Thursday, September 27, 2012

Masturbation: A Cautionary Tale

The Talmud Niddah 13 states "Whosoever emits semen in vain deserves death", "He is as though he shed blood", "He is like one who worships idols" "A man who wilfully causes erection should be placed  under the ban" "He  is called a renegade, because such is the art of the evil inclination: To-day it incites man to do one wrong thing, and to-morrow it incites him to worship idols and he proceeds to worship them." "He who excites himself by lustful thoughts will not be allowed to enter the division of the Holy One, blessed be He".

It should be noted however that Sefer Ḥasidim section 176 does permit masturbation if there is danger that otherwise one will have intercourse with a forbidden woman (meaning any woman except his wife who is not niddah). Consult a rabbi regarding this.

In any case, the Talmud considers masturbation to be an extremely negative behavior. However following this teaching can be very difficult, particularly in today's world were online pornography is so easily available.

The Steipler obm offered the following advice:

The only hope of a young unmarried man is to study Torah for the sake of Heaven and to pray that the Holy One will have compassion on him and save him from sinning. You should not expect the rescue to happen in one or two days, however. Yet , with time, if you persist in the deep analysis of Torah texts, as much as your ability will allow, together with a good study-partner, without wasting any time in conversation, you will see how your urge for evil becomes dimmer. You will thereby succeed in your Torah study, as well as in your observance of the Torah... When you finish praying the Amidah, before taking the three steps backward, pray that the Holy One will rescue you, as well as all your brothers among the people of Israel, from this most bitter of sins.

To one boy who had essentially given up trying he wrote : An essential requirement is not to despair, G-d forbid. We must always hope that the Holy One will help us, for as it is written: Is G-d’s power limited? Furthermore, one who comes to purify himself is sent help from Heaven. Another important principle is not to fall into sadness. One who is unmarried should not think of his past till after he gets married. He will then have time to repair.

Let us all pray for a good new year devoted to loving God and loving those who serve Him.


Anonymous said...

I masturbate every day and I love it! it's soo fun! what's wrong with that? isn't a Jew supposed to have some fun?! besides, it's not like I'm hurting anyone...

Abe said...

Hahahahahaha ...a good one. Thanks for the advice.
However many urges of this nature don't get dimmer, especialy if you've just learned a sexy blatt gemorah describing what a virgin feels for the very first time. "Abaye replied: Nurse9 told me: Like hot water on a bald head.10 Raba said: R. Hisda's daughter told me, Like the prick of the blood-letting lancet.12 R. Papa said: The daughter of Abba of Sura11 told me, Like hard crust in the jaws. (Talmud - Mas. Kethuboth 39b)
LOL -- like hard crust in the jaws. Now if this doesn't excite the rocket in your pocket, nothing will.

So, Next time i feel an arousal coming on, I shift my train of thought from virgins to your second favorite subject -- the final solution for homosexuals. After a few minutes contemplating mass murder, any thought of complying with unbearable urges of sexual self-fornication becomes a distant memory.

jewish philosopher said...

"I masturbate every day and I love it! it's soo fun! "

Is it appropriate for a holy person? Would you expect the Pope or the Dalai Lama to do it?

"After a few minutes contemplating mass murder"

Killing criminals who have committed a capital offence after due process is capital punishment not murder. Obviously youre too busy masterbating to think straight.

ksil said...

i am so glad this is mentioned in the bible, given that it is so important....

oh, its not mentioned in there? thats weird! So some ancient book written by a person - we listen to with such rigor? why is that?

what % of the world population do you think masterbates on a regular basis?

jewish philosopher said...

"oh, its not mentioned in there?"

Neither is the fact that witnesses are required before stoning someone along with a court of specially ordained judges which hasn't existed for 2,000 years. Neither is the fact that "an eye for an eye" is not to be taken literally.

"what % of the world population do you think masterbates on a regular basis?"

what % of the world population do you think steals things on a regular basis?

ksil said...

"what % of the world population do you think steals things on a regular basis?"

a lot less than the % that masterbates! plus, doesnt stealing hurt other people? lol

witnesses...stoning....court...judges....all stuff COMLPETELY irrelavant and non applicable (and never will be again) - maybe masterbation is too!! who knows

jewish philosopher said...

