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Is a physical relationship permitted before marraige

Various RabbisSivan 25, 5770
622
Question
Both my boyfriend and I are in our late 30’s . We are both graduates. Both of us are Orthodox Leumi. We are both Shomrei Shabbat which is a problem as both of us live in different cities in Israel. We have been going out for some time and intend to get married probably in the next 9 to 18 months. It would be great and certainly move our relationship on if we could invite each other to stay in each others flats on Sabbath. Both of us are 'Chozer Btshuva' and while I have not discussed it with him it is most likely that neither of us are virgins. So my question is what does the Torah have to say on physical relationships before marriage ?? (of two mutually consenting adults) Thanks,
Answer
The Torah allows physical relations only after a Halachic marraige has taken place. In addition, our Rabbis recognized that the desire to connect physically is so strong that they forbid us to even enter a state of 'yichud' - a state whereby a man and a women are together in a place where physical relations could potentially occur. The laws of Yichud are many and I recommend you go through them in the 'Kitzur Shulchan Aruch' (a book worthwhile to own if you don't already). Either way, sleeping together in the same house would be forbidden. Perhaps you can organize him a place to stay closeby to your apartment or vice versa? Because mutual feelings of love and closeness can be so strong during stages prior to a wedding extra care needs to be taken not to enter difficult and trying circumstances. And as much as possible the wedding should be as soon as is practical. I wish you Mazaltov and pray that you will build a house of much holiness and love! Rabbi Baruch Kitay
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