Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hebrew for Revealing the Schechina to the Jews in the Desert of Sinai



משה ואהרן וטורח להוריד השכינה

ממני דוד אליהו אידנסון

והנה בחומש ויקרא בפרשת אחרי מות שני בני אהרן בקרבתם לפני השם וימתו עכ"ל ובתרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל פסוק ב' שאמר שנדב ואביהו היו כהנים גדולים. וידוע שיונתן בן עוזיאל היה מגדולי המפרשים. וע' בפירוש יונתן שם למטה מן התרגום אריכות בזה שהיו כהנים גדולים.
ובספר ויקרא פרשת שמיני ט',כג-כד וז"ל ויבא משה ואהרן אל אהל מועד ויצאו ויברכו את העם וירא כבוד השם אל כל העם. ותצא אש מלפני השם ותאכל על המזבח כו' וירא כל העם וירנו ויפלו על פניהם עכ"ל ובתרגום אונקלוס מתרגם וירנו ששבחו להשם על זה.
והנה הפסוק אומר כולו שבח לאהרן אבל מצאנו בפרש"י ותרגום יונתן שלא היה פשוט כן. אדרבה אהרן טרח כל הטירחות של עבודת הכהן גדול ולא זכה לראות גילוי השכינה. אז נכנס אהרן אצל משה ואמר לו שיש לו בושה גדולה שהקב"ה כועס עליו עבור חטא העגל הזהב ולא ירד השכינה. ותיכף נכנס משה והתפלל על אהרן ואז ירד השכינה לכל העם. ובתרגום יונתן שמשה ואהרן נכנסו לבקש רחמים על ישראל שיזכו לגילוי השכינה. ואז התגלה השכינה לכל ישראל וכל העם נפלו על פניהם בשמחה שקיבלו תפלתם והתגלה השכינה לכל ישראל. וכן תרגם אונקלוס וירנו ושבחו שכלל ישראל ראו השכינה ונפלו ושבחו להשם על המראה הגדול וגילוי השכינה לכל ישראל.
והמעיין שם בתרגום יונתן ורש"י יראה שמשה הטריח עצמו הרבה זמן בהקמת המשכן ולא ירד השכינה והוא היה מצטער על זה שלא ירד השכינה וגם אהרן שהיה סובר שהוא גרם שלא ירד השכינה על ידי שעשה העגל הזהב והיה מתבייש על זה משמע ששניהם היו בכלל הקפידה שלא ירד השכינה לישראל אפילו שהקימו המשכן ועשו עבודות.
והנה צ"ע אם לא ירד השכינה מפני שהיה טענה על משה ואהרן או לא. ובאמת מצאנו שנדב ואביהו אמרו זה לזה מתי ימותו הזקנים הללו ואנחנו ננהיג את העם. ולכאורה הוא תמוה ביותר מי הוא זה ואיזה הוא שידבר כן על אביו אהרן כהן גדול ועל דודו ידיד השם משה רבינו שבכל ביתי נאמן הוא. והם ביקשו שימותו הוא פלא ממש. ורואים ושותקים.
ועדיין י"ל שאינו כל כך פשוט. שהיות שברש"י ובתרגום יונתן גדולי המפרשים ברור שכן השכינה הרבה זמן לא התגלה לישראל הגם שמשה ואהרן הטריחו עצמם הרבה לזה, ומשמע שמשה ואהרן הבינו שהקב"ה דוקא לא רוצה לגלות השכינה לישראל ומשמע ששניהם משה ואהרן היו ח"ו לא ראויים שעל ידיהם יתגלה השכינה לישראל. והפשטות יכול להיות שמשה ואהרן היו ראויים אלא שישראל לא היו כל כך צדיקים ואין החסרון במשה ידיד השם ואהרן כהן גדול. וכן מצאנו בשיר של יום חמישי בסידור ולא שמע עמי לקולי וישראל לא אבה לי ואשלחהו בשרירות לבם ילכו במועצותיהם  עכ"ל וכן מצאנו בישראל שעשו עבירות וכן המרגלים עשו עבירות והיו מ' שנה במדבר עבור דברים אלה. ואין להאשים ח"ו משה ואהרן.
ובכל זאת יכול להיות שנדב ואביהו כאשר ראו הטורח של משה ואהרן שלא הצליחו עם כל הטורח שעשו, חששו כפי שהבינו שמשה ואהרן חסרים ולא זוכים לגלות השכינה. ולא האשימו לישראל, אלא שגם משה ואהרן גרמו באיזה אופן ח"ו. והיות שהיה כל כך בושה לישראל קיבלו נדב ואביהו על עצמם להוריד אש שלא צוה להם שהיו סוברים שהם כהנים גדולים אלא שהיו סוברים שהם גדולים ממשה ואהרן והיו סוברים שמשה ואהרן לא היו ראויים להוריד השכינה לכל ישראל רק שהם ראויים לזה, שלכן ביקשו לסלק משה ואהרן והם יהיו המנהיגים ורואים ושותקים.
(והארכנו קצת ממיתת בני אהרן  נדב ואביהו בספר ויקרא בפרשת שמיני י',א' וגם בפרשת אחרי טז',א'.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Parshas Kedushomim in Hebrew

