[b-hebrew] virginity

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Sat Jul 21 23:53:17 EDT 2007

Dear Shoshanna,

the context of this passage of Deuteronomy 22 is as follows:

22:13:    Man takes a wife and cohabits with her and then hates her (KJV),
spurns her (RSV), tiring of her (modern language), dislikes her (NIV).
22:14:    Charges are brought against the woman that she was not a "maid =
virgin." These charges are in the form of slander, libel, etc.
22:15:   The father and mother then bring the evidence, the proof of
virginity of the "damsel" before the city gate to refute the charges against
their daughter.
22:16-17:    The nature and motive of the charges are presented and refuted.
22:18-19:    Since the evidence proves that he accusation is groundless,
then the man is punished by the elders of the city, fined 100 shekels of
silver which is given to the woman's father and the man is not allowed to
divorce her "until death do us part."
22:20-21:    Should the accusation prove to be fact, no proof of virginity
is provided, then the woman shall be put to death in front of her father's
house by the men of the city. The reason? She played the fool by having
pre-marital sex/committed harlotry BEFORE marriage. However one wants to
think otherwise, it is quite clear that sex by the woman BEFORE marriage was
definitely considered EVIL. Thus, the EVIL was to be put away from among the
people of the city.

I also have written notes in my bible giving the following for the entire
passage of Deuteronomy 22:13-30,
22:13-17 = Slander
22:18-21 = Harlotry/Fornication (Pre-marital sex/sluttish behavior)
22:22-24 = Adultery with another man's wife
22:25-26 = Rape/Adultery of a "Betrothed woman" (civil contract which
considers both parties already married, but NOT consummated), Special
Circumstance #1
22:27-29 = Rape, woman who is a virgin, NOT betrothed, Special Circumstance
22:30       = Incest
See also Leviticus 18 and the sexual perversions of the Canaanites that the
Israelites were not to commit.

Respectively yours,

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Cc: <leviny at 012.net.il>
Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2007 6:21 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] virginity

