[Avodah] De-Chokifying Arayos (including MZ)

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Tue Jul 28 15:38:10 PDT 2015

On Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 10:12am EDT, R/Dr Meir Shinnar wrote:
: Remember, the SP tries to reconcile two positions
: I) in hazal - that continued desire for some forbidden actions
: is compatible with a high spiritual state - issue is control of
: the desire - NOT its presence
: II) Aristotelian ethics - a high spiritual state does not desire
: for forbidden - the desire is a sign of a flaw.

But chazal too talk in terms of virtue ethics, not just in terms of
kibush hayeitzer (overcoming the desire) but also tiqun hayeitzer
(adjusting those desires).

Most famously, "mah Hu Chanun, af atah chanun". Or, as the Rambam
paraphrased, "mah hu *niqra* 'Chanun'..." It doesn't speak of
giving to others without cause despite desire, it asks us to
develop the middos of chanun, rachum, etc...

Now, on to a totally different topic...

On Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 05:15:16PM +0000, Kenneth Miller wrote:
: Zeh haklal: Eating is proper as long as you don't overdo it. Sex
: is proper as long as you minimize it. - Is the difference really that
: subtle? To me, it is as subtle as a brick.

I think the difference is just about that, but because of the biological
differences. Sex differs in two ways:

1- It involves a second party. There is no threat of objectifying good.

2- You can survive without it. A few days without food though...

Therefore, the attitude toward perishus for each comes from opposite
directions. For food, which is necessary for survival, we talk about how
much is too much. For sex, we talk about the right balance between keeping
the other happy (chiyuv onah) and turning them into a tool for your
own happiness.

The bottom line is still the same: perishus from challenges I cannot
handle while be maqdish olam hazeh the rest of the time. The details
differ due to the differences above.

On Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 3:18am GMT, Kenneth Miller wrote:
: .... 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...

On Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 3:41pm EDT, Rn Toby Katz replied:
: 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, 

While what I said before about "minimize it" not meaning all that
different from "don't overdue" addresses this question of RAM's as well,
I think RnTK's response is really the essence of the answer.

But to quibble with the language...

I'm not sure it's "hashkafah" as much as Hilkhos Dei'os / Chovos
haLvavos. After all "Qedoshim tihyu" is a chiyuv, not a nicety, and
that's a source for "perushim tihyu".

What a mitzvah to be or to become something (such as "qadosh") is in
practice, though, is inherently situational and subjective. If we were
talking about something reducible to black-letter halakhah and objective
rules, it would have been.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
micha at aishdas.org        excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org   'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (270) 514-1507      trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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