פרשת קדושים ויקרא כט'א' – דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה
ממני דוד אליהו אידנסון
הפרשה של קדושים תהיו מתחיל דבר אל כל עדת בני ישראל ואמרת אליה קדשים תהיו כי קדוש אני ה' אלקיכם. פרש"י יט' פסוק ב' דבר אל כל עדת בני ישראל- מלמד שנאמרה פרשה זו בהקהל מפני שרוב גופי תורה תלויין בה. קדושים תהיו – הוו פרושים מן העריות ומן העבירה שכל מקום שאתה מוצא גדר ערוה אתה מוצא קדושה כו'. ע"כ
ורש"י מפרש שהחשיבות של קדושים הוא שרוב גופי התורה תלויין בה. ואחרי כן רש"י מפרש שכל מקום שאתה מוצא גדר ערוה אתה מוצא קדושה ע"כ ולכאורה וכי גדר ערוה הוא כללות התורה שרש"י לעיל אומר שקדושים רוב גופי התורה תלויין בה וכי ערוה הוא רוב גופי התורה? וצ"ל שכל שיש גדר ערוה גורם לקדושה, וקדושה הוא עיקר התורה. שכן לשון הפסוק דבר אל כל עדת בני ישראל ואמרת אליהם קדשים תהיו כי קדוש אני ה' אלקיכם. משמע שזה הוא עיקר התורה. שהכל תלוי בקדושה. וקדושה ענינו שמירה מערוה כו'.
והנה הפסוק הב' בקדושים הוא דבר אל כל עדת בני ישראל ואמרת אליהם קדשים תהיו כי קדוש אני השם אלקיכם ע"כ ומלשון הזה משמע שצריכים לדבר לכל עדת בני ישראל ואמרת אליהם קדשים תהיו ואם הקב"ה מציאותו הוא קדושה ודאי שיודעים שהכל תלוי בקדושה ובאחרת אין זו ח"ו אני השם אלקיכם. והנה קדשים תהיו אין בו ו'ו ואילו כי קדוש יש לו וו'. והכונה שלהגיד לכל עדת בני ישראל ואמרת אליהם קדשים תהיו אפשר למעט הו' ולומר שלא שייך לכל כלל ישראל להיות קדושים כל כך. אבל כי קדוש אני השם אלקיכם זהו קדושת השם ממש וצריכים להקפיד על שלימות הקדושה כי קדוש אני השם אלקיכם. שכל השייכות לקדושה הוא ממה שמבינים שהכל בא מן הקב"ה ועיקר הגילוי של רצונו הוא קדושה.
איש אמו ואביו תיראו ואת שבתתי תשמרו. הנה השבת הוא עיקר הקדושה. אבל מקדים איש אמו ואביו תיראו קודם לואת שבתתי תשמרו.  וי"ל שבתנא דבי אליהו ראשית הספר יש הכלל שיש תורה ויש דרך ארץ. ושעיקר התורה הוא הדרך ארץ ולא התורה. וא"כ מבינים למה מקדימים איש אמו ואביו תיראו לואת שבתותי תשמרו. שהשבת הוא תורה ויראת האם הוא דרך ארץ. ודרך ארץ קדמה לתורה.
ומצאנו בסוף ספר מלאכי הנה אנכי שולח לכם את אליהו הנביא לפני בא יום השם הגדול והנורא והשיב לה אבות אל הבנים ולב בנים אל אבותם פן אבוא ואחריב כל הארץ חרמה. הרי שבעון של תורה לא מצאנו לשונות כאלה להחריב כל העולם עבור איזה חטא, אבל בביזיונות של ההורים שהוא דרך ארץ הקדמה לתורה, אם לא עושים יש חשש של חרבן העולם.
       ובכל זאת הקושיא גדולה שאם הנביא מלאכי בא ואומר שאין דרך ארץ ומביא בשם אליהו הנביא שקרוב שהעולם יתבטל למה לא היה ח"ו חרבן העולם? אלא שיש מן האורח חיים הקדוש בפרשת עקב שיש בחינה של צדיק שהעקב של הרגלים שלו והראש שלו לא הוי ב' דברים אלא שלימות אחד. ומי שהוא במדה זו קרוב מאוד להשם ואפילו כל הרוחות שבעולם לא מזיזים הצדיק מאהבת השם גמור שהשם שומרו בתכלית. אבל שאר אנשים שאינם כל כך שלימים אין להם השמירה מהשם כל כך.
ושמעתי מן הגאון הצדיק רבי דוב איזענבערג תלמידו של רבי אהרן קטלר ומוסמך שלו שפעם הלך רבי אהרן קטלר לאסיפה של רבנים מפורסמים. והיה ברצונו של רבי אהרן לעשות בארצות הברית הדרך של תורה כמו שהיה ביוארף. והרב הראשי ששמע דבריו אמר לו "הרב קטלר! אנו הרבנים פה המנהיגים בארצות הברית ועליך ללכך לארץ ישראל אצל חתונך רבי איסר זלמן! ולא היה שום מענה בפה רבי אהרן שאיך יאמר לבטל דברי הרב? ואמר לי רבי איזענבערג (שהפשטות שהוא היה שם עם רבי אהרן ) שאותו הרב מת מיד. שהקב"ה שומר חסידיו שהרגלים שלהם והראש שלהם הוא אותו הדבר שהכל בשלימות עבודת השם. לאיש הזה הקב"ה שומרו מכל רע. והשם הרג אותו הרב.




