Sunday, February 5, 2012

- Gur Hasidim & Sexual separation - הסודות של חסידות גור נחשפים

 Understanding the extreme views some chassidim have about women

 Haaretz - English version

In a recent study, scholar Nava Wasserman offers a window into the philosophy behind the strict sexual separation practiced by Gur Hasidim. For them, sexuality is the antithesis of sanctity, and must be resisted at all costs. 

Haaretz - Hebrew version

תקנות מחמירות האוסרות על גברים לדבר עם כל אשה - כולל זו שנישאו לה; חתנים שמגלים רק לפני חופתם את סוד הכלולות; והשיטות להסחת הדעת מכל מראה שעלול ליצור גירוי. כתבה ראשונה מתוך שתיים

28 comments :

  1. Another victory for Christianity.

    Remember that our greatest rabbis risked and gave their lives defending the Torah and its blessing of marriage. These so called Hassidim seem to have adopted catholocism in all but its entirety.

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  2. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 31, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    "Eddie said...Another victory for Christianity."

    RaP: What kind of bizarre comment is that?

    "Remember that our greatest rabbis risked and gave their lives defending the Torah and its blessing of marriage."

    RaP: They gave their lives not just for the Torah's "blessings of marriage" -- they gave their lives for the Torah when need be, as the RAMBAM discusses in Hilchos Kiddush HaShem.

    "These so called Hassidim"

    RaP: Excuse me? Like them or not, they are today's Chasidic movement, even though not each individual may come to the lofty level of being a "chasid" something all Jews and even gentiles can aspire too. But why malign them so...they are important elements of Klal Yisroel, and why do you feel the constant need to hurl invective at today's Charedi and Chasidic Jews??

    "seem to have adopted catholocism in all but its entirety."

    RaP: That is such a terrible slander! You may not like what they do and you are free to to disagree with them, but to accuse them of being virtual Christian Catholics is quite reprehensible. And then you will blame others of loshon hora and whatnot!

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  3. Not wishing to fall into any further argument with the above poster.

    Here are some examples of wha I mean by a success for Christianity:

    1) a very banal example would be a "Hannukah tree" which some very secularized Jews have.

    2) The custom of ceasing from learning Torah on Xmas eve or day. The Torah says these words shall never depart form your mouths - and the Hashmonaim and Later R' Akiva fought the Romans for the freedom to study Torah. To have such a minhag today, on his alleged yarzheit,, is only a victory to Edom, in that voluntarily Jews are adopting what was originally a form of oppression.

    3) The Messianic stream in Habad hassidism. I saw a missionary article a few years ago where Christian missionaries were celebrating Chabad messianism - not because they recognized the rebbe as Moshiach, but because of the gift that the moshichist stream had given them, the midrashic sources, and the pilpul to "prove" that Moshiach can come from the dead, hence destroying the stance we have taken for the past 2000 years.

    When the idea that was traditionally foregin to Judaism becomes normative, it is a victory for the source of the idea. The hatred of women, of marriage, of permitted marital relations, is essentially Catholic. The church fathers made these allegations agasint Jews, because we did not see marriage and birth as being essentially sinful.

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  4. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 1, 2012 at 5:09 AM

    1 of 2: RaP to Eddie:

    "Eddie said...Not wishing to fall into any further argument with the above poster."

    RaP: No need to "argue" if one can stick to rational, logical and factual discussions.

    "Here are some examples of wha I mean by a success for Christianity:
    1) a very banal example would be a "Hannukah tree" which some very secularized Jews have."

    RaP: What in heaven's name does this have to do with the attitude of Ger Chasidim to their women? Are you comparing their more stringent tznius practices with intermarried or very secular Jews who put up "Chanuka bush/tree" an utterly ridiculous, and again, libelous, comparison and accusation?

    "2) The custom of ceasing from learning Torah on Xmas eve or day. The Torah says these words shall never depart form your mouths -"

    RaP: Nittel nacht is an old minhag practiced by some of the most righteous people including great rabbonim among its God-fearing populations and you should not make fun of it. But again, you go too far with saying this has something to do with the way Ger Chasidim have set up their social and family systems that have worked and succeeded very well. In spite of rough edges and room for improvement, Rabbi Eidensohn certainly does not have in mind the outright pernicious and degrading things you are hurling at the Chasidim now.

