Monday, February 22, 2016

The Steipler: The correct understanding of the mitzva to love one's wife Igros Kodesh #1

Igros Kodesh (#1): 1) While it is true that asceticism in dealing with the lusts of this world is an important thing [assuming that it is done for the sake of heaven to give pleasure to G-d and not just to be more developed in spirituality] but that is only if it is done after he has already fulfilled is Torah obligations. However if by being ascetic he nullifies the slightest of his Torah obligations then his deeds are credited to the Sitra Acher [evil] - G-d forbid and he doesn’t advance in true spirituality. So even though he views himself as becoming a more elevated being by his asceticism he in fact is burying himself in the grave of pride by considering himself a very spiritual person when in fact his spirituality is seriously defective. And this frequently manifests itself as degradation in that it leads him to committing an actual Torah prohibition and he is not able to restrain himself at all as we know from a actual case where this happened – G-d should preserve us!

Conjugal rights of the wife is a Torah commandment just as serious as eating matzo. And even ignoring it when she is pregnant [when the wife has not truly excused him wholeheartedly from his obligations] makes into a complete sinner. And sins like this which are between two people are not atoned for even by Yom Kippur. He is like a robber or mugger who steals from his wife what is owed to her. This is comparable to killing his wife since it is known that the prime hope of a woman in this world is that she have a husband who loves her. Therefore when she see that he doesn’t love her, it is almost life threatening (pikuach nefesh) because of the great upset and anguish he causes her by making her like a widow while her husband is still alive.

The conjugal obligations of workers is twice a week, for a talmid chachom it is once a week. The Achronim write that in modern times we do not have people who are called talmidei chachomim according to Chazal [that is because in modern times we are not properly careful about not nullifying ourselves from Torah study and there are other reasons], nevertheless the reason why a talmid chachom only has an obligation once a week is because the Torah weakens his physical strength. That reason would therefore apply also a talmid chachom in modern times. However a talmid chachom who knows that he has the strength retains the obligation of having intercourse twice a week. This is how it is explained in the Biur Halacha (O.C. 240). This was the practice of the Chasam Sofer as is known – see the Mishna Berura there. It is also the practise of most talmidei chachomim in modern times ]before they reach old age ] It is obvious that she married with the understanding that her husband would follow the accepted practise. And furthermore the husband is obligated by the kesuba to conduct himself according to normative practise [for those similar to himself]. It is obvious that if he wants to exempt himself by have intercourse only once a week and not twice that this is close to creating a situation of a genuine uncertainty regarding a Torah obligation. Aside from that there is a separate obligation for the husband when he is aware that she desires to have relations – even if she indicates this by very slight hints as is explained in Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 240:1 which is from Pesachim 72 and in a number of other places.

2) The details of sexual intercourse of the mitzva of conjugal obligations are explained in the Siddur of Rav Yaakov Emden in the section of the laws of Shabbos night. It should be studied carefully because these are actual halachic obligations. Because according to the Torah it is prohibited to have intercourse in circumstances where the woman is not interested and therefore it is necessary to get her interested with intimate activities such as hugging and kissing until she is sexual aroused and desires intercourse. Because if this is not done first – it is like placing her before a lion who mauls and eats as is explained in Pesachim (49). [It is a terrible sin to deprive her of her sexual rights even if he is doing it for the sake of piety and asceticism. Taking what belongs to his wife can not be the basis of piety by theft and treating her as a slave]. Furthermore to have sexual intercourse against her will results in having children who are sinners and rejecters of Torah – they are call bnei anusa (children of rape).

A husband who grabs and has intercourse immediately without preliminary intimacy and then separates immediate after ejaculation and leaves her, might think that he is acting like a highly spiritual angel. But in actual truth he has not lowered his lust at all even though he definitely has placated his desires for the time being sine he has in fact obtained full pleasure from this intercourse. In contrast his wife felt no pleasures at all from this abrupt sexual act. In fact she has been hurt and shamed and the tears she sheds in private will not go unanswered. That is because our Sages(Bava Metzia) tell us that the Gate of Tears has not been closed. They say that a man should be very careful with his wife honor because she readily cries. There is no question that such a brutal act arouses Divine judgment against him. Furthermore he does not merit to have Divine help either in spiritual or material issues. And this that he mistakenly thinks he becomes a highly spiritual person by trying to be insensitive to his wife in sexual matters – this is a worthless fantasy and a lie. That is because from sins and transgression, one becomes blemished and spiritually impure – not elevated.