Thursday, March 22, 2018

Great Jews and Great Sins

I see that Rabbi Betsalal Friedlander has established a group with a large membership to study tanach. This reminds me of a story about the gaon rav Yaacov Kaminetsky. Once a person was showing off his ability to know tanach, and he was proud of himself and his knowledge. Reb Yaacov who had learned thoroughly Tanach dozens of times, turned to him and began testing his knowledge of Tanach and that was the end of that session with the "expert."
In truth, I find that the study of Tanach is a very sensitive thing. One thing that bothers me very much is when passages in the Torah Neviim and Kesuvim offer strong criticism on great biblical people.
Let us discuss the biblical teaching in Melochim (kings) about Shlomo HaMelech, about Solomon the son of King David. It begins "and HaShem gave wisdom to Shlomo as He spoke to him about it." In chapter 8 passage 22 we find the great prayer made by Solomon in public to HaShem. But a few passages later we are given the statement of HaShem that only by true piety can Solomon merit the greatness of ruling the Jewish people. There is a threat not to be unfaithful to HaShem, which later on was to happen.
We find in chapter ten passage 11: "And the King Shlomo loved many strange women and the daughter of Pharoah...from the nations that HaShem forbade the Jews from marrying....with them Solomon was close with them in love." The passage then tells how Solomon was influenced by these foreign women to sin against HaShem. It seems that these strange women turned Shlomo against HaShem. "and Shlomo did what was evil in the eyes of HaShem."
And yet, Solomon produced great literature and built the Beis HaMikdosh. But he also did very serious sins. Yes, the study of Tanach is a mixed bag, unfortunately.
Actually, the mistakes of great Jews is a central theme of the Tanach. But it is painful to have to read about the terrible sins some great Jews committed.
Those of us like myself who have intense pain from parts of Tanach have a problem. The Torah tells is like it is. But that story is the whole story, leaving out nothing of the good and the bad. The story of the Jewish people and their great leaders is a very sensitive project.
One idea is that yes many great leaders did some sins, but if we as a Jewish people lasted so many centuries, perhaps these people who sometimes sinned had a lot to do with it.
I don't know a good explanation for the terrible sins of the greatest Jews. I could mention some teachings from various sources, but let us leave it for now, and accept that we as a nation survive all of the sins committed by people who shock us when they do these sins. And that requires a separate study and who knows if today anyone has the proper approach. Maybe the Malbim has succeeded there. Or maybe we can just keep things simple. The great Jews had tests from the Satan and sometimes they failed. And maybe they did penitence.
We know that Aharon was punished for making the Golden Calf, and he was as pious as his brother Moshe. But Moshe went to heaven regularly to talk to HaShem, and Aharon was blamed for the terrible sin of Jews worshipping the Golden Calf. Because Aharon was great, his sins are clearly spelled out and described. But who could have done better than the greatest saints?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Insights into Orthodox Jewish Religion

