This article is an excerpt from our Sefer
On a night that the wife has immersed in Mikveh, prior to engaging in any intimacy, the husband is obligated to verify from his wife upon her return home that she immersed in the Mikveh. This applies also on the wedding night. He can ask her in a hinting way, and explain to her that it is simply a Halachic obligation and he of course trusts her to have done so.
- Torah Learning:
Studying the laws of intimacy: It is proper for a couple to study chapter 240 in Shulchan Aruch prior to intimacy, and Miseches Niddah 30b-31b.
Learning Chapter 16-17 in Reishis Chochmah: It is proper for a couple to study chapters 16-17 in Reishis Chochmah Sha’ar Hakedusha prior to intimacy.
Zohar: It is proper for a couple to study Zoharic passages dealing with intimacy prior to intercourse, and through doing so they will merit having healthy children.
- Kerias Shema She’al Hamita – Mizmor Ledavid & Lachash:
Prior to marital relations, the husband and wife are to say Kerias Shema She’al Hamita until the blessing of Hamapil, which is recited after the intercourse. Prior to intercourse, the following prayers are added to the regular Kerias Shema She’al Hamita.
Mizmor Ledavid: [Both the husband and wife] are to say the Psalm of Mizmor Ledavid Hashem Ro’iy [Tehilim 23] prior to marital relations. Doing so is a Segula for having children. [It also banishes any evil Kelipos and draws down a holy soul to the child. Seemingly, there is no need to say it if one’s wife can no longer conceive, however, practically, it is said in all cases in order to banish the evil Kelipos.]
Lachash of Atifa Bekitfa: [Both the husband and the wife are to] say the Lachash of Atifa Bekitfa [printed in the Siddur before Hamapil, prior to marital relations]. [From the Zohar, it is implied that this Lachash is only needed to be said when having intercourse which can lead to pregnancy, otherwise, it is not necessary. However, from other sources it is implied that it is always to be said. The purpose of this Lachash is to banish the Sitra Achra [i.e. Lilis] from nurturing from their Mitzvah and to prevent them from creating evil spirits from the seed which can harm the fetus. The Lachash is most effective when the couple takes care to sanctify their thoughts and cover their entire body and head during the intercourse. The meaning of the Lachash is as follows: Atifa Bekitfa Izdamnus-Lilis who comes wraps herself in a sheet is ready to come into our marital bed. Shari Shari-We will open her knots and remove her covering. Lo Soil-She may not enter into the sheet. Velo Tinpok-And she will not remove the seeds of semen to the Sitra Achra. Lo Didach-The drops belong to Kedusha and not to Lilis. Velo Be’adbach-They are not yours for even a moment. Suv Suv-Return back to your place. Yama Argishas-The upper seas which is Malchus is upset with her. Gilguliy Lach Keran-Its waves are calling you to smash your head. Bechulka Kadisha Achidna-I am holding onto the holy part of Zun. Bekedusha Demalka Isatafna-I garb myself in holiness. Velachfei Lei Lireishei Ulisisei Ad Sha’asa Chada-That he and her should cover their heads during the intercourse]
Lamnatzei’ach: When a woman is pregnant the husband and wife are to both say the Psalm of Lamnatzei’ach Ya’ancha [printed between Ashreiy and Uva Letziyon] prior to sleep. He is then to repeat the verse of Ya’ancha.
- The blessing of Hamapil:
The blessing of Hamapil is recited after the intercourse. [It may only be recited after one has cleaned himself from semen, and washed his hands. Some write that one is to repeat the first paragraph of Shema prior to saying Hamapil. One is not to abstain from saying it even though he is a Ba’al Keri. If one accidentally said Hamapil before Tashmish, he nevertheless fulfills his obligation and does not need to repeat it afterwards.]
Praying for righteous and healthy children: The husband and wife are to pray to G-d prior to the intimacy that they merit to have children who are successful Torah learners, have holy souls, are wealthy and healthy and righteous in all their ways. This prayer should be done prior to intimacy even during the months of pregnancy and certainly prior to her becoming pregnant. Even if the wife cannot become pregnant, one is still to pray that the soul created in heaven as a result should be holy, and given to a righteous child.
