This article is an excerpt from our Sefer
Halachos relating to a married couples bedroom
1. Which direction should the beds face and should one face upon sleeping?
From North to South: Just as it is forbidden for one to face East or West when having a bowel movement, similarly it is forbidden to sleep facing East or West with one’s wife together in bed, when one has intention to have relations. Thus, one must align the bed to face from north to south [or vice versa]. It is proper to be careful in the above even when one’s wife is not with him in the same bed. [The bed is to be aligned with its head in the North and its end in the South. This means that the couple are to sleep with their head to the North and feet to the south.]
What to do if one is unable to align the bed from North to South? If one is unable to easily align the bed in a north to south direction, then there is no prohibition for him to align his bed from East to West, as in such a case one may rely on the opinion of the Zohar which holds that even initially one is required to face the bed from East to West [and not from North to South]. [Accordingly, if a couple is a guest in a room, they may sleep there even if the bed is aligned from east to west if it is difficult to maneuver or if they do not have permission to do so.]
A married couple is to align the bed in their room from North to South. If this is difficult to accomplish they may align the bed from East to West. [The Mekubalim however rule that one must always align the bed from East to West and so conclude some Poskim. The Chabad Rabbeim instructed to follow the former approach of the Codifiers, to align it from North to South.]
Are we particular in this matter even today?
Yes. One is to be particular in this matter even today.
May one sleep with his feet or head towards the door of the room?
It is permitted to sleep facing the door of a room in any direction that one chooses whether his head is facing the door, or his feet are facing the door. There is no known source in Judaism, neither in Halacha or in Kabbala, that restricts the sleeping directions of a person who is sleeping facing the door of a room. Furthermore, the Poskim omit this topic writing any restriction in this matter within the Halachic topic of bed directions, hence solidifying that no such prohibition exists. Nonetheless, it is customary amongst many people to avoid sleeping with one’s feet vertically opposite the door. This is said to be due to it being similar to the direction that a corpse is positioned with its feet facing the opening of the room. [Practically, one who has not received this custom as a family tradition is not required to start keeping it. However, one who has traditionally guarded this custom is to continue doing so.]
|Segula for Male Children
Placing the bed from North to South [is a Segula] for having male children.
Segula for healthy pregnancy
In addition to the above, placing the bed from North to South [is a Segula] for healthy pregnancies without miscarriage.
2. A clean and tidy room:
It is proper that the marital bedroom be tidy and neat, without things spread all over the room, or dirt or bad odors. Doing so assists indrawing down a beautiful child. [It likewise prevents the Sitra Achra from dwelling in the room.]
3. Under the beds:
Cleaning under the beds: It is proper that under the beds be cleaned prior to intimacy, and that there be no repulsive items under it.
Metal under beds: Some write that that one is to remove any metal from under the bed, as it can damage the potential child.
Having Sefarim in the room: During times of purity, it is proper to remove all holy items, such as Tefillin and Sefarim, from the room, or to have them be double covered, when one lies in the same bed as his wife, even if they plan to not have relations. [If they did not plan to not have relations, and certainly if they have decided to have relations, then this is required to be done from the letter of the law. During times of Nidda, it is permitted to have Sefarim in the marital bedroom.]
Not to place Sefarim on the bed: It is forbidden to place a Sefer on the bed that a couple sleeps on, especially when one is co-sleeping with his wife, as there may be semen on it.
In a room where a couple has marital relations, and the Mezuzah is on the doorpost which is inside the room, the Mezuzah must be covered in a way that it cannot be seen. Thus, if the Mezuzah is only covered by a transparent covering, such as glass [or plastic], it is forbidden to have relations in such a room while the Mezuzah remains visible.
Must one have a double covering: It is disputed whether a Mezuzah which is on the doorpost inside the room must be contained inside a double covering. Some Poskim rule that the Mezuzah needs to be within two vessels, which means that it is to have a double covering, even if it is attached to the doorpost. Other Poskim, however, rule that if it is attached to the doorpost [as opposed to a loose Mezuzah sitting in the room] it is not required to be within two vessels and hence a single covering [that is not transparent] suffices. Practically, one may be lenient like the latter opinion that it does not require a double covering [and hence if the Mezuzah is inside a non-transparent casing, it is valid to remain in the bedroom]. [If the Mezuzah case is transparent, then irrelevant of the above debate, another non-transparent cover must be added, as stated above. The above debate only refers to a Mezuzah that is attached to the doorpost, however a loose Mezuzah that is lying in the bedroom must be contained within two coverings according to all, just as is the law by Sefarim. In such a case, it needs at least one covering that is not designated for the Mezuzah, and hence, even if the Mezuzah is wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in a Mezuzah case, it still requires another non-designated covering if it is sitting inside the room.]
