1

It is forbidden to be secluded with any woman whether young or old, a Jewess or a non-Jewess,1 whether she is a relative or not a relative, with the exception of a father who may be alone with his daughter;2 and a mother with her son,3 and a husband with his wife, even though she is menstrually unclean.4 (Concerning a bride who is menstrually unclean see Chapter 157, below).

א

אָסוּר לְהִתְיַחֵד עִם שׁוּם אִשָּׁה, בֵּין יַלְדָּה בֵּין זְקֵנָה, בֵּין יִשְֹרָאֵלית בֵּין גּוֹיָה, בֵּין קְרוֹבָתוֹ בֵּין אֵינָהּ קְרוֹבָתוֹ, חוּץ מִן הָאָב שֶׁמֻּתָּר לְהִתְיַחֵד עִם בִּתּוֹ, וְהָאֵם עִם בְּנָהּ, וְהַבַּעַל עִם אִשְׁתּוֹ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא נִדָּה. (וְכַלָּה שֶׁהִיא נִדָּה, עַיֵּן לְקַמָּן סִימָן קנז).

2

If your wife is [also] present, you are permitted to be alone even with another woman because your wife is a chaperon. But a Jewess may not be alone with a non-Jew, even in the presence of his wife. Even if there are many non-Jews accompanied by their wives, she may not be alone with them.

ב

אִם הָיְתָה אִשְׁתּוֹ שָׁמָּה, מֻתָּר לוֹ לְהִתְיַחֵד גַּם עִם אַחֶרֶת, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאִשְתּוֹ מְשַׁמַּרְתּוֹ. אֲבָל יִשְֹרָאֵלית, לֹא תִתְיַחֵד עִם גּוֹי, אֲפִילוּ אִשְׁתּוֹ עִמוֹ. וַאֲפִלּוּ הֵם הַרְבֵּה גוֹיִם וּנְשׁוֹתֵיהֶם עִמָּהֶם, לֹא תִתְיַחֵד עִמּהֶם.

3

One woman may be alone with two virtuous men, but only in town, and in the daytime. But in a field, or at night even in the city, there must be [at least] three virtuous men present. With immoral men, she should never be alone, even if they are many, unless their wives are with them. One man is forbidden to be secluded with two women. Some authorities permit seclusion with three or more women, provided his vocation or trade is not specifically for women. Other authorities forbid it in any event.

ג

אִשָׁה אַחַת, מִתְיַחֶדֶת עִם שְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים כְּשֵׁרִים. וְדַוְקָא בָּעִיר וּבַיוֹם. אֲבָל בַּשָׂדֶה, אוֹ בַלַּיְלָה אֲפִילּוּ בַעִיר, בָּעֵינָן שְלשָׁה אֲנָשִׁים כְּשֵׁרִים. וְעִם פָּרִיצִים, לְעוֹלָם לֹא תִתְיַחֵד, אֲפִלּוּ הֵם כַּמָּה, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן נְשׁוֹתֵיהֶם עִמָּהֶם. וְאִישׁ אֶחָד, עִם שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים אָסוּר לְהִתְייַחֵד. וְעִם שָלֹשׁ אוֹ יוֹתֵר, יֵשׁ מַתִּירִין אִם אֵין אֻמְנוּתוֹ אוֹ סְחוֹרָתוֹ בִּדְבָרִים הַמְיֻחָדִים לְנָשִׁים. וְיֵשׁ אוֹסְרִין בְּכָל עִנְיָן.

4

If a woman's husband is in town, you need not be concerned about being secluded with her, because she is in fear of her husband.

ד

אִֹשָּׁה שֶׁבַּעְלָהּ בָּעִיר, אֵין חוֹשְֹׁשִין לְהִתְיַחֵד עִמָּהּ, מִפְּנֵי שֶאֵימַת בַּעְלָהּ עָלֶיהָ.

5

In a room where the door is open5 to a public thoroughfare,6 there is no prohibition of yichud during the daytime and in the early evening, so long as people are passing by on the street. But if he is an intimate friend of hers, like one with whom she grew up, or if she is related to him, or if her husband warned her not to be alone with him, she may not be alone with him, even if her husband is in town, and not even in a room whose door is opened to a public thoroughfare.

