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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Issurei Biah - Chapter Twenty One, Issurei Biah - Chapter Twenty Two, Ma'achalot Assurot - Chapter 1

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Issurei Biah - Chapter Twenty One

1

Whoever shares physical intimacy with one of the ariyot without actually becoming involved in sexual relations or embraces and kisses [one of them] out of desire1 and derives pleasure from the physical contact should be lashed2 according to Scriptural Law. [This is derived from Leviticus 18:30 which] states: "To refrain from perform any of these abominable practices," and [ibid.:6 which] states: "Do not draw close to reveal nakedness." Implied is that we are forbidden to draw close to acts that lead to revealing nakedness.3

א

כל הבא על ערוה מן העריות דרך איברים או שחבק ונשק דרך תאוה ונהנה בקרוב בשר הרי זה לוקה מן התורה שנאמר לבלתי עשות מחקות התועבות וגו' ונאמר לא תקרבו לגלות ערוה כלומר לא תקרבו לדברים המביאין לידי גילוי ערוה:

2

A person who engages in any of the abovementioned practices is considered likely to engage in forbidden sexual relations.

It is forbidden4 for a person to make motions with his hands or feet or wink with his eyes to one of the ariyot, to share mirth with her or to act frivolously with her.5 It is even forbidden to smell her perfume6 or gaze at her beauty. A person who performs any of these actions intentionally should be given stripes for rebellious conduct.

A person who looks at even a small finger of a woman with the intent of deriving pleasure is considered as if he looked at her genitalia. It is even forbidden to hear the voice of a woman forbidden as an ervah or to look at her hair.

ב

העושה דבר מחוקות אלו הרי הוא חשוד על העריות ואסור לאדם לקרוץ בידיו וברגליו או לרמוז בעיניו לאחת מן העריות או לשחוק עמה או להקל ראש ואפילו להריח בשמים שעליה או להביט ביפיה אסור ומכין למתכוין לדבר זה מכת מרדות והמסתכל אפילו באצבע קטנה של אשה ונתכוון להנות כמי שנסתכל במקום התורף ואפילו לשמוע קול הערוה או לראות שערה אסור:

3

These matters are [also] forbidden with regard to women with whom relations are forbidden on the basis of [merely] a negative commandment.

It is permitted to look at the face of an unmarried woman and examine [her features] whether she is a virgin or has engaged in relations previously to whether she is attractive in his eyes so that he may marry her. There is no prohibition in doing this. On the contrary, it is proper to do this.7 One should not, however, look in a licentious manner. Behold [Job 31:1] states: "I established a covenant with my eyes; I would not gaze at a maiden."

ג

והדברים האלו אסורין בחייבי לאוין ומותר להסתכל בפני הפנויה ולבדקה בין בתולה בין בעולה כדי שיראה אם היא נאה בעיניו ישאנה ואין בזה צד איסור ולא עוד אלא שראוי לעשות כן אבל לא יסתכל דרך זנות הרי הוא אומר ברית כרתי לעיני ומה אתבונן על בתולה:

4

It is permitted for a person to gaze at his wife8 when she is in the niddah state9 although she is an ervah [at that time]. Although his heart derives satisfaction from seeing her, since she will be permitted to him afterwards, he will not suffer a lapse. He should not, however, share mirth with her or act frivolously with her lest this lead to sin.

ד

ומותר לאדם להביט באשתו כשהיא נדה ואע"פ שהיא ערוה ואף על פי שיש לו הנאת לב ממנה בראייה הואיל והיא מותרת לו לאחר זמן אינו בא בזה לדבר מכשול אבל לא ישחוק ולא יקל ראש עמה שמא ירגיל לעבירה:

5

It is forbidden for a man to have any woman - whether a minor or an adult, whether a servant or a freed woman - perform personal tasks for him, lest he come to lewd thoughts.

Which tasks are referred to? Washing his face, his hands, or his feet,10 spreading his bed in his presence,11 and pouring him a cup. For these tasks are performed for a man only by his wife.12

[A man] should not send greetings to a woman at all, not even via a messenger.13

ה

אסור להשתמש באשה כלל בין גדולה בין קטנה בין שפחה בין משוחררת שמא יבוא לידי הרהור באי זה שמוש אמרו רחיצת פניו ידיו ורגליו והצעת מטה לפניו ומזיגת הכוס שאין עושה לאיש דברים אלו אלא אשתו בלבד ואין שואלין בשלום אשה כלל ואפילו ע"י שליח:

6

When a man embraces or kisses any of the women forbidden to him as ariyot despite the fact that his heart does not disturb him concerning the matter,14 e.g., his adult sister, his mother's sister, or the like, it is very shameful. It is forbidden15 and it is foolish conduct. [This applies] even if he has no desire or pleasure at all. For one should not show closeness to a woman forbidden as an ervah at all, whether an adult or a minor, except a woman to her son and a father to his daughter.16

ו

המחבק אחת מן העריות שאין לבו של אדם נוקפו עליהן או שנשק לאחת מהן כגון אחותו הגדולה ואחות אמו וכיוצא בהן אע"פ שאין שם תאוה ולא הנאה כלל הרי זה מגונה ביותר ודבר אסור הוא ומעשה טפשים הוא שאין קריבין לערוה כלל בין גדולה בין קטנה חוץ מהאם לבנה והאב לבתו:

7

What is implied? A father is permitted to embrace his daughter, kiss her, and sleep with her with their bodies touching17 and a mother may do the same with her son as long as they are young. When they grow and become mature18 with the girl's body becoming developed,19 they should each sleep in clothing.

If the daughter is embarrassed to stand before her father naked or she married,20 and similarly, if the mother was embarrassed to stand before her son naked, even if [the children] are minors, when one reaches the point when one is ashamed [of being naked] in their presence, they should sleep together only when clothed.21

ז

כיצד מותר האב לחבק בתו ולנשקה ותישן עמו בקרוב בשר וכן האם עם בנה כל זמן שהם קטנים הגדילו ונעשה הבן גדול והבת גדולה עד שיהיו שדים נכונו ושערך צמח זה ישן בכסותו והיא ישנה בכסותה ואם היתה הבת בושה לעמוד לפני אביה ערומה או שנישאת וכן אם האם בושה לעמוד בפני בנה ערומה ואף על פי שהן קטנים משהגיעו להכלם מהן אין ישנים עמהם אלא בכסותן:

8

Lesbian relations are forbidden. This is "the conduct of Egypt" which we were warned against, as [Leviticus 18:3] states: "Do not follow the conduct of Egypt." Our Sages said:22 What would they do? A man would marry a man, a woman would marry a woman, and a woman would marry two men.

Although this conduct is forbidden,23 lashes are not given for it, for it is not a specific prohibition24 and there is no intercourse at all. Therefore such women are not forbidden to marry into the priesthood as zonot, nor does a woman become prohibited to her husband because of this,25 for this is not considered harlotry. It is, however, appropriate to give them stripes for rebellious conduct26 because they performed a transgression. A man should take precautions with his wife with regard to this matter and should prevent women who are known to engage in such practices from visiting her and her from visiting them.

ח

נשים המסוללות זו בזו אסור וממעשה מצרים הוא שהוזהרנו עליו שנאמר כמעשה ארץ מצרים לא תעשו אמרו חכמים מה היו עושים איש נושא איש ואשה נושא אשה ואשה נשאת לשני אנשים אע"פ שמעשה זה אסור אין מלקין עליו שאין לו לאו מיוחד והרי אין שם ביאה כלל לפיכך אין נאסרות לכהונה משום זנות ולא תיאסר אשה על בעלה בזה שאין כאן זנות וראוי להכותן מכת מרדות הואיל ועשו איסור ויש לאיש להקפיד על אשתו מדבר זה ומונע הנשים הידועות בכך מלהכנס לה ומלצאת היא אליהן:

9

A man's wife is permitted to him. Therefore a man may do whatever he desires with his wife. He may engage in relations whenever he desires, kiss any organ he desires,27 engage in vaginal or anal intercourse or engage in physical intimacy without relations, provided he does not release seed in vain.28

Nevertheless, it is pious conduct for a person not to act frivolously concerning such matters and to sanctify himself at the time of relations, as explained in Hilchot Deot.29 He should not depart from the ordinary pattern of the world. For this act was [given to us] solely for the sake of procreation.30

ט

אשתו של אדם מותרת היא לו לפיכך כל מה שאדם רוצה לעשות באשתו עושה בועל בכל עת שירצה ומנשק בכל אבר ואבר שירצה [ובא עליה כדרכה ושלא כדרכה] ובלבד שלא יוציא שכבת זרע לבטלה ואף על פי כן מדת חסידות שלא יקל אדם את ראשו לכך ושיקדש עצמו בשעת תשמיש כמו שביארנו בהלכות דעות ולא יסיר מדרך העולם ומנהגו שאין דבר זה אלא כדי לפרות ולרבות:

10

A man is forbidden to engage in relations by candlelight.31 If, on the Sabbath,32 he did not have another room and there is a light burning, he should not engage in relations at all.33

Similarly, it is forbidden for a Jew to engage in relations during the day, for this is brazen conduct. If he is a Torah scholar, who will not be drawn after this, he may create darkness with his garment and engage in relations. One should not, however, adopt this measure unless there is a great need.34 It is the course of holy conduct to engage in relations in the middle of the night35

י

אסור לאדם לשמש מטתו לאור הנר הרי שהיתה שבת ולא היה לו בית אחר והיה הנר דלוק הרי זה לא ישמש כלל וכן אסור לישראלי לשמש מטתו ביום שעזות פנים היא לו ואם היה תלמיד חכם שאינו בא להמשך בכך הרי זה מאפיל בטליתו ומשמש ואין נזקקין לדבר זה אלא מפני צורך גדול ודרך קדושה לשמש באמצע הלילה:

11

Our Sages do not derive satisfaction from a person who engages in sexual relations excessively and frequents his wife like a rooster. This reflects a very blemished [character]; it is the way underdeveloped people conduct themselves. Instead, everyone who minimizes his sexual conduct is praiseworthy, provided he does not neglect his conjugal duties36 without the consent of his wife. The sole reason while originally it was ordained that a person who had a seminal emission should not read from the Torah until they immerse themselves37 was to minimize sexual conduct.

יא

אין דעת חכמים נוחה למי שהוא מרבה בתשמיש המטה ויהיה מצוי אצל אשתו כתרנגול ופגום הוא עד מאד ומעשה בורים הוא אלא כל הממעט בתשמיש הרי זה משובח והוא שלא יבטל עונה [אלא] מדעת אשתו ולא תקנו בראשונה לבעלי קריין שלא יקראו בתורה עד שיטבלו אלא כדי למעט בתשמיש המטה:

12

Similarly, our Sages38 forbade a person from engaging in relations with his wife while his heart is focused on another woman. He should not engage in relations while intoxicated, nor while quarreling, nor out of hatred. He should not engage in relations with her against her will when she is afraid of him.39 Nor when one of them is placed under a ban of ostracism. He should not engage in relations [with his wife] after he made the decision to divorce her. If he does so,40the children will not be of proper character. There will be those who are brazen and others who are rebellious and sinful.

יב

וכן אסרו חכמים שלא ישמש אדם מטתו ולבו מחשב באשה אחרת ולא יבעול מתוך שכרות ולא מתוך מריבה ולא מתוך שנאה ולא יבוא עליה על כרחה והיא יראה ממנו ולא כשיהיה אחד מהן מנודה ולאו יבוא עליה אחר שגמר בלבו לגרשה ואם עשה כן הבנים אינן הגונים אלא מהן עזי פנים ומהן מורדים ופושעים:

13

Similarly, our Sages said41 that whenever an audacious woman demands relations verbally, a man seduces a woman for the sake of marriage, he had the intent of having relations with his wife Rachel and instead, engages in relations with his wife Leah, or a woman does not wait three months after the death of her husband and gives birth to a son whose identity is questionable,42 all of the children born in these situations will be rebellious and sinful who will be purified by the sufferings of exile.