And this is stated in Shulchan Aruch (240:8) that it is done only after his wife is placated and is interested in doing it. Because otherwise it is prohibited to have intercourse without her consent as is explicit there in the Shulchan Aruch (240:3) and as is explained in the Siddur of Rav Yaakov Emden and this is actual Torah halacha. [In particular what is written in Shulchan Aruch (68). We see in Orchos Chaim in the name of Neziros Shimshon who writes that according to the Zohar and the writings of the Arizal – the halacha is in accord with the first explanation [that one should not have intent for the sake of pleasure but only for the sake of doing a mitzva]. However according to the second and third explanations [that they should be dressed during intercourse and that it should be done quickly] the opposite is true and there is a prohibition in doing this according to kabbalah. Nevertheless even according to the view of the Shulchan Aruch this is only if done with the full agreement of the wife. And thus is my understanding.

3) One who is intimate with his wife with hugging and other things for the sake of Heaven because he wants to have mercy on her that she shouldn’t be pained and feel abandoned – this will not cause the slightest weakening of his fear of Heaven or succumbing to lust. The opposite is true – it will bring him to holiness (kedusha) and he will be fulfilling the Torah command of imitating G-d. Just as He is merciful so to you should be merciful. Besides that hugging and kissing or any other act of intimacy is an inherent part of the mitzva of onah (conjugal duties) as is explained by the poskim regarding Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 184:10) concerning the obligation when a man goes on a trip just before the time for his wife’s menstrual period. 

4) While it is true that many talmidei chachomm conduct themselves in an ascetic manner in a number of intimate things – but that is only with the complete agreement of his wife and with her forgiveness with a full heart. And this agreement comes in most cases after it is explained to her that in truth her husband loves her and it is only for the sake of heaven that he is restraining himself. Or alternatively she married someone who is known as a tzadik whose reputation compensates for her loss of intimacy with him. But G-d forbid that the husband should conduct himself as an ascetic when it causes pain to his wife who is dependent upon him and does not forgive him whole heartedly concerning that which he is obligated to do for her.

5) Our Sages (Yevamos 62b) say, One who loves his wife as himself and honors her more than himself…is described by the verse "You should know that you will have peace with your wife…." It is important to note that our Sages are not saying to love one's wife with the natural love that man is attracted to a woman but rather to love her with the love that friends have for each other - as someone he knows and has a covenant with him and that they are partners in many things and each one helps and receives help from the other. In addition the love he feels for her should also come from gratitude. He needs to have the clear image in his mind that if he had not gotten a wife and would have remained alone and isolated - how much suffering and pain he would have from this. But now that he has a wife his life is in place and functioning. The significance of gratitude is immeasurably important. In fact our Sages state in the Mishna Rabbi Eliezer (Chapter 7) that all those who lack gratitude to their fellow men will eventually lack gratitude towards G-d. If you look there you will see how extremely stringent they are in this matter. This type of love is what our Sages say a man is obligated to have towards his wife. And again this love does not come from the lust a man has for a woman at all but from one of the good attributes which he is obligated to have. He needs to have this type of love and feeling towards her when he strives to cause her rejoicing at the time of intercourse and well as before and afterwards. Such a relationship is not disgusting – chas v'shalom – but rather it is a mitzva. In fact he should conduct himself in this manner even if he were not obligated by the Torah and surely now that the Torah does obligated it - as we mentioned before.


  1. This blog has committed quite a bit of sh'fichas damim, recently begun dabbling in gilui arayos, all that's missing is avodah zarah. (Unless I missed those posts)

  2. The Pittsburgher Rebbe, Shlit"a told me the following story:
    The son of a Rebbe (I don't think he mentioned the name) got married during the month of Av. He told his father, that as preparation for the Holy Days of Tishrei, he wanted to refrain from having relations with his bride from Rosh Chodesh Elul until after Yom Kippur. His father told him, "This is a beautiful sentiment. However, it only has value if no one knows about this resolution of yours - including your wife!"
    In other words, you can behave ascetically if you want to, but not at the expense of your wife's feelings.
    True asceticism may be in having relations and showing affection, while being detached internally. If there is any outward sign of the detachment - it is posul.
    How many people could actually maintain this dichotomy?

  3. This topic was historically and traditionally kept low profile and discussed personally and tactfully with a choson (and kalla) a few days before his chasuna?

    On what justification are you publicicing this (and other posts on this inyan) to all and sundry, in English, on the internet?

  4. I suspect plenty of unmarried people read this blog. Bochorim, Bochurot et all.These are topics that are not discussed in public forums. At least they have never been in the past. You are breaking with tradition here.

  5. Are you claiming there is a prohibition!?

    After all Torah wasn't taught on radio, mp3, video 25 years ago. Then again 100 years ago 12 and 13 year old children were getting married - it is a break with tradition to marry as late as we do it today.

    Are you claiming that parts of the gemora and shulchan Aruch were always prohibited until a person got married?!

    Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky told my brother that these issues should be made available in English, that sex education should start when a boy is 16.

    However when I mentioned the latter to the Novinminsker Rebbe - 25 years ago - he said 16 is too late. "There are 8 year olds who know more than I do".