    "and the Hashmonaim and Later R' Akiva fought the Romans for the freedom to study Torah."

    RaP: Ok, but even the Chashmonain made huge mistakes (historically more fatal than the Chasidim) when they chose to take over the monarchy that belonged ONLY to the House of David, when they were supposed to remain only Kohanim. And Rabbi Akiva erred when he assumed Bar Kochba was the Messiah serving as an example of how no one should assume to reckon the time of the Messiah's coming as the RAMBAM warns citing Rabbi Akiva as someone who made this terrible mistake that had great consequences as the Romans went on to kill all the Jews of Betar and finish off Bar Kochba.

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  5. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 1, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    2 of 2: RaP to Eddie:

    "To have such a minhag today, on his alleged yarzheit,, is only a victory to Edom, in that voluntarily Jews are adopting what was originally a form of oppression."

    RaP: Nonsense. You are making this up and expressing what's known as a "boich sevora" at best and krumkeit at worst. ONe of the main reasons is NOT to give Yoshke the "zechus" of any Torah learned that night-day, after all he and HIS Christian disciples "chasidim" have been the bane and curse of the Jews for over 2,000 years and it's still not over. That is, unless you are one of his admirers.

    "3) The Messianic stream in Habad hassidism. I saw a missionary article a few years ago where Christian missionaries were celebrating Chabad messianism - not because they recognized the rebbe as Moshiach, but because of the gift that the moshichist stream had given them, the midrashic sources, and the pilpul to "prove" that Moshiach can come from the dead, hence destroying the stance we have taken for the past 2000 years."

    RaP: Now you are throwing in the kitchen sink and it still does not have anything do with how the Ger Chasidim have designed and freely choose to practice their social, family and marriage systems. Even the Chabad social system is good even though some of the beliefs have gone overboard -- after all they are attracting lots of people to become frum and practice taharas hamishpacha and to live al pi Torah. You are going way overboard and should quit while you can and say even worse things to show your twisted view of the Torah world.

    "When the idea that was traditionally foregin to Judaism becomes normative, it is a victory for the source of the idea. The hatred of women, of marriage, of permitted marital relations, is essentially Catholic. The church fathers made these allegations agasint Jews, because we did not see marriage and birth as being essentially sinful."

    RaP: In your mind perhaps. But this has nothing to do with the Ger Chasidim and it's obvious you don't know much about them or truly understand them. You are certainly not willing to judge them favorably, and you do yourself no favors when you keep comparing everything you don't like about Judaism to a Christian source, when maybe it's the other way around, that almost everything decent in Christianity, starting from the Tanach and some form of Monotheism and the notion of a Messiah comes from Judaism and it is they that have twisted things around and messed up the ideas much as you do, as is quite obvious. So stop shooting yourself in the foot will you.

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  6. "
    RaP: Nittel nacht is an old minhag practiced by some of the most righteous people including great rabbonim among its God-fearing populations and you should not make fun of it. But again, you go too far with saying this has something to do with the way Ger Chasidim have set up their social and family systems that have worked and succeeded very well."


    Obviously you did not read my post objectively, rather it is an ongoing personal vendetta you have agasint everything i write.

    All the examples i gave of victories are nothing to do with Ger. They are othe victories given by others, duh...

    Nittel - shmittel.

    There are actually 2 transgressions of the Torah here. 1) Is to forsake torah learning
    2) Is lo t'onenu, to make auspicious times. To say that learnning Torah on 24 dec is to his zchut is total rubbish. Perhaps you shoudl also be mechalel shabbos if it falls on that date, since it would also be to his zchut to keep shabbos! What a load of total garbage! Since when has keeping the Torah as commanded by Hashem been a danger to Jews' welfare? Perhpas you should not learn Torah onany day, since every day will be the anniversary (or imagined ) of some mamzer or other.