יג

וכן אמרו חכמים שכל אשה חצופה שהיא תובעת תשמיש המטה בפיה או המפתה אשה לשם נישואין או המתכוין לבוא על רחל אשתו ובא על לאה אשתו ומי שלא שהתה אחר מיתת בעלה שלשה חדשים והרי הבן ספק כל אלו הבנים הילודים מהם הם המורדים והפושעים שיסורי הגלות בוררין אותן:

14

It is forbidden for a man to engage in relations with his wife in the marketplaces, streets, gardens, or orchards. Instead, [a couple should be physically intimate] only in a home, so that they will not appear as licentious relations and will not habituate themselves to licentious relations.43 When a man engages in relations with his wife in such places, he should be given stripes for rebellious conduct. Similarly, when a man consecrates a woman via sexual relations,44 consecrates her in the market place or consecrates her without there being an engagement beforehand, he is given stripes for rebellious conduct.45

יד

ואסור לאדם לבא על אשתו בשווקים וברחובות או בגנות ובפרדסין אלא בבית דירה שלא יראה כזנות וירגילו עצמם לידי זנות והבועל את אשתו במקומות אלו מכין אותו מכת מרדות וכן המקדש בביאה והמקדש בשוק והמקדש בלא שדוך מכין אותו מכת מרדות:

15

A visitor is forbidden to engage in relations until he returns home. Our Sages46 forbade a man from dwelling in his father-in-law's home,47 for this is brazen conduct. Nor should he enter a bathhouse with him.

טו

ואכסנאי אסור בתשמיש המטה עד שיחזור לביתו וכן אסרו חכמים על האיש שידור בבית חמיו שזו עזות פנים היא ולא יכנס עמו למרחץ:

16

A person should not enter a bathhouse with his father, his sister's husband, nor with his student.48 If he needs his student [to assist him], it is permitted. There are places where people followed the custom that two brothers would not enter a bathhouse at the same time.

טז

ולא יכנס אדם עם אביו למרחץ ולא עם בעל אחותו ולא עם תלמידו ואם היה צריך לתלמידו מותר ויש מקומות שנהגו שלא יכנסו שני אחים כאחד למרחץ:

17

Jewish women should not walk in the marketplace with uncovered hair. [This applies to] both unmarried49 and married women. Similarly, a woman should not walk in the street with her son following her. [This is] a decree, [enacted so that] her son not be abducted and she follow after him to bring him back and she be molested by wicked people who took hold of him as a caprice.

יז

לא יהלכו בנות ישראל פרועי ראש בשוק אחת פנויה ואחת אשת איש ולא תלך אשה בשוק ובנה אחריה גזירה שמא יתפשו בנה ותלך אחריו להחזירו ויתעללו בה הרשעים שתפסוהו דרך שחוק:

18

It is forbidden to release sperm wastefully.50 Therefore a person should not enter his wife and ejaculate outside of her.51 A man should not marry a minor who is not fit to give birth.52

Those who, however, release sperm with their hands, beyond the fact that they commit a great transgression, a person who does this will abide under a ban of ostracism. Concerning them, it is said: "Your hands are filled with blood." It is as if they killed a person.

יח

אסור להוציא שכבת זרע לבטלה לפיכך לא יהיה אדם דש מבפנים וזורה מבחוץ ולא ישא קטנה שאינה ראויה לילד אבל אלו שמנאפין ביד ומוציאין שכבת זרע לא די להם שאיסור גדול הוא אלא שהעושה זה בנדוי הוא יושב ועליהם נאמר ידיכם דמים מלאו וכאילו הרג הנפש:

19

It is forbidden for a person to intentionally cause himself to have an erection or to bring himself to [sexual] thoughts. If a [sexual] thought comes to his mind, he should divert his heart from profligate and destructive matters to the words of Torah53 which are "a beloved hind, arousing favor."54 For this reason, it is forbidden for a person to sleep on his back with his face upward,55 Instead, he should turn to the side slightly so that he will not develop an erection.

יט

וכן אסור לאדם שיקשה עצמו לדעת או יביא עצמו לידי הרהור אלא אם יבא לו הרהור יסיע לבו מדברי הבאי (והשחתה) לדברי תורה שהיא אילת אהבים ויעלת חן לפיכך אסור לאדם לישן על ערפו ופניו למעלה עד שיטה מעט כדי שלא יבוא לידי קישוי:

20

One should not look at animals, beasts, and fowls at the time the males and females are coupling. It is, however, permitted for a breeder of livestock to insert a male animal's organ in a female's. Since he is working in his profession, he will not be motivated to [sexual] thoughts.

כ

ולא יסתכל בבהמה ובחיה ועוף בשעה שמזדקקין זכר לנקבה ומותר למרביעי בהמה להכניס כמכחול בשפופרת מפני שהן עסוקין במלאכתן לא יבואו לידי הרהור:

21

Similarly, it is forbidden for a man to look at woman while they do laundry. It is even forbidden to look at the colored56 garments of a woman one knows,57 lest one be motivated to [sexual] thoughts.

כא

וכן אסור לאדם להסתכל בנשים בשעה שהן עומדות על הכביסה אפילו להסתכל בבגדי צמר של אשה שהוא מכירה אסור שלא יבוא לידי הרהור:

22

When a person encounters a woman in the street, it is forbidden for him to walk behind her.58 Instead, he should hurry and [position himself so that] she is at his side or behind him. Whoever walks behind a woman in the marketplace is one of the frivolous of the common people.

It is forbidden to pass the entrance of a harlot without distancing oneself four cubits, as [Proverbs 5:8] states: "Do not come close to the entrance of her home."

כב

מי שפגע באשה בשוק אסור לו להלך אחריה אלא רץ ומסלקה לצדדין או לאחריו וכל המהלך בשוק אחרי אשה הרי זה מקלי עמי הארץ ואסור לעבור על פתח אשה זונה עד שירחיק ד' אמות שנאמר ואל תקרב אל פתח ביתה:

23

It is forbidden for an unmarried man to extend his hand to his testicles, lest he be stimulated to [sexual] thoughts. Indeed, he should not extend his hand below his navel, lest he be stimulated to [sexual] thoughts. If he urinates, he should not hold the shaft of his organ while urinating. If he is married,59 this is permitted. Whether he is married or not, he should not extend his hand to his organ at all, except when he has to urinate.60

כג

ואסור לאדם שאינו נשוי לשלוח ידו במבושיו שלא יבוא לידי הרהור ואפילו מתחת טיבורו לא יכניס ידו שמא יבוא לידי הרהור ואם השתין מים לא יאחוז באמה וישתין ואם היה נשוי מותר ובין נשוי ובין שאינו נשוי לא יושיט ידו לאמה כלל אלא בשעה שהוא צריך לנקביו:

24

One of the pious men of the early eras and the wise men of stature prided himself in that he never looked at his male organ. Another said with pride that he had never contemplated his wife's physical form.61 For their hearts would be diverted from profligate matters to the words of truth which take hold of the hearts of the holy.

כד

חסידים הראשונים וגדולי החכמים התפאר אחד מהם שמעולם לא נסתכל במילה שלו ומהן מי שהתפאר שלא התבונן מעולם בצורת אשתו מפני שלבו פונה מדברי הבאי לדברי האמת שהן אוחזות לבב הקדושים:

25

Among our Sages' commands is that a person should marry off his sons and daughters close to the time they reach physical maturity.62 For were he to leave them [unmarried], they may be motivated to promiscuity or sexual thoughts. Concerning this was applied the verse [Job 5:24]: "Scrutinize your dwelling and you shall not sin."63

It is forbidden to marry a woman to a minor, for this is comparable to promiscuity.64

כה

מצות חכמים שישיא אדם בניו ובנותיו סמוך לפרקן שאם יניחן יבואו לידי זנות או לידי הרהור ועל זה נאמר ופקדת נוך ולא תחטא ואסור להשיא אשה לקטן שזה כמו זנות היא:

26

A man is not permitted to abide without a wife.65 He should not marry a barren woman or an elderly woman who is not fit to bear children.66

A woman is permitted not to marry at all or to marry a eunuch. 67 A young man should not marry an elderly woman, nor an elderly man, a young woman, for such conduct leads to promiscuity.68

כו

ואין האיש רשאי לישב בלא אשה ולא ישא עקרה וזקנה שאינה ראויה לילד ורשות לאשה שלא תנשא לעולם או תנשא לסריס ולא ישא בחור זקנה ולא ישא זקן ילדה שדבר זה גורם לזנות:

27

Similarly, a person who divorced his wife after they were married69should not live in the same courtyard as she, lest this lead to promiscuity.70If he was a priest, he should not dwell in the same lane as she.71 A small village is considered as a lane.

If he owes her a debt, she should appoint an agent to demand payment from him.72 When a divorcee and her ex-husband come [to court] for a judgment, we place them under a ban of ostracism or subject them to stripes for rebellious conduct.73

If, however, a woman was divorced [merely] after consecration, she may summon him to court and dwell near him.74 If they shared extensive familiarity, this is forbidden even if [they were divorced merely] after consecration.

Who is forced to move? She is forced to move because of him.75 If the courtyard belongs to her, he is forced to move because of her.

כז

וכן מי שגירש את אשתו מן הנשואין לא תדור עמו בחצר שמא יבואו לידי זנות ואם היה כהן לא תדור עמו במבוי וכפר קטן נידון כמבוי היה לה מלוה אצלו עושה שליח לתובעו וגרושה שבאה עם המגרש לדין מנדין אותן או מכין אותן מכת מרדות ואם נתגרשה מן האירוסין מותרת לתובעו בדין ולדור עמו ואם היה לבו גס בה אף מן האירוסין אסור ומי נדחה מפני מי היא נדחת מפניו ואם היתה החצר שלה הוא ידחה מפניה:

28

A person should not marry a woman with the intent to divorce her, [as alluded to by Proverbs 3:29]: "Do not devise evil against your loved one, one who dwells securely with you." If he notifies her at the outset that he is marrying her only for a limited time, it is permitted.76

כח

אסור לאדם לישא אשה ודעתו לגרשה שנאמר אל תחרוש על רעך רעה והוא יושב לבטח אתך ואם הודיעה בתחלה שהוא נושא אותה לימים מותר:

29

A person should not marry one woman in one country and another woman in another country, lest this situation continue for a long time and [ultimately,] a brother may marry his sister, the sister of his mother, or the sister of his father and the like without knowing.77 If [the man with two wives] is a person of stature whose name is known and whose descendants are well known and celebrated, it is permitted.78

כט

ולא ישא אדם אשה במדינה זו ואשה במדינה אחרת שמא יאריכו הימים ונמצא אח נושא אחותו ואחות אמו ואחות אביו וכיוצא בהן ואינו ידוע ואם היה אדם גדול ששמו ידוע והרי זרעו מפורסמין וידועין הרי זה מותר:

30

A man should not marry a woman from a family of lepers, nor from a family of epileptics, i.e., that it has been established on three occasions that the descendants of this family have this malady.

ל

לא ישא אדם אשה ממשפחת מצורעים ולא ממשפחת נכפין והוא שהוחזקו שלשה פעמים שיבואו בניהם כך:

31

When a woman was married to two husbands and they both died, she should not marry a third [man].79 If she did marry, she need not be divorced.80 Indeed, even if he merely consecrated her, he may consummate the marriage.

