This article is an excerpt from our Sefer
The preferred time of night to have marital relations – Midnight versus before or after:
One is to have marital relations in the middle of the night [when people are asleep], in contrast to the beginning or end of the night. [The time of midnight is very auspicious in heaven, and is the time that Hashem spends with the Tzadikim. According to Kabbalah, one is to have marital relations specifically after midnight, and it is forbidden to do so beforehand. One who does not follow this, and has intimacy before midnight, can draw down a soul for his child from the Sitra Achra. This applies even to a non-Torah scholar. One who does wait until midnight merits to have beautiful and righteous children of good character. However, on Shabbos a non-Torah scholar may have relations before midnight, although a Torah scholar may not have relations until after midnight, even on Shabbos. Nonetheless, from the letter of the law, it is permitted to have relations at any time of the night, and the above Halachic and Kabalistic adherence is only for the meticulous, or for those who fear they may come to think of other people during the relations, if it is done at a time that they are still awake. Furthermore, even the meticulous may not delay having relations until later on in the night, if doing so can lead to bad thoughts or an emission of seed prior to the time. Accordingly, those whose thoughts will be overtaken by the anticipation of intimacy, are better off having intercourse before midnight, rather than waiting until midnight and occupying the mind with lustful anticipation. Most people of this generation fall under this category, and hence, it requires great discerning if the above delay until midnight is relevant for this generation. Likewise, if waiting until midnight will ruin one’s sleeping schedule and effect his productivity the next day, then some direct that even the meticulous should not wait until midnight. Likewise, if by the time midnight arrives the couple will lack energy and perform the intercourse with fatigue and sleepiness, then even the meticulous are not to delay until midnight. Likewise, if one’s wife is already pregnant, or cannot conceive at the time such as due to nursing, then many Mekubalim rule that there is no need for even a Torah scholar to delay relations until after midnight. Others, however, are stringent even in such a case. Practically, even one who is generally meticulous may be lenient in a time of need. During times of possible conception, one is to especially try to be careful in this, as having intercourse prior to midnight can draw down lower level and tainted souls. Likewise, having intercourse after midnight merits one to have beautiful male righteous children, as stated above.]
It is permitted to have relations any time at night. Nonetheless, those who are meticulous, delay doing so until after midnight. This may only be done if there is no worry that the delay might lead to Zera Levatala.
Going to sleep until midnight and then having intimacy at midnight:
Some Sefarim give the following suggested order for facilitating intercourse after midnight: the person is advised to go to sleep at the beginning of the night, after reciting Kerias Shema and Hamapil, and then wake up after midnight and have intercourse. Practically, however, this is not always the best advice as the person may be groggy and uninterested in the intercourse upon awakening and it will demote the quality of the intimacy. Likewise, it can lead to his mind’s preoccupation with the anticipated intimacy which can lead to nocturnal emission. Thus, only if the these worries are not applicable should the above advice be followed.
The four levels of time for intimacy:
Based on the above, we can conclude that there exists four levels of times for intimacy in regards to its auspiciousness and affect on bearing a holy child:
1. On Shabbos after midnight [highest]
2. On Shabbos before midnight
3. During weekday after midnight
4. During weeknight before midnight [lowest]
Based on the above, should one avoid phone calls and going on social media prior to intimacy?
Yes. It is proper for one to avoid phone calls and social media directly prior to commencing intimacy, and certainly during intimacy, in order that one not come to be distracted and think of other women [or men].
Based on the above, should one avoid intimacy when people’s voices can be heard?
Yes. It is proper for one to avoid intimacy when people’s voices can be heard in the vicinity, in order so that one not come to be distracted and think of other women [or men].
 Michaber O.C. 240:7; E.H. 25:3 “One is not to have relations in the beginning of the night, or the end of the night, but rather in the middle”; Tur 240:7 and E.H. 25:3; Nedarim 20b; Rambam Deios 5:4; Hagahos Maimanis Dei’os 5:4; Reishis Chochmah Sha’ar Hakedusha 16:35; Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osyos Erech Kedusha 428 and 429; See Kitzur SHU”A 150:10; Taharas Yisrael 240:64; Igros Kodesh 12:424; Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:21; Sheyikadesh Atzmo [Nachmonson-2015] p. 194-206
 See Sheyikadesh Atzmo ibid footnote 1 for a discussion on whether this refers to actual midnight or the start of the second Ashmura which is two hours before midnight. He concludes like the former.