    This line of argumentation is a vicotry for stupidity. Perhaps you should eat treif on Mohamed's birthday, wear shatnez onWelhausen's birthday, and go gay on Shabbeta Zvi's brithday. this is essentially what you are arguing
    although you are too thick to realize the implications of your case.
    The next fallacy is that great rabis did something hence it must be correct. Yea, Tropper was also a great rabbi, so was that other chap whose name i conveniently forget.

    So if a great rabbi is gay, or steals or does idolatry,does that make it ipso facto permitted?

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  7. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 1, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    "So if a great rabbi is gay, or steals or does idolatry,does that make it ipso facto permitted?"

    You are making that classic error in logic known as the Category mistake "[WP]: A category mistake, or category error, is a semantic or ontological error in which 'things of one kind are presented as if they belonged to another', or, alternatively, a property is ascribed to a thing that could not possibly have that property. All (propositional) mistakes involve some sort of misascription of properties, so in a sense any mistake is a 'category mistake': putting a thing into a class to which it does not belong. But a 'category mistake' in colloquial philosophical usage seems to be the most severe form of misascription, involving the endorsement of what is in fact logically impossible..."

    Because while there is and has been a widespread practice among the finest and best Charedi and Chasidic rabbonim of observing nittel nacht, which does not involve any "doing of anything" -- if anything it is a metaphysical spiritual act meant to withhold the merit of Torah learning on that day to benefit Yoshke who is in gehinom as a failed Jew, there is no such thing that Charedi and Chasidic rabbonim would practice any of the abominations for any of the distortions you mention.

    Also you come across as angry, vicious and nasty while I am trying to engage you in sensible and fair discussion.

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  8. It is not a category error at al. It is a hypothetical question.

    You claim that since some greatRabbis have practices x, therefore x cannot be wrong.

    I can name you several roshei yeshiva who have abused boys sexually. Using your 2logic", you can argue that if such big Gedolim or at least greater Lamdanim than I have done such an act, then it must be ok.

    In any case, Yashke himself was a Talmid Hachamim (assuming there was a Yashka at all).

    So both your arguments are false.

    However, you are evading the real question: From when do we have permission to bittul a positive commandment?

    Next, even your language is wrong. "a widespread practice among the finest and best Charedi and Chasidic rabbonim of observing nittel nacht,"

    I willgive you the benefit of doubt on this one - but how can you "observe nittel nacht"?

    Its not one of the 613 mitzvot to "observe"!

    It is 2 aveiros for the price of one.

    a) To let the words of Torah depart from one's mouth .

    b) To make auspicious times, which in Hilchot a. z. OF rAMBAM IS linked to mainstream idol worship.

    there may be a historical context, ie going out on that night was at times dangerous, so in those days Jews avoided being seenin public of going ot Yeshiva. that is fine and horaat Shaah.

    There is no Torah basis for it. remember, Chazal knew Yashka better than anyone, and they knew the founding fathers of the Chrch. yet they did not institute such a Takkanah.

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  9. If I am still allowed to post, here is the English version of the article about Gur Hassidim.

    http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/gur-hasidim-and-sexual-separation-1.410811

    My comments regarding the "victory" for Xtianity are aroudn the following concept:


    "Necessary evil

    The distance stems from the basic mind-set that sexuality and conjugal relations are a necessary evil, Wasserman says. Conjugal relations exist only because Jewish law demands this - and because you have to bring children into the world. But those relations are marginal and are kept to a minimum. "


    This was the exact debate that the early and Medieval Church had with Judaism. Except that Judaism opposed this very point!

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  10. If I am still allowed to post, here is the English version of the article about Gur Hassidim.

    http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/gur-hasidim-and-sexual-separation-1.410811

    My comments regarding the "victory" for Xtianity are aroudn the following concept:
    ================
    of course you are allowed to post here. I am just objecting to your recent deviation from your previous high quality of comments.

    The Rambam holds the same view so it is not a victory for Christianity - it is in fact a dispute in the gemora which is reflected in OC 240 versus E.H. 25

    It is disputed in the Rishonim & Achronim. So please don't dismiss this as a foreign abberation

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  11. "For them, sexuality is the antithesis of sanctity, and must be resisted at all costs. "

    Oh, didn't I hear that somewhere? Right, that's the catholic dogma, developed by a certain Hieronymus (who, by the way, was said to be attracted to men rather than women)...