  6. Your problem is that you think that I should be writing about Artscroll fanstasy instead of reality. If you have evidence that what is being reported here is not true - the present it. Otherwise show some intelligence and be quiet.

  7. I think you are missing the point. Even if it's correct to discuss with younger children today, as you claim RYK and the Novominsker have said, a public forum is not the place for them to learning about it. What do you suspect will happen after a 13 year old reads such post but has questions?

  8. I am claiming it is a breach of gidrei tzinus, yes. And it is a breach of tradition, yes. Whether halachikaly ossur or hashkaficly ossur, or ossur at all, I will leave to you. But have a look at the Tosfos Rid on ein dorshin b'arayos bishlosha.

    And I assume your justification from MP3 players etc is not serious. Are you aware of 12 and 13 year old children getting married today reading your blog?

    And the gemoro is generally far less explicit. Apart from a couple of lines in shabbos which are remozim. And yes, I belive in some circles some gemoro is missed out. Ironically bochurim never learnt nidda even though it there is very little inyonei ishus in it.

    As for out of context anecdotes from RYK and the Novinminsker they prove nothing. Was he talking in the context of an internet blog? Was the Noviminsker Rebbe talking about inyonei ishus?

  9. regarding your citation of Tosfos Rid - please cite the variety of understanding of that passage. Cherry picking quotes is not helpful.

    I assume you are simply not aware of 1) the world we live in 2) what topics single males and females talk about and how ignorant they are of Jewish hashkofa even when they attend chasan and kalla classes.

    I talked with a therapist who deals with the frum community who had a number of horror stories including women being raped by their husbands and forced to do all sorts of disgusting things for their husbands and when they get enough nerve to ask their rabbis/kallah teachers and or parents - they are told that they have an obligation to do whatever is need to make their husbands happy and any anger and beating that results must be because they aren't trying enough to make their husbands happy.

    Of course because of modesty it is important that this level of ignorance continue and because of the laws of lashon harah we should not acknowledge the problem of domestic abuse and surely we should not involved the police in domestic violence because that is mesira - DID I CORRECTLY EXPRESS YOUR POINT OF VIEW?

  10. Re the Tosfas Rid - I am not aware of any variety of understandings, it seems pretty clear to me.

    Yes, I am fully aware of the world we live in. Not sure what point you are making here.

    I am not convinced by your anecdote of the therapist. Firstly, what numbers are we talking here? Secondly, are the people concerned likely to be reading your blog? Thirdly, you can deal with the problem in a tzniyusdik way by having a banner fixed to the top of your blog explaining that if the reader is a wife abused by her husband and who has been told by their Rabbis/kallah teachers that it is ok, she can contact you offline for some help, guidance and marei mekomos. No need to publicise large amounts of discreet material on the web. Even the modern orthodoc blogs stay away from this.

    You can have all the posts you like on domestic abuse and mesira. I know, and I know that you know, that domestic abuse and mesira is not what I am upset about in this series of comments. To spell it out again in words of one syllable, read my earlier comments.

    Finally, have you considered that your posts on this inyan can destroy sholom bayis as well. Consider a case of a husband who is acting strictly in these inyonim and his wife is perfectly happy. Suddenly, she reads this material and realises that her husband can do 'more' or try 'different things', the sort of thing that she is subconsciously bombarded with as she walks down the street (I am not talking about Bnei B'rak here). And she wants her husband to do 'more' or try different things. And he resists. End of sholom bayis.

  11. you are clearly misunderstanding the Tosf Rid - I just added the translation as well as that of other sources. None of which supports your view.

    What exactly do you find offense. That marriage entails sexual satisfaction for the wife? That a husband is required to be sensitive to his wife feelings and needs? What do you find stating such is so shocking and objectionable?

    You have got to be kidding. You are concerned that a wife who has managed to accept being abused in these matters is required by halacha because her husband thinks he is a great tzadik or talmid chachom- becomes aware that the Torah position is not what she has been told?! That a woman might realize she is not a form of property or kosher prostitute and that would destroy their shalom bayis?! Would you would really prefer women remain barefoot and pregnant and are silent unless spoken to and respond with "yes master" to everything their husands say?!
    Aren't you aware that Lincoln freed the slaves? Aren't you aware that that is against the Torah?

  12. I don't find 'offense' at anything.

    I am merely pointing out that publishing this material, in English, on an internet blog for all and sundry to read, if a breach of tradition and against gidrei tzniyos. A point that you are failing to address (other than a couple of anecdotes and claiming that it is justified to stop women being abused. To which I responded there are more tzniyusdik ways to do this).

    You turned the discussion on to other things, and I (perhaps foolishly) responded. And now you are just making irrelevant points. What an earth has Lincoln and slavery got to do with anything? And where did I write "That a husband is NOT required to be sensitive to his wife feelings and needs". Of course he is, but where does it say you need to provide the wife with different ideas, when she is perfectly happy as she is.

