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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kosher Sex - The Gedolim Way!

Now if you thought that Temporary Marriage was a muslim meshugas only (Nikah mut'ah), you'll be in for a surprise: there is a concept of a time-limited marriage in Judaism. Technically speaking, that means that you are able to sign a contract that you will be married to a woman for a day or so for pleasure and get away with it. And who is allowed to do so? How surprising! Only our gedolim...

Here is the source for the ruling (italics mine):
Said Rabbi Eliezer the son of Yakov: A man shall not marry a wife in one country and then proceed to marry one in another country, since [their children]  might marry one another and the result might be that a brother would marry his sister.
But, surely, this could not be [the accepted ruling], for Rav, whenever he happened to visit Dardeshir, used to announce, 'Who would be mine  for the day'! So also R' Nahman, whenever he happened to visit Shekunzib,  used to announce, 'Who would be mines for the day'!  — The Rabbis came under a special category since they are well known. (How convenient!)
But did not Raba say: A woman who had an offer of marriage and accepted must allow a period of seven ritually clean days to pass! (According to the gemora in Nidda it could be that women become Nidda because of the excitement of the proposal and would need to count 7 clean days  and immerse in a ritual bath to be able to have sex again.)   — The Rabbis sent their representatives and these presented the announcements to the women. (This would solve the issue of the 7 days in advance.) And if you prefer I might say: The Rabbis only had them  in their private rooms (not sex, just yichud);  for the Master said, 'He who has bread in his basket cannot be compared to him who has no bread in his basket'.
And this is the text from the Gemora in the original:
"אמר ר' אליעזר בן יעקב: לא ישא אדם אשה במדינה זו וילך וישא אשה במדינה אחרת, שמא יזדווגו זה לזה, ונמצא אח נושא את אחותו. איני? והא רב כי איקלע לדרדשיר, [מכריז] ואמר: מאן הויא ליומא? ורב נחמן כי איקלע לשכנציב, [מכריז] ואמר: מאן הויא ליומא? שאני רבנן, דפקיע שמייהו. והאמר רבא: תבעוה לינשא ונתפייסה - צריכה לישב שבעה נקיים! רבנן שלוחייהו הוו משדרי ומודעי להו. ואיבעית אימא: לרבנן יחודי בעלמא הוא דמייחדי להו, דאמר מר: אינו דומה מי שיש לו פת בסלו למי שאין לו פת בסלו".
Hat tip: Daat Emet (Hebrew only).


  1. Doesn;t the Gemorah mean that the Rabbis were allowed to marry women in several countries? It doesn;t mean they married the woman just for the day. The case at hand is are people allowed to marry women in different countries. The answer is no because the children might come to marry one another. The Rabbis are different because they are well known and their children will not come to marry one another. I don't think the emphasis is that they are marrying a woman for a day it is that they are allowed to marry a woman in one country and then in another country since there is no chance that their kids will end up marrying each other because the Rabbis are well known.

    What was your problem with this Gemorah? This was a time when anyone could marry several wives. Is the language of who wants to be mine today? That is answered up later in the Gemorah. The Rabbis would send messengers ahead that would prepare the women for the Rabbis, aka betroth them. Then seven days would pass and the Rabbis would come. Then they asked, who was it that was married to me?

  2. Really any famous person would come under this special category.

  3. E-Man: Read Rashi:

    מאן הויא ליומי - מי חפצה לינשא לימים שאתעכב כאן

    They just wanted to marry a woman only for the time they were staying in that place.

  4. That might be the original understanding, but that can;t be what they really meant. Otherwise, how would you solve the seven day issue? It must be they are calling for who their messenger already married for them like the Gemorah goes on to explain.

    Unless you want to say that they are calling out, who is the one that my messenger married to me for the amount of time that I am staying in this place. Is that what you are claiming?

  5. The original understanding, not what they really meant? Huh? Or, as we say in my country, wtf?

  6. Pshat seems to be that their messengers convinced them 7 days in advanced to marry him (ומודעי להו), not actually as a shaliach to marry them. Then they married these women just for the limited amount of time they stayed in that place.