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  12. As far as I know, Rambam in Deot takes a Golden mean approach, where normal marital activites are recommended.

    Rambam's ascetism is apparent in his Guide for the Perplexed, which is not his normative Halachic viewpoint. And it is in relation to some unknown mystical practice, , whether he is alluding to the abstention of the prophet, the philosopher or the Kabbalist is unclear.

    The Rambam as a Doctor, actually writes of sexuality and even of aphrodisiacs.

    My next point is hoepfully not off topic:

    Is there a correlation between sex abuse in Cathlic church and in orthodoxy, as Orthodoxy takes o a more ascetic worldview?

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  13. שו"ע אורח חיים - סימן רמ
    (א) אם היה נשוי, לא יהא רגיל ביותר עם אשתו, אלא בעונה האמורה בתורה. הטיילים, שפרנסתן מצויה להם ואין פורעין מס, עונתן בכל יום; הפועלים שעושים מלאכה בעיר אחרת ולנין בכל לילה בבתיהם, פעם אחת בשבוע; ואם עושים מלאכה בעירם, פעמים בשבוע; החמרים, אחת בשבוע; הגמלים, אחת לל' יום; הספנים, אחת לששה חדשים; ועונת ת"ח מליל שבת לליל שבת; וכל אדם צריך לפקוד את אשתו בליל טבילתה, ובשעה שיוצא לדרך אם אינו הולך לדבר מצוה, וכן אם אשתו מניקה והוא מכיר בה שהיא משדלתו ומרצה אותו ומקשטת עצמה לפניו כדי שיתן דעתו עליה, חייב לפקדה. ואף כשהוא מצוי אצלה לא יכוין להנאתו, אלא כאדם שפורע חובו שהוא חייב בעונתה ולקיים מצות בוראו שיהיו לו בנים עוסקים בתורה ומקיימי מצות בישראל; וכן אם מכוין לתיקון הולד, שבששה חדשים אחרונים יפה לו שמתוך כך יצא מלובן ומזורז, שפיר דמי; ואם הוא מכוין לגדור עצמה בה כדי שלא יתאוה לעבירה, כי רואה יצרו גובר ומתאוה אל הדבר ההוא: הגה - גם בזה יש קיבול שכר, אך (טור) יותר טוב היה לו לדחות את יצרו ולכבוש אותו, כי אבר קטן יש באדם: מרעיבו, שבע; משביעו, רעב; אבל מי שאינו צריך לדבר, אלא שמעורר תאותו כדי למלאות תאותו, זו היא עצת יצר הרע, ומן ההיתר יסיתנו אל האיסור, ועל זה אמרו רבותינו ז"ל: המקשה עצמו לדעת יהא בנדוי:

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  14. Ramban (Vayikra 18:6): To all his relatives he should not come close for sexual intercourse. The reason for the issur of arayos of relatives in not stated explicitly. Rambam writes in Moreh Nevuchim (3:49) that its purpose is to minimize sexual relations and to make it disgusting and so that he will be satisfied with the minimum. These women which the Torah prohibits amongst the relatives are those who are found around him constantly. These are women who he can readily find concealed places to be with. According to this rationale the Rambam explains all of them. The Ibn Ezra wrote something similar. Because the lust of the heart of man is like that of animal it would not make sense to prohibit all the females. Therefore only those which were with him constantly were forbidden. However this explanation is very weak. Why would the Torah prohibit with kares those women who are commonly around him but at the same time permit him to marry hundreds and thousands of other women? What in fact is the harm if he marries his own daughter as it is permitted for non Jews to do (Sanhedrin 58b)? Or if he marries two sisters such as Yaakov did? It would seem that there is no better marriage than for his daughter to marry his oldest son and therefore his inheritance will multiply in his own home? … We simply don’t have anything from tradition on this. Rather it would seem logical that this whole matter is one of the major secrets of creation… You should know that the issue of sexual relations is something distance and disgusting in the Torah – except for the preservation of the species. That which doesn’t produce offspring is prohibited as well as that which isn’t good to preserve the species. That seems to be the reason behind the prohibition of his relatives… That is why it describes them as zima – abomination. In other words they are not to be married because it will not be successful but is simply zima – lustful thoughts. Consequently arayos are included amongst the statutes – which are things that the king decreed. They are decrees based on that which occurred to the king who is wise in the conduct of his kingdom. He knows what there is that is necessary and useful in this mitzva that he commanded and he didn’t tell his people - except for the wise men who he consulted.