"a lot less than the % that masterbates!"

That what everybody who invested in Bernie Madoff thought lol.

"...all stuff COMLPETELY irrelavant and non applicable "

We no longer and in fact rarely did impose the punishments. Judaism is based on education and strong family traditions, not terror. But all the laws still apply.

ksil said...

"Judaism is based education and strong family traditions"

you sound like a non-orthodox jew here - which is a more attractive, evolved, relevant, religion than the avodah zara you and the rabbinic orthodox practice.

if only....

not sure what you bernie madoff reference was

regardless, it seems to me there is no biblical source to forbid masterbation, in fact (As you point out) there are heterim for it, adn it harms no one (in fact, medially it is proven to be healthy) - like a circumsision!! LOL

jewish philosopher said...

As rabbinical Jews, we obviously follow the rabbinical interpretation of the Torah. I wonder what Karaites say about masturbation. I bet the same thing. So do traditional Christians and Muslims.

A lot of bad things are very common. Stealing for one. And also lying. You admit to being a constant liar by decieving friends and relatives about being orthodox when really you aren't. Everybody or nearly everybody doing something doesn't make it good.

Your kid is going to tell you "But Dad, everybody shoplifts." Or "Dad, everyone smokes pot."

Anonymous said...

"Would you expect the Pope or the Dalai Lama to do it?"

Probably not, but then again, I don't care much for those people.

jewish philosopher said...

I'm sure that's mutual.

Dave said...

To my mind, the issue of masturbation would be guided like any other biological behavior, like eating.

It is only a problem if it becomes compulsive and interferes in some way with the persons normal social, marital or occupational functioning, or drives him to do something illegal or harmful to somebody else

Otherwise it is basically harmless.

The religious obsession with masturbation, on the other hand, is actually harmful, in causing needless shame and guilt in boys who do it despite the ban.

Anonymous said...

"The Pope doesn't need to masturbate simply because he has little boys to take care of his 'seed'".
Masturbating is normal and healthy. My research has shown that nearly all males masturbate on a regular basis. And the ones who don't, are generally athletes who's testorerone and other hormones are used for other purposes.

jewish philosopher said...

Playing with ones genitals is not appropriate behavior for a person whose life is devoted to loving God.

"And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Deuteronomy 6:5

ksil said...

"Playing with ones genitals is not appropriate ..."

how do you know? maybe it is!

and it has been proven to be medically healthy!

when you go up to the pearly gates, god will ask why you didnt play with it...i can just hear him "I gave them to you to play with, and you just let them sit there and shrivle up and die!! what an idiot you are!"

jewish philosopher said...

In Britain "wanker"

is very negative. Have you ever wondered why that is? Why not be proud of it?

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure that's mutual"

meaning you feel the same way?

jewish philosopher said...

No, I'm referring to the Pope.

Ironmistress said...

Let's say that I relate to self-pollution in the same way I relate to picking one's nose:

Gross, disgusting and certainly not something I like to see to be done at public.

But like picking one's nose (and even eating the mucus) can be beneficial to immune system, so can be jerking off every now and then for sanity and mental balance, especially if the boy in question is a nerd with little or no choices of ever having satisfactory sex.

As long as one does it privately and NOT on daily basis. It is, after all, a victimless crime.

Let's say that I find inserting any obscene devices in my bodily orifices disgusting even as an idea.

jewish philosopher said...

However masturbation is not appropriate behavior for Jews:

"ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation"
Exodus 19:6

jewish philosopher said...

Just incidentally, the concept of masturbation on a regular basis appears to be primarily a modern, western idea. In fact, thanks to the Internet, masturbation seems to be replacing intercourse in some societies. However this is far from the norm cross culturally.

B.BarNavi said...

And then I read Frum Satire and all is right in this world again.

reg bbarclay said...

"It should be noted however that Sefer Ḥasidim section 176 does permit masturbation if there is danger that otherwise one will have intercourse with a forbidden woman"

I think using the word 'permit' here is inaccurate. IIRC what the Sefer Hasidim actually says is that if one is not going to withstand temptation then it is preferable to masturbate rather than having forbidden intercourse.