ה

בַּיִת שֶׁפִּתְחוֹ פָּתוּחַ לִרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים, אֵין שָׁם אִסּוּר יִחוּד בַּיוֹם וּבִתְחִלַּת הַלַּיְלָה, כָּל זְמַן שֶׁבְּנֵי אָדָם עוֹבְרִים וְשָׁבִים בָּרְחוֹב. וְאִם הָיָה זֶה רָגִיל בָּה, כְּגוֹן שֶגָּדְלָה עִמּוֹ, אוֹ שֶׁהִיא קְרוֹבָתוֹ, אוֹ שֶׁבַּעְלָּהּ הִזְהִיר אוֹתָה שֶלֹּא תִתְיַחֵד עִמּוֹ, הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִתְיַחֵד עִמוֹ, אֲפִלּוּ בַּעְלָהּ בָּעִיר, וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּבַיִת שֶׁהַפֶּתַח פָּתוּחַ לִרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים.

6

If a girl is less than three years old, it is permitted to be secluded with her. Likewise, if a boy is less than nine years old a woman is permitted to be alone with him.

ו

תִּינֹקֶת שֶׁהִיא פְּחוּתָה מִשָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים, מֻתָּרִין לְהִתְיַחֵד עִמָּהּ. וְכֵן תִּינוֹק פָּחוֹת מִתֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים, מֻתָּר לְאִשָּׁה שֶׁתִּתְיַחֵד עִמּוֹ.

7

A man who does not have a wife should not teach children, because their mothers come to the school and at times he will be alone with a woman. [If he is married], it is not necessary that his wife be with him at the school, so long as she is in town; even if she is at home, and he teaches at the school. But a woman should not teach children even if her husband is in town, unless her husband lives with her in the house (where she teaches), because the fathers bring their children to school.

ז

מִי שֶאֵין לוֹ אִשָּׁה, לֹא יְהֵא מְלַמֵּד תִּינוֹקוֹת, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאִמּוֹתֵיהֶן בָּאוֹת לְבֵית הַסֵּפֶר, וְנִמְצָא מִתְיַחֵד עִם אִשָּׁה. וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ שֶׁתִּהְיֶה אִשְׁתּוֹ שְׁרוּיָה עִמּוֹ בְּבֵית הַסֵּפֶר, אֶלָּא שֶׁתְּהֵא עִמּוֹ בָּעִיר, אֲפִלּוּ הִיא בְּבֵיתָהּ וְהוּא מְלַמֵּד בִּמְקוֹמוֹ. אֲבָל אִשָּׁה לֹא תְלַמֵּד תִּנוֹקוֹת, אֲפִלּוּ יֵשׁ לָהּ בַּעַל בָּעִיר, אֶלָּא אִם הוּא דָר עִמָּהּ בְּאוֹתוֹ בַיִת (ט"ז יו"ד סִימָן רמה), מִפְּנֵי אֲבוֹתֵיהֶם שֶׁמְּבִיאִים אֶת בְּנֵיהֶם.

8

A man must diligently avoid women. It is forbidden to make gestures with your hands or with your feet, nor wink your eyes at a woman. It is forbidden to jest with her, to act with levity in her presence, or to gaze at her beauty. It is forbidden to smell perfumes designed specifically for a woman; especially when she is holding them in her hands, or when they are on her. It is forbidden to look at the colored garments of a woman with whom you are acquainted, although the garments are not upon her lest you come to think about her. If you encounter a woman on the street, it is forbidden to walk behind her, but you should hasten your steps so that she is alongside you or behind you. You should not pass by the door of a harlot, even at a distance of four cubits. He who gazes, even at the small finger of a woman in order to enjoy its sight7, commits a very grave sin.8 It is forbidden to listen to the voice [of a woman] singing9 or to gaze at a woman's hair.10