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  15. Ramban (Vayikra 19:2): What does the command to be holy mean? The Torah prohibits certain types of sexual relationships and certain types of foods while it permits relations with one’s wife and eating of meat and drinking wine. This might lead lustful people to be preoccupied with their wife or to have many wives. It might lead them to constantly drink wine and eating meat. They might think that they can speak in a disgusting way—since none of these things are specifically prohibited in the Torah. Thus, a person apparently can be totally disgusting while precisely keeping all the commandments of the Torah. Therefore this verse comes to teach that after specifying those things which are absolutely prohibited there is a general rule to be moderate in that which is permitted. Thus one should not have unlimited sexual relations and should minimize the amount of wine he drinks. He should stay aware form impurity even though these things are not specifically prohibited in the Torah…Similarly he should guard his mouth from gluttony and disgusting speech… He should sanctify himself and act in a holy manner… This is the purpose of having a general principle after specify examples of that which is prohibited and permitted…. Even though these additional commandments are rabbinic in origin—they are based on this Torah principle to be clean, pure, and distinct from the average man who is focused on pleasure to a disgusting degree. This is the manner of the Torah to specify examples and then to give the general principle to enable generalization to new situations. We find this also concerning the laws of business and proper relations between men concerning theft, and fraud etc., then the Torah says “Be uprights and good in G d’s eyes” (Devarim 6:18). This tells you how to evaluate the appropriateness of all activates—not just those specified in the Torah.

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  16. Rambam (Commentary to Sanhedrin 7:4): It is permitted for a person to have sodomy with his wife as well as derech avarim or however he wants. That is how one of the sages answered a woman who asked concerning this and he told her that the Torah totally permitted her to her husband. One of the sages wanted to establish that it is degrading that a man should do one of these acts i.e., to have sex in one of these ways that the masses do because of their great lust. For example have sex reversed with the man on the bottom, or kissing certain places of the body and similar activities. However the halacha ruling of the Talmud is, “All that a man which to do with his wife he can do.” However even though all of this is permitted as we have said, those pious people who are modest keep far from all these animalistic behaviors and condemn them and condemn those who focus their thoughts and wishes on these things. Since we have clarified that the purpose of sexual relations is the preservation of the species and not just pleasure, the pleasure is only permitted in order to motivate creatures to their main purpose which is to have children. A clear proof of this assertion is that lust stops and pleasure disappears after the semen is emitted. So obviously it was for the sake of emission of the seed that the person was physically aroused. If the purpose was pleasure then the pleasure would continue as long as the person wanted it – but it is simply not so. Therefore the goal of the pious individuals is only that of nature. The Sages praised and encouraged this and they called all those who acted this way, “one who sanctified himself at the time of intercourse.” This is referring to someone whose intent was only to expel the excess seed. And they said that this is what produces in children purity, and other good traits. In facts our Sages have praised someone who had a wife who had an obvious and easily seen defect. And yet he did not know about it because all of his thoughts were focused on that which the pure pious individuals were concerned with. Therefore when he needed her, his purpose was only that of nature according to the divine wisdom. This is not a contradiction to that which we began this discussion i.e., that a man can do what he wants to do with his wife. That is because the path of that which is prohibited or permitted is different from the path of that which is disgusting or desirable as well as that which is modest and avoids excesses of material pleasure.