 The reason: As in the middle of the night there is quiet from other people. However, at the beginning and end of the night there are still people around whose voices can be heard, and this may lead him [or her] to think of them during the time of relations. [Michaber ibid] Likewise, the beauty of women that he may have seen during the day may still be on his mind, and delaying until midnight can distance the memory of women that he saw during the day. [Hagahos Maimanis Dei’os 5:4; Shita Mekubetzes Nedarim 20b] Some learn that the issue here is specifically with hearing the voices of women, being that it can cause the husband to have improper thoughts of them. [Ran Nedarim 21a] Alternatively, one is not to have relations at the beginning of the night because one is usually after a meal at this time, and one is to avoid relations when he is satiated from a meal. [Rambam Hilchos Deios 5:4; Kaf Hachaim 240:54] Practically, another advantage of doing it at this time is because one’s workday has ended and one can better focus on the quality of the intimacy
 Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osyos Erech Kedusha 429 in name of Tolas Yaakov
 M”A 240:20 “The Kabbalist wrote great secrets regarding why the relations should take place specifically after midnight”; See Zohar 3:81; Zohar Tazria 49b; Sha’ar Hamitzvos Bereishis; Sha’ar Hakavanos p. 3; Peri Eitz Chaim 16:1118:18; Reishis Chochmah Sha’ar Hakedusha 16:43; Seder Hayom; Siddur Ya’avetz Mosach Hashabbos Mitos Kesef 4:3 Part 2; Kaf Hachaim 240:2 “It is not permitted to have relations before midnight”; Omitted in Beir Heiytiv and M”B Vetzaruch Iyun
 Reishis Chochmah Sha’ar Hakedusha 16:43
 Mishnas Chassidim Miseches Hashechiva 11:4 in name of Arizal; Siddur Arizal Kol Yaakov Periyah Verivya p. 112; Kaf Hachaim 240:2 in name of Sha’ar Hamitzvos
 Nedarim 20a that the wife of Rebbe Eliezer said that she merited to have beautiful children because her husband would speak with her only by midnight; Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osyos Erech Kedusha 429 in name of Tolas Yaakov; Seder Hayom ibid; Siddur Ya’avetz ibid 4:3; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 11:1 footnote 3
 Sha’ar Hamitzvos Bereishis; Sha’ar Hakavanos p. 3; Peri Eitz Chaim Sha’ar Kerias Shema She’al Hamita 16:11; 18:18; Letter of Rav Chaim Vital in name of Arizal, recorded in Mikdash Melech Hashaleim 4:19, that the need to wait until midnight applies even on Shabbos; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeira 2:23; Kaf Hachaim 240:2; However, see Kaf Hachaim 240:10 that the new souls only come prior to midnight, especially during times of possible conception
 M”A 240:20; Rashal in Yam Shel Shlomo 7:43; Kaf Hachaim 240:55; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 11 footnote 2
 M”A ibid; Chesed Le’alafim 240:4; Reishis Chochmah Sha’ar Hakedusha 16:53; Seder Hayom Seder Hanhagas Halayla; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeira 2:23; M”B 240:34; Kaf Hachaim 240:2 and 55; Divrei Shmuel Hanhagos Tovos p. 31; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 11:2
 Likkutei Sichos 21:455, printed in Shulchan Menachem 6:240; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 11:3
 Rebbe ibid
 See Admur Hilchos Sheila Usechirus 20 that a worker and Milameid must sleep on time; Orchos Rabbeinu 1:99 in name of Steipler in a case that it will effect ones schedule of prayer and learning Torah; Yisrael Vihaz’manim 1:278 in name of Shinover that if waiting will compromise one’s Seder Limud the next day, then he may do so at the end of the 2nd Ashmura which is at 10:00 [i.e. 11:00 in DST]; Shemua in name of Rav Nissan Neminov regarding if it will effect one’s Seder Chassidus the next day; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 11:5-6 includes even a case that it will affect his quality of work as an employee, or effect his awareness during driving; However, see Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid, footnote 148, that even so, Tzadikim were very careful in this matter, to only have intimacy after midnight.
 Pela Yoetz Erech Zivug; Birur Halacha 240; Darkei Taharah p. 201; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 148 [although, concludes that nonetheless, Tzadikim were very particular in this matter]; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 11:4 and 7 footnote 7 and 12; See Rashi Niddah 17a
 Peri Eitz Chaim Sha’ar 16:11; Mishnas Chassidim Miseches Hashechiva 11:4 in name of Arizal; Letter of Rav Chaim Vital in name of Arizal, recorded in Mikdash Melech Hashaleim 4:19; Siddur Arizal Kol Yaakov Periyah Verivya p. 112; Implication of Seder Hayom Seder Hanhagas Halayla; Simchas Kohen 1:82; See Elya Raba 240:2; Kaf Hachaim 240:2; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 11 footnote 3
 Sha’ar Hamitzvos Bereishis in gloss; Chida in Nitzutzei Oros; Shulchan Hatahor 240 Zer Zahav 4; See Elya Raba 240:2; Kaf Hachaim 240:2; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid
 Kaf Hachaim 240:2-3
 All Sefarim in previous footnote who limit the requirement of waiting until midnight to a couple that can become pregnant; Zohar Tazria 49b; Reishis Chochmah Sha’ar Hakedusha 16:53; Seder Hayom Seder Hanhagas Halayla; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 11:1 footnote 3
 Sheyikadesh Atzmo 11:7 footnote 10
 Seder Hayom ibid; Tzavas Rebbe Eliezer Hagadol Orchos Chaim 9; See also Siddur Ya’avetz [that one who sleeps beforehand is to say Hamapil]
 Upon awakening after midnight, the couple is to wash hands properly and can already recite Birchas Hashachar and Birchas HaTorah. They may, however, choose to delay the morning blessings until morning, although, they should nonetheless recite Elokaiy Neshama without a concluding blessing, and then repeat the blessing of Hamapil without a start or concluding blessing upon returning to sleep. Prior to the intercourse, the couple is to recite Mizmor Ledavid and Atifa Bekitna, although it is preferable to do so only after Birchas HaTorah. [See our corresponding Sefer “Awaking Like a Jew” chapter 4 Halacha 18 regarding washing hands, Chapter 8 Halacha 4 regarding Elokaiy Neshama and Hamapil, Halacha 8 regarding Birchas Hashachar, and Chapter 9 Halacha 4 and 11 regarding Birchas Hatorah and that it should initially be said before saying a Mizmor of Tehillim; So also rules Taharas Yisrael 240:20; However, see Minchas Yitzchak 8:5 who is lenient to say the Tehillim without saying Birchas HaTorah; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 11:8 footnote 10 and 13 and Poskim there in length]
 See Likkutei Torah Parshas Bereishis that the Arizal would stay awake learning Torah until midnight by the night of Tevila so that he would not have a nocturnal emission; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeira 2:23
 Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeira 2:23
 Shevet Hakehasi 5:48; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 147
 Sheyikadesh Atzmo 11:9