Zechus Avos: The couple is to mention prior to intimacy their holy forebears, and the Shevatim, and that their children should be similar to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, and carry the traits of Tzadikim. Specifically, they should mention Adam and Chavah, Shes, Chanoch, Mesushelach, Noach, Avraham with Sarah, Yitzchak with Rivkah, Yaakov with Rachel and Leah, Bila’ah and Zilpah. Reuvein, Shimon, Levi, Yehuda, Yissachar, Zevulun, Dan, Naftali, Gad, Asher, Yosef, Binyamin, Efraim, Menashe. They should Daven that the child should have a soul from its tribe drawn into it. If they are from the tribe of Levi then it is proper to recite the verses of Parshas Va’eira which speak of the descendants of that Shevet [Shemos 6:16-25].
One’s Shevet: One should Daven that the child receives a soul from one’s tribe.
Tefilas Haramban: It is proper for one to recite [three times] the special prayer of the Ramban prior to intimacy. [It is to be said by both the husband and the wife with great arousal of heart, especially on the night of Tevila. It is proper to give charity before saying this prayer.]
L’sheim Yichud: It is proper for one to recite the prayer of L’sheim Yichud prior to intimacy, which emphasizes that one is doing the act for the sake of Heaven, to fulfill the Mitzvah of Onah and the Mitzvah of Peru Urevu [if he has yet to do so, and she is able to become pregnant].
It is proper for the husband and wife to do Teshuvah on sins, prior to intercourse, in order so they merit to have pure and holy children. It should be done during the recital of Kerias Shema She’al Hamita. This especially applies during the night of Mikveh.
- Giving charity:
It is proper [for the husband and wife] to give charity prior to intimacy. This is done in order to help banish the Sitra Achra. Doing so is a Segula for having wealthy and wise children. It is also a Segula for having male children.
How much to give: One is to give the worth of at least three Perutos. At the very least one is to give one Peruta’s worth. [The value of a Peruta fluctuates based on the price of silver, although on average has been the worth of about 2 cents or 6 Agurot.]
- Using the bathroom:
Prior to intercourse, the husband and wife should check to make sure that they do not need the bathroom, and are to relieve themselves if they do. [This is both due to health reasons and spiritual reasons. One who is not careful in the above, and has intercourse while withholding his urine or bowels, can have children who wet their bed.]
- Washing hands:
[The husband and wife] are to wash their hands properly prior to intimacy [even if they did not sleep beforehand]. [This is similar to the washing of the hands prior to Shemoneh Esrei as a form of purity and sanctification. One must be very careful in this matter. This washing distances the spirit of Lilis from the marital bedroom, and distances bickering and fighting amongst the couple, thus bringing peace and Shalom Bayis into the home.]
How to wash the hands: The hands are to be washed three times inconsecutively, as they are washed in the morning upon awakening.
When to wash the hands: The washing may take place prior to the start of intimacy, and it does not need to be delayed until the actual intercourse.
Preparing a basin of water: Prior to intercourse, one is to prepare a basin of water near the bed for the purpose of the washing prior to and post the intercourse. Nonetheless, if necessary, one may simply wash directly from the nearest sink.
As stated above, in chapter 6 Halacha 15, the wife is encouraged to put on attractive clothing/lingerie, and wear makeup and perfume for the sake of attracting her husband. This should especially be done prior to a scheduled time for intimacy, and is an act of holiness and purity, as explained there. Nonetheless, certain Tzenius restrictions may apply, as explained there. The wife is also encouraged to take a shower to cleanse her body prior to the intimacy, and to brush her teeth or use mouthwash to remove any bad breath.
A husband is encouraged to shower his body and make himself clean for the intimacy. He should likewise brush his teeth or use mouthwash to dispel any bad odors. If necessary, or if desired by the wife, he may use men’s Cologne to make himself smell good and draw his wife’s attention. In general, the husband should be mindful of his wife’s desires and try to understand things that he can do to dismiss any distractions from their intimacy.