Mezuzah is outside the room: The above requirement for covering the doorpost Mezuzah during marital relations is only in a case that the Mezuzah is visible within the room; if, however, upon closing the door the Mezuzah is outside the room, it does not need any covering while the door is closed. [Nonetheless, in such a case, one needs to actually close the door during intimacy in order so that the Mezuzah cannot be seen.]
Must a Mezuzah or Mezuzah case which shows the letter Shin or Shin-Daled-Yud be covered?
If the letters of Shin or Daled or Yud of the actual Mezuzah are visible, then it must be covered. [If it is visible through glass, then a single covering suffices, even if it is not attached to the wall, and certainly if it is.] Likewise, if a Mezuzah case has the letters Shin-Daled-Yud printed on it, then it must be covered if it is inside the room [a double covering if it is not attached to the door]. However, if the case simply has the letter Shin printed on it, then it is not required to be covered.
All pictures of people are to be removed from the marital bedroom prior to intimacy. However, pictures of the couple may remain in the room. Accordingly, pictures of other people, including relatives, should not be hung in the marital bedroom.
May pictures of Tzadikim remain in a room where one will have marital intimacy? Technically, it is permitted to do so. Furthermore, some imply that it is even praiseworthy to do so. Nevertheless, being that some feel uncomfortable having intimacy in front of a Tzadik, therefore it is best to cover it with a single covering, or remove the picture from the wall.
7. Not to sleep in a room of a couple:
It is forbidden for one to sleep in a couple’s bedroom together with the couple [as doing so invades on their privacy and prevents them from intimacy and private conversation, unless they both agree for him to sleep there]. This applies even if the wife is a Niddah.
8. Not to look at a couple’s bedroom:
It is proper for one not to look at a couple’s bedroom. [Thus, it is proper for parents to educate their children not to enter into their bedroom, especially without permission.]
9. Joining the beds and sleeping together during times of purity:
Letter of the law: From the letter of the law, it is permitted for a couple to sleep in the same bed during her days of purity, even if they do not plan to be intimate that night. Accordingly, they may join the beds together throughout the time that she is pure.
Act of piety and custom of Chassidim-not to sleep in same bed: It is an act of piety for the husband to always sleep in his own designated bed, even while his wife is Tahor, and not sleep together with his wife in the same bed. In the event that they have relations, it is to be done in her bed and he is to then return to his own bed approximately 30 minutes after relations and not sleep with her the whole night. This is done in order so the husband does not arouse himself unnecessarily. There exists an oral tradition amongst some Chassidim, that the Alter Rebbe instituted having separate beds in the couple’s bedroom even while she is Tahor. The beds hence always remain apart. Some take this to mean that one is not to sleep in the same bed even when she is not a Niddah. Practically, amongst Chassidim the custom is to maintain separate beds throughout the year, even while she is pure. Those who add in matters of purity are praised and each couple is to maintain a mutual agreement of how they want to follow these matters. This is also done in order to maintain Tzenius in the home, and not arouse undo attention from one’s children as to what occurs in the marital bed.
 Admur Kama 3:9-10. Michaber 3:6; Omitted in Basra and Siddur; See Siddur Yaavetz Mosach Hashabbos Mitos Kesef 4:2 Part 2; Taharas Yisrael 240:89; Sheyikadesh Atzmo [Nachmanson-2015] p. 328-334
 Admur Kama 3:9; Michaber 3:6 and 240:17; Rambam Beis Habechira 7:9; based on Rashi Brachos 5b; Reply of Rebbe Rayatz to Rav Chadakov, printed in Kuntrus Ateres Zekeinim, brought in Sheyikadesh Atzmo 28 footnote 4; Reply of Rebbe to Rav Label Groner that it should be from North to South
Other Opinions: According to the Zohar the bed is to be aligned from East to West. [Zohar Parshas Bamidbar, brought in Admur 3:10, M”A 3:7, Bach, Or Tzadikim 27:12; Arizal in Shaar Hamitzvos Bereishis]. So is likewise the ruling of the Kabbalists. [Arizal in Shaar Hamitzvos; Rameh 3 [Harav Menachem Ezaryah]. Some Poskim conclude like this opinion. [Birkeiy Yosef 3:2 stating that even Rashi retracted this ruling in his Sefer Likkutei Pardes. So rules also Shev Yaakov 3 like Zohar; The Olas Tamid 3:6 concludes that one may follow whichever opinion he chooses; Kaf Hachaim 3:16 concludes one is to follow the Zohar and Arizal; The custom of the Munkatcher was like the Zohar. [Darkei Chaim Veshalom 344]; Vayeishev Hayam 2 concludes that most Poskim rule like the Zohar.] The M”B 3:11 and Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:31 rule like Admur that one is to initially place it from North to South.