ח

צָרִיךְ הָאָדָם לְהִתְרַחֵק מִן הַנָשִׁים מְאֹד מְאֹד. אָסוּר לִקְרֹץ בְּיָדָיו אוֹ בְרַגְלָיו וְלִרְמֹז בְּעֵינָיו לְאִשָּׁה. וְאָסוּר לִשְׂחוֹק עִמָּהּ, לְהָקֵל רֹאשׁוֹ כְּנֶגְדָּה אוֹ לְהַבִּיט בְּיָפְיָהּ. וְאָסוּר לְהָרִיחַ בִּבְשָׂמִים הַמְיֻחָדִים לְאִשָּׁה. וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן כְּשֶׁהִיא אוֹחַזְתָּן בְיָדֶיהָ אוֹ שֶׁהֵן תְּלוּיִין עָלֶיהָ. וְאָסוּר לְהִסְתַּכֵּל בְּבִגְדֵי צִבְעוֹנִין שֶׁל אִשָּׁה שֶׁהוּא מַכִּיר אוֹתָהּ, אֲפִלּוּ הַבְּגָדִים אֵינָם עָלֶיהָ, שֶׁמָּא יָבוֹא לְהַרְהֵר בָּהּ. פָּגַע אִשָּׁה בַּשׁוּק, אָסוּר לְהַלֵךְ אַחֲרֶיהָ, אֶלָּא רָץ, שֶתִּשָּׁאֵר לִצְדָדִין אוֹ לְאַחֲרָיו. וְלֹא יַעֲבוֹר בְּפֶתַח זוֹנָה, אֲפִלּוּ בְרִחוּק אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת. וְהַמִּסְתַּכֵּל אֲפִלּו בְּאֶצְבַּע קְטַנָּהּ שֶל אִשָּׁה וְנִתְכַּוֵּן לֵהָנוֹת מִמֶּנָה, עֲוֹנוֹ גָּדוֹל מְאֹד. וְאָסוּר לִשְׁמֹעַ קוֹל זֶמֶר שֶׁל אִשָּׁה אוֹ לְהִסְתַּכֵּל בִּשְׂעָרָהּ.

9

You must refrain from showing interest in women. It is forbidden to send her regards even through her husband. Therefore, when writing a letter to your friend, it is forbidden to write, "Send regards to your wife." But it is permitted to inquire of her husband or of someone else about her welfare. It is also permitted to write to your friend, "Let me know how your wife is doing."

ט

אֵין שׁוֹאֲלִין בִּשְׁלוֹם אִשָׁה כְּלָל. וַאֲפִלּוּ עַל יְדֵי בַעְלָהּ, אָסוּר לִשְׁלֹחַ לָהּ דִּבְרֵי שְׁלוֹמִים. וְלָכֵן כְּשֶׁכּוֹתֵב אִגֶרֶת לַחֲבֵרוֹ, אָסוּר לִכְתּוֹב, וְלוֹמַר שָׁלוֹם לְזוּגָתֶךָ. אֲבָל מֻתָּר לִשְׁאֹל לְבַעְלָהּ אוֹ לְאַחֵר, אֵיךְ שְׁלוֹמָה. וְכֵן מֻתָּר לִכְתֹּב לַחֲבֵרוֹ, הוֹדִיעֵנִי מִשְּׁלוֹם זוּגָתֶךָ.

10

If you hug or kiss even one of your female relatives, even though you derive no pleasure from it, you are violating a prohibition, for you may not have any physical closeness with a near relative, with the exception of a father with his daughter, and a mother with her son, who are permitted to hug and kiss.

י

הַמְחַבֵּק אוֹ הַמְנַשֵּׁק אֲפִלוּ אַחַת מִן הַקְּרוֹבוֹת, שֶׁאֵין לוֹ שׁוּם הֲנָאָה, הֲרֵי זֶה עושֶׁה אִסּוּר, שֶאֵין קְרֵבִים לְעֶרְוָה כְּלָל, חוּץ מִן הָאָב עִם בִּתּוֹ וְהָאֵם עִם בְּנָהּ, שֶׁהֵם מֻתָּרִין בְּחִבּוּק וְנִשּׁוּק.

11

You must not engage in any intimate activities, even with your wife in the presence of others, so that on-lookers will not be led to sinful thoughts.

יא

אֵין לִנְהֹג אֲפִלּוּ עִם אִשְׁתּוֹ בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁל חִבָּה, כְּגוֹן לְעַיֵן בְּרֵישַהּ וְכַדּוֹמֶה בִּפְנֵי אַחֵרִים, שֶׁלֹּא יָבוֹא הָרוֹאֶה לִידֵי הִרְהוּר.