    But we will let the readers decide. Where have you added the tosfos rid?

  13. Can you clarify what you mean when you say that women were "raped" by their husbands? If you mean forcibly raped, I totally agree. But take a situation where a woman is unhappy in a marriage but chooses to stay and work on things (or not). She puts up with having relations because she knows that saying no would be a deal breaker for her husband, but she has no interest and would rather not. Would you call that rape?

    Rape is a vicious crime. A woman agreeing to have relations so as to keep what's left of her marriage together doesn't sound like rape to me.

  14. Of course there are different pshotim in the gemoro. That's why I said Tosfos Rid's peshat! The translation you state is what I said he says. And you have also brought the Rambam in two places to support my position.

    I am not sure how you can write that it is clear from the gemoro that there is no problem when some rishonim interpret this mishna/gemoro that there is a problem in publicising these inyonim the way you are doing.

    For further comment see my other comments.

  15. Where can one get this Sefer?

  16. They say the problem is publicizing leniencies - what leniencies were publicized?

  17. I am talking about forcible rape.

  18. From a previous post....

    "Also please look at the Rokeach
    (Jerusalem edition page 27a) who cites Nedarim (20b) that everything
    that a man wants to do with his wife he can do in order that he won’t
    have any interest in other women. "

    That is quite correct, but is an example of a leniency that is explained privately to an individual that comes to ask a Rav on these matters. Or in private to a choson. Not publicised on an internet blog. Or at least that was the way it was always done. B'tzinus. Would you be happy if Artscroll/ Feldheim or whoever published an English translation of the Steipler's letter and similar for the book store? If not, why is your blog different?

    Generally, assuming the husband and wife are happy with the way they are doing things, we follow the shulchan oruch that DOES restrict certain things in this inyan.

    Please do not pick on every single word I say, I am trying to talk b'remiza here. My gist is clear.

  19. And yes I know that nobody (apart from the very acetic) keeps certain things in the shulchan oruch. And everybody keeps others. Unless a heter is given privately.

    For example, we would not allow having the light on, unless a specif heter was given. We would not want all to rely on the general heter of "everything that a man wants to do with his wife he can do in order that he won’t have any interest in other women". Unlike the impression given by this blog, in public for all including bochurim to read.

    You don't even put some sort of warning at the beginning of this post that this material is not suitable for the unmarried. Just a couple of out of context anecdotes to justify it....

  20. And how do we know which parts of shulcan oruch are for everybody and which parts are for the ascetics only?

    By discussing it with a rov or choson classes. Not from a blog.

  21. Just to summarise in words of one syllable....

    The leniencies I had in mind referred to the general concept of "everything a man wants he can do with his wife." See the post quoting Rav Wolbe.

    That includes a wide gamut of leniencies, many of them frowned upon as being the antithesis of kedushas yisroel, without and in the absence of specific, private and tzniusdig guidance from a rov. Not guidance from a blog mass pasting bits of seforim.

    I hope that is clear....

  22. Did R' Yaakov tell your brother that 16 yr old's should be taught these subjects in a public forum via an internet blog?!!
    Or is it on here because this is the only forum in which you are able to teach (Torah & other things) to people, because The Jewish Nation have more sense than to let you actually be Mechanech Yiddishe children!

  23. Lol, trust me, if she was truly happy with the strictness of her husband, vs. Just being passified by his actions due to the belief that that was all she was allowed, reading this blog wouldn't make her desire more.
    If reading about her rights from this blog made her want more out of her intimate life, then she was merely passified, not satisfied all along.

  24. Because there are many many many kalla and choson teachers who have destroyed marriages..... They have filled the ideas into young women's heads about the importance of thinking of tzadimkim, or pray for rightous children as they are uniting intimatly with their husbands.
    The guys were taught not to enjoy martial relations, that it is wrong and assure. Women and men are taught that only missionary is allowed, and many other levels of higher madreiga are taught as basic principles.

    There are many incompetent kalla teachers out there.

    The more I think about it, the more benefits I see to this post.....

    Bit I admit my initial reaction was also to shun this topic....

  25. לקיים מה שנאמר אל ישט אל דרכיה לבך אל תתע בנתיבותיה , כי רבים חללים הפילה ועצומים כל הרוגיה.

  26. לקיים מה שנאמר וידעת כי שלום אהלך ופקדת נוך ולא תחטא

  27. Can you please post about healthy eating? I'm not even talking organic. But basic principles of the dangers of soda, food colors, access sugar, and all the other junk food that floods our chinuch system.
    Why is soda used as a reward for Torah learning????
    Soda is to diabetes what sigarets are to lung cancer.

    Can you post some info about that too?

    Thank you.

  28. Interesting - suddenly we are not talking about the current posting of the Steipler's letter but you are now focusing on a post from last week.

    Does that mean that you concede that your understanding of Chagiga 11b was wrong and that your criticism is wrong?