An unlearned81 Israelite should not marry the daughter of a priest. For this is comparable to the desecration of Aaron's seed. If they marry, our Sages said82that their marriage will not be propitious. Instead, they will die without children, either he or she will die in the near future, or there will be strife between them.83When, by contrast, a Torah scholar marries the daughter of a priest, this is attractive and praiseworthy, [joining] the Torah and the priesthood as one.

לא

אשה שנשאת לשני אנשים ומתו לשלישי לא תנשא ואם נשאת לא תצא ואפילו נתקדשה יכנוס ולא ישא ישראל עם הארץ כהנת שזה כמו חילול לזרעו של אהרן ואם נשא אמרו חכמים אין זווגן עולה יפה אלא מת בלא בנים או מת הוא או היא במהרה או קטטה תהיה ביניהם אבל תלמיד חכם שנשא כהנת הרי זה נאה ומשובח הרי תורה וכהונה כאחד:

32

A person should not marry the daughter of an unlearned person. For if he dies or is exiled, his children will grow up unlearned, since their mother is not knowledgeable regarding the crown of Torah.84 Nor should he give his daughter to an unlearned person in marriage. For anyone who gives his daughter to an unlearned person is like one who bound her and placed her before a lion. He will strike her and engage in relations and has no shame.

A person should sell everything that he has [so that] he can marry the daughter of a Torah scholar. For if he dies or is exiled, his children will grow up as Torah scholars. And he should marry his daughter to a Torah scholar for there is no shameful conduct or strife in the home of a Torah scholar.

לב

לא ישא אדם בת עמי הארץ שאם מת או גולה בניו עמי הארץ יהיו שאין אמן יודעת כתר התורה ולא ישיא בתו לעם הארץ שכל הנותן בתו לעם הארץ כמי שכפתה ונתנה לפני הארי מכה ובועל ואין לו בושת פנים ולעולם ימכור אדם כל מה שיש לו וישא בת תלמיד חכם שאם מת או גולה בניו תלמידי חכמים וכן ישיא בתו לתלמיד חכם שאין דבר מגונה ולא מריבה בביתו של תלמיד חכם:

Footnotes
1.

Compare to Halachah 6.

2.

As evident from Halachah 3, although such acts are forbidden whenever sexual relations are prohibited, lashes are given only when the woman is one of the ariyot (Maggid Mishneh).

3.

The verse teaches that not only is undesirable sexual conduct itself forbidden, but also preliminary acts that lead to such conduct.

This teaching is significant from a theoretical perspective. Our Sages teach (Avot 1:1): "Make a fence around the Torah," i.e., enact prohibitions to safeguard Scriptural prohibitions and prevent them from being violated. Our Rabbis, however, question if there is a concept of "making a fence" in Scriptural Law, i.e., are there prohibitions that exist solely to prevent one from violating more severe prohibitions?

It would appear that this prohibition would fall into that category (see Halachah 4). Why are these acts of closeness forbidden? Because most likely they will lead to intimacy. One may, however, explain that these acts of closeness are, in and of themselves, "abominable practices," and hence, forbidden.

The above discussion is relevant according to the Rambam's approach. The Ramban [Hasgot to Sefer HaMitzvot (mitzvah 353) differs and does not consider the prohibition mentioned here of Scriptural origin. Instead, he views it as a Rabbinic safeguard, "a fence" instituted by the Rabbis to protect Scriptural Law.

4.

The Maggid Mishneh considers the following as Rabbinic safeguards. The Beit Shmuel 21:2 mentions opinions which consider some as having a Scriptural source.

5.

As Avot 1:5 teaches: "Mirth and frivolity habituate a person to immorality."

6.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 7:4), the Rambam quotes the Pesikta Rabati, ch. 25, which interprets the commandment lo tinaf, as "Do not taken forbidden pleasure with your nose."

7.

For if a person does not look at a woman before he marries her, he may have an unpleasant surprise afterwards (Kiddushin 41a). The Ra'avad suggests that a pious person should rely on the opinion of others rather than looking at his intended himself, but the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 21:3) quotes the Rambam's view.

8.

Indeed, a woman may adorn herself during this time so that she will not appear unattractive to her husband (Chapter 11, Halachah 19).

9.

This applies only to portions of her body which are usually revealed. He should not look at those portions that are usually covered (Ra'avad).

10.

This applies even if the woman does not actually touch him [Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 21:5)].

11.

Implied is that outside one's presence, this is permitted.

12.

For they all suggest a certain measure of intimacy. Compare to Chapter 11, Halachah 19.

When commenting on the quotation of these laws by the Shulchan Aruch, the Rama mentions certain leniencies, e.g., if the tasks are performed in a public place, if there is no indication of closeness involved.

13.

Our translation is based on the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh who explains that it is permitted to inquire concerning a woman's welfare.

14.

I.e., he has no fear that this closeness will lead to intimacy.

15.

Nevertheless, if one has no pleasure or desire, the act is not punished by lashes [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 7:3)].

16.

The Chelkat Mechokek 21:10 adds that one may show physical closeness to one's granddaughter and to one's infant sister.

17.

I.e., even unclothed.

18.

In Hilchot Keriat Shema 3:19, the Rambam mentions that the children must also reached the age of majority, thirteen for boys and twelve for girls. In our translation, however, we have focused on the physical characteristics, because the Chelkat Mechokek 21:12 emphasizes that this is what is of primary importance.

19.

The Rambam borrows the wording of Ezekiel 16:7 which literally means "her breasts are developed and her hair has grown."

20.

The Maggid Mishneh states that this applies even if she is merely consecrated.

21.

Even when children reach the stage when they and their parents are required to sleep together while clothed, their parents are still allowed to embrace them and kiss them (Beit Shmuel 7:15).

22.

Sifra, commenting on the above verse.

23.

By Scriptural Law. The verse is not merely cited as support for a Rabbinic injunction.

24.

As stated in Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 353), this is a general prohibition, including all types of forbidden sexual behavior. As stated in Hilchot Sanhedrin 18:2-3, lashes are not given for the violation of prohibitions that are of a general nature.

25.

As would apply were this to be considered as adultery.

26.

This represents a change of opinion from his statements in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 7:3) where he writes that even according to Rabbinic Law, no punishment should be given.

27.

The Beit Shmuel 25:1 quotes many authorities who forbid a man from kissing his wife's genitalia.

28.

See Halachah 18.

29.

In Hilchot Deot, ch. 3, the Rambam elaborates on the concept that all of a person's actions, even his sexual conduct, must be for the sake of heaven. In Chapter 5, Halachot 4-5, the Rambam elaborates on refined habits of sexual conduct.

30.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 7:3), the Rambam writes:

The intent of sexual relations is the preservation of the species and not only pleasure. The aspect of pleasure was introduce only to motivate the created beings toward that ultimate goal....

The proof of this is that desire and pleasure cease after ejaculation; this was the entire goal for which our instincts were aroused. If the goal were pleasure, satisfaction would continue as long as man desired.

31.

The point of the laws mentioned in this halachah is that one should not look at one's wife while engaging in relations.

32.

When it is a mitzvah to engage in relations.

33.

If one can cover the light or create a partition in front of it in a manner permitted on the Sabbath, there is no prohibition [Chelkat Mechokek 25:4; Rama (Orach Chayim 240:11)].

34.

I.e., one feels very aroused (Magen Avraham 240:25).

35.

In Hilchot Deot 5:4, the Rambam gives a rationale that at this time a person's food will have been digested and yet, he will not be overly hungry. The commentaries to Nedarim 20b explain that in this manner, the man and his wife will have forgotten all their daytime concerns and will be able to focus their attention on each other and the holiness of the experience.

36.

See Hilchot Ishut, ch. 14, which explains the frequency of the conjugal duties a husband has to his wife. This factor is dependent on the nature of the husband's work and the manner in which it taxes him.

37.

See Hilchot Kriat Shema 4:8 which explains that originally, Ezra enacted such a decree for the reason mentioned by the Rambam. Afterwards, our Sages checked and saw that this decree had never fully spread throughout the Jewish community. Hence they nullified it.

38.

Nedarim 20b.

39.

See Hilchot Deot 5:4-5 which states:

[Relations should be conducted] amidst their mutual consent and joy. He should converse and dally with her somewhat, so that she will be relaxed. He should have intercourse [with her] modestly and not boldly.... Whoever conducts himself in this manner [may be assured that] not only does he sanctify his soul, purify himself, and refine his character, but furthermore, if he has children, they will be handsome and modest, worthy of wisdom and piety.

40.

I.e., exhibits any of the undesirable behaviors described above. The rationale is, as explained in Avodat HaKodesh and other sources, a person's intent at the time of sexual relations has a major effect in determining the character of his children.

41.

Nedarim, loc. cit..

42.

As stated in Hilchot Gerushin 11:16, whenever a woman is divorced or widowed, she should wait 90 days before remarrying, so that the identity of her child's father will be clearly established.

43.

For surrendering oneself to one's desires without control within the context of marriage may lead one to surrender oneself to one's desires outside the context of marriage.

44.

According to Scriptural Law, a person may consecrate his wife by engaging in relations with her. Nevertheless, our Sages forbade such a practice because of its immodest nature (Hilchot Ishut 3:21).

45.

As Hilchot Ishut, ibid.::22 continues, the latter two practices were forbidden as a safeguard to lewd conduct. Our Sages feared that if women would be consecrated in this manner, the people would look at marriage and intimacy in a much baser manner.

46.

Kiddushin 12b.

47.

For an extended period of time. Needless, to say, there is no difficulty with making a short visit.

With regard to both this and the previous law, the Ra'avad writes that if the couple are given a separate room and they use their own bedspreads, there is no prohibition. The Maggid Mishneh writes that in practice, many people follow this approach, although he does not see a source for this leniency in the Talmud. The Chelkat Mechokek 25:6 and the Beit Shmuel 25:7 quotes the Ra'avad's view.

48.

Lest this arouse undesirable thoughts [Rashi, Pesachim 51a; see Rama (Even HaEzer 23:6)].

49.

I.e., a widow or a divorcee. A woman who never married may wear her hair uncovered (Chelkat Mechokek 21:2).

50.

When stating this prohibition, Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 23:1) adds: "This transgression is more severe than any of the sins in the Torah."

51.

See the commentaries to Genesis, ch. 38, which relate that this was the sin of Judah's two sons: Er and Onan. They married Tamar, but did not desire that she become pregnant. Hence they did not release their sperm within her. Their sin angered God and He caused them to die.

52.

For in essence, whenever the couple engage in intercourse, he will be releasing sperm without purpose, because she is not old enough to become pregnant. Niddah 13b states that those who marry minors hold back Mashiach's coming.

It must be emphasized that if a man does marry a minor, he is permitted to engage in relations with her [Rama (Even HaEzer 23:5)]. Similarly, relations are permitted in other instances where they will not lead to pregnancy: e.g., when the woman is already pregnant, directly after birth, or she is past menopause. Since a man has conjugal duties to his wife, he is not allowed to ignore them even though she will not become pregnant.

53.

See Chapter 22, Halachah 21. See also Avot D'Rabbi Nattan 20:1 which implies that this is not merely a matter of will power and mind control. Instead, directing one's attention to the Torah awakens spiritual influences which prevent a person's attention from focusing on sexual thoughts.

54.

This analogy for the Torah is taken from Proverbs 5:19.

55.

Needless to say, it is forbidden for one to sleep on his belly.

56.

Our translation follows the authoritative manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah. This also follows the text of Avodah Zarah 20b, the Rambam's apparent source. The standard printed text of the Mishneh Torah employs a slightly different version.