Cleaning and tidying the room: It is proper that the marital bedroom be tidy and neat without things spread all over, or containing dirt or bad odors. Doing so assists in drawing down a beautiful child. [It likewise prevents the Sitra Achra from dwelling in the room.]
Creating a romantic setting in the room: Creating a romantic setting in the room can help stimulate positive feelings and raise the quality of the intimacy. While lighting candles is not generally advised due to it being a safety hazard, one may certainly dim the lights in the room, prepare the beds and tidy the area in preparation for the intimacy. Putting on slow and moving music and Niggunim [without vocals] can also help elevate the mood and arouse emotion and passion.
Removing Sefarim: Prior to the start of intimacy, any Sefarim or Tashmishei Kedusha must be removed or doubly covered, as explained in chapter 6 Halacha 13.
Remove pictures: All pictures of people are to be removed from the marital bedroom prior to intimacy, including pictures of Tzadikim. However, pictures of the couple may remain in the room. See Chapter 6 Halacha 22!
Setting up the beds: Preferably, the beds in the marital bedroom are to be aligned from north to south as explained in Appendix 6 Halacha 1 – see there!
Cleaning under the beds: It is proper that the floor under the beds be cleaned prior to intimacy, and that there be no repulsive items under the beds.
Metal under beds: Some write that one is to remove any metal from under the bed, as it can damage the potential child.
 See Taharas Yisrael 240:20; Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:22; Sheyikadesh Atzmo [Nachmonson-2015] p. 383-403; 414
 See Michaber Y.D. 185:1; Nitei Gavriel Niddah 40
 Kaf Hachaim 240:4 that so did Arizal, that he would learn Torah until midnight on the night of Mikveh, and then have intercourse; See Shevilei Emuna 3:5 that it is permitted and even encouraged for one to speak with his wife of Torah related matters, and matters relating to the fear of Heaven, at the time that one desires to engage in intimacy. Doing so assists that the children born will be proper and G-d fearing; Sheyikadesh Atzmo p. 383
 Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osyos Erech Kedusha 1 letter 406; Elya Raba 240:16
 Chupas Chassanim p. 160
 Shulchan Aruch Hamekutzar 6 p. 330
 Sh’lah ibid; Elya Raba ibid; Lechem Hapanim in Kitzur SHU”A 150:1
 Sh’lah ibid; Elya Raba 240; Tzetel Hakatan [of Rav Elimelech of Lizensk] 14, “This shall be a statute, to learn prior to intimacy chapter 16 in Resishis Chochma”; Lechem Hapanim in Kitzur SHU”A 150:1; Rebbe in Igros Kodesh 7:362
 Pischei Chaim
 See Sheyikadesh Atzmo [Nachmonson-2015] p. 389
 Implication of Admur in Siddur who places the additions for Tashmish after Kerias Shema She’al Hamita, prior to Hamapil; Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osyos Erech Kedusha 428 that before Tashmish one says the entire Seder of Kerias Shema She’al Hamita until Hamapil, and after Tashmish, Hamapil is said; [I have not found this approach explicitly in any other Poskim other than the Sh’lah ibid, as seen below, as the Poskim either write to say the entire Shema with Hamapil before the Tashmish, or after the Tashmish. Seemingly, however, the logic behind this approach is in order to say Kerias Shema with purity, but delay the blessing of Hamapil due to Hefsek, as writes the Sh’lah ibid.
The following Poskim write to say Kerias Shema She’al Hamita [including Hamapil] prior to intercourse: Siddur Ya’avetz Seder Shechiva in order so it include the intimacy in the blessing, and so it be said in purity; Likkutei Chaver Ben Chaim; Yifei Laleiv 239:4; Toras Chaim Sofer 239:3; Kuntrus Alei Terufa; Piskeiy Teshuvos 239 footnote 44; Kaf Hachaim 240:4 that certainly the Arizal read Kerias Shema She’al Hamita also prior to midnight and the Tashmish, and hence he read it twice, before and after.
