Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Selfish Sex

In continuing the discussion started in this post, I will now quote the words of Rabbi Mordechai Kornfeld:

In a broader sense, the Ramban's interpretation opens up a new path for understanding many of the forbidden relationships. Perhaps the "kindness" expected of man is the proper use of his ability to reproduce. By granting man his reproductive faculty, Hashem made man an active partner in the ultimate kindness of Creation (Niddah 31a). When man uses that ability for personal pleasure or egoism rather than to create a proud new generation, he is taking advantage of this special gift for personal gain. He is refusing to administer the kindness he was granted. Since relations with members of one's immediate family do not usually produce healthy and able offspring, they can be viewed as expressions of egoism (trying to reproduce one's self) or self indulgence, rather than kindness. This is why the Torah forbids such relations so severely.

The sin of incestual relations can thus be compared to that of a close emissary of the king who was appointed by the king to distribute the king's riches to those who are worthy of them. If, instead of distributing them, the appointee takes the riches for himself, his sin is much worse than that of an ordinary thief, since his selfishness and greed brought him to betray the confidence of the king.

For the same reason, the Torah prescribes severe punishment for homosexuality and bestiality. Such acts clearly reflect a desire for physical pleasure with no pretenses of kindness at all, an absolute abuse of the reproductive privileges granted to man by Hashem, the king of kings. To a lesser degree, licentiousness and extramarital relations also demonstrate that one is taking advantage of the divine commission to delegate kindness, and that his primary interest is physical pleasure rather than reproduction.

Other posts relevant to this discussion include:

2 comments:

Ilan the Portlander Rebbe said...

but the gemera says that humans are the only animals that do it while they are preggers, meaning that humans alone have sex for reasons other than just reproduction.

Reb Chaim HaQoton said...

When married, there is also the positive commandment of pleasing one's wife.

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