Insights into Orthodox Jewish Torah Religion

By Rabbi David Eidensohn 

Today there are people who no longer believe in traditional values even spiritual and religious ones. Some of these people are happy with denying their earlier beliefs in religion, and some of them are not happy without a spirituality. This is written for those people of various customs and former beliefs who feel they need a true spirituality. I am an ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbi and I feel that these people who are looking for a true belief and religion can investigate Orthodox Judaism. I am not going so far as to call these people to my religion because I know that Orthodox Judaism is a strict code and not everybody can just jump in and be happy. But I rather ask these people seeking spirituality to just hear what I have to say and what appeals to them, so be it, and what they don't accept, that is fine as well, as I appreciate their giving me the time and effort.


Today Orthodox Judaism is growing faster than other religions, especially as many major religions especially the Jewish non-Orthodox type, are declining even close to disappearing. I have ten children, and all of the children are exactly as I am in their religious beliefs. The children are strongly trained in schools where many other children are successfully assimilating the teachings of the Orthodox Jewish ages. And I am happy to say that my children are having children, usually more than I have. And they are nearly all faithful to what I trained them to believe.


I live in a community filled with synagogues and people who basically all believe in what I do, and our great rabbis encourage everyone to maintain the teachings of the Torah that go back thousands of years, without change. Our belief is what Moses received from G-d and even today people are not anxious to change it.


Anyone interesting in learning about Orthodox Jewry can contact me at eidensohnd@gmail.com or they can call me at 845-578-1917.Shalom, David Eidensohn

Saturday, March 17, 2018

A T almudist and Talking to Strangers



I am a Talmudist who studied under the greatest rabbis of the past generation, Rabbi Aharon Kotler, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashev, Rabbi Shmuel HaLevi Wosner and others. On the other hand, I live in a world which is in flux, and various forces are at work to bring new elements to the control of our world. I have a friend who has spent years studying these various forces, and he is very pessimistic.
Therefore, on the one hand, I feel confident presenting my books and blog materials to the public, rooted in my ancient reliance on Talmudists and Torah. On the other hand, there are huge numbers of people who are restless and seeking and who have strong opposition to what is going on in the world today. Therefore, I have to decide whether to just talk Talmudic, or to talk directly to those who demand changes in the world, or else, and they are growing stronger every day. Do I have a right to talk about them when I surely am no expert in their grievances and ambitions?
My friend actually gave me an idea that might just work for me. He told me that in the many masses of people who are upset with our systems for various reasons, there are among them two basic responses. One holds that our masses do not have reliable attachment to spirituality and are therefore hungry for somebody to help them with it. Others have other grievances and are looking for some hideous solutions to the problems.
One person who succeeded in reaching these people big time began by talking Talmud to them and succeeding with prominent leaders! On the one hand they are seeking something new, but on the other hand, they know that spirituality is crucial for them and for the world, and they have no clue how to achieve it, after they have basically dropped faith in previous religions. But when presented with Jewish Talmudic teachings they often feel that this is closer to the truth and they want to hear more!
As my friends tells me frequently, the world is splitting into various groups who are angry at much of what is happening socially and spiritually. But these angry people have questions and no answers. They desperately want to re-connect to beliefs that can point to a spirituality that has a history and a future. There is no solution for these people other than to learn a bit of Jewish Orthodox beliefs. Here is why.
The Jewish Orthodox community is growing by leaps and bounds while other religions are disappearing. We have a solid source going back thousands of years of a G-d who is loving and caring and who wants to listen to the feelings of humans. We have a bible written by Moses with the help of G-d and we have thousands of years of great rabbis teaching and explaining so that people realize that they are involved with truth.
If anybody wants to talk to me about these matters, write to me at eidensohnd@gmail.com or ask for my phone number, which could take a bit longer.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