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  17. Rambam (Hilchos De’os 5:4): Even though a man’s wife is always permitted to him – it is fitting for a talmid chachom to conduct himself with holiness and not to be with frequently with his wife like a rooster. Rather he should have intercourse once a week on Friday night – if he has the strength. When he speaks with her he should not speak with her at the beginning of the night when he is satiated and his stomach is full. He should also not speak with her at the end of the night when he is hungry. Rather in the middle of the night when his food is digesting. He should not be too light headed and not speak debase his speech with words of nonsense – even just between the two of them. We learn from our tradition that even the light conversation that takes place between a man and his wife – they will be judged on in the future. The two of them should not be drunk or lazy or sad. Neither should she be sleeping. He should not force her when she doesn’t want it but it should be done with both of them willing and happy. He should speak and joke a little with her in order to get her in the mood. Then he should have sex with her with embarrassment and not with arrogance and then he should separate immediately.

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  18. Rambam (Hilchos Issurei Bi’ah 21:9): A man’s wife is permitted to him therefore all that a man wants to do with his wife he can do. He can have sex with her whenever he wants, he can kiss any limb he wants, he can have natural and unnatural sex – as long as he doesn’t waste his seed. Even so it is the attribute of piety not to be lightheaded about the matter. Therefore he should sanctify himself at the time of sexual intercourse as we have explained in Hilchos De’os. And he should not turn from the way of the world and its practices since this matter is only to have children.

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  19. far as I know, Rambam in Deot takes a Golden mean approach, where normal marital activites are recommended.

    Rambam's ascetism is apparent in his Guide for the Perplexed, which is not his normative Halachic viewpoint. And it is in relation to some unknown mystical practice, , whether he is alluding to the abstention of the prophet, the philosopher or the Kabbalist is unclear.

    The Rambam as a Doctor, actually writes of sexuality and even of aphrodisiacs.
    =================
    It is clear from the above quotes that there is no difference between the Rambam of Moreh Nevuchim and what he writes for halacha in Mishneh Torah and his commentary to the Mishna. In addition it is clear that the Ramban agrees with him.

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  20. Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 240:1):… And even when he is with his wife he should not have intent for his pleasure but rather should be like a person fulfilling an obligation. That is the obligation of providing her with sexual intercourse and to fulfill the mitzva to have children who are involved in Torah and fulfilling the mitzvos. Also if he has intent in the last six months of pregnancy - since the intercourse is good for the child - that he should come out properly that is also fine. It is also proper to have intent for his own well being so that he shouldn’t have desire for sin because he sees that his lust is growing and he has desire for it. Rema: Also in this he receives reward. However it is much better to push off his desire and to repress it. That is because there is a small limb in man and when it is starved it is satiated while if it is satiated it becomes ravenous. However someone who doesn’t need it but deliberately arouses his lusts in order that he can fulfill it – that is the advice of the yetzer harah. From doing something permitted he is seduced to do something prohibited. Our Sages say about this – whoever deliberately causes an erection is in nidoi (ostracized).

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  21. Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 240:8): Sexual intercourse should be done with fear and trepidation as it is said about R’ Eliezar that he revealed a tefach and he covered a tefach and he acted as if he were being forced by a demon. In other words he did it with fear and trepidation as if he were being forced by a demon. Some say that uncovering a tefach and covering a tefach is refering to his own clothing so that he would reduce the pleasure during intercourse. He acted as if he were being forced by a demon i.e., he acted as if he only did it because he was being forced. Some say that revealing a tefach is referring to the woman. In other words, she was only uncovered for the sake of intercourse and then she was covered again. In other words he did not prolong intercourse and therefore it was like he was frightened by a demon and he stopped what he was doing – i.e, he did it very quickly. While others say that revealing a tefach refers to her apron with which she was wearing because even at the time of intercourse she needs a covering and therefore he only uncovered the minimum tefach needed for intercourse and then he covered her up immediately in order to minimize his pleasure. All of these explanations are true and it is necessary for a spiritual person to be careful of them.

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  22. The argument of Arayos is a red herring. It is like arguing since homosexuality is forbidden, so is hetero. The Torah is clear about permitted and forbidden. The discussion is not about incest.
    Regarding Moreh, this is totally different from both Deot and Isurrei biah.
    These Halachic texts recommend - for the scholar - moderate relations. They do not, for example suggest that relations should only be used to create pregnancy.

    In the Guide, Rambam introduces a method of physical sensory deprivation. This is not in line with the Issurei Biah that you just quoted!

