[Avodah] De-Chokifying Arayos (including MZ)

via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Tue Aug 11 21:26:42 PDT 2015


From: Akiva Miller via Avodah _avodah at lists.aishdas.org_ 
(mailto:avodah at lists.aishdas.org) 

<<< ... for men, this activity is actually physically  impossible without
pleasure. A woman can be "kekarka" as Esther Hamalka  was  but a man
cannot.  And for this reason, among others, the idea  of  "objectifying men"
is just ridiculous. >>>  [--TK]

>> I think we may be understanding the word "objectify" in  different ways.

Contrary to what some might think, not all men are  constantly obsessed with
having sex. At any given point in time, a particular  man might have other
priorities -- other activities that he'd rather do than  this one. But a
husband cannot give higher priority to these activities over  Onah, just
like he can't choose them over minyan, or other mitzvos. He must  be
sensitive to his wife's needs and wants, and if he senses her mood, he  is
under a chiyuv d'Oraisa to act accordingly....

But there is no flip side to Onah. The wife has no responsibility to  judge
her husband's desires. In fact, even if she does realize that he is "in  the
mood", there is no Chiyuv d'Oraisa for her to ignore her other desires  and
respond to her husband's desires....<<

Akiva Miller
(now at AkivaGMiller at gmail)

There is a great irony in what you have written.  You seem to think  that 
there is an inequality, a lack of reciprocity, in the mutual obligations of  
men and women -- with women having all the power and men all the  
obligation.  It is ironic because the mitzva for men to be sensitive to  their wives' 
feelings derives from the /curse/ that was given to Chava!
Look at Rashi on Ber 3:16, "el ishech teshukasech -- your desire will be  
towards your husband."  Rashi says the curse is:  You -- the woman --  will 
desire relations, but will not be so brazen as to request  it verbally. 
Rather, "he will rule over you" -- it is all from him --  the initiative is his 
-- and not from you. [end Rashi]
To modern ears this Rashi might sound strange because the idea  that "women 
are not brazen" sounds so old-fashioned.  Modesty has gone  out the window 
in modern society. But even the brazen women -- and certainly the  more 
refined and eidel women -- want to be wanted.  By their nature, most  women do 
not want to be the ones taking the initiative or the ones pursuing the  men.  
For most women it is embarrassing to have to ask outright.  
If you want an example of a woman in the Torah who was brazen even way back 
 then, look at Eishes Potiphar -- "Lie with me."  The very fact that she  
behaved this way shows what a hussy she was, but also, it shows that she was  
utterly humiliated.  Not only was Yosef not seduced by her wiles, but  even 
when she so lost her dignity as to ask him outright, he /still/  refused.   
It is no wonder she felt such a burning desire  for revenge.    
It was in order to mitigate the harshness of Chava's curse that Chazal  
instituted the rule that men have to be sensitive to their wives' desires,  
that a woman should not have to humiliate herself by spelling out what she  
wants. It is a chessed that a man does for his wife, to mitigate the curse,  to 
somewhat level the playing field in which men have all the advantages!
I actually think this a wonderful example of Chazal's extraordinary  
sensitivity to women.  They acknowledge and partially correct an imbalance  that 
favors men at the expense of women, ever since Adam and Chava.


--Toby  Katz
t613k at aol.com


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