This Morning was Special


By David Eidensohn


This morning something happened that made me happy that I believe in HaShem! That may not sound so special, especially for all Torah Jews who worship HaShem daily. But listen to my story and then let me see if you agree with me, at least, partially.
The story begins some years ago, and I will cut to the quick, to get to what happened today, Thursday March 15, 2018. I had such a strong sensation and excitement about HaShem taking care of us even people who have great problems, that I spent hours contacting people about the great miracle, and it was only in late afternoon that I got working on other things.
Really, the story is about my wife, who realized that somebody was suffering, and decided to do something about it, even though nobody seemed available to do something about it. But my wife powered on. She said, "I live in Monsey. It is a city of kindness. If your child needs some attention, you snap your fingers and ten very busy mothers are heavily involved in kindness. There is no such thing in Monsey as a mother or a child or any individual just rotting away. There are people everywhere who see what they see, know what they know, and get to work along with a lot of other people. At any rate, that was a fact as I lived in Monsey many decades, and my wife knew it was a fact, and now, she stood alone while somebody is in a terrible situation.
After I had digested my wife's pain, I went into another room, opened up a Tanach with the entire Torah in it with no commentaries, and flipped open a passage in Yeshayeh 29, where Hashem explodes with anger and showering destruction. It was not a solution for my problem, but I took it as a sign that I keep thinking. And as I did, I realized that the solution is right in my pocket. I got to work, made some phone calls to the right people with the right suggestions, and pretty soon I had a small group of men and women who were going to devote themselves to giving broken people strength, and organizing people to help others.
Now let me go to phase two if we call it that. Phase two I am in shull, a baby is being prepared for a bris mila. The baby is shrieking. A friend tells me, "If a baby screams, that is a sign that HaShem will shower us with mercy." Okay, I was ready for that if ever I was. I went over to the Rov, told him basically that I had a problem, and I wanted Eliyohu HaNovi, who comes to everyone's bris, to some into the shull and participate to establish an atmosphere of miracle.
The Rov was happy to cooperate with my request, and I repeated my request to the Mohel and some others. Then, I went home after the bris, and I felt a great pain that my relative was suffering so much. My wife was upset. I was upset. Who wasn't upset? Surely our niece was upset.
I called up a friend and we had a long talk. He is a friend that I talk to regularly. He is very smart and we get along well. While we are talking, my wife barges into my room and shrieks, "She succeeded in going to court without a lawyer, with no money, and tangled with somebody loaded with money from him and his family, a person determined to tear the children away from our niece and afterwards to make sure that she has desperate poverty that could destroy her." And now this woman has succeeded getting a court of law to give to her her five children? Did they go further than that? How? Somebody suggested that the judge ruled that her ex-husband with his parental alienation antagonized the judge who realized that the former husband is such a wretch that the children will really suffer living with him, which they are never allowed to do, as he likes privacy.
I will stop here, after I made a lot of phone calls and talked up our group. Yes, yesterday I spoke to about six people about making a group to help people with kindness. And today the heavens opened and what a miracle it was.
If anyone has an article they want to write for my group, please do so. I can be reached at eidensohnd@gmail.com and by phone at 845-578-1917. Let's turn the world into Monsey, into Chesed.
I have long been busy studying marriage problems. One day I will discuss my findings. But the first step is to be kind, and to love people who are hurt, who need some love. And when the Satan comes over with some ideas on how to hate people, just tell him that you can hate people, but only people who are cruel to good people.


