Month: December 2019

Let’s Talk About Sexual Pleasure Episode 17

Is sexual pleasure considered an important value in Judaism? What place does sex for pleasure have in a healthy marriage?  Join Talli and Scott for a frank and open discussion about these and many other questions.

Bereshit 4:1:

 והאדם ידע את חוה אשתו…

“The man (Adam) knew his wife Chava…”


Rashi on Bereshit 4:1:

והאדם ידע: כבר קודם הענין של מעלה קודם שחטא ונטרד מגן עדן; וכן ההריון והלידה. שאם כתב “וידע אדם” נשמע שלאחר שנטרד היו לו בנים.

The man (Adam) knew: Already, before the preceding story – before he sinned and was banished from the Garden of Eden; and the pregnancy and birth are the same [i.e., took place before the sin and subsequent banishment from the Garden of Eden]. For if it had written, “The man knew” [with different Hebrew syntax] it would have implied that he had children after he was banished. [Because the syntax is not like this, the implication is that the children were born in the Garden of Eden.]


Bereshit 26:8:

ויהי כי ארכו לו שם הימים וישקף אבימלך מלך פלשתים בעד החלון וירא והנה יצחק מצחק את רבקה אשתו.

“After he [Yitzchak] had been there for a long time, Avimelech, the king of the Pelishtim, looked out of his window, and he saw – behold! Yitzchak was intimate with his wife, Rivka.”


Rashi on Bereshit 26:8:

 יוישקף אבימלך וגו’: ראהו משמש מטתו.

Avimelech… looked out etc.: He saw him having intercourse.


Shmot 21:10:

אם אחרת יקח לו שארה כסותה וענתה לא יגרע.

“If he takes another wife, he may not avoid giving her [i.e., the first wife] food, clothing, and sexual intimacy.”


Mishnah Ketubot 5:6:

העונה האמורה בתורה: הטיילין בכל יום. הפועלים שתים בשבת. החמרים אחת בשבת. I הגמלים אחת לשלושים יום. הספנים אחת לששה חדשים דברי רבי אליעזר.

The conjugal requirement of the Torah: people who don’t work – daily; workers – twice a week; donkey drivers – once a week; camel drivers – once every thirty days; sailors – once every six months; this is the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer.


Masechet Ketubot 62b:

עונה של תלמידי חכמים אימת אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל מע”ש לע”ש (תהלים א, ג) אשר פריו יתן בעתו אמר רב יהודה ואיתימא רב הונא ואיתימא רב נחמן זה המשמש מטתו מע”ש לע”ש.

When does the conjugal requirement for scholars take place? Rav Yehuda says in the name of Shmuel: on Friday nights. “Which gives its fruit in the proper time” (Tehillim 1:3) – Rav Yehuda or perhaps Rav Huna or perhaps Rav Nachman says: this verse refers to a person who has sexual intimacy on Friday nights.


Igrot Moshe (R. Moshe Feinstein) Even HaEzer 3:28:

ולענ”ד היה נראה דעיקר העונה הוא בשעה שרואה הבעל שהיא משתוקקת אל בעלה שלכן אמר רבא בפסחים דף ע”ב חייב אדם לשמח את אשתו בדבר מצוה שפרש”י אפילו שלא בשעת עונתה…על כל פנים כיון דחזינן שמה שהאשה מתאוית ומשתוקקת עושה חיוב עונה מדאורייתא, מסתבר שזהו חיוב העונה שבתורה.”

And in my humble opinion, it seems that the main obligation of conjugal relations is when a husband sees that [his wife]  is longing for him; for this reason Rava said in Masechet Pesachim 72, “A man is obligated to give joy to his wife in the matter of a mitzvah [i.e., have intercourse with her], which Rashi explains means even when it is not the required time… In any case, since we have seen that the wife’s desire and longing create the obligation of conjuugal relations on a Torah level, it is sensible that this is, indeed, the Biblical requirement of conjugal relations.”


Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, “The Redemption of Sexual Life” in Family Redeemed (p. 94):

This eternal quest of the unique, lonely individual to flee his solitude and to share his personal existence with others, finds fulfillment via a carnal medium. G-d, somehow, employs the flesh as the instrument of His will in order to enable a metaphysical craving to become a reality.


Rabbi Dov Linzer, “Two Approaches to Marital Sex”:



Forthright and frank, yet respectful and sensitive, I Am for My Beloved: A Guide to Enhanced Intimacy for Married Couples by Talli Rosenbaum and David Ribner will help couples enrich their marital and sexual lives, and maintain passion and intimacy within the framework of Jewish tradition.

To order your copy of  I Am for My Beloved click here:

Skip to content