[Avodah] De-Chokifying Arayos (including MZ)

Kenneth Miller via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Wed Jul 22 06:18:26 PDT 2015

The Moreh Nevuchim was quoted:

> As for the prohibitions against illicit unions, all of them are
> directed to making sexual intercourse rarer and to instilling
> disgust for it, so that it should be sought only very seldom.

R"n Lisa Liel wrote what I had wanted to write:

> So isn't that problematic? The idea that sex is something dirty
> and should be avoided except when necessary sounds like something
> out of Christianity. I understand that MN isn't a code of law,
> but what possible source can the Rambam have for this attitude?

R' Zvi Lampel answered:

> It's an Aristotelian attitude which the Rambam held is the Torah
> attitude. One source would be the account of the Amorah who felt
> duress during the marital process (you can find this in the
> Kitzur Shulchan Aruch). The Ramban strongly disagreed with the
> Rambam when it comes to a marital setting. I was taught we hold
> like the Ramban.

My guess is that you're referring to R' Eliezer from Nedarim 20b, referenced at the end of Kitzur 150:1.

But from what I have seen, not for nothing is it called "Kitzur Shulchan Aruch", because this seems to be the attitude of all the standard poskim. The Kitzur is not a standalone machmir here; from what I can tell, he's merely quoting the Mechaber in Orach Chayim 240:8.

Mishneh Brurah 240:35 (who refers us to Magen Avraham 240:21), Aruch Hashulchan 240:14, and Kaf Hachaim 240:59 all seem to advocate a strong reluctance towards intercourse, which is not quite as extreme as the Rambam's "disgust", but that might merely reflect their choice of words.

For purposes of Talmud Torah, where is this Ramban who "strongly disagreed with the Rambam when it comes to a marital setting"?

And for purposes of Halacha, which Acharonim hold like the Ramban, over the Mechaber, KSA, MB, and KH? (I recall hearing that the Siddur HaYaavetz might be the answer here, but there seem to be several different versions. If anyone can post a link to a specific version on SeforimOnline or HebrewBooks.org, and a page citation, I'd appreciate that very much.)

Akiva Miller
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