[Avodah] De-Chokifying Arayos (including MZ)

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Wed Jul 22 10:25:44 PDT 2015

On Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 06:54:49AM +0000, H Lampel via Avodah wrote:
: On 7/20/2015 10:10 PM, Lisa Liel wrote:
:> 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?

: 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.

But the most famous Ramban does speak of perushim tihyu and how perishus
is the key to holiness. (R' Shimon Shkop explains the Ramban as saying
it is a primary means to hoiness, because "qedoshim tihyu qi Qadosh
Ani" would be absurd if referring to Hashem practicing perishus. What
temptations would He need to avoid?) And his first example is yema'eit
bemishgal, like (Berakhos 22) "that TC not be found by their wives like
roosters" and that tashmish should be limited to "kefi hatzeikh beqiyum
hamitzvah mimenu".

I presume, in an unXian sense, the Rambam refers to onah, not "only"
piryah verivyah.

Perishus and neqi'us come up a lot in lower-case-m mussar literature, even
among anti-Maimonidians like Rabbeinu Yonah. To quote Mesilas Yesharim ch 13
(tr. from http://www.shechem.org/torah/mesyesh/13.htm I think it's the
old Feldheim ed, by R' Shraga Simmons):
    There is no question as to the permissibility of cohabitation with
    one's wife, but still, ablutions were instituted for those who had had
    seminal emissions, so that Scholars should not be steadily with their
    wives, like roosters. Even though the act itself is permissible it
    implants in a person a lust for it which might draw him on to what
    is forbidden; as our Sages of blessed memory have said (Sukkah 526),
    "There is a small organ in a man which, when it is satiated, hungers
    and which, when it is made to hunger, is sated." And they said about
    R. Eleazar (Nedarim 20b) that even in the proper hour and the correct
    time he would expose a handbreadth and conceal two hand-breadths and
    imagine that a demon was compelling him, in order to cancel out the
    feeling of pleasure.

And ch. 14:
    THERE ARE THREE principal divisions of Separation, involving
    pleasures, laws, and conduct respectively.

    Separation in relation to pleasures, which we spoke of in the
    previous chapter, consists in one's taking from the world only what
    is essential to him. This type of Separation encompasses anything
    which provides pleasure to any one of the senses, whether the
    pleasure be gained through food, cohabitation, clothing, strolls,
    conversation or similar means, exceptions obtaining only at such
    times when deriving pleasure through these means is a mitzvah.

    Separation in relation to laws ...

    Separation in relation to conduct ...

Which also limits marital intimacy to what is necessary to fulfill piryah
verivyah and onah.


Micha Berger             Zion will be redeemed through justice,
micha at aishdas.org        and her returnees, through righteousness.
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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