57.

When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 21:1) clarifies that it applies even when the woman is not wearing the garments. The clothes themselves may prompt the man's imagination.

58.

For watching her body might arouse him.

59.

Even if his wife is not together with him (Beit Shmuel 23:4).

60.

See Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 3:14) which grants a man permission to hold himself below the corona of his organ, for this does not stimulate him sexually.

61.

See Shabbos 118b, 53b.

62.

I.e., directly after a youth becomes thirteen (Chelkat Mechokek 1:3).

63.

I.e., having foresight with regard to one's children's sexual behavior will prevent sin. See the conclusion of Hilchot Sotah where the Rambam cites the same verse in a different - although somewhat related - context.

64.

According to Scriptural Law, a man cannot consecrate a woman until he reaches the age of thirteen and demonstrates signs of physical maturity. Hence, if a couple are married beforehand, all relations are comparable to promiscuity. See Chelkat Mechokek, loc. cit. and Beit Shmuel 1:4 who discuss certain views that maintain that it is permitted to marry beforehand.

65.

Lest he be prompted to sexual thoughts.

66.

This certainly applies before the man has fulfilled the obligation to be fruitful and multiply (i.e., he fathered a boy and a girl). Even after he has fulfilled that mitzvah, he should marry a woman capable of bearing children [Hilchot Ishut 15:7, 16; Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 1:8)]. In the latter situation, however, there is room for certain leniencies.

67.

For she is not bound by the commandment of procreation.

68.

We assume that the difference in age will lead to a lack of sexual harmony and cause the man and/or woman to seek fulfillment outside of marriage.

69.

If, however, the woman was merely consecrated, the couple will not have shared familiarity and there is less grounds for suspicion, as mentioned at the conclusion of the halachah.

70.

In the Talmudic era, the custom was to build blocks of homes that opened up to a communal courtyard. Several of these courtyards would open up to a single lane. If a man and his divorcee would dwell in a single courtyard - and even in a single lane - they would meet each other on a frequent basis. In such a situation, we fear that the familiarity that they shared in the past might lead them to be intimate.

Rav Moshe HaCohen and others question the Rambam's ruling, noting that as long as the woman has not remarried, there is no prohibition against relations between the couple. They cite the standard text of Ketubot 27b which reads "A woman should not marry in his neighborhood." They maintain that the prohibition applies only when the woman remarries. She and her new husband should not dwell near her previous husband lest this lead to adultery.

The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 119:7) quotes the Rambam's wording. The Rama, however, mentions that if a woman remarries, she should not dwell in the same lane as her ex-husband even if he is not a priest.

71.

Since he is also bound by the prohibition against relations with a divorcee, there are more severe restrictions.

72.

Rather than demand payment herself. In this way, they will share less contact.

73.

For one of them should have appointed an agent so that they would avoid meeting each other.

74.

Since they never lived together, we do not fear that meeting each other will lead to intimacy.

75.

This applies if the home belongs to the husband and even if the woman also owns a home in that courtyard or the couple's home was rented (Chelkat Mechokek 119:27). Ketubot 28a explains that it is more difficult for a man to leave his home than it is for a woman.

76.

In this instance, she is not "dwelling securely," because she was informed of the temporary nature of the relationship from the outset. See Yevamot 37b which gives the example of several Sages who would marry women for brief periods of times after informing them beforehand.

See also the Chelkat Mechokek 119:1 and the Beit Shmuel 119:1 which debate whether it is proper for a man to engage in relations with his wife in such a situation. For as stated in Halachah 12, a man should not engage in relations with his wife if he intends to divorce her.

77.

Since they live apart from each other, it is possible that they will not know of the other's existence. If they visit that other locale, they may marry a relative without knowing of the family connection.

78.

For then, it will be unlikely that his descendants will intermarry unknowingly.

79.

For we fear that he will die as they did. See the Rama (Even HaEzer 9:1) who mentions certain leniencies concerning this situation.

80.

The commentaries cite the Biblical narrative concerning the marriage of Judah's sons to Tamar (Genesis, ch. 38) as proof of these laws. At the outset, Judah did not want her to marry his third son. After he had relations with her, however, he married her and continued living with her as man and wife.

81.

The term am haaretz which we translated as "unlearned" has broader implications. As indicated by the following halachah, it also has the connotation of one who is not careful in the observance of the mitzvot and whose character is unrefined and underdeveloped.

82.

Pesachim 49b.

83.

The commentaries note that Pesachim, op. cit., states "it will lead to poverty." Some resolve the differences by explaining that poverty will lead a family to strife.

84.

I.e., we can assume that his wife will return to her family and that the children will be raised according to the prevailing atmosphere in that home. From the statements of Rama (Even HaEzer 2:6), we can conclude that if an unlearned person is precise in his observance of the mitzvot, these words of caution do not apply.

Issurei Biah - Chapter Twenty Two

1

It is forbidden to enter into privacy with any of the woman forbidden as ariot,1 even if she is elderly or a young girl,2 for this leads to forbidden relations. [The only] exceptions are a woman and her son, a father and his daughter, and a husband with his wife who is in the niddah state.3

When a bridegroom's wife menstruates before he engages in relations with her, it is forbidden for him to enter into privacy with her.4 Instead, she should sleep among [other] women and he should sleep among [other] men.5 If they engaged in relations once and afterwards, she became impure, he is permitted to enter into privacy with her.

א

אסור להתייחד עם ערוה מן העריות בין זקנה בין ילדה שדבר זה גורם לגלות ערוה חוץ מהאם עם בנה והאב עם בתו והבעל עם אשתו נדה וחתן שפירסה אשתו נדה קודם שיבעול אסור להתייחד עמה אלא היא ישנה בין הנשים והוא ישן בין האנשים ואם בא עליה ביאה ראשונה ואחר כך נטמאת מותר להתייחד עמה:

2

Jewish men were not suspected of engaging in relations with men or with animals. Hence, there is no prohibition against entering into privacy with them.6If, however, a person distances himself from entering into privacy even with a male or an animal, it is praiseworthy. Sages of great stature would distance themselves from animals so that they would not be alone with them.7

The prohibition against entering into privacy with woman forbidden as ariot has been transmitted by the Oral Tradition.8

ב

לא נחשדו ישראל על משכב זכור ועל הבהמה לפיכך אין אסור להתייחד עמהן ואם נתרחק אפילו מייחוד זכור ובהמה הרי זה משובח וגדולי החכמים היו מרחיקין הבהמה כדי שלא יתייחדו עמה ואיסור ייחוד העריות מפי הקבלה:

3

When the incident concerning Amnon and Tamar occurred,9 David and his court decreed a prohibition against entering into privacy with an unmarried woman. Although an unmarried woman is not an ervah, such an act is considered as entering into privacy with an ervah. Shammai and Hillel decreed a prohibition against entering into privacy with gentiles.10

Thus when anyone enters into privacy with a woman, whether Jew or gentile, with whom such an act is forbidden, both the man and the woman are given stripes for rebellious conduct and an announcement is made concerning them.11 An exception is made with regard to a married woman. Although it is forbidden to enter into privacy with her, if one does enter into privacy with her, corporal punishment is not administered12 lest a rumor be initiated that she committed adultery. Thus a rumor might spread that her children are mamzerim.

ג

כשאירע מעשה אמנון ותמר גזר דוד ובית דינו על ייחוד פנויה ואע"פ שאינה ערוה בכלל ייחוד עריות היא ושמאי והלל גזרו על ייחוד כותית נמצא כל המתייחד עם אשה שאסור להתייחד עמה בין ישראלית בין כותית מכין את שניהן מכת מרדות האיש והאשה ומכריזין עליהן חוץ מאשת איש שאף על פי שאסור להתייחד עמה אם נתייחד אין לוקין שלא להוציא לעז עליה שזינתה ונמצאו מוציאין לעז על הבנים שהן ממזרים:

4

Whenever a man is forbidden to enter into privacy with a woman, this act is permitted if he is accompanied by his wife, for his wife will guard him [against transgression]. A Jewish woman should not enter into privacy with a gentile man even if his wife is with him. For a gentile's wife will not guard him [against transgression] and they have no shame.13

ד

כל אשה שאסור להתייחד עמה אם היתה אשתו עמו ה"ז מותרת להתייחד מפני שאשתו משמרתו אבל לא תתייחד ישראלית עם הכותי ואע"פ שאשתו עמו שאין אשתו של כותי משמרתו ואין להן בושה:

5

Similarly, a Jewish child should not be entrusted to a gentile with the intent that he teach him to read or teach him a craft, for all gentiles are suspect to engage in homosexual relations. Similarly, we do not house an animal in an inn belonging to gentiles, not even a male in an inn with males and a female in an inn with females.14

ה

וכן אין מוסרין תינוק ישראל לכותי ללמדו ספר וללמדו אומנות מפני שכולן חשודין על משכב זכור ואין מעמידין בהמה בפונדקיות של כותים ואפילו זכרים אצל זכרים ונקבות אצל נקבות:

6

We do not entrust an animal, beast, or fowl to a gentile shepherd, not even a male animal to a male shepherd and a female animal to a female shepherd, because they are all suspect to sodomize animals. We have already explained15 that [gentiles] are forbidden to engage in homosexuality or sodomy. And [Leviticus 19:14] states: "Do not place a stumbling block before the blind."16

ו

ואין מוסרין בהמה חיה ועוף לרועה כותי אפילו זכרים לכותים ונקבות לכותית מפני שכולן חשודין על הרבעת בהמה וכבר ביארנו שהן אסורין בזכור ובבהמה ונאמר ולפני עור לא תתן מכשול:

7

Why do we not entrust a female animal to a female gentile? For [all gentiles] are assumed to be promiscuous and when a gentile man will come to sleep with this gentile woman, it is possible that he will not find her and instead, sodomize the animal. Or even if he does find her, he may sodomize the animal.

ז

ומפני מה אין מוסרין בהמה נקבה לכותית מפני שכולן בחזקת נואפים וכשיבוא הנואף לשכב עם הכותית זו אפשר שלא ימצאנה וישכב עם הבהמה או אפילו ימצאנה ישכב עם הבהמה:

8

One woman should not enter into privacy even with many men17 unless the wife of one of them is present.18 Similarly, one man should not enter into privacy even with many women,19 But when there are many women together with many men, we do not show concern for the prohibition against entering into privacy.20

If the men were outside and the women were inside or if the men were inside and the women were outside, and one woman - or one man - separated themselves and joined the group of the other sex, the prohibition against entering into privacy applies.

Even a man whose business and profession [brings him into contact] with women21 is forbidden to enter into privacy with them. What should he do? He should involve himself with them while accompanied by his wife or turn to another profession.

ח

לא תתייחד אשה אחת אפילו עם אנשים הרבה עד שתהיה אשתו של אחד מהם שם וכן לא יתייחד איש אחד אפילו עם נשים הרבה נשים הרבה עם אנשים הרבה אין חוששין לייחוד היו האנשים מבחוץ והנשים מבפנים או האנשים מבפנים והנשים מבחוץ ופירשה אשה אחת לבין האנשים או איש לבין הנשים אסורין משום ייחוד אפילו איש שעסקו ומלאכתו עם הנשים אסור לו להתייחד עם הנשים כיצד יעשה יתעסק עמהן ואשתו עמו או יפנה למלאכה אחרת:

9

It is permitted to enter into privacy with two yevamot, two wives of the same man, a woman and her mother-in-law, or a woman and her husband's daughter, a woman and her husband's daughter, or a woman and her mother-in-law's daughter. [The rationale is that] these women hate each other and will not conceal the other's [misdeeds].22 Similarly, it is permitted to enter into privacy with a woman who is accompanied by a young child old enough to understand what sexual relations are, but who would not engage in relations herself. [The rationale is that the woman] would not act promiscuously in the presence of this child, for she will reveal her secret.

