[b-hebrew] virginity

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Sun Jul 22 16:52:18 EDT 2007


Dear Shoshanna,

Deuteronomy 22:21-22
    "But if these things be true, 'and the tokens of' virginity be not found
for the damsel; then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her
father's house, and the men of the city shall stone her with stones THAT SHE
DIE (my emphasis); because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the
whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel."

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>; "Shoshanna Walker"
<rosewalk at concentric.net>
Cc: <leviny at 012.net.il>
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 12:32 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] virginity


> As Yigal says, our opinions are faith based, but the Torah never
> prohibits sex while a woman is not married or betrothed, and
> therefore would not call it evil.
>
> It is not logical to assume that in this case described here, if the
> husband's accusations are proved correct, that the woman is liable
> for the death penalty simply for having had sex before she became
> engaged/married - because  1. no where does the Torah say that a
> woman is liable for the death penalty if she had sex while she was
> not married/engaged   2. many women were concubines (no marriage or
> engagement took place) and there was no stigma against them    3.
> The Torah itself here, in this very passage, specifically states the
> reason why she is put to death, in the words (verse 21)  "(BECAUSE) -
> as'ta nevala b'Yisrael, liznot bais avi'ha"  ie; she committed
> adultery, and adultery can only be committed by a woman who is
> betrothed or married.  Ramban further clarifies that the term "z'nut"
> - "plays the harlot" - refers only to a married/betrothed woman and
> not to a single woman.
>
> Shoshanna
>
>
>
>
> 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
> #2
> 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
> > >> virgin - ie; that SHE HAD COHABITED WITH ANOTHER MAN AFTER KIDDUSHIN.
> > >>
> > >> 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
> > >> by the court, BECAUSE SHE WAS PERMITTED TO COHABIT WITH A MAN BEFORE
> > >> 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.
> > >>
> > >> THE SUBJECT OF THIS PASSAGE IS A HUSBAND WHO COMES TO HATE HIS NEW
> > >> WIFE AND TRIES TO VOID THE KETUBA BY WANTONLY ACCUSING HER OF
> > >> 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
> > >> another man) BE ALLOWED TO COHABIT WITH HER HUSBAND, IE; THE MAN SHE
> > >> WAS BETROTHED TO.
> > >>
> > >> 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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