(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 12:28:45 -0500
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: Re: Talmud Torah

I would like to suggest that Rav Cahana never hid under his teachers bed
during intimacy (See comments of David Frid and HLSesq@aol.com in Bais
Medrash Vol 1 Number 60 or of Yabdo72aol.com in Volume 61). I also reject
the idea that reading  up on behavior during intimacy can qualify as Talmud
Torah. Let me first enumerate some principles:

1) It is a very grave sin to intefer with the privacy or intimacy of any
couple. Thus the talmud commenting on Sam 1:Chap 2-4 says that Eli's sons
were punished for requesting higher payments from women who needed to offer
sacrifices to permit resumption of marital relations.

2) Exaggeration, particular in areas of modesty, is a common technique in
Agaddah. Thus the Talmud claims that Reuven did not sleep with Bilhah--
that it is an exaggeration--he just mixed beds. Similarly, the sons of Eli
did not sleep with the women--they just demanded extra money.

3) The word Torah denotes both "Law" as well as "Moral behavior"

Here is how I would interpret the agaddaahs in question.

Rav Cahana probably ate by Rav now and then on Friday nights. Since that is
the night designated for intimacy for Scholars it is reasonable that Rav
might have made some low tone inuendoes towards his wife at the dinner table.

Perhaps Rav Cahana picked up these inuendoes and Explicitly asked Rav why
he was behaving this way. Rav in turn reprimanded Rav Cahana for budding
into something that was none of his business. Rav Cahana then probably
sheepishly apologized and said he did it to learn proper moral behavior.

The Talmud exaggerates Rav Cahana's making comments on Ravs low tone
inuendoes during dinner by saying "he hid under their bed".

In light of the strong emphasis on modesty in halahcha I think this reasonable

Russell Jay Hendel; phD ASA
Rhendel @ mcs drexel edu