ט

מותר להתייחד עם שתי יבמות או עם שתי צרות או עם אשה וחמותה או עם אשה ובת בעלה או עם אשה ובת חמותה מפני ששונאות זו את זו ואין מחפות זו על זו וכן מותר להתייחד עם אשה שיש עמה תינוקת קטנה שיודעת טעם ביאה ואינה מוסרת עצמה לביאה שאינה מזנה בפניה שהרי זו מגלה את סודה:

10

It is permitted to enter into privacy with a female child less than three years old and a male child less than nine years old. For [our Sages] only issued decrees concerning entering into privacy with a woman fit to engage in relations and a male fit to engage in relations.23

י

תינקות מבת שלש ולמטה ותינוק בן תשע ולמטה מותר להתייחד עמהן שלא גזרו אלא על ייחוד אשה הראויה לביאה ואיש הראוי לביאה:

11

An androgynus24 may not enter into privacy with women.25 If he does, he is not given physical punishment, because his status is doubtful. A man may enter into privacy with an androgynus or a tumtum.26

יא

אנדרוגינוס אינו מתייחד עם הנשים ואם נתייחד אין מכין אותו מפני שהוא ספק אבל האיש מתייחד עם האנדרוגינוס ועם הטומטום:

12

When a married woman's husband is in the [same] city, she need not be concerned about [the prohibition against] entering into privacy with another man, because she will be impressed by the fear of her husband.27 If a man is overly familiar with her, e.g., they grew up together or she is his relative, she should not enter into privacy with him even if her husband is in the same city.28

Whenever a man enters into a room with a woman, but there is a door29 open to the public thoroughfare, we are not concerned about [the prohibition against] entering into privacy.30

יב

אשת איש שהיה בעלה בעיר אינה חוששת לייחוד מפני שאימת בעלה עליה ואם היה זה גס בה כגון שגדלה עמו או שהיתה קרובתו לא יתייחד עמה ואף על פי שבעלה בעיר וכן כל המתייחד עם אשה והיה הפתח פתוח לרשות הרבים אין חוששין משום ייחוד:

13

An unmarried man should not teach young children, because the mothers come to the school because of their sons and thus he will be tempted by women.31 Similarly, a woman32 should not teach young boys, because their fathers come because of their sons and thus they will enter into privacy with her. A teacher does not have to have his wife together with him in school,33It is sufficient that she be at home, while he teaches in his place.34

יג

מי שאין לו אשה לא ילמד תינוקות מפני שאמות הבנים באות לבית הספר לבניהם ונמצא מתגרה בנשים וכן אשה לא תלמד קטנים מפני אבותיהן שהן באין בגלל בניהם ונמצאו מתייחדים עמה ואין המלמד צריך שתהיה אשתו שרויה עמו בבית הספר אלא היא בביתה והוא מלמד במקומו:

14

Our Sages ordained that women speak to each other while in a lavatory,35 so that a man will not enter there and thus be alone with them.

יד

תיקנו חכמים שתהיינה הנשים מספרות זו עם זו בבית הכסא כדי שלא יכנס שם איש משום ייחוד:

15

We do not appoint even a faithful and observant person to be a guard of a courtyard where women live. [This applies] even if he stands outside, for there is no guardian against promiscuity.36

It is forbidden for a person to appoint a supervisor over his home so that he does not lead his wife to sin.37

טו

אין ממנין אפילו אדם נאמן וכשר להיות שומר חצר שיש שם נשים אע"פ שהוא עומד בחוץ שאין אפוטרופוס לעריות ואסור לאדם למנות אפוטרופוס על ביתו שלא ינהיג אשתו לדבר עבירה:

16

It is forbidden for a Torah scholar to dwell in a courtyard where a widow lives even though he does not enter into privacy with her lest suspicions arise38unless his wife is with him. Similarly, a widow should not raise a dog because of the suspicions that might arise. Nor should a woman purchase male servants - even minors - because of the suspicions that may arise.39

טז

אסור לתלמיד חכם לשכון בחצר שיש בה אלמנה אף על פי שאינו מתייחד עמה מפני החשד אלא א"כ היתה אשתו עמו וכן אלמנה אסורה לגדל כלב מפני החשד ולא תקנה אשה עבדים זכרים אפילו קטנים מפני החשד:

17

We do not relate the hidden matters40 concerning forbidden sexual conduct to three students. [The rationale is that] one will be absorbed in questioning the teacher, the other two will be debating the matter back and forth and will not be free to listen. Since a person's mind is aroused by sexual matters,41if a doubt arises concerning something he heard, he may [in error] rule leniently. Therefore, we teach only to two. In this manner, the one listening will focus his attention and recall what he will hear from the teacher.

יז

אין דורשין בסתרי עריות בשלשה מפני שהאחד טרוד בשאלת הרב והשנים נושאין ונותנין זה עם זה ואין דעתם פנויה לשמוע שדעתו של אדם קרובה אצל עריות אם נסתפק לו דבר ששמע מורה להקל לפיכך אין דורשין אלא לשנים כדי שיהיה האחד השומע מפנה דעתו ויודע מה שישמע מן הרב:

18

There is nothing in the entire Torah that is more difficult for the majority of people to separate themselves from than sexual misconduct and forbidden relationships. Our Sages said:42 When the Jews were commanded regarding forbidden sexual relations, they wept and accepted this mitzvah with complaints and moaning, as implied by the phrase: "Crying among their families," [which is interpreted as meaning]: "Crying about family matters."

יח

אין לך דבר בכל התורה כולה שהוא קשה לרוב העם לפרוש אלא מן העריות והביאות האסורות אמרו חכמים בשעה שנצטוו ישראל על העריות בכו וקבלו מצוה זו בתרעומות ובכיה שנאמר בוכה למשפחותיו על עסקי משפחות:

19

Our Sages said:43 A person's soul desires and craves theft and forbidden sexual relations. You will never find a community that does not have some people who are promiscuous regarding forbidden relationships and prohibited sexual conduct. Moreover, our Sages said:44 Most people trespass with regard to theft; a minority with regard to forbidden sexual conduct, and all with regard to the shade of undesirable gossip.45

יט

ואמרו חכמים גזל ועריות נפשו של אדם מתאוה להן ומחמדתן ואין אתה מוצא קהל בכל זמן וזמן שאין בהן פרוצין בעריות וביאות אסורות [ועוד] אמרו חכמים רוב בגזל מיעוט בעריות והכל באבק לשון הרע:

20

Therefore it is proper for a person to subjugate his natural inclination with regard to this matter and train himself in extra holiness, pure thought, and proper character traits so that he will be guarded against them.

He should be very careful with regard to entering into privacy with a woman, for this is a great cause [of transgression]. Our great Sages would tell their students:46"Watch me because of my daughter," "Watch me because of my daughter-in-law," so that they would teach their students not to be embarrassed about such matters and distance themselves from entering into privacy with women.

כ

לפיכך ראוי לו לאדם לכוף יצרו בדבר זה ולהרגיל עצמו בקדושה יתירה ובמחשבה טהורה ובדעה נכונה כדי להנצל מהן ויזהר מן הייחוד שהוא הגורם הגדול גדולי החכמים היו אומרים לתלמידיהם הזהרו בי מפני בתי הזהרו בי מפני כלתי כדי ללמד לתלמידיהם שלא יתביישו מדבר זה ויתרחקו מן הייחוד:

21

Similarly, a person should distance himself from levity, intoxication, and flirtation,47 for they are great precipitators and steps [leading] to forbidden relations.

A man should not live without a wife, for this practice leads to great purity.48 And [our Sages gave] even greater [advice], saying:49 "A person should always turn himself and his thoughts to the words of the Torah and expand his knowledge in wisdom, for the thoughts of forbidden relations grow strong solely in a heart which is empty of wisdom." And in [Solomon's words of] wisdom [Proverbs 5:19], it is written: "It50 is a beloved hind, arousing favor. Her breasts will satisfy you at all times. You shall be obsessed with her love."

כא

וכן ינהוג להתרחק מן השחוק ומן השכרות ומדברי עגבים שאלו גורמין גדולים והם מעלות של עריות ולא ישב בלא אשה שמנהג זה גורם לטהרה יתירה גדולה מכל זאת אמרו יפנה עצמו ומחשבתו לדברי תורה וירחיב דעתו בחכמה שאין מחשבת עריות מתגברת אלא בלב פנוי מן החכמה ובחכמה הוא אומר אילת אהבים ויעלת חן דדיה ירווך בכל עת באהבתה תשגה תמיד:

Blessed be God who grants assistance.

סליקו להו הלכות איסורי ביאה בס"ד:
Footnotes
1.

This prohibition also includes woman with whom relations are forbidden merely by a negative commandment (Beit Shmuel 22:1).

2.

And thus there is no apparent motivation toward sexual relations.

3.

See the Chelkat Mechokek 22:1 and the Beit Shmuel, loc. cit. which cite opinions that maintain that a man is permitted to enter into privacy with his sister in a temporary situation.

4.

Since the couple have never engaged in relations, we fear that they will not be able to control their desire. Hence we require them to take this added safeguard.

5.

See Rama (Yoreh De'ah 192:4) who discusses this issue in depth, mentioning several stringencies and leniencies. He states the prevailing custom is for a young boy to accompany the groom and a young girl to accompany the bride. Every person should check with a competent Rabbinic authority with regard to the custom followed in their community.

6.

The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 24:1) writes that homosexuality had become prevalent in his community and hence, it was deemed appropriate not to enter into privacy with other men. The Bayit Chadash states that in places where this transgression is not widespread, there is no need for taking such precautions.

7.

See Kiddushin 81b.

8.

Kiddushin 80b states that "there is an allusion to the prohibition against entering into privacy in the Torah." The Rambam understands that to mean that the prohibition was conveyed by the Oral Tradition and our Sages found an allusion for it in the Torah. The Tur (Even HaEzer 22), however, follows the opinion of Tosafot who maintains that the prohibition is of Scriptural origin.

9.

As II Samuel, ch. 13, relates: Amonon, David's oldest son, lusted for Tamar, his half-sister. He feigned illness and asked that Tamar serve him a meal. While she was serving him, he raped her.

10.

In that era, there already were more substantial social conduct between Jews and gentiles and our Sages felt that there was a need for further safeguards.

11.

Publicizing their misconduct so that the shame will further inhibit a future recurrence.

12.

The simple meaning of the Rambam's words is that lashes are not administered at all, neither to the man or the woman. The Bayit Chadash (Even HaEzer 22), however, states that punishment should be administered to the man, for it is not necessary to mention the woman with whom he transgressed.

13.

And there is the possibility that he will engage in relations with her in the presence of his wife.

14.

For we fear that the gentiles will engage in sexual misconduct. See Halachah 7.

15.

Chapter 14, Halachah 10.

16.

As interpreted by Avodah Zarah 6b, et al, this verse is a command not to place a person in a situation where he is likely to sin. By placing an animal belonging to him in the gentile's possession, the Jew is making it possible for him to sin.

17.

For we fear that she will enter into relations with one or more of the men in the presence of the others.

The Rama (Even HaEzer 22:5) states that a woman may enter into privacy with two upright men in a city, but not in a field, and only during the day, but not at night).

18.

For in that instance, she will guard him, as stated in Halachah 4. Nor will the other woman engage in relations in her presence, for it is likely that she will publicize the matter (Kessef Mishneh).

19.