Stop Domestic Violence and Hate in Family

Sarah's Voice is a legal service that provides a multidisciplinary approach to addressing domestic violence issues in the Orthodox community. ... provides hundreds of workshops in both the US and Israel for men and women from adolescence through adulthood on fostering healthy relationships andabuse prevention.

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior ... An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.2 ... 3 Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003. 4 ...
5 Children Die A Day from Abuse. Learn more and how to stop it.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Marital Intimacy and the Teaching of the Talmud and Code of Laws


The idea of demanding from a husband that he have relations with his wife is fully developed in Yevomose 63b and 64a.


The basic obligations of a husband for his wife are שאר כסות ועונה. KESUSE means clothing, the obligation to give his wife clothes. ONAH is marital relations. SHAIRE is according to Beis Shmuel in Even Hoezer chapter 76:13 an argument. Some learn it means giving his wife food, and some learn it means that they must have marital relations without wearing clothes. That is, they surely may have an outer covering of a blanket or similar protection. But between the husband and wife they are required to be together without any clothing separating the husband and wife. The Shulchan Aruch goes so far as to say that somebody who demands that they have intimacy only when wearing clothes is doing the wrong thing. The basic teaching of the Code of Laws is that such an attitude can require a divorce. Others maintain that it is not required, but the Code of Laws says that it is required. One who refuses to have intimacy without clothes separating husband and wife, according to the Code of laws, must issue a divorce and pay a Kesubo if he is a husband, and the wife who demands this must accept a divorce without receiving a Kesubo. (See Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer 76:13.)


Let us now turn to the Rambam[1] "The wife of a man is permitted to him. Therefore, all that a man wants to do with his wife, he can do it. He may have marital intimacy with her anytime he so desires. He may kiss any organ that he desires. He may have relations with her penetrating front or back. As long as he is not guilty of spilling seed. Despite this, as a trait of piety, one should not be so accustomed to do these things, and he should sanctify himself during intimacy, as we explained in the laws of Dayose. And he should not turn away from the proper style of people that these things are for the sake of having children. End quote.


This Rambam is quoted in the Ramo. It is thus essentially the opinion of the Code of Laws. Even though the Rambam and the Ramo both, after saying what a person can do, that one should follow the path of piety to resist doing too much intimacy, but the call to resist doing too much is not said as the law but as a piety. At any rate, we must understand that Rambam and Ramo begin with an enthusiastic embrace of letting a man do what he wants, and then they go in reverse and say about piety not to do these things. What is then their opinion? Let us look once more at the words of the Rambam."The wife of a man is permitted to him. Therefore, all that a man wants to do with his wife, he can do it. He may have marital intimacy with her anytime he so desires. He may kiss any organ that he desires. He may have relations with her penetrating front or back. As long as he is not guilty of spilling seed.”
“All that a man wants to do with his wife, he can do it.” Why does the Rambam not say simply “A man can do with his wife what he wants”? Why does it say stronger, “All that a man wants to do with his wife, he can do it.”?I believe that in the question is an important idea. The stronger form of the statement reveals that there is a stronger need to do certain things with one’s wife, stronger than plain desire to do it. What is the stronger desire to do something with one’s wife? I believe that the stronger desire means that the husband has a powerful urge to perform certain things with the wife. In such a circumstance, the husband has a choice: Either accept that he has a very strong need for such things, or don’t accept that, but simply agree that doing certain things are desirable, but not with any strong pressure.


Actually, we can go even further. The stronger form of the attitude of the husband reveals that he has a great need to perform these things. It is not just a thing that he might be in the mood to perform. It is something very important for him to do. He needs, something in his heart is demanding, that he do things with his wife.Now, when a person has a great desire to do something and something blocks him, whatever the block is, what happens next? A man who has a very strong desire to do something with his wife but knows that the chasiduse or piety would frown on it, may therefore refuse to do it. This is a big mistake. Because when a husband really wants and needs those things from his wife, if he doesn’t get it from her, he is probably going to get it elsewhere, maybe from somebody else’s wife! This is an important rule. Somebody who has great desire to do something with his wife but knows that holy piety prevents this, must perform what he truly desires to do. If not, he will do it anyway, and he may do it in a way that will destroy his soul, such as if he is overpowered to do these marital things with a woman not his wife. Therefore, the Rambam says clearly that what a person has a great desire to do with his wife, he MUST DO IT, or else!


