[Avodah] De-Chokifying Arayos (including MZ)

Kenneth Miller via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Tue Aug 4 10:04:47 PDT 2015

I wrote:

: Sex is also an enjoyment of olam hazeh, but I've seen this expressed
: in only two areas: Oneg Shabbos and Chiyuv Onah...

R' Micha Berger asked:

> ... and priya verivya, no?

I was trying to show differences between sex and food. I would say that, in the eyes of Halacha, there is no connection between pirya v'rivya and the olam-hazeh enjoyment of sex, in exactly the same manner that there is no connection between achilas matzah and the olam-hazeh enjoyment of food. The latter is a means of internalizing a historical connection, and the former is a biological imperative, but neither has any connection to olam-hazeh enjoyment.

However, that it not to say that halacha is blind to the fact that sex *IS* enjoyable. This is recognized by the mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos, where if the act is to be done once a week, then Shabbos is receommended. Chiyuv Onah also recognizes that if the wife has a taavah for this particular hanaah, then it is the husband's obligation to satisfy her taavah.

But pirya v'rivya? No, I don't see evidence of that.

I asked:

: And yet, Orach Chayim 240 *IS* "black-letter halakhah and objective
: rules", is it not?

RMB suggested:

> Perhaps not. Is OC 1 black-letter halakhah? Is hitting the snooze
> button, or even lying around for a few seconds before getting up,
> actually assur? For that matter, there is a mitzvah to remember
> right vs left when putting on and tying shoes, but do you really
> think someone was oveir an issur if they don't?

I agree that there are degrees of obligation. A simple verb like "yaaseh" clearly implies a smaller obligation than "chayav laasos". "Must" is much stronger than "should". But if a subject makes it into Shulchan Aruch - as these did - that also shows a stronger obligation than something that appears only in Mesilas Yesharim, or even Gemara for that matter.

Yes, I do think that when the alarm clock rings, one has an obligation to seriously consider whether he really *needs* to stay in bed a little longer, or whether he merely *wants* to. And I will admit that - b'shaas maaseh - I rarely consider that as seriously as I should. And that's one of the things I'm trying to improve on. Same thing for tying my shoes - I think that by now I do it correctly by habit, but I'm not really sure, and I'll try to remember to watch myself tomorrow morning.

RMB wrote:

> Whereas moredes has no parallel because she cannot initiate a gett. And
> for that matter, it has no parallel because he is obligated to support
> here. For that matter, the assymetry in who supports who is quite
> possibly why HQBH set up an assymetric process for gittin. The man who
> obligates himself in support can get of it.

Yes, I agree that this could be part of why Hashem set it up that way. But I find it curious that Chazal set up safeguards to prevent the husband from abusing his powers in these areas, and no corresponding safeguards prevent the wife from abusing hers.

Akiva Miller
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