For in this instance as well, there is the possibility that they will engage in relations. The Rama (loc. cit.) gives permission for many [three (Chelkat Mechokek 22:11) women to enter into privacy with one man, provided his profession does not involve contact with women.

20.

In such a situation, it is highly unlikely that the people will engage in relations.

21.

E.g., one who sells clothes or perfumes to women.

22.

Hence the women will be frightened to engage in sexual relations, for they know the matter will become public knowledge.

23.

And this does not apply below the ages mentioned in the halachah.

24.

A person with both male and female sexual organs.

25.

For he has a sexual drive for relations with women (Beit Shmuel 22:16).

26.

A tumtum refers to a person whose genitalia are covered by a block of flesh and it cannot be determined whether he is a male or female. A male is permitted to enter into privacy with these individuals, because he does not have a sexual drive for anyone other than an actual woman (ibid.).

27.

She will fear that at any particular time, her husband will come. Hence she will never commit adultery.

28.

Because this familiarity may cause her to overstep the bounds of modesty even when her husband is in the city.

29.

The later commentaries explain that open windows are also sufficient.

30.

Since it is possible for the two to be seen by passersby, they will not transgress.

31.

This applies even in a situation where there is no question of the teacher entering into privacy with the mothers (Beit Shmuel 22:21).

32.

This refers to an unmarried woman or one whose husband is out of town. Otherwise, there is no prohibition against entering into privacy (Chelkat Mechokek 22:21).

33.

To avoid the prohibition that stems from his being tempted by women.

34.

According to the Maggid Mishneh, this leniency applies even if the teacher's wife is in another city. As long as he is married, there is no prohibition. The Chelkat Mechokek 22:21 and the Beit Shmuel 22:22 differ and conclude that this leniency applies only when the man's wife lives in the same city where he teaches. If she lives in another city, it is forbidden.

35.

The Rama (Even HaEzer 22:13) states that this refers to outhouses in the fields (which was the custom in the Talmudic era), but not to outhouses in the city (which had become the custom in his time). Needless to say, it does not apply in the present age when the lavatories are in the privacy of buildings.

36.

I.e., No matter how upright the person's character, there is the possibility that frequent exposure to women will lead him to undesirable relations.

37.

We fear that if another man was placed in charge of a person's home, he would have frequent contact with the owner's wife and there is the possibility that ultimately the two will commit adultery. As Berachot 63a states: "Had Potiphar not appointed Joseph as the supervisor of his home, that incident (Potiphar's wife attempted seduction of Joseph) would never have occurred."

38.

I.e., people at large will suspect that they are sharing a relationship.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's ruling, explaining that what was forbidden was to dwell with her in the same home. There are no restrictions against dwelling in the same courtyard. According to the Rambam, dwelling in the same home temporarily is permitted as long as one does not enter into privacy with her. The Maggid Mishneh supports the Rambam's interpretation.

39.

I.e., people will gossip that she is intimate with the dog or the servants. In Hilchot Avadim 9:6, the Rambam mentions this restriction only with regard to servants nine years old or above. See the notes to that halachah.

40.

Rashi (Chagigah 11b) interprets this as referring to those matters which are not explicit in the Torah.

41.

The Rambam, based on Chagigah, loc. cit., is explaining why there is a difference between the laws concerning forbidden sexual conduct and those involving other matters.

42.

Sifri, Parshat Bahaaloscha; Shabbat 130b.

43.

Makkot 23b.

44.

Bava Batra 165a.

45.

This term refers to remarks concerning a colleague that are not actually lashon hara, unfavorable gossip, but which border on that type of speech. See Hilchot De'ot, ch. 7, for a more precise discussion of this issue.

46.

See Kiddushin 82b who quotes Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Meir as making such statements. It continues, relating that one of his students mocked Rabbi Meir for making such statements. Shortly afterwards, it was discovered that this student committed adultery with his mother-in-law.

47.

Our translation is based on the words of Rama (Even HaEzer 25:1) and Chelkat Mechokek 25:1.

48.

While married, he will have the opportunity for ordinary male-female relationships and will not develop pent up feelings that seek expression in forbidden relations.

49.

Kiddushin 30b.

50.

The Torah. See Eruvin 54b which explains the analogy in detail.

Ma'achalot Assurot - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchos Ma'achalot Assurot

They contain 28 mitzvot: four positive commandments and 24 negative commandments. They are:

1. To check the signs that distinguish a non-kosher domesticated animal or beast from a kosher one; 2. To check the signs that distinguish a non-kosher fowl from a kosher one;
3. To check the signs that distinguish a non-kosher locust from a kosher one;
4. To check the signs that distinguish a non-kosher fish from a kosher one;
5. Not to partake of a non-kosher domesticated animal or beast;
6. Not to partake of a non-kosher fowl;
7. Not to partake of a non-kosher fish;
8. Not to partake of a flying teeming animal;
9. Not to partake of a teeming animal of the land;
10. Not to partake of a creeping animal of the land;
11. Not to partake of a worm [growing] in fruit after it emerges into the air;
12. Not to partake of an aquatic teeming animal;
13. Not to partake of a nevelah, an animal that died [without ritual slaughter];
14. Not to benefit from an ox that was stoned to death;
15. Not to partake of an animal with a mortal wound;
16. Not to partake of a limb from a living animal;
17. Not to partake of blood;
18. Not to partake of the fat of a kosher animal;
19. Not to partake of the gid hanesheh;
20. Not to partake of a mixture of milk and meat;
21. Not to cook such a mixture;
22. Not to partake of bread from new grain [before the appropriate time];
23. Not to partake of new grain that has been roasted [before the appropriate time];
24. Not to partake of fresh new grain [before the appropriate time];
25. Not to partake of orlah;
26. Not to partake of produce grown in a vineyard with mixed species;
27. Not to partake of tevel;
28. Not to drink wine poured as a libation [to a false deity].

These mitzvot are explained in the ensuing chapters.

הלכות מאכלות אסורות - הקדמה

הלכות מאכלות אסורות יש בכללן שמונה ועשרים מצות ארבע מצות עשה וארבע ועשרים מצות לא תעשה וזה הוא פרטן:

(א) לבדוק בסימני בהמה וחיה להבדיל בין טמאה לטהורה
(ב) לבדוק בסימני העוף להבדיל בין הטמא לטהור
(ג) לבדוק בסימני חגבים להבדיל בין טמא לטהור
(ד) לבדוק בסימני דגים להבדיל בין טמא לטהור
(ה) שלא לאכול בהמה וחיה טמאה
(ו) שלא לאכול עוף טמא
(ז) שלא לאכול דגים טמאים
(ח) שלא לאכול שרץ העוף
(ט) שלא לאכול שרץ הארץ
(י) שלא לאכול רמש הארץ
(יא) שלא לאכול תולעת הפירות כשתצא לאויר
(יב) שלא לאכול שרץ המים
(יג) שלא לאכול נבילה
(יד) שלא ליהנות בשור הנסקל
(טו) שלא לאכול טרפה
(טז) שלא לאכול אבר מן החי
(יז) שלא לאכול דם
(יח) שלא לאכול חלב בהמה טהורה
(יט) שלא לאכול גיד הנשה
(כ) שלא לאכול בשר בחלב
(כא) שלא לבשלו
(כב) שלא לאכול לחם תבואה חדשה
(כג) שלא לאכול קלי מן החדש
(כד) שלא לאכול כרמל מן החדש
(כה) שלא לאכול ערלה
(כו) שלא לאכול כלאי הכרם
(כז) שלא לאכול טבל
(כח) שלא לשתות יין נסך

וביאור מצות אלו בפרקים אלו:

1

It is a positive commandment to know the signs that distinguish between domesticated animals, beasts, fowl, fish, and locusts that are permitted to be eaten and those which are not permitted to be eaten,1 as [Leviticus 20:25] states: "And you shall distinguish between a kosher animal and a non-kosher one, between a non-kosher fowl and a kosher one." And [Leviticus 11:47] states: "To distinguish between the kosher and the non-kosher, between a beast which may be eaten and one which may not be eaten."

א

מצות עשה לידע הסימנין שמבדילין בהן בין בהמה וחיה ועוף ודגים וחגבים שמותר לאכלן ובין שאין מותר לאכלן שנאמר והבדלתם בין הבהמה הטהורה לטמאה ובין העוף הטמא לטהור ונאמר להבדיל בין הטמא ובין הטהור ובין החיה הנאכלת ובין החיה אשר לא תאכל:

2

The signs of a [kosher] domesticated animal and beast are explicitly mentioned in the Torah.2 There are two signs: a split hoof and chewing the cud. Both are necessary.

Any domesticated animal and beast that chews the cud does not have teeth on its upper jaw-bone. Every animal that chews the cud has split hoofs except a camel.3 Every animal that has split hoofs chews the cud except a pig.

ב

סימני בהמה וחיה נתפרשו בתורה והם שני סימנין מפרסת פרסה ומעלת גרה עד שיהיו שניהם וכל בהמה וחיה שהיא מעלת גרה אין לה שינים בלחי העליון וכל בהמה שהיא מעלת גרה הרי היא מפרסת פרסה חוץ מן הגמל וכל בהמה שהיא מפרסת פרסה היא מעלת גרה חוץ מן החזיר:

3

Therefore if a person finds an animal whose hoofs are cut off in the desert and he cannot identify its species, he should check its mouth. If it does not have teeth on its upper jaw, it can be identified as kosher, provided one can recognize a camel.4 If a person finds an animal whose mouth is cut off, he should check its hooves, if they are split, it is kosher, provided he can recognize a pig.5

When both its mouth and its hoofs are cut off, he should inspect the end of its tail after he slaughters it.6 If he discovers that [the strings of] its meat extend both lengthwise and widthwise,7 it is kosher, provided he can recognize a wild donkey. For [the strings of] its meat also extend both lengthwise and widthwise.8

ג

לפיכך המוצא בהמה במדבר ואינו מכירה ומצאה חתוכת הפרסות בודק בפיה אם אין לה שינים למעלה בידוע שהיא טהורה והוא שיכיר גמל מצא בהמה שפיה חתוך בודק בפרסותיה אם היא שסועה טהורה והוא שיכיר חזיר מצא פיה חתוך ורגליה חתוכות בודק בה אחר ששחטה בכנפי העוקץ אם מצא בשרה שם מהלך שתי וערב טהורה והוא שיכיר ערוד שכן הוא בשרו שתי וערב:

4

When a kosher animal gives birth to an offspring resembling a non-kosher animal, it is permitted to be eaten even though it does not have split hoofs or chew the cud, but instead, resembles a horse or a donkey in all matters.9

When does the above apply? When he sees it give birth. If, however, he left a pregnant cow in his herd and found an animal resembling a pig dependent on it, the matter is doubtful and [the young animal] is forbidden to be eaten. [This applies] even if it nurses from [the cow], for perhaps it was born from a non-kosher species, but became dependent on the kosher animal.10

ד

בהמה טהורה שילדה כמין בהמה טמאה אע"פ שאינו מפריס פרסה ולא מעלה גרה אלא כמין סוס או חמור לכל דבר הרי זה מותר באכילה בד"א בשילדה לפניו אבל אם הניח פרה מעוברת בעדרו ובא ומצא כמין חזיר כרוך אחריה אף על פי שהוא יונק ממנה הרי זה ספק ואסור באכילה שמא מן הטמאה נולד ונכרך אחר הטהורה:

5

When a non-kosher animal gives birth to an offspring resembling a kosher animal, it is forbidden to be eaten. [This applies] even if it has split hoofs and chews its cud and resembles an ox or a sheep in all matters. [The rationale is that offspring] produced by a non-kosher animal are not kosher11 and those produced by a kosher animal are kosher.

