Family Bed

I received this email from a friend of mine – and am sharing it with you in the hope that you can shed some light or some opinion or thoughts on the matter. Halachic opinions are also sought in this instance. Thanks.

So I was at the kids’ swimming lessons today talking to some other parents, and the question of the “family bed” and halakhah came up — one woman said her husband told her that it is against halakhah. I can’t imagine that it is against halakhah to share your bed with your kids (barring, of course, anything inappropriate). So I was hoping that maybe you would do a blog post on it, if you’re up for it, and see if anyone who reads your blog could cite some sources or blow this idea out of the water. I guess the other question would be–is there a point where it becomes inappropriate? How old does a boy or girl have to be to be “too old” to sleep in the same bed as their parents?

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  1. mrsmelissasg says:

    my opinion is not halachic, so i’m just gonna listen in for now….

  2. chana says:

    i am no rav, but i do believe that the only basis in halachah that this could have would be about how it affects shalom bayis. so i’m also going to listen in, cuz it does sound very personal.

  3. Annon says:

    ASK YOUR RAV!! How complicated is that?

    • mrsmelissasg says:

      a) The person who sent the email was looking for opinions based on something she heard being discussed – not something she herself was necessarily looking to take on.
      b) Sometimes these topics are sensitive and not everyone has a Rav they feel comfortable asking for general advice.
      c) Perhaps this person wishes to remain anonymous for a reason.

      • Annon says:

        if its about opinions then she should just do whatever she is most comfortable with. Who cares what other people do. If its halachic, then ask a rav. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. If you are, try a site like askmoses.com where you can maintain total anonymity. Showing rabbis Niddah questions is more embarrassing then this.

  4. Y Kohn says:

    The Talmud speaks of this and clearly permits it.

    See this link, I have highlighted the English translation.

    http://awurl.com/DnJODTNOD

    Note that up to a certain age, sleeping completely undressed with children, is permitted in this mishnah

  5. Hadass Eviatar says:

    I agree (albeit perhaps less vehemently, LOL) that the only good source of a halachic opinion is a knowledgeable rabbi. My own unqualified thought would be that the woman with the paskening husband might need some help and support in that area.

  6. It may not be healthy in the context of today’s society and what we know about psychology, but for much of human history, families sleeping in the same bed was common practice, including among Jews. I can’t imagine what ignorance led the woman to claim that it’s against halacha.

  7. I agree (albeit perhaps less vehemently, LOL) that the only good source of a halachic opinion is a knowledgeable rabbi.

    Therefore, people shouldn’t actively engage in halachic study on their own and make their own decisions? I disagree strongly.

    • mrsmelissasg says:

      Thank you for this! I agree whole-heartedly. I know many well educated people who are sometimes able to give great halachic guidance and point to sources easier than many Rabbanim.

  8. mekubal says:

    The only issues that I could think of are tznius ones.

    The Shulchan Arukh Even HaEzer 28:2 states that it is forbidden to have relations in a room with child who is old enough to speak. So the traditional family bed idea begins to become a problem then.

    Co-sleeping up to that point shouldn’t be an issue.

  9. mekubal, that is only when the child is awake. Relations are permitted with an older child present, if the child is asleep. Otherwise that would have been the end of the Jewish people as we know it. Families often lived in one room.

    • mekubal says:

      The Ben Ish Hai, Torah Lishma 70 and others rule that the child cannot be in the same room.

      I haven’t gone through the entire Notein Kelim, to find all of the Humrot and Kulot. The range goes between then being asleep(Taz) simply needing a mehitza of some sort(Beit Shmuel), to(as mentioned above in Torah Lishma) being completely secluded. At that point one really does need to consult one’s own Rav, because now we have entered the territory of Psak Halakha.

      • no sex in front of children says:

        Don’t have relations while a child, even under speaking age, is in the same room…

        I was not even in the same room, but was always waken up by the noisy sex of parents. I am traumatised till this day.

        Keep children out of your sex life!

        That’s plain common sense, nothing to do with halacha

  10. Rabbi's wife says:

    just read today in the Ben Ish Hai’s laws for women at the end of ch 46 that a brother and sister may not share a bed and blanket, even when fully clothed, although an opposite sex parent may. He doesn’t give a reference beyond that.

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