The following Poskim write to say the entire Kerias Shema after Tashmish: M”A 239:4 in name of Sh’lah; Arizal, brought in Sha’ar Hamitzvos Bereishis and Siddur Arizal Kol Yaakov p. 112 [However, see Kaf Hachaim 240:4 that certainly the Arizal read Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita also prior to midnight and the Tashmish, and hence he read it twice, before and after]; Elya Raba 239:5; Kitzur SHU”A 71:4; Aruch Hashulchan 239:6; M”B 239:5; Kaf Hachaim 239:10; 240:4 that so was also the custom of the Arizal; Lehoros Nasan 4:20; Piskeiy Teshuvos 239:6 footnote 44; See Sha’ar Hamitzvos Parshas Bereishis that Arizal said Shema also after intercourse.
 Siddur Admur; Peri Eitz Chaim Sha’ar Kerias Shema She’al Hamita 11; Or Tzadikim 27:20; Siddur Ya’avetz Mosach Hashabbos Mitos Kesef Chulya Gimel 7:23; Kaf Hachaim 240:65
 See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 38 footnote 5 regarding if the wife also has to say it
 Oar Tzadikim 27:20; Kaf Hachaim ibid
 See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 38:5 footnote 5
 See Meiy Hada’as p. 106 that
 Siddur Admur in name of Zohar 3 Vayikra 19; Peri Eitz Chaim Sha’ar Kerias Shema She’al Hamita 11; Likkutei Torah Bereishis p. 16b; Mishnas Chassidim Miseches Hashechiva 11:11; Reishis Chochmah Sha’ar Hakedusha 16:33; Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osyos Erech Kedusha 418; Siddur Sh’lah; Siddur Arizal of Rav Yaakov Kopel; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 38 footnote 2
Other opinions: Some write that it is better not to say the Lachash at all in order not to start up with the Sitra Achra, as we do not have the power today to banish it. [Igeres HaRamaz 12, brought in Nitzutzei Oros of Chida on Zohar ibid]
 Zohar ibid writes his instruction in regard to the man.
 Implication of Sh’lah ibid; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 38:3 footnote 4 that according to the Zohar and Admur it is implied that only the husband needs to say it.
 Peri Eitz Chaim ibid; Siddur Sh’lah; Siddur Arizal; Rav Raskin on Siddur; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo ibid
 Zohar ibid explicitly states that it is to be said when having intercourse during the times of possible conception, in order to prevent Lilis from damaging the child.
 Possible understanding of Admur in Siddur, and of Peri Eitz Chaim and other sources ibid; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 38:3 footnote 3 in length
 See Zohar 3 Vayikra 19; Otzer Midrashim Alfa Beisa Deben Sira p. 47; Peri Eitz Chaim Sha’ar Kerias Shema She’al Hamita 11 that Lilis tries to nurture from the Zivug of a couple if it is done animalistically and she then takes the drops of semen and uses it to create evil spirits.
 See Yesod Veshoresh Havoda; Likkutei Mharich 3; Igros Kodesh Vol. 4:454; 492; 5:105/220
 Implication of Admur in Siddur who places the additions for Tashmish after Kerias Shema She’al Hamita, prior to Hamapil; Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osyos Erech Kedusha 428; So rule regarding the entire Kerias Shema that it is only to be said after Tashmish; M”A 239:4 in name of Sh’lah; Elya Raba 239:5; Kitzur SHU”A 71:4; Aruch Hashulchan 239:6; M”B 239:5; Kaf Hachaim 239:10; 240:4 that so was also the custom of the Arizal; Lehoros Nasan 4:20; Piskeiy Teshuvos 239:6 footnote 44; See Sha’ar Hamitzvos Parshas Bereishis that Arizal said Shema also after intercourse.
