4

I have heard that many Orthodox married couples never sleep in the same bed, even during the times that they are permitted to each other. Coming from a non-Orthodox background, this seems shocking to me, since I was brought up to believe that sleeping in the same bed is a major part of being married. Is there any source for this practice? Is it halacha?

  • 1
    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/30440/… – Adám Dec 30 '14 at 22:24
  • 2
    You should really state where you heard it and who said it. – sabbahillel Dec 31 '14 at 0:56
  • I have heard it from a few friends... one friend (a baalas tshuva) said she complained to a rabbi about her husband never sleeping in her bed. She said the rabbi seemed surprised by the question and indicated that the practice was normal. – Desert Star Dec 31 '14 at 13:36
  • 1
    Anecdotally, this is normative practice in (some?) Chasidic circles. I don't have any source (hence a comment rather than an answer) but I would guess that the reason is to avoid hirhurim (thoughts) that might otherwise arise in the husband from sharing a bed with his wife when not actively engaged in relations. – yoel Dec 31 '14 at 14:15
  • @yoel, do you know if Chabad is included? – Desert Star Dec 31 '14 at 15:34
7

I found this "Halacha" in the Kaf HaChaim, Orach Chaim 240:63

ישכב תמיד במטה מיוחדת בפני עצמו. ואם צריך לשמש לשם מצות פו׳׳ר אחר גמר .השימוש כמו חצי שעה יקום וישוב למטה היוחד לו. אור הצדיקים סי׳ כז׳ אות ג׳

Furthermore, in Sefer Piskei Teshuvos, (pamphlet on Siman 240, footnote 226), the author quotes his father as being against the practice of having a single bed. (I have a sefer, entirely about Orach Chaim 240, and he quotes a sefer called דרכי טהרה. I have never heard of this sefer, nor can I find it, but apparently it has something relevant to this discussion.)

  • the author quotes his father as being against the practice of having a single bed You mean even when she isnt a niddah? – mevaqesh Jan 2 '17 at 3:50
  • that is exactly what i meant. – moses Jan 4 '17 at 17:42
  • Consider clarifying that. Since it world make sense to have two needs anyway, for when she is a nidda – mevaqesh Jan 4 '17 at 19:35
  • Would it not be referring to Rav Mordechai Eliyahu's Darkei Taharah? I can't find the line in the sefer at the moment, though. – MDjava May 22 '18 at 18:00
5

People are generating a lot of unnecessary fog here, especially with the weird asceticism-within-marriage idea. Let's not go there, please.

A couple will need two separate beds for ~12--15 days per month when the wife is cycling normally; plus at least a few weeks after childbirth. Hence it's very common to have two beds that can be separated (or put together). If there's some other arrangement that works for them, that's fine too.

For the times of the month that the couple doesn't need to separate the beds, it's entirely their decision what to do about the beds. (There are plenty of non-Jewish couples who like having their own space.) It's not shocking that some may find it easier to just keep them separated then too -- and if the couple is happy with that, that's fine and good. There's nothing that can or should be dictated about this.

  • I really wish I could upvote this, but it lacks any sources...(I realize its hard to prove the negative). – mevaqesh Jan 2 '17 at 3:50
4

The Nitai Gavriel brings an opinion that the two beds should never be connected, or to have a double bed, due to Maris Ein. So from a practical perspective, sleeping in the same bed can be difficult, as it essentially means sleeping in one bed while leaving a second one empty, not connecting them, that is likely not all that large.

I know of a Rov who paskened about having beds beyond a certain size that it is not Tznius. The specific size isn't relevant for this answer because it would be about what is standard to have in homes.

And many people just prefer/get used to sleeping separately. So when you put it all together, it does add up to a lot of reasons why sleeping the same bed is just impractical and thus not done.

There is, however, no strictly Halachic prohibition against it. I'm confident asserting that because in that whole chapter the Nitai Gavriel (who is a rather thorough collector of stringent opinions) says nothing (that I could find).

