Sunday, June 14, 2009

Abuse - Sex and Kiruv/Being friendly

Kiddushin(70a): He said, “Let my daughter Donag serve drinks.” He replied, “But Shmuel said that one may not make use of a woman.” “But she is only a child!”“But Shmuel said explicitly not to make use of a woman at all whether she is and adult or a child.”

Kiddushin(81b):Rav Acha went to visit Rav Chisda his son‑in‑law. He took his young granddaughter and put her on his lap. Rav Chisda asked: Don’t you know she is betrothed [and thus you not show affection because she is a married woman – Rashi]? Rav Acha said: Then you have violated Rav ruling that one should not betroth a child while she is still a minor but should wait until she has grown up and say who she wants to marry. Rav Chisda said: But you have transgressed Shmuel ruling - by placing her on your lap – that one should not utilize a woman. Rav Acha said: I am following a different ruling of Shmuel that all is to be done for the sake of Heaven [and my intent was not love of a woman but rather to show affection for my granddaughter and make my daughter happy when she see me being affectionate - Rashi]

Beis Shmuel(E.H. 21:11): Only their intent should be for the sake of Heaven – to make it pleasant for her father and mother and other such things. Because of this there is a custom to dance with the kallah in order to make her more beloved of the chasan or to honor or father. However it is appropriate for a talmid chachom to be strict. The Bach writes that in our land the practice is to be lenient and not to prohibit it. It is apparent from Tosfos that all that is not for the sake of love but for the sake of Heaven is permitted.

Beis Shmuel(E.H. 21:12): To examine her scalp – for lice…It would appear that there is a distinction between examination of his wife – which is not to be done in the presence of others because they will come to sexual fantasy because they will remember their own personal intimacies but concerning his daughter or his sister and granddaughter there is no memories stirred of indelicacies and therefore it is permitted before others.

Rambam(Hilchos Ishus 21:5): It is prohibited to make use of a woman at all – whether she is an adult or a child or whether she is a slave or a free woman – because it might lead to sexual fantasy. What type of service are we talking about? It is washing his face and feet, making his bed before him, filling up his cup – all of these things are only to be done by his wife. Furthermore one should not ask after the welfare of a woman at all – even by means of an intermediary.

Shulchan Aruch(E.H. 21:5): It is prohibited to utilize a woman at all. It doesn’t matter whether she is an adult or child or whether she is a slave or a free woman – because this might lead to sexual fantasy. What utilization are we talking about? It is the washing of his face, hands and feet. Even to pour the water to wash his face, hands and feet even with out touching him is prohibited. Making his bed before him and pouring his cup. Rema Some say that it is also prohibited with all prohibited relations to eat from a common dish – just as when his wife is a nidah. Some are lenient with all these because they are only prohibited when his wife is a nidah. Others say that all of this is only in private but in a location where many people are present such as a bath – it is permitted to wash from non-Jewish slaves. And that is the way we are accustomed. Others say that all actions which are not done in a loving manner but his intent is for the sake of heaven is permitted. Therefore we are accustomed to be lenient with these things. Some people say that we are not to act even with one’s wife in acts of loving affections – such as to examine the scalp for lice – in the presence of others.

Tosfos(Kiddushin 82a): Everything is to be done for the sake of heaven - We rely on this now to permit utilizing women.


  1. Recipients and PublicityJune 15, 2009 at 3:18 AM

    Rabbi Eidensohn, not quite sure what this string of quotations from various sources has to do with the title of this post "Abuse - Sex and Kiruv/Being friendly" or with modern day kiruv rechokim and the baal teshuva movement in general?

    Could you please explain and be more explicit and state your point in your own words and not assume that people can divine your intention or implications or innuendos without you being very specific and clear about what you are drivibg at especially as it regards kiruv rechokim and the baal teshuva movement that goes with that.

    What exactly are you are attacking and critiquing now?

    If you would be kind enough to answer those questions then maybe a rational and appropriate response could be formulated, but it's very hard to respond to a string of gemoras and chazals tossed out without any context or explanation and suspended in mid-air without any references to anything like arbes tsum vant.

    Thank you.

  2. My wife has cleaning help once a week. She makes all the beds after doing the laundry, including mine. I was thinking that is nisht ah sheina zach but I don't want to make my wife m'shugena since she has enough to take care of already. I am now noteh to ask a shaila.

  3. Also, it is very common when one family hosts another family for a seudah that the wives and daughters congregate in the kitchen to shmooze and put the seudah together. And then the baalas habayis puts portions on plates and the other wife or her daughters brings them in to the men and puts down a serving in front of the baal habayis (or clears his plate, reaching out to take it from in front of him). It is probably not the best way of doing things.

    But again, where does one draw the line between proper tznius conduct as befits a ben Torah, and being matriach ones wife?

  4. None of the sources indicate a problem with "utilizing women" outside of the tasks specifically enumerated.

    for example:
    "What utilization are we talking about? It is the washing of his face, hands and feet.... Making his bed before him and pouring his cup. Rema Some say that it is also prohibited with all prohibited relations to eat from a common dish – just as when his wife is a nidah."

    I would say that the SA and RAMA (also the RAMBAM)are both coming to limit the tasks that are assur to the specific ones enumerated. This makes sense, since otherwise, ein sof ladavar - there would be no end to the matter.

    Of course, if one wants to be strict, perhaps he can give his wife and daughters (and female guests)a rest and serve the food with his sons ;)

  5. Michoel,

    With regard to making the bed, the SA (and the RAMBAM) says "making the bed *before him*". This is just the same as with a wife in niddah. So as long as you're not in your bedroom while the maid is making the bed, there's no issur involved at all. Further, having a woman do one's laundry is not mentioned as an issur by the SA or the RAMBAM at all.

    It seems like the the sources are quite clear where to draw the line between tznius as befits a ben Torah and being matriach one's wife.

  6. Recipients and PublicityJune 16, 2009 at 10:29 AM

    Sex is not just a problem when it combines with kiruv!

    It is also absurd to think that the problem revolves about the correct balance of relations and interactions between males and females only.

    It is far wider than that. The age-old problem of male teachesr touching their students is ever-present, see report Protecting the pedophiles.

    In other words problems relating to homosexuality and the inappropriate touching of talmidim by rebbeim is as hot an issue as potential problems between male instructors and female students.

    We live in a society that is "sexually aroused" to put it bluntly. All manner of lusts, desires and perversions than only a few decades ago were forbidden subjects are today up front and center. While once upon a time homosexuality was kept hidden and in the closet, today it is out in the open with gay pride and parades being popular and a new secular term "homophobia" makes it illegal to discrimate against gays in teh West. There are even groups of Orthodox (including Hasidim and Haredim) gays who organize themselves and meet openly.

    There is an entire class of "LGBT" of people that flaunt there non-conformist sexual lifestyle, and the root of it all is that the yetzer hora for arayos is in full force in the ikvese demishicha and that the permissive and sexualized Westernized societies tolerate it all -- and it is having a huge impact in the Orthodox, Hasidic and Haredi communities as the gays and the latent homosexuals feel emboldened (sometimes even subconsciously) and prey on the weak and are still getting away with it because unfortunbately the slwo moving rabbinic leadership is often still living in the 18th century when these things were regarded as horribly shameful and not spoken about and either totally denied or deliberately ignored and certainly not given credence by reporting it to authorities and seeking protection for victims and their families, as this recent story conveys: Protecting the pedophiles

    But the times they are a changin'...


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