Regarding why we prohibit marital relations from East to West [According to Admur] even though it is surrounded by walls: This question is addressed by the Levush and Olas Tamid 3:6. The M”A 3:7 explains that in a bedroom the Shechina resides, in contrast to a bathroom, and hence one must beware of the above despite there being walls. Alternatively, since the only way to have marital relations is within a house therefore the law applies.
Placing the bed from North to South [is a Segula] for having male children: The Talmud and Poskim record that placing the bed from North to South is a Segula for having male children [Rebbe Chama Bar Rebbe Chanina in Brachos 5a in the name of Rebbe Yitzchak; Levush 240:17; Olas Tamid 3:6] This is based on the verse “And in the North their stomach will be filled and they will be satisfied with male offspring.” [Psalms 17:14; brought in Brachos ibid] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 240 footnote 235; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 28:1; See however Igeres Hakodesh of the Ramban Chapter 3 who interprets this statement to be not literal, as certainly the position of the bed does not effect male childbirth and rather it refers to other aspects
 The reason: The reason for this is because [it is not honorable to] the Divine presence, [which] is found in the West, and faces the East. [See Rashi ibid; Admur Basra 3:6 and Kama 3:7]
 The wording in Admur ibid [which is the wording of Rashi] is “that the head of the bed and its end be aligned one end at the North and the other at the South.” Vetzaruch Iyun at this seemingly superfluous wording.
 Lit. Nachon
 Admur ibid; Michaber ibid; Rambam ibid; Beis Yosef 3; Darkei Moshe 240:3; Perisha 240:23
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the above is only proper if the person is sleeping without clothing. [M”B 3:12 in name of Artzos Hachaim] Others are lenient in all cases. [See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 28 footnote 4]
 Michaber 240:17; M”A 3:7 in name of Rashi ibid; M”B 3:11 in name of Lechem Chamudos; Madanei Yom Tov on Rosh Brachos 1:50
 Sheyikadesh Atzmo 28:1
 Admur Kama 3:10; Taz 3:5
 Which end is placed by the East and which by the West? Some Poskim rule that the bed must be from East to West, with its head by East and its legs [end] by West. [Arizal in Shaar Hamitzvos Bireishis, brought in M”A 3:7; M”B 3:11, Kaf Hachaim 240:95; implication of the wording of Admur ibid-Sheyikadesh Atzmo 28:3]. However, other Poskim rule that the head is to be by the west and feet by the East. [Rameh 3, brought in M”A 3:7; M”B 3:11; Siddur Yaavetz]
 Parshas Bamidbar brought in M”A 3:7, Bach, and in Or Tzadikim 27:12; Arizal in Shaar Hamitzvos Bereishis
The reason behind the Kabalistic ruling: The Arizal [Shaar Hamitzvos Bireishis] explains that this alignment corresponds to the directions that Adam was created in, as well as the positioning of the Primordial man of Atzilus, of which the head is by the East which corresponds to Daas, while the feet are by the West. The right hand faces the South which is Chesed and the left hand faces North which is Gevurah. [Brought in Kaf Hachaim 3:16]
 Sheyikadesh Atzmo 28:2
 Reply of Rebbe Rayatz to Rav Chadakov, printed in Kuntrus Ateres Zekeinim , brought in Sheyikadesh Atzmo 28 footnote 4; Reply of Rebbe to Rav Label Groner that it should be from North to South
 Reply of Rebbe Rayatz to Rav Chadakov, printed in Kuntrus Ateres Zekeinim , brought in Sheyikadesh Atzmo 28 footnote 4; Reply of Rebbe to Rav Label Groner that it should be from North to South; Rav Asher Lemel Cohen, and so is evident from all Poskim ibid that discuss the Halacha. However see Hagahos Kneses Hagedola 3:4 that today the world is no longer accustomed to be careful in this.
 See Kama 3:9-10. Michaber 3:6; Omitted in Basra
 Custom of many; Heard from Harav Eliyahu Landau; Harav A.L. Kohen
 See Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 5:1 footnote 4; So is written in many Sifrei Minhagim ibid; Darkei Chesed p. 32 that so was done to the Rebbe Rashab; Gesher Hachaim p. 20; See our Sefer “The laws of Mourning” Chapter 5 Halacha 10 regarding Taharah that he is to face the opening as rules Tzavas Rav Yehuda Hachassid 6; Beis Lechem Yehuda 362; Kneses Hagedola Y.D. 362; Chochmas Adam 157:8; Kitzur SHU”A 197:6; Aruch Hashulchan 362:8; Darkei Chesed 12:15; Pnei Baruch 4:13; Nitei Gavriel 45:12
 This is the traditional ruling regarding all matters that are not Halachically based, that one cannot enforce their practice upon others.
