[Avodah] De-Chokifying Arayos
Kenneth Miller via Avodah
avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Tue Jul 28 15:58:41 PDT 2015
R"n Toby Katz wrote:
> 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? ... ...
Maybe, and maybe not. Let's look at the words.
I'm focusing on Orach Chaim 240. The word "asur" appears a fair amount of the time, but there are other categorizations used as well, such as "lo y'hay" (don't be that sort of person), or "lo [insert verb here]" (don't do that). I was once told that the word "asur" is to be taken literally, but the other terms are not as strong, and simply means that these actions are ideally to be avoided, actually mutar (which might also be RTK's point).
But if that is how we are to understand the vocabulary, then we have a whole new way of reading the Shulchan Aruch. Here are some examples: It's not assur to shmooze between Geulah and Tefillah of Maariv. (236:2) It's not assur to say Shehecheyanu on the Lulav on the second day. (662:2)
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.
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