[Avodah] De-Chokifying Arayos

via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Mon Jul 27 12:41:37 PDT 2015

From: Kenneth Miller via Avodah  <avodah at lists.aishdas.org>

>> We have discussed the idea that  a posek may sometimes choose a psak 
based on what "seems right" to him, and then  he will find sources to support 
that conclusion. But if I remember correctly,  this is usually done in the 
case of *new* questions, where there is little  precedent to draw upon.

But that's not what's happening here. This is a  case where the Shulchan 
Aruch paskened very clearly in one direction, and this  approach went 
uncontested through centuries of acharonim. Then something  changed.... 


Why aren't we rejecting these revisionist poskim out of hand? 
--Akiva Miller

It seems to me we are using the words "psak" and "poskim" too  loosely.  If 
it's psak you want, I think all sources, rishonim and  acharonim, agree 
that marital intercourse is always mutar (assuming  the usual, the wife is not 
a nidah, it's not forced, it's not Yom  Kippur, etc).  What we are really 
talking about here is hashkafa, not  psak -- even if it is in the Shulchan 
Aruch.  What frequency is  optimum?  Surely that is at least partly subjective, 
and any of the various  sources that apparently disagree with each other 
can be drawn upon when  you're looking for something to back up what your gut 
tells you is right.   I can easily see a modern day rav or Torah mentor 
varying his answers depending  on the circumstances of the wife and husband who 
are asking him for advice, as  well as accepted societal norms.  Also it 
seems to me that with all  the talk about minimizing this-worldly pleasure -- 
which in general is a  Torah-dik thing to do -- we are also losing sight of 
the husband's obligation of  onah.  For a wife, physical closeness is tied to 
emotional closeness and it  is often not, strictly speaking, a this-worldly 
pleasure but a real  emotional need, which a husband has at least some 
obligation to fulfill.

--Toby Katz
t613k at aol.com


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