  29. There is no prohibition to discuss the Shulchan Aruch on a blog nor the Rambam. You are making things up.

    If you prefer to be guided by a Rav when you learn these issues - that is your personal preference. If someone prefers learning them by himself - that is his personal preference. It is not an issue of prohibition.

  30. The yetzer horo is very good at pursuading people that they need things that they do not really need. Especially in this area and especially when it can stir up sholom bayis problems.

    Ask Chavah...

  31. It is clear there is no basis in Chagiga (11b) for your claimed prohibition.

    Maharsha (Chagiga 11b): Sexual prohibitions should not be taught to three students…and this is referring to the secrets of sexual prohibitions. Rashi explains, “that the secrets are those prohibited relationships which are not explicitly stated such as his daughter from someone he raped or the mother of his mother-in-law. “ However the term “secrets” is not consistent with this explanation. I learned from an ancient book that the term “secrets” is to be taken literally. It is referring to the esoteric secret of marrying one’s sister and Satan has claims against Jews concerning this prohibition. Because we see that at the beginning of the world, Caine and Abel in fact did marry their sisters and it was not viewed by Adam as prohibited. Similarly it is not commonsense that the sister of one’s wife should be prohibited as we that Yaakov was viewed as having a perfect family and yet he married his wife’s sister. Furthermore those two out of three students who are busy discussing the issues and are not listening to the reasons provided by their teacher will come and permit that which prohibited in sexual relations – such as these secrets which are not obvious from commonsense. With this understanding, the questions are resolved because secrets of prohibited sexual relations are actually similar to “Secrets of Creation” and to “Secrets of the Chariot” – which are clearly secrets and definitely hidden matters.

  32. The kedushas of am Yisrael is lost when sexualy unsatisfied men AND women turn to unkosher websites, magazines, or novels.... And all of that is as easily attained - easier in fact - then the halachos RDE brings down on this blog....

    If the light brings the kedushas of am Yisrael down then we must be on a very very holy plain.....

    Halavai sexually ungratified people should turn to this blog to find a way to fix their love life through halacha.

    But you and I both know a man and a woman will most likely turn to unkosher material first.... For that is the nature of humanity.

  33. Not sure what sort of choson and kalloh teachers you have experience of.

    The kalloh is traditionally not taught these heterim for the simple reason it is the choson who sets the tone. If the kallo asks for certain things from day 1 and the husband is not happy it is not a good omen for the future. Why put things into a young Beis Yackov girl's for no reason? A sensitive kallo teacher will not treat a baalas teshuvah in the same way.

    And in my circles the choson does learn through the Steipler's letter and it is discussed. But what is suitable to teach a choson in New York is not the same as what is suitable or necessary in Bnei B'rak.

    I am not talking about chasidim here, they have a different torah in these matters. I agree they will have issues.

    As for the importance of thinking about tzadikim that is brought down and I am not sure what your complaint is there.

  34. You are raising objections from what people have done - not what they must do. There is no prohibition about teaching any of these things in public.

    I would have no problem if Artscroll or Feldheim published a translation of the Steipler.

    I got the same arguments when I wrote my books on Abuse - There is no prohibition against - just people like you think it is prohibited

    A husband and wife who are resigned to doing things because they thought that is required - are not restricted against learning that their views were wrong. That is fact is the basis of the letters of the Steipler, Rav Wolbe, the Chazon Ish and Rav Yitzchook Scher as well as the sefer Mishkon Yisroel. Being resigned to an unhealthy relationship is not the same things as being happy with it.

  35. No of coure not. I held my silence last week but now feel this is getting too much. It's all the same inyan is it not?

  36. I would suggest you read through the letters of the Steipler and Rav Wolbe as well as Mishkon Yisroel - They were written as an antidote to people who were messed up by rabbis who think like you.

  37. I accept we can debate whether it is a prohibition or not.

    But it breaks gidrei tzniyus and the mesora of klal yisroel that has always been to deal with these topics privately and sensitively. The tosfos rid is a side issue.

    And before you ask me for my sources the complete lack of public seforim in this area strongly evidences my point.

  38. Finally you seem to be acknowledging this is an issue of personal preference not of issur.

    Similarly there are people who say that most of the issue discussed on this blog are the realm of private behind the door discussion of gedolim or they are things which should be swept under the rug.

    If you are not interested in learning about things which have traditionaly been kept under rabbinic lock and key - simply stop reading this blog.

    Not sure why you woke up on this issue and not attacked me for everything I have published for the last decade

  39. I am not disagreeing with your content here. I am disagreeing with your method of delivery which breaks our mesora of dealing with these things privately and discretely. As I keep stressing but you do not respond adequately to this point. Mishkan yisroel is only available to married people and the mocher seforim will or should ask. I was asked before I bought it. Mishkan Yisroel was not published on a blog.

    There was no such mesora with abuse and you throwing in a red herring.