For this reason, a non-kosher fish found in the belly of a kosher fish is forbidden, and a kosher fish found in the belly of a non-kosher fish is permitted, for they did not produce the fish, but instead, swallowed it.

ה

בהמה טמאה שילדה כמין בהמה טהורה אע"פ שהוא מפריס פרסה ומעלה גרה והרי הוא כמין שור לכל דבר או כמין שה הרי זה אסור באכילה שהגדל מן הטמאה טמא ומן הטהורה טהור (לפיכך) דג טמא שנמצא במעי דג טהור אסור ודג טהור הנמצא במעי דג טמא מותר לפי שאין גדוליו אלא בלעו:

6

When a kosher animal gives birth to an offspring that has two backs and two backbones12 or such a creature is discovered within [an animal that was slaughtered], it is forbidden to be eaten. This is what is meant by the term hashisuah which is forbidden by the Torah, as [Deuteronomy 14:7] states: "These may not be eaten from those which chew the cud and have split hoofs, the shisuah...", i.e., an animal that was born divided into two animals.

ו

בהמה טהורה שילדה או שנמצא בה בריה שיש לה שתי גבין ושתי שדרות אסורה באכילה וזו היא השסועה שנאסרה בתורה שנאמר את זה לא תאכלו ממעלי הגרה וממפריסי הפרסה השסועה כלומר בריה שנולדה שסועה לשתי בהמות:

7

Similarly, when [a fetus] resembling a fowl is found within a [slaughtered] animal, it is forbidden to be eaten. [This applies] even if it resembles a kosher fowl. [For when a fetus] is discovered in an animal, only one which has a hoof is permitted.13

ז

וכן בהמה שנמצא בה דמות עוף אע"פשהוא עוף טהור הרי זה אסור באכילה לא הותר מן הנמצא בבהמה אלא מה שיש לו פרסה:

8

There are no other domesticated animals or wild beasts in the world that are permitted to be eaten except the ten species mentioned in the Torah. They are three types of domesticated animals: an ox, a sheep, and a goat, and seven types of wild beasts: a gazelle,14a deer, an antelope, an ibex, a chamois, a bison, and a giraffe. [This includes the species] itself and its subspecies, e.g., the wild ox and the buffalo are subspecies of the ox.15

All of these ten species and their subspecies chew the cud and have split hoofs. Therefore, a person who recognizes these species need not check neither their mouths16 and not their feet.

ח

אין לך בכל בהמה וחיה שבעולם שמותר באכילה חוץ מעשרת המינין המנויין בתורה שלשה מיני בהמה והם:

שור שה ועז ושבעה מיני חיה:

איל וצבי ויחמור ואקו ודישון ותאו וזמר הם ומיניהן כגון שור הבר והמריא שהן ממין השור וכל העשרה מינין ומיניהם מעלה גרה ומפריס פרסה לפיכך מי שהוא מכירן אינו צריך לבדוק לא בפה ולא ברגלים:

9

Although all these species are permitted to be eaten, we must make a distinction between a kosher domesticated animal and a kosher wild beast. For the fat of a wild beast is permitted to be eaten and its blood must be covered.17 With regard to a kosher domesticated animal, by contrast, one is liable for kerais for partaking of its fat18 and its blood need not be covered.

ט

אף על פי שכולן מותרין באכילה צריכין אנו להבדיל בין בהמה טהורה וחיה טהורה שהחיה חלבה מותר ודמה טעון כסוי והבהמה הטהורה חלבה בכרת ואין דמה טעון כסוי:

10

According to the Oral Tradition, these are the distinguishing signs of a [kosher] wild beast: Any species that has split hoofs, chews its cud, and has horns which branch off like those of a gazelle are certainly kosher wild beasts. [The following laws apply with regard to] all those whose horns do not branch off: If they are curved, like the horns of an ox, notched, like the horns of a goat, but the notch should be embedded within them, and spiraled, like the horns of a goat,19 it is a kosher wild beast. Its horns, however, must have these three signs: They must be curved, notched, and spiraled.

י

וסימני חיה מפי השמועה הן כל מין שהוא מפריס פרסה ומעלה גרה ויש לו קרנים מפוצלות כגון האיל הרי זה חיה טהורה בודאי וכל שאין קרניו מפוצלות אם היו קרניו כרוכות כקרני השור וחרוקות כקרני העז ויהיה החרק מובלע בהן והדורות כקרני הצבי הרי זו חיה טהורה ובלבד שיהיה בקרנים שלשה סימנין אלו כרוכות חרוקות והדורות:

11

When does the above apply? With regard to a species that he does not recognize. [Different rules apply with regard to] the seven species mentioned in the Torah. If he recognizes this species, he may partake of its fat and is obligated to cover its blood, even one does not find any horns on it at all.

יא

בד"א במין שאינו מכירו אבל שבעה מיני חיה האמורין בתורה אם היה מכיר אותן אפילו לא מצא לו קרנים הרי זה אוכל חלבו וחייב לכסות דמו:

12

A wild ox is a species of domesticated animal.20 A unicorn21 is considered a wild beast even though it has only one horn.22

Whenever we have a doubt whether an animal is a domesticated animal or a wild beast, its fat is forbidden, but lashes are not given for partaking of it, and we must cover its blood.23

יב

שור הבר מין בהמה הוא והקרש אע"פ שאין לו אלא קרן אחת הרי הוא חיה וכל שיסתפק לך אם הוא מין חיה או מין בהמה חלבו אסור ואין לוקין עליו ומכסין את דמו:

13

A mixed species that comes from the mating of a kosher domesticated animal and a kosher wild beast is called a koi. Its fat is forbidden, but lashes are not given for partaking of it, and we must cover its blood.24 A non-kosher species will never be impregnated by a kosher species.25

יג

כלאים הבא מבהמה טהורה עם חיה טהורה הוא הנקרא כוי חלבו אסור ואין לוקין עליו ומכסין את דמו ואין מין טמא מתעבר ממין טהור כלל:

14

The distinguishing signs of a kosher [species of] fowl are not mentioned explicitly by the Torah. Instead, the Torah mentions26 only the non-kosher species. The remainder of the species of fowl are kosher. There are 24 forbidden species. They are:

a) the eagle,27

b) the ossifrage,

c) the osprey;

d) the kite, this is identical with the rayah mentioned in Deuteronomy,

e) the vulture, this is identical with the dayah mentioned in Deuteronomy,

f) members of the vulture family; for the Torah states "according to its family," implying that two species [are forbidden],

g) the raven,

h) the starling;28 since the Torah states "according to its family" with regard to the raven, the starling is included,

i) the ostrich,

j) the owl,

k) the gull,

l) the hawk,

m) the gosshawk, for this is among the hawk family; and the verse says "according to its family,"

n) the falcon,

o) the cormorant,

p) the ibis,

q) the swan,

r) the pelican,

s) the magpie,

t) the stork,

u) the heron,

v) members of the heron family; for the Torah states "according to its family,"

w) the hoopie, and

x) the bat.

יד

סימני עוף טהור לא נתפרש מן התורה אלא מנה מנין טמאים בלבד ושאר מיני העוף מותרין והמינין האסורין ארבעה ועשרים הן ואלו הן:

(א) נשר (ב) פרס (ג) עזניה (ד) דאה והיא הראה האמורה במשנה תורה (ה) איה והיא הדיה האמורה במשנה תורה (ו) מין האיה שכן כתוב בה למינה מכלל שהוא שני מינין (ז) עורב (ח) זרזיר שכן נאמר בעורב למינו להביא את הזרזיר (ט) יענה (י) תחמס (יא) שחף (יב) נץ (יג) ושרנקא והוא מין הנץ שכן כתוב בו למינהו (יד) כוס (טו) שלך (טז) ינשוף (יז) תנשמת (יח) קאת (יט) רחמה (כ) חסידה (כא) האנפה (כב) מין האנפה שכן נאמר בה למינה (כג) הדוכיפת (כד) העטלף:

15

Whoever is knowledgeable with regard to these species29 and their names30 may partake of any fowl from other species.31 A kosher species of fowl may be eaten based on tradition, i.e., that it is accepted simply in that place that the species of fowl is kosher.32 A hunter's word is accepted if he says: "The hunter who taught me told me33 that this fowl is permitted," provided that [teacher] has an established reputation as being knowledgeable with regard to these species and their names.

טו

כל מי שהוא בקי במינין אלו ובשמותיהן הרי זה אוכל עוף שאינו מהם ואינו צריך בדיקה ועוף טהור נאכל במסורת והוא שיהיה דבר פשוט באותו מקום שזה עוף טהור ונאמן צייד לומר עוף זה התיר לי רבי הצייד והוא שיוחזק אותו צייד שהוא בקי במינין אלו ובשמותיהן:

16

Whoever does not recognize these species and does not know their names must check according to the following signs given by our Sages: Any fowl that attacks with its claws34 and eats is known to be among these species and is unkosher. If [a fowl] does not attack with its claws and eat, it is kosher if it possesses one of the following signs: a) it has an extra claw,35 b) a crop;36 this is also referred to as a mur'ah, c) [the membrane of] its craw37 can be peeled by hand.38

טז

מי שאינו מכירן ואינו יודע שמותיהן בודק בסימנין אלו שנתנו חכמים כל עוף שהוא דורס ואוכל בידוע שהוא מאלו המינין וטמא ושאינו דורס ואוכל אם יש בו אחד משלשה סימנין אלו הרי זה עוף טהור ואלו הן:

אצבע יתירה או זפק והיא המוראה או שהיה קרקבנו נקלף ביד:

17

[The rationale is that] there are none of the forbidden species that do not attack with its claws and eat and possesses one of these three signs with the exception of the ossifrage and the osprey. And the ossifrage and the osprey are not found in settled areas, but rather in the deserts of the distant islands that are very far removed to the extent that are located at the ends of the settled portions of the world.

יז

לפי שאין בכל אלו המינין האסורין מין שאינו דורס ויש בו אחד משלשה סימנין אלו חוץ מפרס ועזניה ופרס ועזניה אינן מצויין בישוב אלא במדברות איי הים הרחוקות עד מאד שהן סוף הישוב:

18

If its craw can be peeled with a knife, but cannot be peeled by hand and it does not possess any other sign even though it is not a bird of prey, there is an unresolved doubt regarding the matter.39 If the membrane was firm and tightly attached, but [the craw] was left in the sun and it became looser [to the extent that] it could be peeled by hand, [the species] is permitted.

יח

היה הקרקבן נקלף בסכין ואינו נקלף ביד ואין בו סימן אחר אף על פי שאינו דורס הרי זה ספק היה חזק ודבק והניחו בשמש ונתרפה ונקלף ביד הרי זה מותר:

19

The Geonim said that they have an existing tradition that one should not rule to permit a fowl that possesses only one of these signs unless that sign is that its craw can be peeled by hand. If, however, it cannot be peeled by hand, it was never permitted [to be eaten] even if it possesses a crop or an extra claw.

יט

אמרו הגאונים שמסורת היא בידיהם שאין מורין להתיר עוף הבא בסימן אחד אלא אם היה אותו סימן שיקלף קרקבנו ביד אבל אם אינו נקלף ביד אע"פ שיש לו זפק או אצבע יתירה מעולם לא התירוהו:

20

Whenever a bird divides its claws when a line is extended for it,40placing two on one side and two on the other or it seizes an object in the air and eats while in the air, it is a bird of prey41 and non-kosher. Any species that lives together with non-kosher species and resembles them, is itself non-kosher.42

כ

כל עוף שחולק את רגליו כשמותחין לו חוט שתים לכאן ושתים לכאן או שקולט מן האויר ואוכל באויר הרי זה דורס וטמא וכל השוכן עם הטמאים ונדמה להם הרי זה טמא:

21

There are eight species of locusts which the Torah permitted:

a) a white locust,43 b) a member of the white locust family,44 the razbenit, c) the spotted grey locust, d) a member of the spotted grey locust family, the artzubiya, e) the red locust, d) a member of the red locust family, the bird of the vineyards, f) the yellow locust, g) a member of the yellow locust family, the yochanah of Jerusalem.