 The source for this rule is in Nedorim 20A-B. A rabbi Rebbe Yochanan ben Dihaboi spoke of men who have need for intimacy with their wives so that they may fulfill their needs. The gemora does not say that if the husband has a need for this intimacy that he can do it. It says rather that Rebbe Yochanan ben Dihaboi simply says that people who do certain things with their wives that are not appropriate for a pious person will suffer great punishment with their children. But the gemora there says that the law is not like Rebbe Yochana ben Dihaboi. The law is rather exactly what the Rambam said, that a person may, without any feelings of guilt, take from his wife the pleasures that he needs.


Let us return to the gemora Nedorim 20A about the statement of Rebbe Yochanan ben Dihaboi. He says, “Four things were taught to me by the Heavenly Administering Angels.” And the four things were terrible punishments for people who fulfilled their desires with their wives while feeling guilt, even though those guilty feelings were introduced by the Heavenly Administering Angels. The gemora on Nedorim 20A states clearly that the law is not like Rebbe Yochanan ben Dihaboi; rather the law is that what a man wants from his wife he can take it. No guilt. Rather, knowing that if he does not take when he has a great desire for these things, he may end up taking these things from a woman who is not his wife, maybe from the wife of another man. Therefore, taking when he has a strong desire for it will save him from the suffering attached to the teaching of Rebbe Yochana ben Dihaboi.


The gemora says clearly there that the law is not like Rebbe Yochanan ben Dihaboi, but like the rabbonon. And the rabbonon don’t claim to have heard this law from Heavenly Administering Angels. So where did they discover that a husband can do what he wants when he has a great desire for some pleasure from his wife? As we explained, if a person has such a desire, either he takes his pleasure with full confidence, or else, it is quite possible he will take his pleasures from a woman not his wife!


But there is more to it than that. The gemora there explains that one may take pleasure from his wife, and it says that people want a piece of meat or a fish, they have many ways of preparing the meat or the fish, and all of these ways are permitted.  These appetites are permitted with no punishment as long as the desire to eat the meat or fish is sincere. Eating the meat and fish satisfies the man and he will not get his appetites in doing a sin. But one who has a real desire for his wife and refuses it can end up sinning with another woman, because his need for intimacy is very strong and he better do it with his wife rather than sin with somebody else’s wife.


Now when a man wants a piece of meat or fish, it is not sinful to want such pleasures. And this is the level of wanting a wife. It is not sinful, and there is no punishment for doing it. But, this applies only if one takes his wife as he would take meat or fish. He has a real appetite for meat or fish, and eats it, anyway he desires, there no sin is in doing this. The same holds true for marital desires. There is no sin, if a person has a true desire for the intimacy and if he does not perform the intimacy he may get into major trouble, perhaps with another woman not his wife but somebody else’s wife.We come now to another phase of intimacy. True intimacy is ideally when both husband and wife know that they are accustomed to be together on a certain day of the month or a similar schedule. At this time, they both prepare for intimacy. Both husband and wife are filled with desire for each other. Then husband and wife anticipate that they will be together with no disturbances until they complete their process. Ideally, the couple anticipates and assumes that the two husband and wife will work together building up the desire to have intimacy until its conclusion. This is the ideal way of doing things.


But it is not always so simple. Maybe the husband or wife had a rough day and are just not in the mood for serious intimacy. Maybe husband or wife had a good day anticipating intimacy but the other spouse did not have a good day anticipating intimacy, rather a rough day, and intimacy is on the back burners.This is especially prevalent in a family with little children. Little children are accustomed to start crying and demanding whenever they are in the mood. And that can make a problem with intimacy.


For this, on day when intimacy is scheduled, the appropriate thing is for the husband and wife to schedule prayers that their intimacy will not be interrupted.  




[1] הלכות איסורי ביאה פרק כא' הלכה  ט'