(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 19:45:50 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: 10 Commandments

<  <  Following on from the discussion of lo tirtzach (you shall not commit
murder), does the commandment lo tin'af (you shall not commit adultery)
prohibit only sexual relations with another man's wife, or does it also
prohibit other improper sexual relations, such as resorting to prostitutes?>  >

This is a fascinating question which has at least 3 answers. (1) According
to an old tradition ALL 613 commandments can be classified by the 10
commandments. In fact many works of the early authorities (Rishonim)
attempt to classify each commandment under one of the 10 commandments (So
yes, prostitution would be CLASSIFIED under LO TINAF)

(2) Strictly speaking from a legal point of view, the 10 commandments ONLY
contain death penalties. For example, "THOU SHALL NOT STEAL" refers to the
prohibition of kidnapping (a capital crime)--the prohibition of monetary
theft is in fact learned from Lev19:11! Similarly LO TINAF could ONLY refer
to the capital crime of adultery and not to the negative prohibition of
prostitution (which is learned from Dt23:18). Furthermore the Hebrew root
NAF only applies to the capital crime of adultery and not to other capital
sexual prohibitions (like homosexuality).

(3) The above would be simple enough if it weren't for the fact that the
Rambam Theft 1:1 learns the prohibition of non-capital monetary theft from
the ten commandments and not from lev19:11 (This seems to contradict the
accepted principle that the 10 commandments only talk about capital
crimes--see the Kesef Mishnah who tries to reconcile the Rambam to this
prinicple--there was also a discussion on Torah Forum (or Bais Medrash)
some time ago on this topic).

In summary the technical meaning of the root NAF means adultery. This
limited translation MAY be further supported by the fact that the 10
commandments refers to capital crimes. The prostitution prohibition is
learned from Dt 23:18 and can be CLASSIFIED (not INFERRED) from LO TINAF.

Russell Jay Hendel; RHendel@Mcs.drexel.edu
Moderator Rashi is Simple, http://www.shamash.org/rashi/