  • 3
    Just having a hard time comprehending how a far-fetched "Maris Ein" or a perplexing claims of "impracticality" or "not tznius" are allowed to upend a major part of married life... sleeping together with your spouse – Desert Star Dec 31 '14 at 19:21
  • @DesertStar, I think the idea that anything is "upended" is a cultural norm that is simply not shared by everybody. In Halacha we find it important that the couple sleep in the same room (even when the wife is Niddah), as this creates marital happiness, but the same bed is really about personal feeling. Nothing in any answer here suggests that it is forbidden when one spouse finds it important to them and their sense of marriage. – Yishai Dec 31 '14 at 20:05
2

איבעיא להו: נדה, מהו שתישן עם בעלה היא בבגדה והוא בבגדו? - אמר רב יוסף, תא שמע: העוף עולה עם הגבינה על השלחן ואינו נאכל, דברי בית שמאי. בית הלל אומר: לא עולה ולא נאכל. - שאני התם דליכא דיעות. הכי נמי מסתברא, דהיכא דאיכא דיעות שאני, דקתני סיפא, רבן שמעון בן גמליאל אומר: שני אכסניים אוכלין על שלחן אחד, זה אוכל בשר וזה אוכל גבינה - ואין חוששין. - ולאו אתמר עלה, אמר רב חנין בר אמי אמר שמואל: לא שנו אלא שאין מכירין זה את זה, אבל מכירין זה את זה - אסורים. והני נמי - מכירין זה את זה נינהו - הכי השתא התם - דיעות איכא, שינוי ליכא. הכא - איכא דיעות, ואיכא שינוי.

The Gemara Shabbos Daf 13 (above) Questions whether a husband may share a bed with his wife who is a Niddah if they are wearing garments. The Gemara goes on to explain the rationale behind the question (Why would it be permitted?), the reasoning is that wearing their clothing while sleeping together is a shinui (change from usual conduct) and is therefore comparable to eating milk and meat at the same table with a shinui which is permitted. Thus we see that it was considered the norm to sleep with ones wife without clothing. With clothing would be considered a Shinui. PLEASE NOTE: The Gemara finalizes that sleeping in the same bed even clothed is prohibited during Niddah.

  • We never learn Halocho straight from the Gemmoroh, though. – Al Berko Jun 26 '18 at 21:31
1

Many Orthodox couples use twin beds vs. queen or king size beds. This is done for practical purposes. During the niddah period, as you have understood, the couple may not share the same bed. Thus, having twin beds makes the separation easier, otherwise, someone would probably have to sleep in a different room. As explained in the comments, the twin beds are pushed together, usually, during the non-niddah period, thus creating one "large bed".

AFAIK, there is no halachic prohibition, per se, to sleep in separate beds during the non-nidah week. However, I have seen in the Talmud (don't recall exact place, offhand) the rule that in general, men should refrain from excessive sex so that women not be turned into "chickens". Thus, it's possible that using separate beds (e.g. Fred & Wilma Flintstone style - with the night table between the beds) may be done as a way to discourage this excessive activity.

  • 1
    I did not misuderstand.... these couples do not ever sleep in the same bed, just as I stated in the question. I am not saying it is all Orthodox couples, but I have heard it several times... it may be only the more "yeshivish" and/or "chasidish" ones – Desert Star Dec 30 '14 at 21:32
  • 1
    @DesertStar Right. Some adhere to a "go there, do that, return" lifestyle. – Adám Dec 30 '14 at 21:36
  • 5
    @DesertStar Re: "I don't understand why a couple would give that up unless there was some halachic reason." This Slate columnist presents non-Halachic reasons. – Isaac Moses Dec 30 '14 at 21:46
  • 1
    When a twin bed is linked, then it is "one big bed" and the couple "sleep together". When the woman is in a state of nidah, they must sleep in separate beds per the halachos of nidah and the twin beds are separated. Was this your question? – sabbahillel Dec 30 '14 at 22:35
  • 2
    It's not about turning the women into chickens! – Double AA Dec 31 '14 at 1:32
1

Despite the basic parameters of the laws of marriage that would basically allow married couples to sleep in the same bed at times, there are those who recommend that married couples keep and use separate beds at all (or nearly all) times. That is, to those that feel this way, there should be a permanent reminder in the bedroom of the importance of family purity.