    Rambam (Hilchos Issurei Bi’ah 21:9): A man’s wife is permitted to him therefore all that a man wants to do with his wife he can do. He can have sex with her whenever he wants, he can kiss any limb he wants, he can have natural and unnatural sex – as long as he doesn’t waste his seed.


    The Guide is talking about something very esoteric - and it is about preparing for death, hence his mention of the term "kiss of death". the Guide is preparing a man for leaving this world and going to the next, and leaving his physical desires behind.
    Note that he mentions the prophets other than Moses would only abstain in preparation for prophecy and not totally.

    The Guide is not something for everybody, it is taught only from 1 person to another. MT is for Klal Yisrael. The stringencies are for those who wish to be pious.


    There is an interesting halacha in Issurei Biah, Ch11:15. Rambam takes isue with some teshuvot of the Geonim, where separation between man and wife after childbirth is kept for 40/80 days for m/f child respectively.
    He calls these teshuvot "apikorsus"! And that they are influence of the tsedukim!!! and that they should be erased,and only the 7/14 day separation should be observed!

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  23. Eddie you are not reading the Rambam that I quoted. He clearly says that the purpose of sex is to have children and the the time involved is the minimum necessary to have children.

    The quote regarding IBiah 11:15 doesn't say anything positive about sexual relations but it is simply a deviation from the accepted halacha.

    רמב"ם הלכות איסורי ביאה פרק יא הלכה טו

    וכן זה שתמצא במקצת מקומות ותמצא תשובות למקצת הגאונים שיולדת זכר לא תשמש מטתה עד סוף ארבעים, ויולדת נקבה אחר שמונים, ואף על פי שלא ראתה דם אלא בתוך השבעה, אין זה מנהג אלא טעות הוא באותן התשובות ודרך אפיקורוסות באותן המקומות ומן הצדוקין למדו דבר זה, ומצוה לכופן כדי להוציא מלבן ולהחזירן לדברי חכמים שתספור ז' ימים נקיים בלבד כמו שביארנו.


    however others strongly defended this pracitise

    מראה הנוגה הלכות איסורי ביאה פרק יא הלכה טו

    [טו] וכן זה שתמצא במקצת מקומות וכו' ודרך אפיקורוסות וכו'. אה"ב ועיין להרב מלאכת הקדש סדר תזריע דף קכ"ו ע"ג שהקשה עליו ממ"ש במדרש פסיקתא בפרשה הנזכרת דמשם בארה דמנהג זה כבר דשו בו רבים מימי עולם ושנים קדמוניות ולא מיחו בידם חכמים ואם יש בו חשש מינות איך הניחום חכמים ז"ל באוולתם יעו"ש, ועיין מ"ש מור"ם במפה ביו"ד סימן קצ"ד ויש נוהגים שאין טובלים תוך מ' לזכר ופ' לנקבה ואין להתיר במקום שנהגו להחמיר וכו' יעו"ש, והרב פרי האדמה ח"א דף פ"ו ע"א העד מעיד לנו שבעיר הקודש ירושלים ת"ו נהגו להחמיר ואין להקל ח"ו, והרב מלאכת הקדש ז"ל שם הביא לנו שמצא כתוב בכתב יד הרב כמהר"י אבן צור וז"ל המנהג בפאס כך שאין הנשים טובלות תוך מ' לזכר ופ' לנקבה וכן מצא כתוב גם כן בכת"י של הרב כמהר"ש אבן דאנון וכי הוא שימש את הרב כמהר"ש סדירו והרב כמוהר"ר וידאל הצרפתי שכך היו נוהגים בימיהם וכן היו נוהגים בימי רבו הרב כמהריב"ע אף על פי שכתב הרמ"ה והביאו מהריק"ש בסימן קצ"ד נהגו להקל וכו' ובפרט שכתבו כמה גדולים ע"ז שקרוב הדבר למנהג זה הוא מנהג צדוקים מ"מ זהו דוקא במי שנוהג כך משום טעות שטעה שהדין כך אמנם אם נוהגין כן משום פרישות שפיר דמי ועיין בב"י בסימן הנזכר וכאן בפא'ס יע"א נהגו כן משום פרישות לכן אין להקל עכ"ל.