  7. It's amazing! How sometimes the best litzunis (make fun of) of the Gomorrah, is by just reading Pushit pshat (simple meaning)! This Gomorrah is a laughable piece of comedy from beginning to end.

    One thing is clear from this Gomorrah, is that if you use birth control, you are permitted to marry for a day. It should not be less failsafe then being famous (since the only issue, was that offspring may commit incest).

    what i find particularly laughable is the 2 terutzim (excuses) the Gomorrah came up with, in order to respond to the question according to Rava.

    #1. According to the first excuse, they just changed the facts of the story, just to to squirm out from under a question. There is no reference in the original story to messengers sent out beforehand. Wouldn't this have been an important enough anecdote to include to begin with (from the halachic and the story telling standpoint).
    The Gomorrah has no need to cite any sources, that messengers were indeed used. To them it's just simple if i have a problem with the story, why not just change it?
    (btw it's this silliness that won't allow me to enjoy a piece of Gomorrah, even to just exercise my brain, this isn't logic this is stupidity)

    #2 excuse, also falls into the change the story after the fact silliness, but even worse, it never answers the question. If the girls did not wait 7 day's, then why are they considered bread in the basket? Sex with them would be forbidden according to Rava. So think about the logic here. In order for the Rabbanim to overcome their (animalistic) sexual desires, they made sure to have an eager available Girl in their bedroom, that was actually prohibited for them!!! (We should promote this method, when teaching sexual abstinence to teenagers!)

    Oh man this stuff is just genius!!!
    I can go on all night critiquing this piece of nonsense, but y waist more effort on such Silliness!!

  8. There is one lesson I could learn from this Gomorrah. When the wife is not around, don't twiddle your thumbs. Get Busy, and find a replacement quickly!

    You know what, If we all agree that this lesson is not for us, Why care about any of the other lessons of the Talmud?

  9. Spot on, Chasid Kofer. Great dissection.

  10. E-Man: checking the Rishonim and Acharonim now? ;)

  11. seems like a cheap shot. No one paskens by the pshat today anyway. And there are tons of "silly" things written in pshat. I'm not clear on what your point is.

    If you have issues of belief, than that's your write. But pointing and making fun seems undignified.

  12. >than that's your write
    You must mean rite, but chazal OBM thought it was the right rite for even people without issues of belief.

  13. Abbi: Tons of silly things in pshat: I couldn't agree more. Now the question is who has the real 'peirush' if not Rashi and the like? What do you learn from this?

    And what's wrong about making fun of silly statements? It's about time people take the gemora for what it really is and stop their daas torah blah blah, thinking it is something holy and perfect.

    I am planning to post more such posts. You are welcome to read it, but if you are offended, I can recommend some sites that ask less questions and will soothe your conscience.

  14. I'm going to agree with Abbi here. Regardless of your position on the binding authority of the Gemara or lack thereof, an intellectually honest study of it demands taking the time to properly understand it in the context of its time and place. The Daat Emet cartoon with the rabbis in the whorehouse is just plain infantile, and CLEARLY not the intent of the Gemara.

    There are plenty of laws in the Code of Hammurabi and other ancient legal codes that would appear silly in today's day and age, but the scholarly approach always endeavors to understand how such laws made sense (and were perhaps necessary) at the time. True, for us disenchanted OTDers there's always the temptation to disparage and cast the Gemara in the most negative light possible, but I seriously doubt that an outside educated observer would analyze this passage reach the same conclusion you inferred (i.e., that the Rabbis instituted this law so that they could get some on the side).

  15. I have been trying to make this argument with my bashert for years. Thanks for pointing out this Gemarrah!

  16. Rosh Yeshivah: Such an honor to have you comment here! Can I have your signature on Shabbos after you delivered your weekly droshah?