כא

ומיני חגבים שהתירה תורה שמונה ואלו הן:

(א) חגב (ב) מין חגב והוא הרזבנית (ג) חרגול (ד) ומין חרגול והוא ערצוביא (ה) ארבה (ו) ומין ארבה והיא צפורת כרמים (ז) סלעם (ח) ומין סלעם והיא יוחנא ירושלמית:

22

Whoever is knowledgeable with regard to these species and their names may partake of them. A hunter's word is accepted as [stated with regard] to a fowl.45 A person who is not familiar with them should check their identifying signs. [The kosher species] have three signs. Whenever a species has four legs, four wings that cover the majority of the length and the majority of the width of its body, and it has two longer legs to hop, it is a kosher species.46 Even if its head is elongated and it has a tail, if it is referred to as a locust, it is a kosher species.47

כב

מי שהוא בקי בהן ובשמותיהן אוכל והצייד נאמן עליהן כעוף ומי שאינו בקי בהן בודק בסימנין ושלשה סימנין יש בהן:

כל שיש לו ארבע רגלים וארבע כנפים שחופות רוב אורך גופו ורוב הקף גופו ויש לו שני כרעים לנתר בהם הרי זה מין טהור ואף על פי שראשו ארוך ויש לו זנב אם היה שמו חגב טהור:

23

When [a locust] does not have wings or extended legs at present, or its wings do not cover the majority [of its body], but it will grow them later when it grows larger, it is permitted [to be eaten] at present.

כג

מי שאין לו עכשיו כנפים או כרעים או שאין לו כנפים החופין את רובו ועתיד לגדל אותן אחר זמן כשיגדיל הרי זה מותר מעתה:

24

There are two signs of [kosher] fish: fins and scales. Fins are used by the fish to swim and scales are those which cling48 to its entire body. Any fish that possesses scales will have fins.49 If it does not have them at present, but when it grows, it will have them or if it has scales while in the sea, but when it emerges it sheds its scales,50 it is permitted.

When a fish does not have scales that cover its entire body, it is permitted. Even if it has only one fin and one scale,51 it is permitted.

כד

ובדגים שני סימנין:

סנפיר וקשקשת וסנפיר הוא שפורח בו וקשקשת היא הדבוקה בכל גופו וכל שיש לו קשקשת יש לו סנפיר אין לו עכשיו וכשיגדיל יהיה לו או שיש לו קשקשת כשהוא בים וכשיעלה ישיר קשקשיו הרי זה מותר ומי שאין לו קשקשים החופין את כולו מותר אפילו אין בו אלא סנפיר אחת וקשקשת אחת הרי זה מותר:

Footnotes
1.

The Rambam includes these four among the Torah's 613 mitzvot in his Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandments 149-152). The Ra'avad (in his hasagot to the listing of the mitzvot at the beginning of the Mishneh Torah) and the Ramban (in his hasagot to general principle 6 in Sefer HaMitzvot) differ and maintain that they should not be counted as mitzvot. According to their view, the mitzvot involve the observance of the prohibitions, but there is no positive act involved that could be considered as the observance of a commandment. [The Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvot 153, 470, 158, and 155) mentions these mitzvot, but explains that he personally subscribes to the opinion of the Ramban that they should br not included among the 613 mitzvot.]

In his Sefer HaMitzvot, the Rambam explains his position. Leviticus 11:2 states: "This is the living creature that you may eat...." The Sifri commenting on that verse describes it as a positive commandment. Now there is no positive commandment to eat kosher meat. The commandment is to know which species are kosher and to make a distinction between them and those which are not kosher meat as implied by the verse the Rambam cites here: "And you shall distinguish...." For it is only in this way, that one will be able to eat kosher meat. See also the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh. And see Chapter 2, Halachah 1, where the Rambam explains how he derives the idea that both a positve mitzvah and a negative mitzvah are involved.

3.

The Ra'avad questions why the Rambam does not mention a rabbit or a hare. The Torah specifically mentions that they chew their cud. The Maggid Mishneh explains that the Rambam does not mention them because they have teeth on their upper jaw.

The Maggid Mishneh and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 79:1) also mention that a camel has two teethlike growths on its upper jaw, but they do not in any way resemble teeth.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that the Rambam's intent is that any kosher domesticated animal or wild beast that chews its cud will not have teeth on its upper jaw and every such animal will have a split hoof.

4.

I.e., if one sees that the domesticated animal is not a camel, one can assume that it is kosher, for a camel is the only non-kosher animal without teeth on its upper jaw.

5.

For a pig is the only non-kosher animal with split hooves.

6.

For before slaughtering it, such an inspection would be painful for the animal.

7.

Our translation is based on the commentary of the Meiri to Chullin 59a. Rashi interprets that passage slightly differently and his opinion is cited by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah79:1).

8.

The Maggid Mishneh and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 79:1) mention another sign for a kosher animal: horns.

9.

As indicated by the Rambam's statements in the following halachah, the matter is dependent on the species and not the presence of distinguishing signs in and of themselves.

10.

The Ra'avad qualifies the Rambam's ruling, stating that it applies only when the person possesses a non-kosher animal in his herd. If that is not the case, we do not suspect that a non-kosher newborn came from elsewhere. The Maggid Mishneh and the Siftei Cohen 79:6 do not accept this addition.

11.

See also the beginning of ch. 3.

12.

I.e., a calf born with a Siamese twin.

13.

The hoof, however, need not be split as indicated by Halachah 4. See also Rama (Yoreh De'ah 13:5) and Siftei Cohen 13:20 who rule more leniently.

14.

The translation of the names of these seven species is a matter of debate among both Torah commentaries and zoologists. Our translation is taken from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's Living Torah. Consult the notes there for a detailed discussion of the matter. See also Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 80:3; Rama (Yoreh De'ah 28:4 who discuss these issues. In practice, we partake of the meat of an animal only when there is an established tradition that it is permitted (Siftei Cohen 80:1).

15.

The Maggid Mishneh and others interpret t'o as referring to a wild ox.

16.

To see whether or not they have teeth on their upper jaw, as stated in Halachah 3.

17.

As stated in Hilchot Shechitah, ch. 14.

18.

See Chapter 7.

19.

See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chullin 3:6) for a definition of these terms. The Ra'avad, the Rashba, and Rashi offer slightly different definitions for these terms.

20.

Although it is not domesticated and lives like a wild beast, it is still placed in this category.

21.

This was not a mythical beast, but a species of antelope known to exist during the Talmudic period (Chullin 59b).

22.

And all other kosher wild beasts have two.

23.

I.e., we accept the stringencies resulting from both positions. The Turei Zahav 80:3 adds that since we are not certain that this is required, we do not cover its blood on a festival. Similarly, the Siftei Cohen 80:4 states that a blessing is not recited before covering its blood.

24.

See also Hilchot Nazirut 2:10-11 which states that in certain ways it is like a domesticated animal (its fat is forbidden). In others, it is like a wild beast (its blood must be covered). Still in others it is like neither a domesticated animal or a wild beast (for it is considered as a mixed species with either of them) and in others (that it must be slaughtered), it resembles both.

25.

I.e., even if they are mated, they will not produce offspring.

27.

In this instance as well, the translation of the names of these species is a matter of debate among both Torah commentaries and zoologists. Our translation is taken from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's Living Torah. Consult the notes there for a detailed discussion of the matter. In practice, we only partake of those species of fowl concerning which we have an established tradition that they are acceptable.

28.

See the Kessef Mishneh and others who state that there is a difference of opinion whether this species is acceptable or not.

29.

As mentioned, there is a difference of opinion regarding the species associated with these names and there are few if any individuals who can claim the desired level of familiarity (see Siftei Cohen 82:1).

30.

As indicated by Chapter 3, Halachah 18, the knowledge of the names of the species is important. Otherwise, the hunter's word is not accepted.

31.

For these are the only ones forbidden by the Torah.

32.

If there is such a tradition, there is no necessity to check the signs mentioned in the following halachah.

33.

Chullin 63b states that this refers to a person who taught hunting and not a teacher of Torah, for it is possible that the Torah teacher will not be able to actually identify the species. Nevertheless, if a Rabbinical authority testifies that he has received the tradition that a species is acceptable, we follow his ruling (Siftei Cohen, loc. cit.).

34.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Chullin 3:6), the Rambam defines this as meaning "place its claws on the object that it desires to eat and eats it."

35.

I.e., a claw that is positioned higher and behind the fowl's row of claws (Rashi, Chulin 62a). Although most species of fowl possess such a claw, it is called "extra," because it is not positioned in the row of claws. Alternatively, the Hebrew term yeterah can be translated not as "extra," but as "larger," i.e., a claw that is larger than the others (Rabbenu Nissim).

36.

An organ which parallels a human's stomach.

37.

An extra muscular stomach that exists in fowl.

We are speaking about the inner membrane (Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Chulin 3:6). See Chatam Sofer, Yoreh De'ah, Responsum 50.

38.

Although the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 82:2) quotes the Rambam's words, it concludes: "Even though a fowl possesses these three signs, it should not be eaten, because we suspect that it might be a bird of prey unless they have a tradition given to them by their ancestors that this species is kosher." Similarly, the Rama (Yoreh De'ah 82:3) states: "One should not partake of any fowl unless there is a received tradition that it is kosher. This is the accepted custom. One should not deviate from it." Thus even if a species of fowl possesses these three signs, we do not partake of it.

39.

And we do not permit it.

40.

I.e., it stands on a rope or a pole extended for it by gripping the rope or pole with its claws (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Chulin 3:6).

41.

For these actions indicate that it uses its claws to attack other animals.

42.

Chulin 65a states that only species that are themselves impure will dwell together with impure species.

43.

In this instance as well, the translation of the names of these species is a matter of debate among both Torah commentaries and zoologists. Our translation is taken from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's Living Torah. Consult the notes there for a detailed discussion of the matter. In practice, it is common in most communities not to partake of any species of locusts (Turei Zahav 85:1). In the Yemenite community, however, there are certain species of locusts which are eaten.

44.

The Torah mentions four names of locust species and in connection with each states "according to its family," indicating that a sub-species is also permitted.

45.

Halachah 15.

46.

Chulin 66a speaks of four identifying signs for a kosher locust: a) four wings, 2 long legs, four legs, and the fact that its wings cover the majority of its body..

47.

Note the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishneh (Chullin81, the conclusion of ch. 3) which states that the factor of fundamental importance is that the specis be referred to as a locust. See Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 85a).

48.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that this term implies that the scales are not an integral part of the fish but can be separated from its body either by hand or with a utensil. If they cannot be separated from the fish, the fish is not kosher [Rama (Yoreh De'ah 83:1)].

49.

Thus if one finds scales on a piece of fish, there is no need to check whether it possessed fins (the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 83:3).

Chulin 66b asks: If so, why did the Torah mention fins and answers that this magnifies and amplifies the Torah.

50.

There are several species of kosher fish which shed their scales in this manner.

51.

The Tur and Rama (loc. cit.) quote the view of certain Rishonim who maintain that in such an instance, the scale must be located under its gills, fins, or tail.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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