Friday, May 23, 2008

Consequences of a Husband Compelling His Wife Into Intimacy Against Her Desire ("The Jewish Way")

Comparing patriocentricity to the practice of Orthodox Judaism according to Rabbi Maurice Lamm in “The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage

From Pgs 138 -141:
When conjugal relations are the result of compulsion, sexual intimacy is robbed of its essential holiness. It makes the blending of bodies and personalities inhumane. True, the tradition does counsel the spouse to yield if at all possible, but if that does not occur, the Halakhah has no tolerance. It is nothing less than “domestic rape.” The Talmud says, “He who coerces his wife will produce unworthy children.” The Rabbis go so far as to say that in such ugly exploitation of his wife, a man is considered morally, though not legally, to have cohabited with a harlot and to have produced a child who is akin to a mamzer. [mamzer: conception resulting from fornication]

Maimonides declares, “You must not have relations with her against her will. In such relations, because they are not done with great desire, love and willingness, the Divine Presence does not rest; for your intents are different and the mind of your wife does not coincide with our mind. You must not fight with her or beat her in regard to conjugal relations” ...

The use of sex as a weapon by a manipulating mate is a desecration. Indeed, the negative phrasing of the duty of onah implies this rejection of its misuse: lo yigra (a man may not diminish her onah) ke’dei le’tzaarah (in order to pain her)...
The sexual aspect of marriage does not fall under the shadow of sin or shame, and this is evinced in many statements in Jewish literature. The beauty, character, and even the health of children is held to be influenced by the nature of the act. The act itself, ideally, should not be perfunctory and dutiful, but as fresh as the first union on the wedding night... Being religious means fulfilling the goals of the Torah, it does not mean being “more religious” than one’s neighbor. “Do not be overly-righteous,” Ecclesiastes says. Judaism is not Puritanism.
In the next post:

Jewish thoughts about the “ezer” and the creation of Eve.

Copyrighted material quoted here
under fair use for educational purposes from
by Maurice Lamm. San Francisco, CA: Harper and Row, 1980.