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that it is better to recite Hamapil before intercourse, in order so it include the intimacy in the blessing, and so it be said in purity. [Siddur Ya’avetz Seder Shechiva; Likkutei Chaver Ben Chaim; Yifei Laleiv 239:4; Toras Chaim Sofer 239:3; Kuntrus Alei Terufa; Piskeiy Teshuvos 239 footnote 44]
 Sh’lah ibid; Poskim in previous footnote; See Sha’ar Hamitzvos Parshas Bereishis that Arizal said Shema after intercourse; See Kaf Hachaim 240:4 that certainly the Arizal read Kerias Shema She’al Hamita also prior to midnight and the Tashmish, and hence he read it twice, before and after.
 All Poskim ibid; See Lehoros Nasan 4:20 and Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid
 See K’neses Hagedola 239 and Elya Raba 239:3, that Hamapil is said “Al Minhag Ha’olam”, brought in Machatzis Hashekel 239:3 and P”M 239 A”A 3; Chayeh Adam 35:4; Makor Chaim of Chavos Yair Kitzur Halachos [permits saying Maariv after Hamapil]; Siddur Ya’avetz permits talking in a time of great need; Biur Hagr”a 432 [that even if one does not fall asleep, it is not a blessing in vain]; Ashel Avraham Butchach Tinyana 239; Maharitz Chayos Brachos 11b; Bireich Es Avraham p. 102 that so is the custom; Yifei Laleiv 239:2; Tehilas Chaim 2:41 in name of Kuntrus Alei Terufa; Orchos Chaim Spinka 239:3 in name of Meorei Or [permits even initially to talk]; Aruch Hashulchan 239:6 “Certainly it is not similar to the laws of Hefsek after other blessings”; Birchas Habayis 31:2; Peri Hasadeh 1:93; Hisorerus Teshuvah 1:114; Kaf Hachaim 239:7; Halichos Shlomo 13:15; Beir Moshe 1:63; Tzitz Eliezer 7:27; Yechaveh Da’as 4:21; Rivivos Efraim 6:123; 8:81; Piskeiy Teshuvos 239:3
The reason: As the blessing of Hamapil was instituted to be said on the general benefit of sleep received by people, and not on one’s personal sleep. It is no different than speaking after the blessing of Hanosen Lasechvi Bina, prior to hearing the roosters crow. [K’neses Hagedola ibid; Elya Raba 239:3; Machatzis Hashekel 239:3; P”M 239 A”A 3; Chayeh Adam 35:4; Maharitz Chayos ibid; Orchois Chaim Spinka; Bireich Es Avraham p. 102 that so is the custom; Yifei Laleiv 239:2; Kaf Hachaim ibid] Alternatively, it is because the blessing was established to be recited upon one preparing himself to sleep. [Ashel Avraham Butchach ibid]
 Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osiyos Kedusha; Rabbeinu Yonah Brachos 5b; Niddah 70b; Zohar Chadash Bereishis 15b; Chesed Le’avraham Mayan Hasheini Nehar 65; Taharas Yisrael 240:92; Yalzu Chassidim p. 40b; Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:22 footnote 169; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 38:1
 Sh’lah ibid;
 Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osyos Erech Kedusha 417
 Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osyos Erech Kedusha 427; Beir Heiytiv 240:24; Pela Yotzei Zivug; Kaf Hachaim 240:57; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 38:6
 Sh’lah Hakadosh ibid
 Recorded in Sh’lah Hakadosh Sha’ar Ha’osyos Erech Kedusha 418; Or Tzadikim 27:17; Tzava’ah of Rav Sheptal, son of Sh’lah, 14; Sha’areiy Tziyon 5 of student of Rav Chaim Vital that it should be said three times prior to Zivug; Lechem Hapanim in Kitzur SHU”A 150:1