> No, I didn't write that it is "the rabbinic understanding of the
> passage, within the context of rabbinic halachah" - you wrote that.
> And what it seems to me that you are saying is that - either the
> rabbis believed that they were transmitting into writing, the
> explanations of the particulars of the Law that was written in Torah,
> or that they believed that the Torah was deficient and that they were
> compensating for that.  Either belief is still faith based.
> So then let's leave the rabbis out of it (as I did).  Since there is
> no law against an unmarried (and unbetrothed) woman having sex, the
> TORAH - not the rabbis - must be describing something else in this
> passage - as I explained.
> And the distinction of this passage only referring to a betrothed
> woman doesn't have to appear in the text per se (but it is implied),
> because the text was written for and given to, people who already
> knew the distinction, ie; that there is no law against an unmarried
> and unbetrothed woman having sex, and that the Torah, therefore, is
> describing specific circumstances - ie; a man who decides he doesn't
> like his new wife and wants to get out of his divorce obligations, so
> he accuses her of adultery - (and adultery occurs only AFTER they
> became engaged) - because otherwise, if she had been with another man
> BEFORE they became engaged, he knows that the Torah does not prohibit
> that, so he couldn't have a case against her.
> What the Torah is talking about here is CLEARLY stated in verses 14 -
> 15 (no one needs any rabbis to tell them this) - a man marries a
> woman, comes to her and HATES HER - ie; his accusations are based on
> the fact that he now HATES HER - the Torah does NOT say - he marries
> her and comes to her and he sees that she is not a virgin. The very
> next sentence continues, "and he makes a wanton accusation against
> her, spreading a bad name against her" - THIS is the subject of this
> passage - SLANDER.
> UNLESS she misrepresented herself - told him she was a virgin when
> she wasn't a virgin - in that case, if she was already not a virgin
> before they became engaged, she is not an adulteress, but she
> forfeits her rights to her Ketuba because she misrepresented herself.
> That is why the whole thing has to be investigated, and that is why,
> if he is proven wrong, he is liable for slander.
> And another thing - G-d certainly knew when He wrote the Torah, that
> some women do not bleed the first time they have sex.
> Shoshanna
> >Dear Shoshanna,
> >
> >The long halakhic explanation that you gave is just what you wrote
> >it is: the rabbinic understanding of the passage, within the context
> >of rabbinic halakhah. Basically, it's the rabbis' way of minimizing
> >what they realized is a problematic law; they were aware of the fact
> >that there was no law against an unmarried (and unbetrothed) woman
> >having sex, so they interpreted this passage as really only refering
> >to an arusah (betrothed woman). But the distinction does not really
> >appear in the text. If you wish to believe that rabbinic
> >interpretation is based on the Oral Torah, given to Moses but of
> >which we have no evidence until the rabbis wrote it down, that's
> >fine, but please remember that that's a matter of faith, which is
> >NOT what this list is supposed to be about.
> >
> >Yigal Levin
> >
> >----- Original Message ----- From: "Shoshanna Walker"
> ><rosewalk at concentric.net>
> >To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> >Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 2:58 AM
> >Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] virginity
> >
> >
> >>
> >> Dear Harold, you are oversimplifying things, and you are inserting
> >> your own ideas about morality into the Torah, which is talking about
> >> something completely different.
> >>
> >> It is not a moral passage, it is a halachic and LEGAL passage, and in
> >> order to understand it - you have to know Halacha, ie; ORAL TORAH.
> >>
> >> There are two stages in Jewish marriage - Kiddushin and Nesuin.
> >> Kiddushin is effected when the groom gives his bride a ring or
> >> something else of value, and makes a declaration that, nowadays is
> >> recited under the chuppa.  It is a legal transaction, but there is
> >> not a good English translation, so it is sometimes called "betrothal"
> >> but betrothal does not indicate properly that Kiddushin establishes a
> >> stronger and more legal obligation than an "engagement".  After
> >> Kiddushin, the couple is halachically married, and the bride is
> >> subject to the death penalty for adultery - even BEFORE Nesuin, after
> >> which the couple may cohabit.
> >>
> >> In this passage, the husband accuses his new wife of not being a
> >>
> >> If adultery CANNOT be proven, EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE THAT SHE WAS NOT A
> >> VIRGIN AT THE TIME OF KIDDUSHIN, she is not subject to any punishment
> >> KIDDUSHIN, ie; when she was NOT legally married to anyone.
> >>
> >> Even so, however, she would not be entitled to collect the divorce
> >> settlement stipulated in her marriage document, because she falsely
> >> misrepresented herself.
> >>
> >> ADULTERY (and thereby he violates the prohibition of "Motzei Shem Ra"
> >> - defamation)
> >>
> >> Deut 22:  23-24  and 28-29 - "meOrasha" "Orasha" ("BETROTHED") - same
> >> issue as above.  Proof that this is not talking about a "virgin" is
> >> that the text says "Betula meOrasha" - a maiden (assumed to be a
> >> virgin) who is BETROTHED - ie; LEGALLY BOUND TO A MAN (ie; not just a
> >> simple "virgin")
> >>
> >> Verse 21 is proof that this is talking about a woman who is accused
> >> of adultery - "Asta Nevala" - (committed adultery) and not the modern
> >> morality of a woman who is not a virgin - remember a woman was
> >> ALLOWED to be concubines, ie; living with a man and not married to
> >> him - and there is no stigma or legal punishment against her - as I
> >> said, a woman is only liable for one of the forbidden sexual
> >> relationships outlined by the Torah, and single unmarried woman
> >> having sexual relationship with a man not her father, brother, or a
> >> woman, or an animal, is fine.
> >>
> >> In verses 28 - 29, the man who has cohabited with a BETROTHED woman
> >> has to marry her, because SHE WOULD THEN NO LONGER (after sex with
> >>
> >> Lev. 21:14  is an ENTIRELY different matter - it is about the special
> >> rules for a Kohen, who has to maintain a higher degree of purity,
> >> therefore he cannot marry any woman who had been married to, ie; had
> >> sexual relations, with anyone else.
> >>
> >> Shoshanna
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> HH: It is a moral issue in the passage that we
> >> have been discussing,
> >> Deut 22:13-21. This is the main passage on the
> >> subject. It is talking
> >> about a moral issue, that of sexual purity. The
> >> idea is that men wanted
> >> pure wives, not women that other men had possessed
> >> sexually. Virginity
> >> is also a moral issue in other biblical laws: Deut
> >> 22:23-24, Deut
> >> 22:28-29. There is an implied moral element in Lev
> >> 21:14. The issue of
> >> virginity probably lies behind the words in Song
> >> of Solomon 8:8-10. One
> >> of the Shulamite's attractions for Solomon was the
> >> purity of her virginity.
> >>
> >> Yours,
> >> Harold Holmyard
> >>
> >>
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> >>
> >>
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