[Avodah] De-Chokifying Arayos (including MZ)

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Wed Aug 12 13:19:11 PDT 2015

On Thu, Aug 06, 2015 at 11:28:31PM +0100, Chana Luntz via Avodah wrote:
: I confess there seems to me to be a pretty straightforward explanation - the
: influence of the outside world. The same sort of influence that reputedly
: led to the cherem of Rabbi Gershom (Jews who are supposed to be the
: upholders of morality cannot be seen to have more than one wife in a world
: where that is seen as immoral)...

I understood this as well as the Sho'el uMeishiv's take on intellectual
property in a single way, and slightly different than your explanation.

The Sho'el uMeishiv invokes "lo sehei Torah shelanu kesichah beteilah
shelahem. If they recognize a kind of property as a right our native sense
finds moral, we obviously must obligated to protect it as well. This is
not DDD, as the protection isn't to the extent of the civi law, but to the
extent of the halakhos of property. He is identifying a moral obligation
we must halachically defend, not the civil law in and of itself...

My understanding is that it's not that we learned morality from their law,
but their law reflects a new social contract. The new expectations are
a change in metzi'us. Now that we expect to have intellectual property,
that is part of the new situation, to which a new pesaq applies.

Similarly, I understood Rabbeinu Gershom's mandating monogamy in
the same terms. He was less worried about being seen as immoral,
or learning morality from Xian marriage norms. Rather, once society
created different expectations of what marriage is, we had no ability
nor obligation to reset to the old expectations (after all, even chazal
referred to sister wives as "tzaros"), and therefore have to support a
moral solution to the new expactations. A woman gets married expecting
a man for herself. Rabbeinu Gershom mandated treating that woman morally.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Feeling grateful  to or appreciative of  someone
micha at aishdas.org        or something in your life actually attracts more
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Fax: (270) 514-1507      your life.         - Christiane Northrup, M.D.

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