Degrees Of Sexual Neuroses

Note to Will, Julian, and Jim:

If you think comparing watching porn to having an affair is batshit crazy (and it is, of course), just be glad you didn't have to grow up learning that masturbation "is the most severe of all Torah forbidden sins", including not just murder, but "when one emits sperm to waste it is as if he destroys the earth." Which is, of course, "punishable by death."

So give Ross Douthat some credit here; at least he is only comparing masturbation to having an affair. His analogy could have been a whole lot batshit crazier.

Share this

Just a quote... However, it

Just a quote...

However, it is unclear to what extent women are included in this prohibition and whether post-relations contraceptive (e.g. an internal sponge to absorb semen to prevent pregnancy) is forbidden.

I cannot begin to why so many jews attach so much importance to the letter rather than to the obvious intent and spirit of the law. Beats me.

Because the letter is

Because the letter is unchanging (relatively speaking; it still has to be interpreted to some extent), whereas the meaning/importance of the the letter is much more subjective. Injecting degrees of subjectivism is what leads to the creation of more liberal denominations (a fairly modern phenomenon, e.g. the Jewish Enlightenment movement in late 18th century), which in turn, expectedly, leads to assimilation and autogenocide (which, as you, know, I often regard as a good thing).

It's an evolutionary argument: because Judaism does not proselytize, the only denominations that stick around over the long term are the ones that adopt the most rigid, socially conservative perspectives, so they are the ones that survive history. The rest, to their credit, sow the seeds of their own destruction. Rationalism and curiosity win the intellectual battle among the more liberal sects, but lose the religious battle of refraining from intermarrying and integrating with the secular world.

The value of the prohibition is obvious

Judaism is a religion that is not spread by proselytization. Given this, then it is especially important to the survival and spread of Judaism that Jews have as many children as possible. What better way to ensure this than to prohibit the wasting of seed!

(The linked page claims that Jews used to proselytize, but proliferation through sex is still a great supplement to proselytization, and furthermore, the prohibition against masturbation may have taken on a new importance when Jews stopped proselytizing.)

You got it. Of course, it's

You got it. Of course, it's not like pubescent Orthodox boys don't masturbate; they just feel incredibly guilty and self-loathing about it. Which is what leads to Woody Allen stereotype referenced in the title.

The most important prohibition for maintaining survival is the law against intermarriage.

Just wondering

So if little Issac goes to mom and says "Mom I woke up from a dream and I was wet down there. What is this stuff? What should I do?" then her response should be to scoop it up and impregnate herself with it? :)

After all it is still potentially viable and despite his innocence in producing the stuff further actions will or will not decide whether it is wasted.

Seems to me any person with the ability to not waste the sperm is failing in this regard. So if you know were some viable sperm is, and you are a fertile Jewish woman you had better get busy. Not sure if it even needs to be Jewish sperm.

Boy am I so glad I abandoned all connection to traditional religion. Traditional in the sense of being based on tribal superstition.