12

A man must not dwell in his father-in-law's house, unless he has a private bedroom.

יב

אָסוּר לְאִישׁ שֶיָדוּר בְּבֵית חָמִיו, אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁיֵשׁ לוֹ חֶדֶר מְיֻחָד לִשְׁכִיבָה.

13

The great men of Yisrael, of blessed memory, in their holy works, admonished against the evil custom prevailing in some communities, where there are no Torah scholars or God-fearing men, that the groom and bride become intimate with hugs and kisses; and they also allow dances, in which boys and girls dance together. All virgins are assumed to be menstrually unclean, and since the prohibition of niddah applies to married and single woman alike, whoever touches a woman in an intimate manner deserves punishment by lashing. Besides the grave sin of touching a niddah, he also stirs the evil impulse within himself, and causes himself to have an erection, and to discharge semen in vain, God forbid. Certainly anyone who is able to effectively protest [against this custom] must make every endeavor to protest. At least, it is the duty of every man who has the fear of God in his heart, to control his household, and to supervise the members of his family, so that they will keep themselves distant from this extremely abominable behavior. Anyone who is able to effectively protest and does not protest, God forbid, he too will be accountable for this very iniquity. Anyone who saves others from sin has saved himself (too), and it shall be well with him.

יג

כְּבָר הֶאֱרִיכוּ גְדוֹלֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה בְּסִפְרֵיהֶם הַקְדוֹשִׁים בְתוֹכְחוֹת מוּסָרִים עַל הַמִּנְהָג הָרַע בְּאֵיזֶה מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁאֵינָן בְּנֵי תוֹרָה וְיִרְאָה, שֶׁמִּתְקָרְבִים הֶחָתָן עִם הַכַּלָה בְּחִיבּוּק וְנִשּׁוּק, וְכֵן עוֹשִׂין רִקּוּדִים בַּחוּרִים עִם בְּתוּלוֹת יָחַד. וּמִלְּבַד הָאִיסּוּר הַגָּדוֹל, אִסּוּר נִדָּה, שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּל הַבְּתוּלוֹת מִסְּתָמָא נִדּוֹת הֵן, וְאֵין חִלּוּק בְּאִיסּוּר נִדָּה בֵּין פְּנוּיָה לִנְשׂוּאָה, וְכָל הַנּוֹגֵעַ בָּהּ דֶּרֶךְ חִבָּה, חַיָב מַלְקוּת, עוֹד מְגָרֶה יֵצֶר הָרַע בְּנַפְשֵׁהּ, וּמֵבִיא אֶת עַצְמוֹ לִידֵי קִשּׁוּי לָדַעַת וְהוֹצָאַת זֶרַע לְבַטָּלָה, רַחְמָנָא לִצְלָן. וּבְּוַדַּאי כָּל מִי שֶׁיֵשׁ בְּיָדוֹ לִמְחוֹת, צָרִיךְ לְהִתְאַמֵּץ בְּכָל כֹּחוֹ לִמְחוֹת, וּלְכָל הַפָּחוֹת צָרִיךְ כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶר יִרְאַת ה' בִּלְבָבוֹ, לִהְיוֹת שׂוֹרֵר בְּבֵיתוֹ וּלְהַשְׁגִּיחַ עַל בְּנֵי בֵיתוֹ, שֶׁיִתְרַחֲקו מִן הַכִּעוּר הגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה. וְכָל מִי שֶׁיֵשׁ בְיָדוֹ לִמְחוֹת וְאֵינוֹ מוֹחֶה, חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, הוּא נִתְפָּס בְּעָוֹן זֶה. וְכָל הַמַּצִיל אֶת אֲחֵרִים מִן הַחֵטְא, הִצִּיּל אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ וְטוֹב לוֹ.

