Part 2 of 2
God's rules for men about erections, being excited, lustful thoughts
and masturbation by hand or foot
Rab stated: 'A man who wilfully causes erection should be placed2 under the ban'. But why did he3 not say, 'This is forbidden'? Because the man4 merely incites his evil inclination against himself.5 R. Ammi, however, stated: He4 is called a renegade, because such is the art of the evil inclination: To-day it incites man to do one wrong thing,6 and to-morrow7 it incites him to worship idols and he proceeds to worship them.
There are others who read: R. Ammi8 stated, He who excites himself by lustful thoughts will not be allowed to enter the division of the Holy One, blessed be He. For here it is written, Was evil in the sight of the Lord,9 and elsewhere it is written, For Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness; evil shall not sojourn with Thee.10
It was taught at the school of R. Ishmael, Thou shalt not commit adultery14 implies, Thou shalt not practise masturbation either with hand or with foot.
Our Rabbis taught: 'proselytes and those that play with children delay the advent of the Messiah'. The statement about proselytes may be understood on the lines of the view of R. Helbo, for R. Helbo said, 'proselytes are as hard for Israel to endure as a sore',15 what, however, could be meant by 'those that play with children'?16 If it be suggested: Those that practise pederasty [it could well be objected]: Are not such people subject to stoning?17 If, however, it be suggested: Those that practise onanism through external contact18 [it could be objected]: Are not such deserving destruction by flood?17 — The meaning rather is: Those that marry minors who are not capable of bearing children, for R. Jose19 stated: The Son of David20 will not come before all the souls in Guf21 will have been disposed of, since it is said, For the spirit that enwrappeth itself is from Me, and the souls which I have made.22
Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin
R. Jeremiah of Difti said: We also learnt the following: A maiden aged three years and a day may be acquired in marriage by coition, and if her deceased husband's brother cohabited with her, she becomes his.
BUT IN THE CASE OF MEN IT OUGHT TO BE CUT OFF. The question was raised: Have we here23 learnt a law or merely an execration? 'Have we here learnt a law' as in the case where R. Huna cut off one's hand;24 'or merely an execration'? — Come and hear what was taught: R. Tarfon said, 'If his hand touched the membrum let his hand be cut off upon his belly'. 'But', they said to him,25 'would not his belly be split'? 'It is preferable', he replied, 'that his belly shall be split rather than that he should go down into the pit of destruction'.26 Now if you concede that we have here27 learnt a law28 one can well understand why they said, 'Would not his belly be split'; but if you maintain that we have only learnt of an execration,29 what could be meant by [the question] 'His belly be split'? — What then would you suggest, that we have learnt here a law, would it not suffice, [it may be objected, that the cutting off shall] not be done on his belly? — The fact, however, is that it was this that R. Tarfon meant: Whosoever puts his hand below his belly that hand shall be cut off. They said to R. Tarfon, 'If a thorn stuck in his belly, should he not remove it'? 'No', he replied. 'But [they said] would not his belly be split'?30 'It is preferable', he replied, 'that his belly shall be split rather than that he should go down to the pit of destruction'.26
GEMARA. Why should not a DEAF woman make her own examination, seeing that it was taught: Rabbi stated, A deaf woman was living in our neighbourhood and not only35 did she examine herself but her friends also on observing a discharge would show it to her?36 — There it was a woman who could speak but not hear while here the reference is to one who can neither speak nor hear; as we have learnt: The deaf person of whom the Sages spoke is always37 one who can neither hear nor speak.38
A BLIND. Why should she not make her own examination and show the testing-rag to her friend? — R. Jose son of R. Hanina replied: The 'blind' is no part of the Mishnah.39
OR AN INSANE WOMAN. Is not this exactly the same as IMBECILE?40 This refers to one whose mind was deranged owing to a disease.
Our Rabbis taught: A priest who is an imbecile may be ritually immersed and then fed with terumah41 in the evening.42 He must also be watched that he does not fall asleep.43 If he falls asleep he is deemed unclean44 and if he does not fall asleep he remains clean. R. Eliezer son of R. Zadok ruled: He should be provided with a leather bag.45 The Rabbis said to him: 'Would not this cause heat all the more'? 'According to your view', he replied, 'should an imbecile have no remedy'? 'According to our view', they retorted, 'only if he falls asleep46 is he deemed unclean but if he does not fall asleep he remains clean, while according to your view there is the possibility that he might discharge a drop of blood of the size of a mustard seed and this would be absorbed in the bag'.47
A Tanna taught: It was stated in the name of R. Eleazar, The imbecile is to be provided with a metal bag. Abaye explained: It must be one of copper, as we have learnt:48 R. Judah ruled, Those buds of hyssop49 are regarded50 as if they had been made of copper.51
R. Papa remarked: From this52 it may be inferred that breeches53 are forbidden. But is it not written in Scripture, And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover the flesh of their nakedness?54 — That may be explained as it was taught: To what were the breeches of the priests like? They were like the knee breeches of horsemen, reaching upwards to the loins and downwards to the thighs. They also had laces but had no padding either back or front.55
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
10. Ps. V, 5. analogy between the two expressions of 'evil'. Alfasi (Shab. XIV) inserts, 'R. Eleazar said, What is meant by evil shall not sojourn with thee? The evil (minded) man shall not sojourn in Thy dwelling'.
47. Tosef. Nid. II. As it would thus be lost to sight the priest would be regarded as clean and terumah would, as a result, be eaten by one who is in fact unclean; and consequently an offence that is punishable by death (at the hand of God) would unconsciously be committed.