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God's says how men should hold & look at their cocks and balls;

plus pissing & sperm emissions

Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah1

Folio 13a




GEMARA. Wherein [in this respect]3  do women differ from men?4  Women [in this matter] are not sensitive,5  hence they are praiseworthy,1  but in the case of men who are highly sensitive [their hands] ought to be cut off.2  But, if so,2  what was the point in saying 'MAKES FREQUENT' [seeing that the same reason2  applies] also where [the examinations are] infrequent? When 'MAKES FREQUENT' was mentioned it was intended to refer to women only.6

One taught: This7  applies only to the emission of semen but as regards flux8  a man also is as praiseworthy as the women;9  and even in regard to the emission of semen, if he desires to make the examination with a splinter or with a potsherd10  he may do so. May he not, however, do it with a rag, seeing that it was taught: A man may examine himself with a rag or with any other thing he wishes? As Abaye stated elsewhere: 'With a thick rag'.10  So also here11  it may be explained: With a thick rag.10  And in what connection was Abaye's statement made? In connection with the following: If a priest, while eating terumah, felt a shiver run through his body12  he takes hold of his membrum13  and swallows the terumah.14  'Takes hold'! But has it not been taught: R. Eliezer said, 'Whoever holds his membrum when he makes water is as though he had brought a flood on the world'?15  To this Abaye replied. 'With a thick rag'.16  Raba replied: It17  may even be said to apply to a soft rag for once the semen has been detached the subsequent touch does no longer matter.18  And Abaye?19  He made provision against the possibility of an additional discharge.20  And Raba? He does not consider the possibility of any additional discharges. But does he not, seeing that it was taught, 'To what may this21  be compared? To the putting of a finger upon the eye where, as long as the finger remains on it, the eye continues to tear'?22  Now Raba?23  It is quite uncommon for one to get heated twice in immediate succession.24

[Reverting to] the main text: 'R. Eliezer said, Whoever holds his membrum when he makes water is as though he had brought a flood on the world'. But, they said to R. Eliezer, would not the spray bespatter his feet and he would appear to be maimed in his privy parts so that he25  would be the cause of casting upon his children the reflection of being illegitimate? It is preferable, he answered them, that a man should be the cause of casting upon his children the reflection of being illegitimate than that he should make himself a wicked man, even for a while, before the Omnipresent. Another [Baraitha] taught: R. Eliezer replied to the Sages. It is possible for a man to stand on a raised spot and to make water or to make water in loose earth and thus to avoid making himself wicked, even for a while, before the Omnipresent. Which26  did he27  tell them28  first? If it be suggested that it was the first mentioned statement that he gave them first [is it likely, it may be objected], that after he spoke to them of a prohibition29  he would merely offer a remedy?30  The fact is that it was the last mentioned statement31  that he gave them first, and when they asked him, 'What is he to do when he can find no raised spot or loose earth', he answered them, 'It is preferable that a man should be the cause of casting upon his children the reflection of being illegitimate than that he should make himself a wicked man, even for a while, before the Omnipresent'.

But why all these precautions?32  Because otherwise one might emit semen in vain, and R. Johanan stated: Whosoever emits semen in vain deserves death, for it is said in Scripture. And the thing33  which he did33  was evil in the sight of the Lord, and He slew him also.34  R. Isaac and R. Ammi said. He35  is as though he shed blood, for it is said in Scripture. Ye that inflame yourselves among the terebinths, under every leafy tree, that slay the children in the valleys under the clefts of the rocks;36  read not 'that slay'37  but 'that press out'.38  R. Assi said: He39  is like one who worships idols; for here36  it is written, 'Under every leafy tree' and elsewhere40  it is written, upon the high mountains  and under every leafy tree.41