  40. It is all the same issue as my blog for the last decade. You don't like it - so don't read it.

    It is not prohibited what I am doing - though there are clearly people like yourself who are unhappy about it.

  41. No I am saying it is an issue of mesora, not personal preference.

    I can't comment on what other people say or do not say about this blog. That is a red herring.

  42. Lol. Please join me in 2016 when young girls by the time they are 18 are very well aware of their sexuality, know all the different types of ways and things that go on between man and woman.

    Take a girl like that, and tell her she should only think of the lebavitcher rebbe during relations.... (True story btw)
    And when she can't, or she can't be pleased by her husband, maybe she needs to retake her kalla classes.

    Not telling her heteirim, or at least that if she wants something she is not a prust filled girl, and that it's OK and normal to have sexual desires her husband is a disaster waiting to happen....

  43. I have read them and I see nothing there to indicate that their contents should be publicised on a blog against the mesora of klal yisroel to keep these things private and discreet.

  44. You are 100% on your statement....
    And I agree with you 10000% !!!
    But I also believe very strongly that a woman will faster thinks she needsore in her any other sourse. Than this blog....

    A woman with no secret desires.or.secrets will not suddenly start craving more in the bedroom from reading this content..

    If indeed she truly is on a high madreigos, she will look at this post and sat,
    Hashem yishmore to.the woman plagued by the pritzus and prost of the Satan.

  45. As far as I am aware those letters from the Steipler and Rav Wolbe were not published but were shown as and when needed on a case by case basis in private. Mishkan Yisroel was published but responsible mochrei seforim only sold it to married people and chasanim.

    Far cry from publishing this discreet and sensitive material on a blog.

  46. I suggest you read the preface to the Meam Lo'ez regarding these types of topics. It was written in the common vernacular (Ladino) for a general audience in much the same way a blog like this is used today. So it also included these topics because they are part of the Torah.

  47. Shimon, if you want to complain about topics being discussed publicly start with this broadcast a YOUNG ISRAEL "rabbi" put on the public airwaves and the internet:

  48. Again this is a question of personal preference not a question of prohibition.

    Have you seen the letter of the Skulener Rebbe about the ignorance of bochurim concerning sexual sins because of the traditional reticence and fear of teaching them about them it?

  49. What is a mesora? How old is his mesora?

    How do explain the large section of the Menoras HaMeor dealing with sexuality? This is a sefer meant for the masses and many women learned it also? What about Igros Kodesh attributed to the Ramban - another popular sefer of the Baal Nefesh of the Ravad.

    Because something was done a certain way - does not mean that it was meant that it had to be done that way.

  50. RDE, can you share the Skulener Rebbe's letter?

  51. shimon,
    Please forgive my ignorance. But when I talk to a man about "all that a man wants to do with his wife he should do it" I explain that he is obligated to do it lest he sin with another woman. It is not a "leniency." This is in the Rokeach quoted by Rav Wolbe.
    I spoke for an hour with the major posek my Mechutaon Rav Mayer Bransdorfer about these matters. At the end, he smiled and took me to the door and said, "You have the sources, but we don't do things like that." He accepts that Americans and people who are not like Rav Mayer Bransdorfer have to watch out from too much kedusho. But people like him, who grew up during Hitler, have a different perspective about life. And this conflict is clearly stated in the Shulchan Aruch, that when somebody has a biological need for something he must do it with his wife, lest he do it with another woman. But somebody who has no such biological pressure should consider kedusho and prishuse.

  52. No I must confess I haven't.

    But was it published on a blog in English or was it written in discrete rabbinic hebrew mostly b'remez. As a private letter to somebody, a mashgiach maybe?

  53. All written in difficult rabbinic and rishonic hebrew. Without a rebbe very hard and tedious to understand.

  54. How you judge others says a lot about you....
    Unless you're a dayan and using the shulchan aruch to base your judgments on....

  55. Something that is matir, the yetzerharah has a harder time with. If a woman KNOWS ever thing is OK, she will have an easier time agreeing to help.her husband with his desire to achieve great kedushas in these matters. But if she believes it wrong and forbidden, then the yetzerharah harah will plague her relentlessly.... Same goes for a man.

  56. Wow, that was painful to listen to....

  57. Excellent post. As to all the comments that are showing shock at such a post on a public forum, at least people will be informed with correct information. Perhaps if people would follow the advise of the Torah and did not repress their natural sexual urges, Torah Judaism would not be in the sorry state it is in now.
    Soon it will be forbidden to smile in the Cheridi world since that will be construed as too sexual. Smile is the last Taboo.

  58. Or is it on here because this is the only forum

    And why, exactly, is your comment here? What does this type of comment say about you? What is your true goal with this comment?


  59. wow seems like shmaryahu rosenberg is writing your comments for you! You just missed "toddel of little man"!