 Sh’lah ibid
 Sh’lah ibid
 Sh’lah ibid
 Or Tzadikim Kaf Hachaim 240:64; Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:22
 Reishis Chochmah Sha’ar Hakedusha 16:32 and 36; Sh’lah Sha’ar Ha’osiyos Kedushas Hazivug 404; Siddur Arizal of Rav Shabsi; Or Yakar Vayakehl 3; Or Hayashar 15:11; Derech Pikudecha Asei 1 Machshava 11; Meiy Hada’as p. 148 in name of Ramak; Sheyikadesh Atzmo [Nachmonson-2015] p. 385
 Sheyikadesh Atzmo [Nachmonson-2015] p. 387
 Sh’lah Sha’ar Ha’osiyos Kedushas Hazivug 404; Kedushas Levi 3; All Sefarim in next footnote
 Or Lashamayim Parshas Noach
 See Bava Basra 9b
 Sefer Zechira
 Kedushas Levi ibid
 Nofes Tzufim; Divrei Shmuel p. 30
 Toras Hamagid Mizlotchiv p. 344
 See Likkutei Sichos 15:550
 Kedushas Levi ibid; Nofas Tzufim ibid
 Orach Mishor Alfa Beisa p. 20
 Rambam Dei’os 4:19; Tur 240:15 and E.H. 25:2; Levush 240; Siddur Ya’avetz Mosach Hashabbos Mitos Kesef 7 Chulya Beis 4; Pela Yoeitz Zivug; Aruch Hashulchan 240 and E.H. 25; Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:22; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 34:1
 Chupas Chassanim p. 161
 Kaf Hachaim [Falagi] 4:4; Pela Yoeitz Zivug; Da’as Hakedusha 7:39; Avraham Anochi 1 Teruma 10
 Siddur Admur; Siddur Arizal of Rav Shabsi; Or Tzadkim 27:13; Sh’lah Sha’ar Haosiyos Kuf p. 103b; Olas Tamid 240:8; Elya Raba 240:16; Beir Heiytiv 240:24; Morah Ba’etzba 50 [regarding after sleep]; Pela Yoeitz Zivug [regarding after sleep]; M”B 240:54; Yesod Veshoresh Ha’avoda 8:6; Kaf Hachaim 240:57; Sheyikadesh Atzmo [Nachmonson-2015] p. 398
 Implication of Sh’lah ibid; Yesod Veshoresh Ha’avoda ibid; See Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 16
 Implication of all Sefarim ibid, unlike Morah Ba’etzba and Pela Yoeitz ibid
 Yesod Veshoresh Ha’avoda ibid; See Sh’lah Hakadosh ibid; Piskeiy Mishneh Halachos Taharah 25:3; Sheyikadesh Atzmo39 footnote 4
 Siddur Arizal of Rav Shabsi
 Yesod Veshoresh Ha’avoda ibid
 Sefer Yesodos Habayis Ukedushaso p. 169; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 39:2
The reason: As it is difficult to stop in the middle of intimacy, during the passion leading up to intercourse, and hence one may a) forget to do so, or b) have a relapse on the passion and need to restart it again with his wife.
 Sh’lah Sha’ar Ha’osiyos Kuf p. 103b; Olas Tamid 240:8; Elya Raba 240:16; Kaf Hachaim 240:57; M”B 240:54
 See Brachos 43b and Rambam Dei’os 5:9 which only negates walking outside with cologne; Beir Moshe 4:119 [negates it due to Beged Isha]; Beir Sarim 6:59 [permits men’s cologne]
 Sefer Hamidos Erech Niuf 1:3; Pirush Hakoseiv on Iyun Yaakov end of Brachos; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 29:1
 See Igros Haramaz 27; Chesed Le’avraham Mayan 7 Nehar 26; Da’as Hakedusha 7:35; Zohar Balak 3:186; Eikev 273; Beis Yaakov Hakdama p. 6; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 29:2
 See Chapter 6 Halacha 21
 Igros Haramaz 27; Da’as Hakedusha 7:35; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 29:2
 See Chesed Le’avraham Mayan 7 Nehar 26; Yesod Yosef Duvna 16; Pischeiy Olam 240:4; Taharas Yisrael 240:20; Da’as Hakedusha 7:35; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 29:3