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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@saber.towson.edu> Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 23:05:44 -0500 (EST) Subject: RE: Sources for Negiah Gitelle Rapport and Ellen Krischner (MJ v30n05) have already begun criticizing Danny Shoemann's citation of an anonymous authority on negiah to answer Josh Jacobson's question on behalf of his son for sources for the variety of prohibitions associated with negiah. I would go a step further and criticize not laying out CURRENT practices in terms of a STREAM OF AUTHORITIES starting form Biblical sources, going thru Talmudic sources and culminating with recognized Posayks accepted by the Jewish community. Therefore,in this short posting allow me to present the 3 basic Biblical sources, as well as some controversies among rishonim. There are 3 main Biblical sources: 1) HUGGING; KISSING; ORAL SEX, BENEFITING FROM NEARNESS OF SKIN Lev 18:6 and 18:19. The Rambam holds hugging, kissing, oral sex and benefitting from nearness/touching of skin to be biblically prohibited with a punishment of lashes (Rambam; Forbidden relations, 21:1). The Ramban in his commentary on the Book of commandments holds hugging, kissing rabinically prohibited. EVEN the Rambam holds 'sibling kissing' not to be Biblically prohibited (since there is no element of 'lust' in the act). (21:6). The above controversy is only on the applicability of Lev 18:6,19. The applicability of the arousal prohibitions will be discussed in #2. 2) AROUSAL Arousal seems to be Biblically prohibited by Nu15:39 and if I understand correctly, the baalay tosafoth considered this a Biblical prohibition. HOwever the Rambam brings down Nu15:39 not in the laws of forbidden intercourse but rather in the laws of idolatry(2:3)--that is, it is Biblically prohibited to doubt fundamental tenets of faith (and it is Biblically prohibited to be involved with (non Jewish) prostitutes who lead Jews astray.) It is strongly conceivable that all other 'arousal prohibitions' are simply rabbinic according to Rambam. Indeed, the Rambam's list of prohibited practices in Chapter 21 of Forbidden intercourses in the last half of this chapter seem to be rabbinic prohibitions (eg not watching women bathe) not connected with any verse.(Several authorities use Dt 23:14 to prohibit arousal) 3) LOOKING OVER A PROSPECTIVE WIFE Rambam explicitly allows this in Prohibited Relations 21:3 as long as it is not lecherous. Although no text is given I would assume 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' (Lev 19:18) would require that you only marry someone you feel attracted to. (The importance of this 'allowance' should be emphasized in any list of prohibitions) 4) Martyrdom There is the additional issue of Martyrdom. For example, if the government asked us to wear crosses or immodest dress we would have to commit martyrdom. But it is not clear whether such an obligation exists if the immodesty is not ordered by the government. Furthermore, Rambam (Foundations Chap 6) prohibits martyrdom except when it is obligated (other authorities **allow** martyrdom even when it is not allowed). I believe the above covers the 'basics' that must be dealt with in any discussion of this issue (whether thru known acharonim or thru anonymous authors). Russell Hendel; Phd ASA RJHendel@juno.Com http://www.shamash.org/rashi/