  60. Going on your comments below, you are basically saying that people should remain ignorant unless they luck out and and get a good pre marriage session with someone who actually knows his stuff.
    Imagine all halacha was learnt like that.
    It appears that you didn't as you think that most things would be classified as needing a heter. Do you really think a man, or a woman, would go to their local rabbi and beg permission to carry out their sexual fantasies?
    As with many things of kedusha, if you are at a certain level then maybe you should be 'holier'. But that is not the halacha and you certainly don't need a hetter for anything. Forcing normal people to wrongly take on possibly marriage ruining chumras because you think they should be ignorant yet also super holy is just ridiculous.
    Only couples who know what is allowed can then, together decide if they are at the level where they can restrict themselves.

    Your argument that this used to be secret because it can only be found in difficult to understand rishonim/commentaries is absurd. All the rishonim/commentaries are difficult to understand. The only difference is that when the recent wave of halachic publishing started, prudeness left out halachot like these. That is hardly a proof for any mesorah.

  61. This same YOUNG ISRAEL "rabbi" also says this about driving on Shabbos: (transcript from about 19-20 minutes at ) "You know, people always ask me, they often ask me, they say listen, you know it says in Judaism, we don’t drive on the Sabbath. So from Friday night until Saturday day ... until Saturday night, we don’t get in a car and drive ...and drive. So a person says, "well Rabbi, you know you always tell people to come to Synagogue, come to Young Israel - Aish on Shabbos; you got to do that. So therefore it's better that they should drive". That's the question, they say "isn’t it better that they drive to come to shul than if they don’t, than if they stay home" and the answer is, isn’t it right to drive to shul than stay home by themselves? And I say, listen. I will never say that the right thing to do is to get into the car and drive on Sabbath. What I will tell you is that if you don't get to shul on Shabbos, then eventually you will be driving to the mall, you won't be observing anything.
    Because a person cannot, religion is a communal activity; it’s ...Religion is a personal issue that must be done within the context of a community. You have a personal relationship with God but you have to be around other people. So I say listen, sometimes you got to drive in order to learn how to walk, sometimes you have to stop and you got to say: Listen, I’ve got to make sure I come to shul enough times and then I will be inspired and be knowledgeable enough to say okay, now what I’m going to do is, I’m going to move next to the synagogue and be part of that.” "

    This is the same false logic expressed by the Conservative Rabbinate! It didn't work 60 years ago and it doesn't work now!

  62. Not to break your illusions but breaking it... while I lived in Jerusalem, I did not have a computer and often ran into different cyber cafes to e-mail my family and most of time there were always a religious boy or a few religious boys together looking into pornography in most cyber cafes I visited... specially the big one on the second floor of Tachana Mercazit... they just did not have any sense that such things should not be seen in public... and I always went there and said "Hey man, what are you doing? I don't wanna see these things, stop it." So... it's not foruns like this one that will damage the mind of some guys... they do it by themselves when they leave the non-internet-zone of their neighborhoods.

  63. Agree.... His logic is sooo anti Torah and halacha, that it's painful.... Besides listening to people pleasers talk, in general, brings irritational level into overdrive. My eyes start rolling all on their own accord... It's a side affect.

  64. So why has his organization and colleagues protected him? He was excommunicated TWICE by a diverse Bais Din in 2004. His YOUNG ISRAEL colleagues know he is an apikorus. Yet they make no move to discipline him or his synagogue. Is it because of the very wealthy family he has in his thrall?

  65. Over on LinkedIn we're having a similar discussion over a photo someone put up of someone with a prosthetic leg. Some people understood the point the poster was trying to make while others said it didn't belong on a business site.

  66. a new crop of people who didn't realize that this is and has always been an adult blog

    who don't realize that this blog helped correct a few messy adult scandals

    who came by to be informed about the TE saga and found out that this blog deals with more

    laila tov lechulam. lehitraot.

  67. תסע לבי עם ג'י ותשאל שמה [בכל הכבוד]

  68. Are you pulling my leg?

  69. Politically IncorrectFebruary 23, 2016 at 7:29 PM

    No, you're pulling his....

  70. Only if it's made of metal or carbon fiber

  71. Everything has its time and place..... Everyone has their time...
    While your questions and points are valid, I've learned that when things happen that completely defy basic human logic (like the lack of impeachment to the current president, or mass organized killing of MILLIONS of humans by a civilized, cultured nation, or even silence to a tremendously enormous issue like the avoda Zara mamash ie karate, and other idolotrous eastern arts etc. in the frum world) to accept that for whatever reason this is currently Gods Will.
    What His reasons are for allowing these things to be, are His cheshbone alone.
    Unless I can do something to change the current issues, I see no reason to let it get my blood pressure up.

  72. I hope you don't eat turkey either....

  73. I didn't say 'secret' I said not spoken about in public. Spoken, written is something else.

    Can you actualy respond to what I say?