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  24. Aruch HaShulchan (O.C. 240:2): A person should think about the fact that lust was not created by G d for its own sake but rather the preservation of the human race. An obvious proof of this is that when the seed is emitted the lust ceases until over a period of time more seed accumulates and then the lust builds up again. Also one should realize that objectively sexual intercourse should something disgusting as it says in Shabbos (152a): A woman is like a pitcher full of filth and her mouth is full of blood and everyone runs after her. If it weren’t G d’s decree there wouldn’t be any lust for her. G d decreed this lust for woman in order that there should be the preservation of the human race. Therefore all intelligent people and G d fearing people should be aware of this and not stumble in this world or be embarrassed. It is already known that this issues is the source of the holiness of the Jewish people.

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  25. Each source of Rambam actually has different nuances.

    Rambam (Commentary to Sanhedrin 7:4): It is permitted for a person to have sodomy with his wife as well as derech avarim or however he wants

    This will not produce children!

    He qualifies this statement by saying it is permitted,but not recommended for a spiritual person.

    This is not his approach in the Guide. The Guide is recommending a course of extreme ascetism, whereas his halachic works are permitting broadly a lot, but recommending moderation.

    "That is because the path of that which is prohibited or permitted is different from the path of that which is disgusting or desirable as well as that which is modest and avoids excesses of material pleasure."

    This from his commentary to Mishna
    above. It is fundamentally different form his Guide.

    You are right that on Issurei Biah, 11:15 it is not openly saying anything about the nature of sexual relations.
    Others disagree on this, but others , such a Ra'avad also disagree on his views about pilegesh, and his claim that it was only valid for Kings.

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  26. The idea that lust is to induce us to procreate, is also agreed by evolutionary scientists!

    My fundamental questions are:

    a) Do we or some of the Jewish Tradition view marriage as a necessary evil (like Christianity did or may still do)?

    b) If we educate ourselves to hate women and see them as disgusting persons, what happens to the outcome? I know that nobody on this blog is advocating such a viewpoint. But the yetzer hara can then see male/male sexuality as more acceptabale, or child abuse.

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  27. Getting back to the topic of Gur Chassidim, and the separation of sexes in general, I think they certainly have a point that men should not be looking at women (even deriving pleasure from looking at a woman's pinky is forbidden according to the Gemara). However, this isn't the only value in the Torah -- it needs to be balanced against other considerations.

    Women are a diverse lot, and among them (in every society and sub-group) some will have the capacity to be great leaders, teachers, musicians, scientists, politicians, etc. Society suffers when their talents are not utilized, and they suffer when they have aspirations that their society does not let them fulfill. Pirkei Avot says that one should learn from every person. This means that women have something to teach us -- they do not have to be solely in the private realm. Men can still maintain the personal holiness they desire when there are women in the public sphere -- they just have to expend some effort not to transgress by staring at women.

    I think the creation of Beit Hillel, a new dati leumi rabbinical group (to which over 150 rabbis have already signed up) which includes women, including both known as Torah scholars and teachers and well-known rebbetzins, is a good step toward countering the increasingly common stringency of complete separation of the sexes.

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/new-orthodox-group-puts-israeli-women-at-its-head-1.410083

    I see nothing wrong with charedi women having ten children and being mainly housewives (or with a limited set of jobs such as schoolteachers), or even with a restrained approach to marital sexuality as mentioned in the article (as long as there is true shalom bayit, a warm and happy relationship in the family). The point is that some women have (or would have if it were permitted) aspirations for careers, civil society involvement, advanced Torah learning (whether in the realm of halachah, aggadah, chassidut, etc.), etc., and everyone would benefit if they were allowed to participate in more realms of life.

    I know there are some charedi women lawyers, doctors, etc. -- at least in the U.S. -- and even the Lubavitcher Rebbe said that there is nothing wrong with women having careers once their children are raised. And there has been an explosion of Torah learning among women in all religious camps in the last few decades. So things might eventually change, except perhaps in the most closed communities.

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  28. In praise of the Gur Hassidim, the article says they are also careful in mixing with same sex. This is very good - for example, the mikva is not allowed for children, an for adults (above 13) they do not hang around there like other groups do.

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