 Rav Eliyahu Landau and Rav Kohen ibid
The reason: As even customs that have no written source are customarily respected, such as the custom of pregnant woman not to enter a cemetery [see Minchas Yitzchak 10:42; Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 2:84-4; Our Sefer on Rosh Hashanah Supplement “Visiting a cemetery” Halacha 22]; or the custom not to step over a child, or not to allow a child to look in the mirror until he grows teeth. [see Beir Moshe 36]; or the custom not to have two people dress a child or not to place a candle on the floor. [Rav Eliyahu Landau]
 Brachos 5a [stated by Rebbe Chama Bar Rebbe Chanina in the name of Rebbe Yitzchak]; Levush 240:17; Olas Tamid 3:6; This is based on the verse “And in the North their stomach will be filled and they will be satisfied with male offspring.” [Psalms 17:4 ; brought in Brachos ibid]
 Brachos 5a [stated by Rav Nachman the son of Yitzchak]; This is learned from a juxtaposition with the verse: “And her days were complete to give birth and she had twins in her stomach”
 Sefer Hamidos Erech Niuf 1:3; Pirush Hakoseiv on Iyun Yaakov end of Brachos; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 29:1
 See Igros Haramaz 27; Chesed Leavraham Mayan 7 Nehar 26; Daas Hakedusha 7:35; Zohar Balak 3:186; Eikev 273; Beis Yaakov Hakdama p. 6; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 29:2
 Igros Haramaz 27; Daas Hakedusha 7:35; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 29:2
 See Chesed Leavraham Mayan 7 Nehar 26; Yesod Yosef Duvna 16; Pischeiy Olam 240:4; Taharas Yisrael 240:20; Daas Hakedusha 7:35; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 29:3
 Admur 40:8; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 32:17
 Beir Heiytiv 240:25; Sefer Chassidim 157; Olas Tamid 240:8; M”B 240:54; Kaf Hachaim 240:94
 Admur 40:5; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 32:14-15
 This means that the Mezuzah is actually set by a doorpost that is inside the room. This can occur if this room has a second door leading to another room, in which case its Mezuzah is placed inside the actual room. Alternatively, if the door of the room opens to the outside, then according to Chabad custom of Heker Tzir, the Mezuzah is placed inside the room. Alternatively, even if the Mezuzah is outside the room, as is the case with most bedrooms, nevertheless if the door is opened and the Mezuzah is visible, seemingly this same law applies, as explained in Admur 75:8
 Admur ibid; Taz 286:5
Other Poskim: Some Poskim rule that even in a room of marital relations one is not required to cover the Mezuzah from the letter of the law. [So proves Ma’amar Mordechai 40:2; Aruch Hashulchan 286:15, see there!
 Admur 40:5; Taz 286:5; Kitzur SHU”A 150:6
The reason: A glass covering is not valid and thus forbids marital relations, as the Mezuzah is visible through it. By Ervah [a naked private part], the Torah forbids saying Shema even if the Ervah is in a transparent covering, due to the verse, “Lo Yiraeh B’cha Ervas Davar.” Now, marital intimacy is also a belittling matter [to be done in front of Kedusha items] and is similar to the Ervah prohibition, and thus requires that the Mezuzah be covered in a way that it cannot be seen at all through the covering. [Admur ibid; Taz ibid; See also Admur 75:8-9]
 1st opinion brought in Admur; M”A 40:2; Chesed Le’avraham; Kitzur SHU”A 150:6; Kaf Hachaim 40:13 concludes it is best to be stringent
 The Magen Avraham is stringent to require two coverings while the Taz is lenient claiming that since the Mezuzah is attached to the wall it’s considered part of the wall, which is not considered as part of the room that relations are being done in.
