Is there a name for the time when a woman can have sex with her husband? The Torah tells married couples not to have sex during the period of niddah, when she menstruates until right before the moment she goes to a mikveh.

Did the Tanach or the rabbis give a special name for this moment when a wife and husband can have sex with each other? It seems, among other meanings, the name of the period when a wife and husband can not have sex with each other is called niddah. So, what is the name of the timeframe when they can?

  • 6
    Nidda is a status of a woman who has menstruated and hasn't yet counted a certain number of days and dunked in a mikva. Even an unmarried woman can be a nidda. It is not the name of a timeframe.
    – Double AA
    Jan 25 at 15:22
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    Clean days, ימי טהרה?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jan 25 at 15:27
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    @RabbiKaii The sugya in yevamot is talking about taharah to be allowed to eat korbanot. ימי טהרה used in the context of the days she is permitted to her husband can be seen at the beginning of Niddah 9b
    – Joel K
    Jan 25 at 15:40
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    @RabbiKaii ימי טהרה is different, those are the 33 or 66 days at the beginning of Tazria
    – Heshy
    Jan 25 at 16:10
  • 2
    I don't think such a name exists but it's hard to prove a negative. בשעה שהיא מותרת/אסורה לו is probably what you'd say.
    – Double AA
    Jan 25 at 21:27

3 Answers 3


If you click on the link and click on the Rashi in question, the side bar will pop up and it will say "Talmud (1)". Click on that, followed by the Avodah Zara box, to get a snapshot of that gemara. Click Open at the bottom to open it in full and learn it. If you haven't been taught how to learn gemara, find a daf yomi shiur on that page and hear it explained.

What's you'll find is that it's indeed used as an idiom, but in a different way. It's referring to the sub-category of Onah, that is not to do with pro-creation. If one is married or in chatan classes, this topic will be covered and explained.

It all starts with Reish Lakish making a controversial statement on the topic of the Golden Calf (the gemara's current theme):

אמר ר"ל בואו ונחזיק טובה לאבותינו שאלמלא הן לא חטאו אנו לא באנו לעולם

Reish Lakish says: Come and let us be grateful to our ancestors [who sinned with the Golden Calf], as had they not sinned we would not have come into the world.

This implies that had they not sinned, they wouldn't have had more children. The gemara attacks that assertion in several kashes, and one is:

מי כתיב (דברים ה, כז) לך אמור להם שובו לכם לאהליכם

isn't it written at Sinai: “Go say to them: Return to your tents” (Deuteronomy 5:27)

Why would they go to their tents if they aren't going to have more children? The answer the gemara gives is that Onah in marriage isn't just about having children, but for it's own sake, which the gemara refers to as

לשמחת עונה

The enjoyment of Onah

This is cross referenced with the gemara in Pesachim which uses the term in that exact manner, proving that the mitzva of Onah isn't just about having children, and the part of it that isn't is called שמחת עונה. It's also used in this way in Yalkut Shimoni on Nach, but doesn't seem to appear in Tanach.


This answer has come to respond to the bounty. Now that I think about it (thanks whoever downvoted), asking a separate question in a bounty within a question is probably against the rules, which is why this answer isn't good. So allow me to add the following:

There does not appear to be any particular idiom referring to what you ask. ימי טהרה is perhaps the best we are going to get and has been agreed by 3 people in the comments, and disagreed by one.

The theory you came up with about Simchat Onah doesn't hold. As DoubleAA said, hard to prove a negative, so this is not final, although we are getting quite confident now. Please be prepared to accept that the answer to your question might be "no" and let's not try to force an answer.


Edit: Per comment 1 from @Double_AA To answer your question: the answer is maybe no, however the following word could be close as in the wider sense it's "a time, a period" but has come to be used in the specific performance of the duty. And there was some ambiguity in the statement of the question - "the moment.. a woman can have etc."

עונה `Onah
Definition I sense 4)
due season, period, stage. ... a.v.fr. (also very frequently) - Esp. (especially) (b.h. biblical hebrew ענה) the duty of marital visits at certain intervals, marital duty. ...


  • 1
    This is not correct. Who is upvoting this? Onah is a time when a husband must be with his wife, which is a subset of the times he is permitted to be with his wife.
    – Double AA
    Feb 1 at 16:30
  • UPDATE: I am using all these words (time, timeframe, period, moment) to be of similar meaning. If I should not use any one of these words, just say why, and I will delete it. At least time and timeframe should remain, as I have heard it that even the word "onah" may have come from the word "et" (meaning, time or season).
    – ninamag
    Feb 1 at 17:09
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    @ninamag You should use whatever words precisely describe what you seek. (And be willing to accept that the term you seek may not exist.)
    – Double AA
    Feb 1 at 17:32
  • @DoubleAA The word "onah" itself has been defined by the rabbis as time, timeframe, period, season, interval, dwelling-together, etc...
    – ninamag
    Feb 1 at 18:10

If Simchat Torah refers to (or is associated with) a particular event or timeframe, then Simchat Onah (Shemot 21:10) אִם-אַחֶרֶת, יִקַּח-לוֹ--שְׁאֵרָהּ כְּסוּתָהּ וְעֹנָתָהּ, לֹא יִגְרָע refers (or should refer) to (or is associated with) the particular event or timeframe when a woman engages in (or can have) kosher sex with her husband.

As people who are betrothed or married to the Torah, each of us is rightly called either a chatan Torah or a kallat Torah during the yearly timeframe of Simchat Torah.

It is very appropriate that Simchat Torah (our yearly spiritual wedding day) signifies the spiritual passion of bride and groom, whereas Simchat Onah signifies the monthly physical passion of bride and groom, a physical re-enactment of one's wedding night; and as per Rashi, in Avodah Zarah 5a, a monthly Sinai re-enachtment of where Hashem allows husbands and wives to return to each other.

Did Rashi originate the term "Simchat Onah"? It must have been in use and referred to the time when a wife is permissible to her husband, a time when he at least listens and responds to his wife.

The Mishna, Ketuvot 5.6, defines simchat onah or mitzvat onah as a fixed, regular times that a husband must have sex with his wife.

  • 5
    Is this a joke? (Does Simchat Torah refer to a particular timeframe?)
    – Double AA
    Jan 27 at 12:46
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    @DoubleAA I mean, in a literal sense, yes?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jan 27 at 13:43
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    @ninamag where does it say that?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jan 29 at 12:13
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    @ninamag going to have to make this the last message, if you wish to discuss further, please open a chat and mention me. Rashi is on a gemara, and it's just talking about a one off event after Har Sinai as I explained in my previous comment. The gemara uses the term. Go have a look and learn it and see if you can make a chiddush
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jan 29 at 15:28
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    @ninamag ok 1 more message :) In this context, it means "the enjoyment of Onah". I.e. event of Onah itself. It's not a time period. Here's how to make a chat: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/new
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jan 29 at 15:48

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