive or disinhibiting." I don't see a normal "I love you" as either of those.

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+1. This also seems to be the plain meaning of the words of the isur. E.g., the Aruch Hashulchan (195:4): "And he shall not make light his head with her with words if they make sexuality common…". –  msh210 Sep 5 '12 at 2:53
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A person whose wife is nidah is still obligated to love her as much as he loves himself; anything he says in order to "lessen the tension in the air" is permitted (Nit'ei Gavriel 33:4 and footnote 8). So I guess to say "I love you" to "lessen the tension in the air" is permitted, but to say it for no reason may be closer to lightheadedness.

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A more accurate translation than "to lessen the tension in the air" might be "to cultivate a pleasant atmosphere in the home." I am only nitpicking because I think the latter has more positive connotation. –  Dov F Sep 5 '12 at 1:32
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According to Rebbetzin Faige Luban, a kallah teacher in Edison, NJ, it is required.

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+1. Any idea why she says it's required? I mean, is it just a continuation of a general requirement, or is it specific to the nida timespan? –  msh210 Sep 11 '12 at 15:05
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I'm mostly guessing/theorizing, but I'd say it is because niddah can be a time when there is less feeling of love, and telling your wife that you love her creates emotional closeness to bridge the physical distance. This may be somewhat akin to something else she said: There is sometimes a feeling soon after Shabbat/yomtov of reticence to touch the light switches, forgetting that Shabbat has ended. This feeling can occur with a spouse after niddah. She thinks it should not. "Your wife is never muktze." –  Ze'ev Felsen Sep 11 '12 at 15:51
    
@msh210 Along similar lines, a wife may be at risk for "blaming" herself for becoming a Niddah and which can be an "annoyance" (even though menstruation is natural and healthy), so a reassurance of the closeness of the relationship on the husband's part may be extra important during that time. –  Double AA Jun 19 at 5:03
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