    Menashe: You free to agree with Abbi (carefully note that I did not say I agreed with him). I don't have to defend the cartoon, that was not the point. I don't think this halacha was made up to let the Rabbis have something on the side, that's just my cynical side.

    The truth is that the Gemora is just plain outdated. Since I am still OJ to most people, a suffocating experience, a blog like this is great to let steam off and say what you really feel / believe.

    I have no pretenses that I am a great scholar. But I am not stupid either.

  17. The only problem I have with this Gemorah is that it seems to be saying that Rav Nachman and Rav used to marry women with the intent to divorce them afterwards. This is why the Gemorah later on, which you do not mention here, says that it is assur to marry a woman with intent to divorce her.

    The answer that I think is appropriate is that they married the woman and did not divorce her. Feel free to disagree, but that is how I understand the Gemorah. The reason I feel this way is because the Gemorah never mentions that they divorced the woman, but just that they made sure they were married to them before they got there. Otherwise, the Gemorah should have mentioned that they would marry them and then divorce them.

  18. I remain unbothered by the fact that they married more than one woman since, at that time, it was normal for any man to have several wives.

  19. Something tells me "Menashe" is not really an OTDer...

    There's no end to frum trolls, is there?

  20. E-Man: Could you kindly explain to me how you learn pshat in "מאן הויא ליומא?". To you this seems to mean: Where is my bashert that wants to share the rest of my life with me learning Mesilas Yeshorim?

    BTW: I AM bothered by one man having more women because I think it is a male supremacist philosophy.

  21. UK,
    Not to nitpick but youre reading the gemara slightly wrong. The gemara's difficulty was that if Rav and R' Nachman marry women in other countries, their daughters and sons may end up marrying each other. To this the gemara answers that being as Rav and R' Nachman are famous, their daughters and sons will be well known and will recognize each other, thus avoiding the problem. The whole marriage-for-a-day thing was apparently a standard custom that any man could engage in and seems to be taken by the gemara for granted!
    And if you want weird, sex-related gemaras, try this one for size (pun intended):

  22. Happy: I didn't see it this way, but that could very well be the pshat. Which is good news for R' Pinchas, I would assume ;) Still, only big Rabbis can get themselves a temporary massage chick in Thailand without having to feel guilty. Or, perhaps, now that we are one global village, everyone can as well...

  23. Guys, the next line of Gemorah says this is not allowed anyway. So nowadays no one, not even gedolim, would be allowed to do this, just read further in the Gemara. The way I read that line is that the Rabbi comes and says who am I supposed to marry today. Remember, his messenger arranged for him to get married that day. So the Rabbi comes to town and says who is the lucky girl that I get to marry today.

    Also, the way all societies worked back then was one man could have several wives. It was not until tekanos Rabbeinu Gershom that it was limited to one man with one woman. The reason for this was most probably because gentile society had changed, in europe, where one man was with one woman only.

  24. Off the Derech:
    "Something" tells me you are not really an OTDer. Whatever. If you want to make empty statements like that please take the time to detail how a particular view of mine is inconsistent with what I claim to be.

    For the record, I consider myself an OTDer who's gotten past the bitterness and cynicism and am a bit more level-headed in my attitude toward OJ.

    I also feel that if you're going to attack the Gemara, it should be done on a scholarly level. While the approach in this post I agree is useful for letting off steam, when directed at OJs it just reinforces the OJ notion of OTDers as cynics who never took the time to learn Gemara right.

  25. Menashe: Give me one reason to believe you.

  26. OTD: Odd request, but ok. http://chaptzem.blogspot.com/2009/04/malkie-schwartz-to-leave-footsteps.html?showComment=1241797380000#c1450816599572002623

  27. Menashe: could I convince you to post an article refuting the Torah miSinai position on http://sites.google.com/site/otdresources/?

  28. I've done some work towards that end in my comments on pages 2-5 following Prof. Marc Shapiro's blog on Rav Kook, at http://seforim.blogspot.com/2010/10/marc-b-shapiro-new-writings-from-r-kook.html