  74. Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein told a moshol at the dedication of the new mikvah in Silver Spring of a man told by Hashem to push a boulder every morning. One day the Soton appears to the man and tells him the Malochim laugh at him everyday because he will never move the boulder. The man turns to Hashem in despair and asks what use is his pushing since he can never move the rock. Hashem answers him "I didn't tell you to MOVE the stone. I just told you to PUSH it". Whereupon Hashem picked up the boulder and moved it.
    ""He [Rabbi Tarfon] used to say: It is not upon you to complete the task, but you are not free to idle from it." (Pirkei Avos 2:21)
    I used to live in Washington DC and saw things being done by Barry Freundel that I knew were not proper. I asked his Rosh Yeshiva at RIETS, who Freundel acted with the utmost chutzpah to at a meeting Freundel himself had asked for, to please tell the shul about Freundel. The RY said he could not cause the congregation to lose faith in the rabbi.
    Had this RY spoken up as he should have Freundel would not have had the chance to place cameras in the mikvaos he supervised.

    There is a time to give up. But that time is not until the task is complete even if I am not the one to accomplish the completion.

  75. I wish to call attention to the title (and content) of this post:

    The Steipler: The correct understanding of the mitzva to love one's wife Igros Kodesh #1I seem to recall an earlier post that claimed that there is no particular mitzva to love one's wife. I disagreed, and we had an extended discussion about it in the comments. Is the Steipler contradicting the assertion of the earlier post?

  76. You are correct

  77. If I remember correctly, no one was able to agree on what love means. Western culture's definition of love was claimed to be unnecessary.

  78. Stop pushing your chassidishe shitos shel shtus here!
    Don't you know that the Vilna gaon and other gedolim made a cheirim against chassidim and their fake "preishus"?
    Do you think your shitta that bochorim and girls should be learning about these inyonim from their bummy friends and porn sites instead of this blog is the derech of the Torah?
    Every one of my Yeshivishe friends with whom i have discussed these matters with have found out about these inyonim from the Sitra Achra instead of from Yiddishkeit, from Parents or rabbeim.

    Parents and Rabbeim must realize this responsibility, and avoiding the topic will only pique the curiosity of children and tennagers more.

    Parents of kids born in 2016 or even 1980 who think that their kids will only find out about these things from the chosson/kallah teacher are worse than fools - they are irresponsible jews of the worst degree!

    Only a mentally retarded person could possibly come to think that kids can be kept so sheltered these days, and even if they can, why should they be kept in the dark until shortly before marriage?
    Is there a posuk or maamar chazal that says "You shall not teach sexual matters to children until shortly before marriage"?! Of course not!

    Your ideas come from the "preishus shel shtus" of the chassiddim and from the Christians who view sexuality as a necessary evil (as Aristotile held - brought down in Iggeres Hakodesh of the Ramban).
    These Christian views brought about the custom that priests are not allowed to marry - and look what happened, with all the scandals of the Catholic Church - hashem made taivoh for a reason, to be used in a holy way.

    It says in Chazal "you should be oved hashem with both yetzers - the yetzer tov and yetzer hora" - the wills of the yetzer hora have to be harnessed in the right way.

    I personally have had friends who went off the derech because they were searching for information on these matters, and of course were "kept sheltered" by their foolish parents, and in the process they made the wrong friends and got the wrong ideas about these matters, and that combined with anger at their parents and teachers for keeping them in the dark caused them to become lost from Klal Yisroel.

    The so-called "Chinuch experts" of the generation have not yet realized this phenomenon. This is a major cause of kids going off the derech these days.

    shimon, i hope you realize that your views do not come from True Yiddishkeit, rather from other religions such as Christianity and Chassidism.

  79. No - love he explains is that you show from gratitude - no diffferent then that you would show to anyone that you have a partnership with.

    There is no unique mitzva to love ones wife that differers from the mitzva to love your fellow man.

    The gemora cited is that if a persons shows love i.e. respect, gratitude or appreciation to his wife he will have shalom bayis. Nothing has changed

  80. He says (as per your translation) that the love that comes from gratitude, which he is obligated to feel for his wife, is *in addition* to the love that friends and baalei bris have for each other.

  81. Rabbi Eidensohn, is this your own translation or did you get it from someone else?

  82. maybe this will provide some clarity in that regard.

  83. That doesn't make sense. The Torah says one should love every Jews, kol shaken your spouse!

  84. Maybe some libraries, I think.

  85. That's very interesting. I didn't know that.

  86. How else do you understand it if it is bremez? Did Hashem give the aseres hadibros bremez?

  87. Or like Meir Kahane told hillel regarding Russian Jews, if you didn't do anything to help them, at least have the decency not to condemn those that did.
    Only Jews have these problems, no matter what you do, there is always gonna be a Dasan Aviram duo complaining.
    Thank you very much for translating the letter.r


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