Rab Judah and Samuel once stood upon the roof of the Synagogue of Shaf-weyathib42  in Nehardea. Said Rab Judah to Samuel 'I must make water'. 'Shinena',43  the other replied, 'take hold of your membrum44  and make the water outside [the roof]'. But how could he45  do so, seeing that it was taught: R. Eliezer said, Whoever holds his membrum when he makes water is as though he brought a flood on the world? Abaye replied: He treated this case as that of a reconnoitering troop, concerning which we learnt, 'If a reconnoitering troop has entered a town in time of peace the open wine jars are forbidden46  and the closed ones are permitted,47  but in times of war the former as well as the latter are permitted because the troops have no time to offer libations'.48  Thus it clearly follows that owing to their being in a state of fear they do not think49  of offering libations, and so also in this case, since he45  was in a state of fear he would not think of lustful matters. But what fear could there be here? If you wish I might reply: The fear of the night and of the roof.50  If you prefer I might reply: The fear of his Master.51  If you prefer I might say: The fear of the Shechinah.52  If you prefer I might say: The fear of the Lord that was53  upon him,54  for Samuel once remarked of him55  'This man is no mortal being'.55  If you prefer I might say: He was a married man, and concerning such R. Nahman ruled, 'If a man was married, this is permitted'. If you prefer I might say: It was this that he taught him, vis., that which R. Abba the son of R. Benjamin b. Hiyya learnt: But he may support the testicles from below. And if you prefer I might say: It was this that he taught them, viz., that which R. Abbahu stated in the name of R. Johanan: It has a limit; from the corona downward [touch] is permitted but from the corona upwards1  it is forbidden.


Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files

1.            Since both husband and wife are thereby saved either from doubtful uncleanness or from certain transgression.

2.            Because of masturbation.


4.            Sc. why is the hand of the former PRAISEWORTHY while that of the latter OUGHT TO BE CUT OFF?

5.            I.e., the examination does not unduly excite their passions.

6.            Cf. n. 1.

7.            The culpability of men who make such examinations.

8.            I.e., when a man is suffering from gonorrhoea and is desirous of ascertaining the number of attacks he had (v. next n.).

9.            Since it is necessary to ascertain whether the attack occurred only twice or three times. In the former case the man is only unclean while in the latter he must also bring a sacrifice.

10.          Avoiding masturbation.

11.          In the Baraitha just cited.

12.          Lit., 'that his limbs trembled', an indication of the imminent emission of semen.

13.          To restrain the emission. Uncleanness does not set in until the semen has actually left the body.

14.          Infra 40a.

15.          Shab. 41a, infra 43a. The generation of the flood were guilty of such offences (cf. R.H. 12a). Now how, in view of R. Eliezer's statement, could one be allowed to commit an offence even for the sake of terumah?

16.          Avoiding masturbation.

17.          In the Baraitha just cited.

18.          Lit., 'since it was uprooted it was uprooted', no more semen would be emitted despite the heat engendered.

19.          Why, in view of Raba's explanation, does he restrict the application to a thick rag only?

20.          Of semen.

21.          The touching of the membrum after an emission.

22.          Infra 43a. Lit. 'tears and tears again'.

23.          How could he differ from this Baraitha?

24.          Lit., 'any being heated and being heated again in its time'. Hence the ruling in the Mishnah infra 40a. The Baraitha infra 43a, on the other hand, refers to one who practised self-abuse.

25.          Being assumed to be incapable of procreation.

26.          Of the two statements cited.

27.          R. Eliezer.

28.          The Sages.

29.          Which applies in all cases.

30.          Implying that where the remedy is inapplicable the prohibition may be disregarded.

31.          Lit., 'that'.

32.          Lit., 'and all such, why'.

33.          'He spilled it on the ground' (Gen. XXXVIII, 9).

34.          Gen. XXXVIII, 10.

35.          Who emits semen in vain.

36.          Isa. LVII, 5.

37.          [H].

38.          [H] interchange of the sibilants shin and sin.

39.          Who emits semen in vain.

40.          In reference to idolatry.

41.          Deut. XII, 2; an inference by analogy.

42.          The name of a man or place. v. Meg. (Sonc. ed.) p. 175, n. 5.

43.          'Keen-witted', 'long-toothed' (denoting some facial characteristic) or 'man of iron endurance', cf. B.B. (Sonc. ed.) p. 561, n. 14.

44.          To prevent the water from falling on the roof.

45.          Rab Judah.

46.          Because the troops may have offered them as libation to their idols.

47.          It being assumed that the troops who have at their disposal the open jars would not meddle with the closed ones.

48.          Keth. 27a, A.Z., 70b.

49.          Lit., 'come'.

50.          Standing on its edge in the darkness of the night he is afraid of falling off.

51.          Samuel.

52.          Which abides in the Synagogue.

53.          Always, even when not on a roof or in the darkness of night.

54.          So that no impure thoughts would occur to him even at any other time or place.

55.          Lit., 'born of woman'.



1.  Soncino Babylonian Talmud, Translated into English with notes, glossary and indices under the editorship of Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, B.A., Ph.D., D. Lit. Foreword by the very Rev. the Late Chief Rabbi Dr. J. H. Hertz; Introduction by the editor, the Soncino Press, London


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