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Nedarim 20b discusses nine mannerisms which a man should avoid whilst being intimate with his wife. The Talmud says that practicing these nine mannerisms can lead to having obstinate, rebellious children.

These mannerisms are codified both by Maimonides, (Hil' Issurei Biah 21:13-14) and Shulhan Aruch (OH 240:2-3). Rashi and Rabbeinu Nissim apply this discussion to the man only in their commentaries, as does Maimonides. Rabbi Joseph Cairo does as well.

Do these nine mannerisms apply to the woman as well? For example: one mannerism is thinking of another woman. If the wife thinks of another man, are these mannerisms violated? Would the children be at risk?

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The Tur indicates that a number of these apply to the woman (EH 25):

  • Nidah - The woman would at least share responsibility.
  • Shichrus - This applies if either spouse is intoxicated.
  • Chatzufa - This applies specifically to a woman who verbally propositions her husband in an explicit manner.

The Aruch HaShulchan (EH 25:9) mentions that m'riva refers to a situation where there is conflict between husband and wife.

He also mentions 'irbuvya as referring to a woman who has had many husbands, and therefore has דיעות הרבה - an apparent reference to her thinking about her previous husbands while cohabiting. However, see Tosafos, who suggests (as the second of three suggestions) that a widower may not remarry until three festivals have passed so that he will not think about his former wife when cohabiting with his new wife (Mo'ed Katan 23a, s.v. עד שיעברו שלשה רגלים). Since this waiting period does not apply to a widow, one might infer that Tosafos maintain that women are not so prone to these types of thoughts.1

In any case, just as it is forbidden for a man to fantasize about a woman other than his wife, it is forbidden for a woman to fantasize about a man other than her husband (Sefer HaChinuch §188; Igros Moshe EH vol. 1, §69).


1 Perhaps this is the reason that the Tur did not include an explanation similar to that of the Aruch HaShulchan.

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Reishis Chachma, Shaar HaKedusha, Chapter 16, Shaar 4 seems to imply that all matters of thought and their effects in this area apply equally to the woman as to the man.

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