From this perspective, this is both a matter of personal integrity as well as education for other members of the household (children, especially) and those who may enter the bedroom at times (visitors, cleaning help, etc.).

This is quite apart from the practical matter of needing two beds at certain times. That itself can necessitate a good deal of organizational planning from the interior design perspective - what do you do with two beds when they need to be separated vs. when they can be pushed together, and how do you fit bedroom furniture around this mobile arrangement. Again, my answer is besides this practical issue, there is the consideration of what is appropriate in the bedroom.

Source: Mesorah and guidance from my (non-Hasidic) rabbi when I was engaged.

  • 1
    I don't question there are those of this opinion. I'm told there are those who will ask young kids to draw a picture of their parents' bedroom; if they draw a picture of the beds together, that family gets on the blacklist (for either shidduchim or schools, depending on the version of the story). Personally I vehemently disagree with all of this. – Shalom Dec 31 '14 at 18:57
  • So cuddling in bed is "not appropriate in the bedroom"? – Desert Star Dec 31 '14 at 18:57
  • @Shalom, disagree as vehemently as you like. The question asked about sources, and mine is my rabbi. The implied, but unasked, question, is whether this is normative. My answer is that, among those who follow this opinion, yes. The second question, which I do not have the tools to answer, is whether it is Halachah. – Seth J Dec 31 '14 at 20:19
  • 1
    @desert star No. Cuddling would be fine. Other married activities are fine as well. It would be difficult to procreate otherwise. The question is about sleeping, which is an activity that can be observed by other members of the household, and the necessary question about furniture arrangement, which is something that can be observed by visitors as well. The private stuff is not meant to be observed anyway, so the question of whether that happens in one bed or, somehow, in separate beds, is moot. – Seth J Dec 31 '14 at 20:26
  • @SethJ I strongly suspect that of the Centrist Orthodox couples who keep the beds separately, the majority are doing so because that's what worked for them, not because their rabbi said so. – Shalom Dec 31 '14 at 23:29
-3

In the Babylonian Talmud, the Kethuboth comprise the second tractate of the Order of Nashim, and deal with particular guidelines relating to married life in its various aspects and manifestations. That is, this particular tractate enumerates the privileges and duties of the husband and wife in their mutual relationship from the day of their betrothal.

Thus readers find in the Babylonian Talmud (b. Kethuboth 1:1, I.11.A [Folio 4a]) that the guidelines for married couples are to sleep one with another, except for those periods of mourning and/or menses.

Please click the image below to enlarge.

b. Kethuboth 1:1, I.11.A

To read the complete Folio in English, please click here. To read the complete Folio in the original Aramaic, please click here.

Addendum

The Yerusalem Talmud provides additional detail concerning the expectation of husband and wife sharing the same marital bed. That following comes from Chapter 4 of the Kiddushin (קידושין, "Betrothal"), which deals with the initial stage of marriage and betrothal.

Please click the image below to enlarge.

Kiddushin 4:11, II.1.A

This portion of the tract cites and comments on the relevant Mishnah source, and then provides guidance that suggests that husbands and wives share the same marital bed where physical contact ("flesh touching") may occur. Notwithstanding that they share the same marital bed, they may also cover themselves with their own bedcovers (and therefore be sleeping apart, but in the same bedroom).

REFERENCES:

Neusner, Jacob (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Kethuboth 1:1, I.11.A

Neusner, Jacob (2008). The Jerusalem Talmud: A Translation and Commentary. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Kiddushin 4:11, II.1.A.

  • 1
    Around these parts you'll be understood if you just reference "Kesuvos," I think. – Shokhet Dec 31 '14 at 2:28
  • 2
    In the English link, the footnote said "sleep with him" means "in one room", so it actually seems to reinforce the concept that they are in separate beds, even during the days of purity – Desert Star Dec 31 '14 at 2:51
  • 2
    @Shokhet Perhaps "Kesubos". – Double AA Dec 31 '14 at 4:25
  • 2
    I don't quite see how this answers the question? – Double AA Dec 31 '14 at 4:25
  • 3
    @Shokhet I'm not entirely sure that "sleep with" in the Talmud there need mean in the same bed, and hence I question the adequacy of the support. – Double AA Dec 31 '14 at 4:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .