This article is an excerpt from our Sefer
Kedoshim Tihyu – Diminishing in pleasure during intercourse – When, How, Who:
*The discussion of this Halacha is specifically regarding the Mitzvah to follow the ways of piety, and when abstaining from actions of pleasure is encouraged due to it. However, from the letter of the law, there is no requirement upon the couple to adapt to these acts of piety, as from the letter of the law, the couple may do everything within the permitted realm of Halacha to increase their gratification, and so should be done in a time of need, as will be discussed in the Halacha below.
**For the detailed necessity and advantage of sanctifying oneself during intimacy, and the damage which lack thereof does to one’s soul and one’s children – see Chapter 1 Halacha’s 2-6 at length! The following will focus specifically on the subject of the Mitzvah and the need to sanctify oneself [in contrast to its effects or reasons which were already explained there] as well as whether this sanctification is relevant for us today.
From the verses of, “Kedoshim Tihiyu/Be Holy,” and, “Vihiskadeshtem Veheyisem Kedoshim,” some Rishonim learn that it is a positive commandment, which is listed as one of the 613 Mitzvos, to sanctify oneself with what is permitted. Specifically, this command refers to sanctifying oneself with intimacy [which includes avoiding doing the permitted (but unnecessary) actions for mere extra gratification]. All Poskim agree that at the very least there is a Rabbinical requirement to sanctify oneself with the permitted. The accepted ruling of Chassidus, as is evident from various talks of the Chabad Rabbeim, is that it is a Biblical commandment. [Accordingly, that which was explained above, that from the letter of the law there are a list of actions which are permitted to be done, from the aspect of the general commandment of Kedoshim Tihiyu, even these actions should be avoided when done for simple increase of gratification, as is applicable to all pleasures. Practically, the Zohar records many times the obligation to sanctify oneself during intimacy, and so is the directive of the Poskim, that one needs to sanctify himself during intimacy. The Ra’avad in his Sefer Ba’alei Hanefesh, Sha’ar Hakedusha, as well as the Ramban in what is now known as Igeres Haramban, write at length about the subject of sanctifying oneself during intimacy. Later, the Reishis Chochmah wrote an entire chapter dedicated to this subject, compiling it from Kabalistic sources in the Zohar and words of the Ramak.]
Women: The above command is relevant to both men and women. Hence, just as men are encouraged to avoid doing superfluous actions of pure gratification, the same applies to women.
How to sanctify: Sanctification during intimacy incorporates several aspects, including: 1) One’s thoughts, to perform the intercourse for the right reasons and not to focus on physical pleasure and gratification, rather to focus on one’s wife and the Mitzvos involved in intimacy, as explained in Chapter 7 Halacha 2 at length. 2) In speech, as will be explained in Halacha 5. 3) In action, to avoid doing actions within the intimacy for the sole purpose of sexual gratification, and to avoid actions whose avoidance contains an act of piety, as explained throughout this chapter.
Chabad demands Iskafya: In the age-old philosophy of Chabad-Lubavitch, great emphasis has always been placed on the concept of Iskafya in Avodas Hashem and that one should not delve into even that which is permitted. As Chassidim would recall, “The forbidden is forbidden, and the permitted is superfluous.” And as the Rebbe Rashab writes, “Chassidim made a soul resolution that whatever is permitted but they have a desire for, they will not do so.” The Rebbe Rashab in his famous talk to the students of Tamochei Temimim whom he named, “Chayalei Beis David,” states that one must go to spiritual war to bring Moshiach, which requires that one give divorce documents to one’s wife. The Rebbe explains this to mean that one must divorce himself from all superfluous pleasures, including those done with one’s wife.
Prevents one from serving Hashem in the Chabad mode of Avoda: The often quoted Chovos Halevavos states that it is not possible for man to juggle both physical and spiritual lusts, and hence, when his mind is involved in chasing after physical lusts, his spiritual lusts remain dormant. Accordingly, it would be the antitheses of the living philosophy of Chabad for a Chassid to allow himself to become indulgent in the permitted, as it would eat away at his ability to become spiritually sensitive and reach a passionate love for G-d. The goal of all Chassidus is Avoda, and the goal of Avoda is for a Jew to refine his character by burning the forbidden desires and his evil characteristics within the flame of passion and love for Hashem, which is acquired through deep contemplation of the greatness of G-d. This can only be achieved by a heart that is sensitive to G-dliness. However, if the heart is already married to physical lusts, he will not be able to develop any tangible or true feelings for Hashem during Avoda, and this will consequently kill his ability to live in accordance with Chabad philosophy.
The Alter Rebbe demands sanctification in the bedroom: The Alter Rebbe, both in Tanya and in his other Sefarim of Chassidic discourses, makes mention of the need to sanctify oneself during intimacy. It is not coincidental that the very second chapter of Tanya already contains several lines of discussion on the subject, emphasizing how the character of one’s children is dependent upon it. He later, in Tanya Chapter 7 [from Luach Hatikkun], states that one who does not sanctify himself causes that his drops become trapped in Kelipos r”l. Likewise, his son, the Mittler Rebbe, also makes mention in several areas of the need to sanctify oneself during intimacy.
- Husband doing actions to make the wife feel loved and pleasured – Does the Mitzvah of sanctifying oneself with the permitted apply in such a case:
Making one’s wife feel loved and pleasured is the purpose of the Biblical Mitzvah of Onah, and hence permitted actions done to facilitate this are encouraged as virtuous and L’sheim Shamayim, as to have intimacy in a way that is painful or not enjoyable for the wife does not fulfill the commandment of Onah. Such actions are not discouraged due to the Mitzvah of Kadoshim Tihiyu, and were never the intent of the directive to be holy. On the contrary, Chazal state that one who fulfills his wife’s desire, merits having male children. Due to this, various actions of love and passion during intimacy are encouraged by Sifrei Kabbalah and the Poskim, such as kissing on the lips, hugging, and being completely undressed. The question that needs to be addressed, however, is whether or not we can permit doing even forbidden actions, or actions avoided due to piety, to facilitate this goal of making the wife feel loved and pleasured. The following is the rule:
Forbidden actions: Certainly, it is forbidden to transgress matters that are prohibited according to Shulchan Aruch, even Bedieved, in order to simply increase the wife’s pleasure and enjoyment. This would apply even if the couple claims that intimacy cannot be achieved otherwise. If indeed this were to be the case, they would need to learn how to facilitate enjoyable intimacy through the permitted actions available. Certainly, this prohibition applies if the couple already has an enjoyable intimacy and simply wants to raise the flames of passion and excitement through doing prohibited actions. However, what about matters whose avoidance are a mere act of piety, may or should they be transgressed for the sake of giving one’s wife pleasure and excitement?
Acts that are encouraged to be avoided due to piety: We do not find anywhere in Halacha, Sifrei Mussar or Kabbalah an encouragement to give the wife maximum sexual pleasure. Enjoyment, yes, maximum pleasure, however, is nowhere mentioned! [Those Sifrei Mussar and Kabbalah which speak of the passion between the couple, and encourage the husband to arouse her passion, are speaking of love of the soul as opposed to sexual pleasure, and that he should try to arouse her love and passion to want to bond with him. This, however, has no relation to the maximum arousal of sexual pleasure. Those Chasan teachers who instruct the husband/Chasan that according to Torah he is required to give his wife maximum sexual pleasure and do everything to achieve this, do not have any solid Torah sources to base this on. This is not to say that it is not allowed to be done, but simply that there is no room to instruct this as a general obligation for all husbands in all cases, and that so is the action of the refined and righteous.] Hence, it is difficult to argue that one should be encouraged to not abide by the regulations of piety, simply for the sake of increasing his wife’s pleasure, when he could simply suffice with the pleasure he gives her with completely permitted actions. However, if indeed he is unable to make his wife feel loved and even minimally pleasured in any other way, then he may forgo the acts of piety for the sake of fulfilling the Mitzvah of Onah and making his wife feel loved. Likewise, if the wife desires the husband to perform actions whose avoidance is a mere act of piety, and does not want to suffice with the bare clearly-permitted actions, then he should consider her feelings to fulfill her requests and not be stringent at her expense, and by doing so he fulfills the Mitzvah of Onah. See Halacha 3A for the full details of this subject!
- Husband doing actions for the sake of increasing his lust, pleasure, and passion – Does the Mitzvah of sanctifying oneself with the permitted apply in such a case:
From the letter of the law a husband may do as he pleases with his wife, so long as the actions are permitted according to Halacha, as defined in this chapter. The question, however, is regarding whether according to the Torah perspective the husband is encouraged to increase in touch and actions for the sake of increasing his pleasure, or if he should limit them due to the instruction of sanctifying oneself with the permitted. This question applies even to clearly permitted actions, and certainly towards actions whose avoidance is an act of piety. We find much confusion regarding this subject amongst people, as well as Rabbis and Chasan teachers who state opposing views. Below, we will try to shed clarity on this subject.
The paradox in Halachic sources: In Torah sources we find that not only is the pleasure involved in intimacy not completely negated, but on the contrary, it is necessary, and certain things may be done simply for the sake of increasing the pleasure of the husband. For example, the Shulchan Aruch rules that one may speak to his wife during intimacy in order to increase his lust. This can be learned from the story in the Talmud regarding Rav Kahana who witnessed Rav do and say things for the sake of increasing his lust for his wife. Likewise, according to Kabbalah, one is encouraged to kiss on the lips, being that it represents the highest unity of love. Accordingly, the Poskim rule that one should do things in order to arouse his desire for intimacy. This can also be learned from the Mitzvah to eat garlic on Erev Shabbos for the sake of increasing desire for intimacy. On the other hand, the Poskim also rule that one should not do things simply to increase his own pleasure.
Explanation #1-Only arouse necessary sexual lust: The answer to this seeming contradiction is as follows; due to the Mitzvah of sanctification, one should not do things simply to increase sexual gratification, one should do things in order to have a basic desire for his wife, and be able to express that by loving her. This is because it is forbidden to have relations if one despises his wife, as well as that for Onah to be fulfilled one must make his wife feel loved. Hence, if one does not feel a desire for his wife and is forcing himself to be intimate, he must do things to arouse that desire. However, if he already has that desire, or has already done what is necessary to arouse it, then he should sanctify himself and abstain from doing more unnecessary actions simply for the sake of pleasure and more intense sexual gratification. In other words, while the above Torah sources do endorse actions to arouse desire for intimacy, they negate doing so more than necessary. Those Chasan teachers and authors who teach the husbands that according to Torah he is encouraged to do actions to increase his pleasure as much as possible during the act, are misguided, and have an erroneous understanding of the above Talmudic story with Rav Kahana. The Torah does not encourage building up the highest possible climax of sexual pleasure, and on the contrary, encourages one to diminish as much as possible, although making sure that at least some desire is present.
Explanation #2-May arouse love and passion for the soul of the wife: Another explanation to the above paradox is that there exist two types of lusts, one being a physical lust for sexual pleasure and gratification, for which the wife is a tool used for that fulfillment, and the second is a lust which is a passionate love for bonding with the wife. It is only the former type of lust that is negated, and should only be done to the bear minimum of being able to fulfill the Mitzvah. However, to build up a passionate love and desire for one’s wife to unite one’s soul with hers, is indeed a holy thing. Accordingly, those sources which discuss increasing one’s lust for one’s wife, refer not to the sexual lust, but to the love and passion of the soul. This is explicitly evident from the Reishis Chochma who writes, “Both the husband and wife are to intend at that time to become one. It is for this reason that a man must rejoice his wife at that time, to prepare her to desire the intimacy, so that they both intend to unite with each other. The oneness in soul is complete when they desire to unite with each other.” So is also evident from Menoras Hama’or who writes, “When they love each other and have intercourse with appeasement.” So is also evident from all the Sefarim which record the need to kiss on the lips before, and during, intercourse for the sake of building up the love between them and expressing the highest level of love. So is also evident from the reply of Rebbe Elazar the son of Rashbi that, “Ahavah Dochekes Habasar,” that the love and passion between the couple overcomes all physical impediments. Thus, it is permitted, and even encouraged, for the husband to increase actions for the sake of growing his love and passion for the soul of his wife and to bond with her.
One who will feel sexually unsatisfied if he does not increase his lust and pleasure: The Poskim rule that a husband may do all that he desires with his wife for the sake of his sexual satisfaction, and kiss her and hug her and touch her as he pleases, so he does not swerve after other sources to fulfill his pleasure [i.e. other women, pornography, Zera Levatala, etc.]. Thus, when the intent of the husband’s actions that increase lust is for the sake of preventing him from sinning to satisfy his sexual urge, then doing so is praiseworthy and is a proper intent in the intimacy, and in such a case, we do not apply the rule that one should not increase his desire unnecessarily. [On this it is stated in the name of Rav Chaim Volozhin, that one who is stringent to follow Reishis Chochmah in his house ends up having a challenge of Eishis Ish outside his house, and one who deals with Eishes Ish in his house, has Reishis Chachmah to protect him outside.] However, this only applies if indeed the above actions are necessary to satiate his lust due to a self-recognition that otherwise he may sin. However, it is not a general rule for all people in all situations, that one should always do actions for the sake of increasing his lust in order so that he does not come to sin. On the contrary, on this it states that it is better for one to subjugate his inclination and push off his lust [through contemplating painful matters which remove his interest] than to satiate it, as man contains a small limb of which the more it is starved, the more satiated it is, while the more it is satiated, the more hungry it gets.
The law on Shabbos: On Shabbos, there is room to argue that one is encouraged to do acts which increase his lust and pleasure as part of the fulfillment of Oneg Shabbos. Meaning, just as we instruct him to increase in eating delicacies on Shabbos, perhaps one should also increase in his passion and enjoyment of intimacy on Shabbos, and so can also be implied from the Mitzvah to eat garlic on Shabbos, as brought in Chapter 2 Halacha 5. However, just as we rule regarding eating delicacies on Shabbos, that it is only a Mitzvah when done L’sheim Shamayim, out of honor of Shabbos, the same would likewise apply here regarding intimacy, and hence one should not fool himself to consider his own personal lustful desires as “Oneg Shabbos,” and it should only be done when his true intent is to honor Shabbos.
- Wife doing actions to increase her love and pleasure, or that of her husbands – Does the Mitzvah of sanctifying oneself with the permitted apply in such a case:
The commandment of Kedoshim Tihiyu is relevant to both men and women. Hence, just as men are encouraged to avoid doing superfluous actions for pure sexual gratification, the same applies to women. Accordingly, it is a Mitzvah for the wife to also try to sanctify herself during intimacy and attempt to keep to the acts of piety that will be discussed. However, this does not mean that she should not enjoy the act, and certainly she may ask her husband to do actions that arouse her pleasure and lust for him, and indeed it is the Halachic obligation of the husband to do so. Likewise, she may do actions for the sake of increasing her husband’s desire for her if he is not as into it as she would like. The proper balanced approach is that she may do actions, and have actions done to her, to facilitate enjoyment for both her and her husband, so they have a warm and passionate intimacy, although they are to avoid actions done solely for the sake of superfluous gratification. As a reminder, this directive is an act of piety and is not required from the letter of the law, as from the letter of the law the wife may do everything within the permitted realm of Halacha to increase her or her husband’s gratification, and so may be done in a time of need.
- Who should be stringent?
- Not to be pious at the other’s expense – Doing actions to fulfill a request of the spouse:
The acts of piety encouraged throughout this chapter, as well as the general diminishing of actions done for sexual gratification due to the Mitzvah of Kedoshim Tihiyu, should only be practiced under mutual consent of the couple, who both desire to have a sanctified intimacy. However, if the husband or wife is not yet on that level, then the spouse is to take their requests into consideration and not emphatically abstain from doing the action because of their desire to be holy. This applies both to the husband giving into requests and desires of the wife and the wife giving into requests and desires of the husband. In such cases, the spouse is to view their actions as if they are done for the sake of heaven, to please their spouse in intimacy and retain Shalom Bayis. The Tur writes that, “G-d searches all the hearts, and therefore, whatever one does for the sake of heaven is good.” Thus, although we find that one is encouraged to shorten the act as much as possible in order not to indulge in the lust, nonetheless, if one lengthens it for the sake of heaven, to please his wife, then it is valid. Nonetheless, this does not necessarily mean that the spouse is encouraged to break the specific actions avoided due to piety, as listed in this chapter, but rather that they should be open to discussion with their spouse on the idea. Each one should hear out the other’s perspective and come to a sensitive and loving decision that takes the requests and deliberations of each side into account. In all cases of question or doubt or dispute, a competent Rav and/or personal Mashpia is to be contacted.
Forbidden acts: The above however, is only with regard to acts avoided due to piety, however, there is no room to entertain doing a prohibited action due to a request from the spouse. Unfortunately, some spouses take advantage of the above “Shalom Bayis” justification to convince their spouse to do actions that are contrary to Halacha, and in such a case, a Rav is to be contacted if they cannot come to a viable conclusion which does not transgress Halacha. Certainly, it is absolutely forbidden to engage in behaviors of Giluy Arayos due to a request from the spouse, such as to read prohibited literature, look at or watch forbidden imagery, and other more severe behaviors, of which, we have heard occur even in Frum homes and at times lead to a Sha’alah if the couple may Halachically remain married. Vidaiy Limeivin! No spouse should allow themselves to be fooled, that if the other spouse gives permission then it is no longer a sin or transgression, as in these matters, the opinion of the spouse is irrelevant, as it is an innate and intrinsic prohibition on every individua,l irrelevant of their spouse’s opinion or request.
- Shana Rishona – Should one be careful in the acts of piety and sanctification even in the first year of marriage?
Ideally, all the laws and instructions of sanctification apply in the first year of marriage as well, and in fact, are of most importance during the first year, as once one becomes accustomed to leniencies in matters of intimacy it becomes very difficult to ever facilitate change. Nonetheless, for some couples it would not be wise to take upon themselves all the acts of piety right away, as doing so can impede their proper fulfilment of the Mitzvah, due to their novice and inexperienced state. Hence, acts of piety that prevent proper fulfilment of the Mitzvah should not be followed until the couple becomes experienced in the act and knows how to perform it properly. On this, the Talmud states that one is to be, “Yemin Mikareves and Semol Docheh” with one’s wife, which Rashi explains to mean that one should be Mikareiv his inclination for intimacy with his right hand so that he does not come to despise it. Accordingly, Chassanim and Kallahs who are just getting used to this very novel area of life must do things in a way that will help them facilitate the Mitzvah, even if it means temporarily holding off on certain acts of piety.
People with OCD over religious practices need to tread very carefully in their desire to be stringent and follow the acts of piety, as doing so can cause them to completely negate any enjoyment or desire for the act, which is counterproductive to both facilitating the intimacy and the Halachic directives that the intimacy must be done with some level of joy and passion. On this, the Talmud states that one is to be, “Yemin Mikareves and Semol Docheh” with one’s wife, which Rashi explains to mean that one should be Mikareiv his inclination for intimacy with his right hand so that he does not come to despise it. Thus, people who have OCD tendencies are not to take extra stringencies in their desire for sanctification, and should advise with a Rav and/or psychologist as to the limits they should place on their sanctification. Chasan and Kallah teachers must likewise be aware of students who suffer from this condition and teach them the laws in a different tone of approach than would normally be done. [For example, a wife with OCD may be constantly frustrated in intimacy that she can’t keep her hair fully covered, or that the sheets constantly slip off and reveal her body. For an OCD sufferer, this can cause her to become tensed up with bouts of guilt due to imperfection which prevent her from developing the necessary feelings to facilitate the intimacy. The same applies for a husband who suffers from OCD. Such people must have emphasized to them that Hashem does not demand perfection even in this field, and they can still merit to have sanctity and bear holy children by placing effort according to their level.]
Who should follow the Midas Chassidus and avoid the letter of the law permitted actions during intimacy? Is following stringencies of Kedusha and Midas Chassidus really relevant to our generation? We already have so many challenges in the field of promiscuity; wouldn’t adding more stringencies, in the one outlet that religious people have, risk them feeling unsatisfied and possibly even looking elsewhere for their pleasures?
This is indeed a very deep and challenging question, for which there is no one universal answer for Jews of all backgrounds. Couples of certain backgrounds, on their current level, may indeed be too distant from acts of piety and holiness, when they are already struggling with the mere basics, and indeed, they are not yet up to par to receive and follow the acts of piety. Nonetheless, this also does not mean that as a general rule couples should not be taught the acts of piety, or think to themselves that it’s not relevant for them to follow; as in truth, the capability of being holy in intimacy is relevant and reachable even today. There are plenty of couples who desire and are willing to keep to the highest standards, if only they were taught how. This especially applies to Chassidic Jewry, but is not limited to them. The above is a mere introduction and what will follow is a delineated tackling of the subject, with focus on the latter question as well, how piety does not contradict sexual satisfaction.
While in general all groups of Orthodox Jewry believe in the written and oral Torah, and are bound to the rulings of the Shulchan Aruch, nonetheless, within Orthodox Jewry itself there exists different philosophical approaches as to the definition of Halacha and suggested practices. Some groups of Orthodox Jews grow up with the philosophy that one should not take Judaism or Halacha “overboard,” and that so long as there is some opinion to rely upon, then one may be lenient, even if it may only be a minority approach which has been rejected amongst the classical Poskim. They claim that being stringent turns Judaism into an unnecessary burden, and that in general one is permitted and encouraged to enjoy life within the bounds of Halacha, and hence if there are opinions who permit it, and you really want to do it, then go ahead. This approach is usually associated with, but not limited to, modern orthodoxy. Others take a stricter approach in which they will never bend from the majority ruling or accepted generational practice, despite there being a minority opinion on the subject, but on the other hand will not choose to be stringent like a minority opinion of which the law does not follow. This approach is usually associated with, but not limited to, old school Lithuanian Jewry and many current day Sephardic communities. Others take an even stricter approach in which they will always try to be stringent, even like a minority opinion which the law does not follow. On the other hand, they will not necessarily follow matters that all agree are not Halachic requirements and are mere acts of piety and holiness relating to Chassidus and Kabbalah. This approach is usually associated with, but not limited to, current Lithuanian Jewry. Others take what is known as the Chassidic and Kabbalistic approach, trying to adapt not only the stringencies of the Poskim, but even the acts of piety and holiness encouraged in the works of the Arizal and followed by Chassidim of the Baal Shem Tov and his students. This approach is usually associated with, but not limited to, current Chassidic Jewry and Ashkenazi as well as Sephardic Jewry who follow the practices of Kabbalah.
The attitude towards intimacy: Unfortunately, despite the above clear differences of philosophical approaches in Halacha, we find that in the realm of intimacy, there exists a tremendous vacuum and unclarity of what should be followed. In general, due to the private nature of the subject, real Rabbanim and Poskim avoid discussing it at all, or only do so in a very private nature. The ones, then, who can carry the burden of relaying the information to the new generation of married couples within their Chasan and Kallah lessons are not always qualified, neither in detailed Halachic knowledge nor in level of piety, to be able to accurately transmit the correct Halachic approach and Chassidic philosophy on the subject. Many build their own philosophies, and possibly even Halachic directives, despite a lack of qualification to do so. Some will teach that it’s not necessary to follow certain rulings in the Shulchan Aruch. Others will teach that whatever is permitted in Shulchan Aruch may be indulged in and enjoyed and one should even be scrupulous in doing so, and that the acts of piety recorded are not relevant to our generation. They teach that the main thing is that the couple enjoy themselves and focus on each other, and whatever they need or want to do in the bedroom to fulfill this purpose is permitted and perhaps even holy, so long as it doesn’t transgress a clear ruling in Shulchan Aruch. One can even find teachers affiliated with Chassidic sects of Jewry who, in this field, teach like the above approach despite the general attitude of Chassidim to sanctify themselves with the permitted and follow acts of piety. They say that in today’s generation the main thing is simply to save people from promiscuous and forbidden sexual activity, and to ensure this you must forgo the tutelage of acts of piety, otherwise people will not be satiated and will look elsewhere. From a Chassidic perspective, this is tantamount to “heresy.” There do exist, however, many Chasan and Kallah teachers associated with, but not limited to, the Chassidic sects of Jewry who still teach all the classical teachings recorded in Sifrei Mussar and Kabbalah which are not required from the letter of the law but are simply acts of piety. This is, and remains, the proper approach to follow. Certainly this applies to people affiliated with Chassidic Jewry (who place such an emphasis on holiness and piety trying to achieve constant D’veikus with Hashem), but it actually applies to all Jewry, as all of the great Rishonim and Poskim record the motivations for one to follow the acts of piety, despite them delineating that which is permitted from the letter of the law; hence, we see it is relevant to everyone. Nonetheless, this does not mean that every student, irrelevant of background, should be taught all the details included in all the acts of piety, but rather, simply that the philosophy exists and remains in place even today. Ideally it should be taught to relevant students as the proper approach to intimacy. Later on, we will delineate in greater detail the proper balance that teachers should follow when approaching to give over this material.
In regard to the claim that teaching and following the acts of piety can cause couples to feel unsatisfied, in truth, this usually occurs simply because the proper philosophy of intimacy is not being followed. It is possible for a couple to reach the most passionate and satisfying intimacy reachable in this world, while at the same time keeping all the acts of piety. The acts of piety are not there to diminish the passion but simply to diminish the lust. Furthermore, according to both Halachic and Kabalistic teachings, the intimacy must be filled with passion and emotion for one’s spouse, and not be a dry act for procreation. [See Chapter 1 Halacha 12 at length regarding this subject!] Hence, couples do not have to feel threatened that their intimacy will be vacant of pleasure if they adhere to the acts of piety. On the contrary, following the acts of piety helps to increase the love and passion in intimacy to a much higher level than could possibly be reached with the physical lusts that one engages in when the acts of piety are not followed.
Human pleasure versus animalistic pleasure-Lust and sex versus intimacy and love: People often mistake lust and sexual pleasure for intimacy and love. While intimacy and love certainly include acts of love and pleasure, it is not limited to that, they are simply some of the ingredients to the general act of intimacy. Intimacy (and love) is the expression of wanting to bond with one’s spouse, not because of the pleasure that he feels from it, but rather because of the spiritual desire to be together. Placing too much emphasis on the lust and acts of pleasure can dilute the bond of intimacy and love, similar to a cake which has too much sugar. Accordingly, increasing in the acts of intimacy and love encouraged by Torah, Sifrei Mussar and Kabbalah, while diminishing in certain acts of physical sexual pleasure, allows for the focus to remain on intimacy and love, which is fierier and more passionate than any mere physical sexual experience can provide. There is no greater proof for this than from the pornography industry. They are involved in every depravity humanly possible in the realm of physical sexual lust, but may be the most unsatisfied people in the world when it comes to intimacy and love, constantly feeling empty and alone. Thus, if a couple fears that taking upon themselves the acts of piety will threaten the experience of their bedroom life, it is in their hands to change that and create an environment where not only does it not threaten it but actually enhances it.
Where does G-d fit into the picture-Passionate intimacy simply divested of superfluous sexual lusts is not the complete definition of piety: From the above it can be erroneously understood, as it is by some, that the entire Torah and Chassidic perspective on intimacy is for the couple to be passionately involved with each other and nothing more. However, in truth, in addition to a couple focusing on the passion of bonding with each other, they must also involve G-d in their unity for it to be considered sanctified. They must do so with the intents recorded in Chapter 7 Halacha 2, and under the limited frequencies brought in Chapter 2 Halacha 7. The holiness of the piety involved in having passionate intimacy, with limitation on the physical lusts, must be imbued with the G-dly instructions of the Torah and done in the frequencies (and with the intents) dictated in it, as described at length in the above chapters. Many teachers are seemingly unaware of this most important point. This can be similarly compared with the mitzvah to indulge in delicious foods on Shabbos for the sake of fulfilling the mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos. While we all agree that pleasure on Shabbos is a mitzvah, many are unaware of that which is emphasized in Sifrei Halacha and Mussar that this only applies when one intends to receive the pleasure for the sake of the mitzvah, and not simply in order to satiate his gluttonous desire for food. The same can be applied to intimacy, it is not enough to simply focus on the passion and love in negation of the lust, it also must be done for the purpose of serving G-d with the intentions and motivations recorded in the Torah, as delineated in the above chapters.
- Should everyone be stringent? What if the wife wants to be pious but the husband does not? What if the wife does not feel loved as a result of her husband’s piety?
Indeed, while the above philosophical approach is very true, the couple may not currently be holding on this level. They may not yet share the passion to desire intimacy simply in order to bond, and rather might desire the “sugar” of the physical pleasure as their main motivating goal. Sometimes this is true of both spouses and sometimes it is true of only one of them. Whatever the case, this is very difficult to change overnight, and certainly takes time and discipline to achieve. It is greatly affected by the general peace in the home and the relationship between husband and wife outside of the bedroom. If a husband does not truly love his wife outside of the bedroom, then how can he be expected to love her within it? This may apply even if the husband does truly love his wife, if the feeling is dormant and not expressive. For such couples, prematurely taking upon themselves the acts of stringency and piety which limit their physical experience, can indeed make them feel unsatisfied, and even lead to sinful behavior ch”v, or a breakage in their Shalom Bayis. [On this it is stated in the name of Rav Chaim Volozhin, that one who is stringent to follow Reishis Chochmah in his house ends up having a challenge of Eishis Ish outside his house, and one who deals with Eishes Ish in his house, has Reishis Chachmah to protect him outside.] This certainly applies if only one of the spouses desire to follow the acts of piety, while the other is not holding there and yearns for the physical lusts and pleasures. In such a case, the husband or wife is to take their spouse’s desires into consideration and not be stringent at the other’s expense. For such couples, the instructions of the Tur are most pertinent. The Tur writes that, “G-d searches all the hearts, and therefore whatever one does for the sake of heaven is good.” From this it can be understood that one who increases in acts of sexual intimacy with his wife is doing a good thing. Thus, although we find that one is encouraged to shorten the act as much as possible in order not to indulge in the lust, nonetheless, if one lengthens it for the sake of heaven, to please his wife, then it is valid. [This, however, does not necessarily mean that one is encouraged to break the acts of piety in order to please his wife, but rather that he should do all that he can within the clearly permitted activities, in order to please her. If, however, one cannot achieve doing so without compromising on some of the acts of piety, then certainly he is to take his wife’s wishes into consideration and not emphatically be stringent at her expense.] Thus, every couple is to discuss this matter amongst themselves and trade their feelings and ideas in order so that they can feel pleased in their eyes and in the eyes of heaven. Couples are to be open and communicate with each other and understand what makes the other feel loved, and which acts of love can be done outside of the bedroom to increase the love and passion to bond inside the bedroom, leaving aside the superfluous physical lusts. Periodical conversations on the subject can eventually lead to increased piety as well as love and passion for each other to the point that the once lust-craving couple now enjoys a loving and passionate experience as described in Torah and Chassidus. It is likewise important to note that the sexual drives of people are not all equal, and change with time, and hence, on occasion, if necessary, a generally pious couple may bend from their normal acts of piety if it is absolutely necessary for the sake of Shalom Bayis, or sexual satisfaction to prevent one from sin, and they have exhausted the other alternatives. One must remember, however, that all the above discussion of swerving from the acts of piety is in reference only to those lists of actions which are permitted from the letter of the law, and not G-d forbid to any prohibited act.
- So what is the piety package in intimacy – No one glove that fits all-Each person on his level of Hiskadshus:
Despite the above, there is no one glove of Hiskadshus that fits all, and each person and couple are to work from their level, in accordance with what they can currently aspire to achieve, in contrast to goals that are currently very distanced from them. This means as follows: although the practical steps of Hiskadshus, and the actions that it is best to abstain from, are clearly delineated for all Jewry, not everyone is holding there just yet to grab onto all the stringencies. So, while a refined couple may decide to avoid showering together due to an act of Hiskadshus, or avoid seeing each other naked in bed when the lights are on, a more materialistic couple will try working on something much lower, such as covering the hair in bed, and avoiding non-vaginal intercourse. Nonetheless, certainly all couples should know the detailed levels of Hiskadshus, and those actions that one should aspire to one day fulfill if they will get to that level. Although they now begin with baby steps of sanctification, they can eventually grow to reach the ultimate level. As for those who fear losing the pleasure of intimacy due to it, as already stated many times, the secular world’s indulgence in every possible depraved act of intimacy has proven that doing so does not only not raise the quality of pleasure in the bedroom, but actually demotes it to the point that many couples live in marriages of abstinence, and not due to choice. Thus, sanctifying oneself will actually raise the quality of the sessions of intimacy, and turn the physical lusts into a “Holy fire” to cleave to one’s wife.
In general, Orthodox couples begin their married life as a fresh start with the ability to set the standards of their bedroom life, from the very beginning, to be commensurate with the demands of Halacha, and cater towards the acts of piety and holiness. Occasionally, a couple may permit themselves to overlook some of the acts of holiness that they have become accustomed to follow; this can begin the slow descent into very materialistic and unholy intimacy, from which, thereafter, it becomes very difficult to change. Even a very holy and pious couple may erroneously think that they are immune to any damaging effects of engaging more than necessary in the acts of intimacy, when in truth this can lead to the start of a great downfall. Thus, prior to any decision being made to bend on some of the practices which the couple has become accustomed to following, they should readily contemplate the risk of the path that they’re taking, and that it may cause them to lose their sensitivity and holiness involved in intimacy.
It is important for Chasan and Kalah teachers to impart their students with as much knowledge of both the letter of the law and Midas Chassidus, which they assess that their student is capable of receiving. This matter depends on both their intellectual capabilities as well as their level of Yidishkite. The student should be imparted with at least an intellectual realization of the different acts of Hiskadshus, and how this is what a Chassid should aspire to, even if in actuality he is not holding there. The teacher can “sew” a specific level of Hiskadshus for the student, depending on their relationship and knowledge of the student’s spiritual level and grasp. Those teachers who, as a philosophy, shy away from teaching the actions of Hiskadshus to any of their students, irrelevant of their high level of Yiddishkite, are certainly doing a form of malpractice, as they have failed to impart their students with the levels that they can aspire to achieve, together with their spouse. On the other hand, a teacher who teaches the matters of Hiskadshus in the form of actual required Halacha, is also doing a form of malpractice, as it can lead the students to throw everything away when they see that they cannot keep to the highest standards, especially when they did not receive the knowledge to differentiate between law and stringency. Hence, Chasan and Kallah teachers have a most delicate job, imparting each student with the necessary knowledge that they can currently abide by, and that which they can aspire to achieve one day.
It is common today for many Chasan and Kallah teachers to review the laws of this chapter in the days just prior to marriage, as the one final lesson to their students on this subject. This, however, has proven to be inadequate, as the couple at this point before their marriage is very unequipped for this information of marital life, many being exposed to it for the very first time, having grown up in a Frum and sheltered background, or simply not being emotionally there. The detailed discussions of this topic, to many students, sound like an abstract piece of textbook information which they do not really understand, and often truly do not remember later on when it comes time for its application. This often leads to them not connecting the dots of that which they were taught in their abstract state of mind, before the wedding, when, after the marriage, they become involved in intimacy and don’t end up following through with the lessons taught. Accordingly, it is suggested that in addition to the basic laws which they must be taught prior to marriage, in order to start on the right foot, they should also have a lesson scheduled for several weeks or months after the marriage, to touch base on different questions they may have, and perhaps teach them the more detailed aspects of the laws and stringencies involved in this Mitzvah. They will also then get a much better feel, in terms of knowing what level of instruction they are holding on, what matters they should be implored to keep already, and what they should one day aspire to achieve.
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:1
 Vayikra 19:2
 Vayikra 11:44
 Sefer Chareidim 20:13 in name of Rabbeinu Shlomo Ivan Gavriel [Rashbag] that he lists it as one of the 613 Mitzvos; Ramban on Vayikra ibid, “The verse is coming to teach us that one is to separate himself from the permitted, such as to diminish in intercourse.”; Chinuch, brought in Sefer Hama’amarim Kuntreisim 1:83 [Vetzaruch Iyun]; Tanya Chapter 27 and 30; See Sh’lah Parshas Kedoshim; M”B 240:1;
Other opinions: The vast majority of Rishonim omit counting this Mitzvah as one of the 613 commandments. [Omitted from Rambam and other Monei Hamitzvos] In the Shulchan Aruch, Chapter 231, the Michaber rules it is a mere act of praise and piety, and one who does not do so is merely not praised, implying that there is no Biblical transgression involved. However, even the Michaber ibid concludes that one is obligated to limit what he does so that it be only for the sake of Heaven.
A negative commandment: Even according to the above Poskim, who rule that there is no Biblical commandment to sanctify oneself with the permitted, some of these Poskim rule that there is a negative commandment against doing that which is permitted simply out of pursuit for pleasure. [Chinuch 387, based on verse, “Lo Sasuru Acharei,” learns it is a negative commandment; Rambam Lo Sasei 47; Mentioned in Kuntrus Eitz HaChaim; Vetzaruch Iyun if they learn that every act of self-indulgence is deemed as a transgression of this negative commandment, or only a constant pursuit of pleasures transgresses this commandment. The wording in the Chinuch is, “One who constantly pursues the pleasures of the world out of pure lust, constantly transgresses this command each time he indulges in the pleasure.”]
 See Rama E.H. 25:2; Rambam Issureiy Biyah 21:9
 Ramban Parshas Kedoshim 19:2, brought in M”B 240:1, “I disagree that the commandment of Kedoshim Tihiyu is coming to tell us to separate from the Arayos. Rather, it is to separate from the superfluous… Meaning that the Torah allowed having relations with one’s wife… which can lead to him becoming engulfed in it… and he will be a Naval Bereshus HaTorah. Therefore, the Torah commanded us… to diminish in intercourse”; Reishis Chochmah Sha’ar Hakedusha 16:2, based Zohar Kedoshim 81a and Shavuos 18b; Chareidim Asei 7:13 and chapter 20 brings Ramban that sanctifying oneself with one’s wife, to not have intercourse so often, is the positive commandment of Kidoshim Tihiyu; Or Torah Bamidbar 2 Hosafos p. 63 “Kadesh Atzmecha… such as separating yourself from the lust of Zivug or eating other than that which is necessary L’sheim Shamayim”
 Rava Yevamos 20a, “Kadesh Atzmecha Bemutar Lecha/One is to sanctify himself with that which is permitted.”
 In the Shulchan Aruch, chapter 231, the Michaber concludes that one is obligated to limit what he does so that it be only for the sake of Heaven. The Alter Rebbe rules in Tanya [Chapter 27 and 30] that it is a Biblical commandment, and even according to those who argue this, it is at the very least a Rabbinical commandment.
 See Tanya Chapters 27 and 30 that it is a Biblical commandment; Kuntrus Eitz HaChaim; Sefer Hama’amarim Kuntreisim 1:83; Likkutei Sichos 1:254-256, “The Mitzvah of Kadesh Atzmecha is not just a Hiddur Mitzvah and the like, but a positive commandment in the Torah.”; Igros Kodesh 20:84
 Lechem Hapanim in Kitzur SHU”A 150:1
 See Rama E.H. 25:2; Rambam Issureiy Biyah 21:9; Menoras Hama’or Ner Gimel K’lal Vav 5 and 6 at length; Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osyos Erech Kedusha 400-401; Siddur Ya’avetz Mosach Hashabbos Mitos Kesef Chulya Gimel 7:18; Or Tzadikim 27:14; Kaf Hachaim 240:64; Ra’avad in Ba’alei Hanefesh Sha’ar Hakedusha that one must sanctify himself in thought and action; Kitzur SHU”A 150:1; Igros Kodesh 12:424 that one’s thoughts have huge effects on the intimacy; Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:22; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 15:1
 Printed in the end of Reishis Chochmah Sha’ar Hakedusha chapter 16
 See Sheyikadesh Atzmo Shut 51
 Hayom Yom 25th Adar Sheiyni; Igros Kodesh Rayatz 4:74; Toras Menachem 2:70
 Hayom Yom 27th Shevat; Sefer Hama’amarim Atar p. 60
 Sefer Hasichos 5702 p. 141
 Sefer Hama’amarim 5720 p. 261
 See Toras Menachem 49:379
 Chovos Halevavos Pesicha to Sha’ar Ahavah
 See Ma’amarei Admur Ha’emtzai Shemos 2:358; Bamidbar 3:1015; 4:1071
 See M”A 240:7 regarding the obligation to appease her; Reishis Chochma 16:24 based on Zohar Kedoshim, “One is required to rejoice his wife at that time,” that the husband is required to cajole her to desire him and that there should be no discord between them; Zohar Raya Mihemna Ki Seitzei p. 276; Zohar Tikkun 21; Zohar Bereishis 49b; M”B 240:14; Kol Bo 66 in name of Rokei’ach, “When one’s wife is pure, he should rejoice with her in all forms of desire of his heart with passion and touching and hugging and kissing and cleaving”; Siddur Ya’avetz Mosach Hashabbos 6:10, “Arouse her so she desires you… and then they will love each other and their sons will be smart… in accordance with the great passion will be the warmth of their blood from which the child is created”; Ra’avad in Ba’alei Hanefesh Sha’ar Hakedusha that the purpose of this Mitzvah is to fulfill the needs and longing of the wife, for her benefit; See Brachos 62a and Chagiga 5b in which some learn that Rav increased in speech and actions to make his wife feel more pleasured and loved [See Mur Uketzia 240 that Rav needed to do so in order to arouse her lust, as his wife would always get angry and cause pain to her husband, and hence he needed to place a lot of effort to appease her.]; Igros Moshe E.H. 1:102 that it is permitted, and even encouraged, for a husband to make himself knowledgeable and aware of the various methods and techniques of how to perform intimacy and intercourse in a way that pleasures his wife, for the sake of increasing Shalom Bayis; See Beir Mayim Chaim Bereishis “Vayatzar Hashem Elokim Es Hadam”; Yesod Ha’emuna 174; Piskeiy Teshuvos 240 footnote 158
 Bava Basra 10b
 See Chapter 7 Halacha 5F
 See Chapter 7 Halacha 5F
 See Chapter 7 Halacha 6A
 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:66, “We do not permit the prohibited due to the Mitzvah of Onah, even for the sake of Shalom Bayis.”
 See Tur 240 that whatever one does L’sheim Shamayim is acceptable.
 See wording in Menoras Hama’or Ner Shelishi 6:5 that he should not do so only for his pleasure, but also for her pleasure; See also Ramban Igros Kodesh 6; Rambam Pirush Hamishnayos Sanhedrin 7:4
 Sources in coming footnotes; See Yaskil Avid E.H. 5:10, 2-8 that the pleasure is an integral part of the Mitzvah, and hence one does not fulfill his obligation of Peru Urevu with an IVF pregnancy.
 Rokei’ach Teshuvah 14, “He should rejoice in touching her in all forms of hugging to fulfill his and her desires so that he thinks of no one else but her”; and, “Whatever man desires to do with his wife he may do in order so that he does not come to think of other women”; Kol Bo 66 in name of Rokei’ach, “When one’s wife is pure he should rejoice with her in all forms of desire of his heart with passion and touching and hugging and kissing and cleaving”; Sefer Chassidim 362, “With great Ta’ava comes children who are Tzadikim”; Letter of Chazon Ish, printed in Megilas Setarim p. 3, “When one’s wife is pure, everything is a Mitzvah, and it is only an act of piety to be stringent.”
 Michaber E.H. 25:2; M”A 240:23; Beis Yosef 240; Pirush HaRosh on Nedarim 20b “To increase his desire”
 See Brachos 62a, and so learns Torah L’shmah 64, 72, and 504 [However, see Chagiga 5b which clearly states that Rav did so in order to appease his wife, and not simply to increase his lust, and so writes the Ya’avetz in Mur Uketzia 240 that Rav needed to do so in order to arouse her lust, as his wife would always get angry and cause pain to her husband, and hence he needed to place a lot of effort to appease her, and so rules Rambam Dei’os 5:4 as explained in Kesef Mishneh ibid]; See also Shabbos 152a which states that Rav sighed when he lost his Ta’ava
 See Reishis Chochma 16:21; Zohar Tikkun 10 p. 25b; Eitz Chaim 2 Heichal 6 Sha’ar 39 end of Derush 9; Adam Yashar of Rav Chaim Vital Derushei Mad; Siddur Ya’avetz Mosach Hashabbos Mitos Kesef 7 Chulya 2:6
 Torah L’shma 72, “Regarding that which you asked, if a person who just woke up from his sleep and is completely uninterested in having intercourse to the point that he almost despises it, may do so anyways, or if he has to do things in order to arouse his desire and lust. The answer: it is not good to have intercourse without any desire and on the contrary one must have will and desire of his own. Thus, it is better that one arouses his will and lust in his heart for the intercourse then for him to despise it. for this purpose, it is permitted for him to even speak words of frivolity with his wife in order to arouse his desire. Although, one must intend to have intercourse for the sake of fulfilling God’s commandment, one must also do it with lust and desire with all of his heart”; See Ramban Igeres Hakodesh in new edition based on Kesav Yad that, “The union will not have the Shechina dwell on it if it is not done with great passion, love and desire.” [However, possibly, this refers to the wife and not the husband, as well as that it is omitted from all other manuscripts and Sefarim who quote the Ramban.]
 Admur 280:2; M”A 280; Taz 608:3; Rashal in Bava Kama 7:43; Bava Kama 82a that it is one of Ezra’s 10 Takanos for the Jewish people.
 Michaber 240:1, “Do not intend for your desire”; Michaber E.H. 25:1, “A man is not to be lightheaded with his wife”; 2nd Pirush in Michaber 240:8 and Tur 240 in name of Ra’avad in name of Yeish Mefarshim; Rama E.H. 25:2; Rambam Issureiy Biyah 21:9; Implication of Rambam Dei’os 5:4; Ramban in Igeres Hakodesh 1 and 5 that the couple may not intend for their lust, and if they do so the Shechina leaves; Ramban ibid 6 that one should not be lightheaded with her; Siddur Ya’avetz Mosach Hashabbos Mitos Kesef Chulya Gimel 7:18; Seder Hayom Seder Hanhagas Halayla that it is for this reason that Tashmish is prohibited by candle light, in order to diminish the lust; Derech Pikudecha Mitzvas Asei 1 Dibbur 5; Lechem Hapanim in Kitzur SHU”A 150:1 in name of Zohar; Ma’amarei Admur Ha’emtzai Bamidbar 2:768 that he should not come to intercourse with all his passionate fire like an animal, as it says, “Kadesh Atzmecha Lemutar Lecha”; Sefer Sur Meira V’asei Tov in name of Rav Chaim Vital
 See Chochmas Adam 28:2 that he is to only increase speaking to her to increase his lust “if he needs to do so”; Torah Lishmah 72; Az Nidbaru 8:61-2; Binyan Habayis Al Pi Derech HaTorah p. 95; Sheyikadesh Atzmo Shut 13-16
 Michaber 240:10; See Chapter 5 Halacha 1D
 Ra’avad in Ba’alei Hanefesh Sha’ar Hakedusha that the purpose of this Mitzvah is to fulfill the needs and longing of the wife, and for her benefit;
 Reishis Chochma 16:2
 Ner Gimel K’lal Vav 5:2
 See Reishis Chochma 16:21; Zohar Tikkun 10 p. 25b; Eitz Chaim 2 Heichal 6 Sha’ar 39 end of Derush 9; Adam Yashar of Rav Chaim Vital Derushei Mad; Siddur Ya’avetz Mosach Hashabbos Mitos Kesef 7 Chulya 2:6
 See Bava Kama 84a that the Matrunisa asked Rebbe Elazar the son of Rebbe Shimon how he can have intimacy with his wife if he is so obese, to which he replied that his wife’s is larger than his. The Gemara offers two explanations to this statement: 1) That their Eivar of Tashmish is very large or b) That love pushes the flesh, and as Rashi there explains, that the passion of his wife is greater than his passion, and thus their stomachs are pushed aside to have intimacy.
 See Rokei’ach Teshuvah 14, “He should rejoice in touching her in all forms of hugging to fulfill his and her desire so that he thinks of no one else but her”; and, “Whatever man desires to do with his wife he may do in order so that he does not come to think of other women”; Me’iri Nedarim 20b, “When the Sages [Rama E.H. 25:2; Rambam Issureiy Biyah 21:9; Nedarim 20a] stated that one may do as he pleases with his wife, they spoke corresponding to the Yetzer Hara”: So rule all the following Poskim regarding the frequency of intimacy, and the same would apply during intimacy itself: Michaber 240:1; Tur 240 in name of Ra’avad; Rambam Dei’os 4:19; Rava in Kesubos 65b; Sefer Chassidim 509, brought in Da’as Torah 240; Ashel Avraham Butchach 240; Orchos Chaim Spinka 240:4; Sheyikadesh Atzmo Shut 47
 Binyan Habayis p. 192
 Ba’alei Nefesh Sha’ar Hakedusha, and Menoras Hama’or Ner Hashelishi K’lal 6 5:1 177, through contemplating such as that which is explained in Avos 3:1 and Shabbos 152a that a woman is…; Yalzu Chassidim 380-390; See also Machatzis Hashekel 23 in name of Chukei Derech that one can douse himself in cold water to calm down his lust; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo ibid footnote 12
 Michaber 240:1; See also Ginzei Hamelech 41 of Rav Yaakov Abuchatzera that sanctifying oneself with the permitted helps one control his lust for the other-side.
 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:66, “We do not permit the prohibited due to the Mitzvah of Onah, even for the sake of Shalom Bayis”
 See Kuntrus Shalom Ukedusha Be’ahalecha 4; Sheyikadesh Atzmo Shut 45
 Sotah 47a
 Sotah 47a; See Ra’avad in Ba’alei Hanefesh Sha’ar Hakedusha 6 in length
 In greater detail, we received the following question relevant to this subject: Dear Rabbi, it’s very nice to learn and become informed of the above importance of sanctification during intimacy, however, practically, the lusts are too strong and powerful to simply robotically program ourselves to ignore the pleasure involved. Men are regulated enough in Judaism when it comes to the opposite sex, and need to restrain themselves from looking at beautiful women and pornography [i.e. Shemiras Eiynayim], and are prohibited from masturbating [i.e. Zera Levatala], or being intimate with any woman other than their wives, and even then only during the window span of when she is not a Niddah. Finally, we get married and wait for our wives to not be a Niddah and are now Halachically allowed to express man’s greatest lusts and passions which we have suppressed thus far with immense pain of self-control, and even now, we are being told to cool it down and bury the passion and pleasure so as to only do it for the sake of heaven. Is this not an impossible task to demand of us, especially in this generation when we are exposed daily to immodestly dressed woman and partial nudity. Would G-d not be just as satisfied and understanding today if we engage in all the pleasures with our wives when they are not Niddah as well as keep all the other many restraints which involve this passion.
 See Toras Shmuel 5630 p. 215 and Hayom Yom 27th Nissan that Kadesh Atzmecha Bemutar Lach is specifically fulfilled when it is done for Torah, Mitzvos and Avodas Hashem
 See Reishis Chochmah Sha’ar Hakedusha 16:8; See our corresponding Sefer, “The Laws & Customs of Erev Shabbos” Chapter 1 Halacha 5 in Q&A for the full details and sources on this subject!
 Binyan Habayis p. 192
 Tur 240 in name of Ra’avad in Ba’alei Hanefesh
 See Ma’amarim Haketzarim of Admur Hazakein p. 71
 See Sefer Hasichos 5703 p. 227 that Kadesh Atzmecha is dependent one each person’s essence and level; See also Igros Kodesh 24:9 that different people need different directives from their Rav as to what actions of Hiskadshus pertain to them.
 See Likkutei Sichos 33:192; Toras Menachem 5742 1:14