14

With regard to the woman whom you wish to marry, it is permissible and even desirable for you to look at her to see if she pleases you, but you may not gaze upon her in a lustful manner. Concerning this it is said, "I made a covenant with my eyes, how then can I ever gaze at a maiden."11

יד

אִשָׁה שֶׁהוּא רוֹצֶה לִשָּׂא אוֹתָהּ, מֻתָּר לוֹ וְרָאוּי לוֹ לִרְאוֹתָהּ אִם הִיא לִרְצוֹנוֹ. אֲבָל לֹא יִסְתַּכֵּל בָּהּ דֶּרֶךְ זְנוּת. וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר, בְּרִית כָּרַתִּי לְעֵינָי, וּמַה אֶתְבּוֹנֵן עַל בְּתוּלָה.

15

If you divorced the wife you married, she may not reside in the same courtyard as you do. If you are a kohein, or even a Yisroeil, but she has since married another man, and was divorced from him too; or if you divorced her because she was forbidden to you; all of these require a greater measure of separation. And subsequently, she may not reside with you in the same alley if it comes to a dead-end. But if it is an open alley, through which there is traffic, they are permitted to live there. A divorced woman who remarried and lives with her second husband, they [she and her first husband] require an even greater measure of separation, and she may not dwell with her first husband in the same neighborhood. In all these cases of separation, the woman must move away from him. But if the courtyard belongs to her, he must move away from her.

טו

מִי שֶׁגֵרַשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ מִן הַנִּשׂוּאִין, לֹא תָדוּר עִמּוֹ בֶּחָצֵר. וְאִם הוּא כֹּהֵן, וְכֵן אֲפִלּוּ אִם הוּא יִשְֹרָאֵל, וְהִיא נִשֵּׁאת לְאַחֵר וְנִתְגָּרְשָׁה גַם מִמֶּנוּ, וְכֵן מִי שֶׁגֵּרַשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ מִשׁוּם שֶׁהִיא אֲסוּרָה לוֹ, כָּל אֵלּוּ צְרִיכִין הַרְחָקָה יְתֵרָה, וְלֹא תָדוּר עִמּוֹ בְמָבוֹי, אִם הוּא מָבוֹי סָתוּם. אֲבָל בְּמָבוֹי מְפֻלָּשׁ שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ הָרַבִּים עוֹבֵר בֵּינֵיהֶם, מֻתָּרִים לָדוּר. וּגְרוּשָׁה שֶׁנִשׂאת וְדָרָה עִם בַּעְלָהּ הַשֵנִי, אֵלּוּ צְרִיכִין עוֹד הַרְחָקָה יְתֵרָה, וְלֹא תָדוּר עִם בַּעְלָהּ הָרִאשׁוֹן בְכָל הַשְׁכוּנָה. בְּכָל אֵלּוּ הַהַרְחָקוֹת, הִיא נִדְחֵית מִפָּנָיו. אַךְ אִם הָיְתָה הֶחָצֵר שֶׁלָּהּ, הוּא נִדְחֶה מִפָּנֶיהָ.

16

A man is permitted to support his divorcee, and it is [even] a mitzvah to do so more than to another poor person, for it is said, "Do not hide from your own flesh."12 But he may have no personal contact with her, and should send her support through an agent.

טז

מֻתָּר לְאָדָם לָזוּן גְרוּשָׁתוֹ, וּמִצְוָה הִיא יוֹתֵר מִבִּשְׁאָר עָנִי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וּמִבְּשָׂרְךָ לֹא תִתְעַלָּם. וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא לוֹ עֵסֶק עִמָּהּ, רַק יְזוּנָהּ עַל יְדֵי שְּׁלִיחַ.

17

Said Rav Beruna in the name of Rav, "He who sleeps in a room in which a husband and wife reside, the Scripture says concerning him, "The women of My people you cast out of their pleasant houses",13 (for they are ashamed to be intimate because of him). Rav Yosef said this applies even if his wife is menstrually unclean.14

יז

אָמַר רַב בְּרוּנָא אָמַר רַב, כָּל הַיָשֵׁן בְקִלְעָא (בְּחֶדֶר) שֶׁאִיש וְאִשְׁתּוֹ שְׁרוּיִין בָּהּ, עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר, נְשֵׁי עַמִּי תְּגָרְשׁוּן מִבֵּית תַּעֲנֻגֶיהָ (שֶׁבּוֹשׁין הֵן מִמֶּנוּ). וְאָמַר רַב יוֹסֵף, אֲפִלּוּ בְאִשְׁתּוֹ נִדָּה.