According to this opinion, may one covering be of transparent material? Even according to the above stringent opinion, one of the two covers may be of transparent material, and hence if the Mezuzah is covered by glass it suffices to place a single piece of cloth over it. [Admur 40:5; M”A ibid; Pischeiy Teshuvah 286:8 in name of Chomos Yerushalayim 277]
 2nd opinion brought in Admur; Taz 286:5; Ma’amar Mordechai 40:2
 The reason: As the wall is considered its own domain, and hence everything that is inside the wall is considered to be in a separate domain than the inside of the room. Furthermore, even if the Mezuzah is not inside the wall but placed in a tube that is attached to the doorpost of the wall, it is nevertheless considered a separate domain, as since it is attached to the wall it is considered like the wall. [Admur ibid; See Pischeiy Teshuvah 286:8 in name of Chomos Yerushalayim 277] The Taz ibid however makes no mention of this reason of Admur [that the wall is a separate domain] and rather states that the fact that the Mezuzah is above ten Tefachim makes it a separate domain. This idea [of ten Tefachim separating domains] is also brought in Admur 79:4 and in Siddur Admur regarding Sefarim being in sight of feces. It was, however, omitted in Admur 40:5.
If the Mezuzah is inside the wall but the name of Hashem is visible through a hole: Admur ibid requires that one place a permanent piece of wax or other material over the hole, in order to consider it within a separate domain. However, a temporary covering of the hole would not suffice.
 Admur ibid; Ma’amar Mordechai 40:2; Zivcheiy Tzedek 2:38
The reason: As this matter is only Rabbinical, and one may be lenient in a Rabbinical dispute. Furthermore, one can say that even according to the stringent opinion [of the M”A ibid] which requires a double covering, this was only in a case that the Mezuzah is placed in a temporary vessel, as such a vessel is not permanently nullified to the wall [being that one will remove it], and it is only for this reason that it does not help to cover the hole of the wall to refrain the Mezuzah from being considered part of the room. [Admur ibid; See He’aros Ubiurim 369:26]
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 240 footnote 119
 Implication of Admur ibid; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 32:14
 Implication of Admur ibid and 75:8; See Rama Y.D. 286:2; Chovas Hadar 1:7 footnote 33; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 32 footnote 19; See Biur Halacha 240:6 “Assur”
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 240 footnote 19; See Tzedaka Umishpat 16 footnote 88
 Sheyikadesh Atzmo 29 footnote 1
 See Halacha 2 that one may not speak of unrelated matters in order so that he does not come to think of other people, and hence certainly the pictures are to be removed.
 See Chosen Yeshuos 2:117; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 32:18
 Pashut; Darkei Taharah p. 209; See Koveitz Ohalei Sheim 5:91
 See Shevet Hamussar 24 that she is to think of a Tzaddik during intimacy so that her children become tzadikim and Chassidim; See Rebbe Yochanon in Brachos 20a that when the women who left the Mikveh would see him, they would have children like him, thus proving that also her thoughts have an effect; Ramban Igeres Hakodesh chapter 5; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 14 footnote 7; One of the Rebbe’s Mashbakim is said to have relayed that in the Rebbe’s bedroom there was a picture of the Rebbe Rayatz.
 See Chosen Yeshuos ibid and Sheyikadesh Atzmo ibid which conclude that it should be removed or covered with a single cover.
 Eiruvin 63b “Whoever sleeps in a room of a couple, on him the verse states “Neshei Imi Tigrashun Mibeis Taanugeha,”; See Admur 639:9; Taz 639:9; Darkei Moshe 639; Hagahos Rav Akiva Eiger 240; Aruch Hashulchan 240:3; M”B 240:52; Kitzur SHU”A 152:17; Lev Chaim 3:58; Kaf Hachaim 240:41; Nitei Gavriel Yichud 51:6
 Shaar Hatiziyon 240:34
 Reishis Chochma Shaar Hakedusha 8; Nitei Gavriel Yichud 51:6
 See Sheyikadesh Atzmo [Nachmanson-2015] p. 335-337
 Sheyikadesh Atzmo 30:3
 Beir Heiytiv 238 in name of Arizal; Or Tzadikim 27:3; Kaf Hachaim 240:63; Taharas Yisrael Mamar 23:2; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 30:1
 Poskim ibid
 Birchas Aaron 17; Taharas Yisrael ibid
 Such is the tradition amongst Anash in Yerushalayim.
 In the memoirs of Rav Zalman Shimon Dworkin [printed in Shemuos Vesippurim 2:42] he writes that Admur stated “Three matters are in my merit to me……3)That I nullified the wide beds”. Some have understood this to mean as stated above. Others [Rav Yochanan Gordon] however have explained this refers to nullifying the practice of having wide beds for Tahor times and an additional smaller bed for while a Niddah, as back then the families only afforded one large bed for the entire family, and when she became impure he would sleep on a side bed. Since this emphasized to the children the idea of her being Tahor, Admur nullified it; See Likkutei Sichos 15:504; Shulchan Menachem 6:230; Chosen Yeshuos 2:45; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 30:1-2
 Both by Chabad and non-Chabad Chassidim; Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:30 footnote 226