Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Bilam's warning about squandering sexual energy through pre-marital sex, non-observance of laws of niddah, and masteurbation.

I was inspired by a post by Josh Waxman, (a.k.a. ParshaBlog), where he gives a detailed law-school exam-styled analysis of the parshat hashavuah (weekly Torah portion). I've enjoyed his analyses, and I believe that his thinking skills have real potential to do some real good in the world.

This week, he writes about Parshat Matos, where he mentions the Midianite women. In short, in Parshat Balak (two weeks ago), Bilam (the non-Jewish prophet) gave Balak the secret to the power of the Jewish people, and conversely, he gave Balak the Kryptonite to harm the Jews as well. He said that the weakness of the Jews are the Midianite women, and by causing them to sin by having them engage in sexual intercourse and intermarriage with these women, this would harm the Jewish people as a whole. As Torah is objectively Truth, and if true, it is true for today's times as well, I believe this message is a strong warning and reminder regarding the weakness of Jews even today.

I feel that a giant weakness that plagues the Jewish people today is not idolatry, not kashrut, nor any of the other sins; rather, I feel the main weakness of the Jewish people today is succumbing to sexual temptations. Today there is more intermarriage and more sex going on among traditional Jewish non-married adults, even in the modern orthodox (MO) and orthodox world. I saw it in China; these good, attractive women had non-Jewish boyfriends who they were engaged to, and warm and caring Jewish observant men were marrying non-Jewish Chinese women who promised to convert (as if conversion for love were even a valid conversion). This is not a China phenomenon -- this goes on with Jews across the world, even here in America.

Men, there is a nasty temptation today to date non-Jewish women. Do you think there is no risk dating a non-Jewish woman? Do you think you are safer having sex with non-Jewish women (for fun and practice) because you think you can then go and marry a Jewish woman and be experienced -- for her pleasure?? First of all, it is a sick thought, and it is flat out immoral and WRONG from EVERY moral standpoint to test out your sexual prowess on one woman to satisfy the next. It is also immoral to use non-Jewish women as sex toys so that you can then dump her and marry a Jewish woman. I can only imagine the horrified faces of my non-Jewish women readers at reading this.

First of all, this is simply NOT COOL. A Jew should not be having sex before he or she is married to start with. Second, when men date and have sex with women they are breaking not only Rabbinic laws, but the essential Torah laws themselves. And please don't give me any rationalizations for practicing the Halacha of pleasuring your wife, and please don't try to justify niddah hores [non-Jewish, single women (in various communities) who have sex with men for money while their wives are in niddah] or the such (if that horrible concept even happens); control yourselves.

Last and most importantly, MANY JEWISH MEN WHO DATE NON-JEWISH WOMEN AND ARE SEXUALLY ACTIVE WITH THEM END UP FALLING IN LOVE AND MARRYING THOSE WOMEN. Don't kid yourself; when you are in bed with a woman, eating her food, sipping her wine, licking your fingers and your lips (and hers), don't tell me that you won't fall in love. And don't tell me that after spending every night with a woman for weeks, months, or even years, that you will have the self-control to break it off when it comes time to getting married. You are lying to both yourself and to the rest of the world, and you are bound to get in trouble.

In parshat Balak, Bilam warned us indirectly of this problem when he told Balak how he can injure us if he really wants to. Yet at the same time, he also gave us the secret of our greatest power as Jews. Through sexual morality, a.k.a. the observance of restraint and the laws of taharas hamishpacha, we harness the greatest source of our Jewish power. Our sexual power. (For readers of other religions, we are talking about a similar concept to what can crudely be compared to the Kundalini effect.) Jews, you are bound and circumcised to be holy to Hashem (G-d). Men, even your male organs are cut and circumcised as a covenant between you and Hashem. Do you think that he chose this location of the body because He wanted a good laugh? NO! The sexual organs are the source of our purity and our power. Stick it into the wrong place and you take the covenant into a place it shouldn't be. Squander away your energy and life force through masturbation and pre-marital sex, and you will cause more death and drainage to the power of the Jewish people as a whole. This was Bilam's warning.

However, harness and properly channel that sexual force in the context of a kosher marriage with a Jewish woman in the observance of the laws of niddah and taharas hamishpacha, and you will create the biggest influx of power and spiritual force for the Jewish people and you will attract an uncountable amount of berachas upon yourself. You will tap into the source of the Jewish people's greatest power and will add to it and be part of the solution, not the problem. The greatest source of power of the Jewish people is that they are a holy people because they practice sexual morality. We're supposed to be a "priest onto the other nations." We should act that way.


Malka said...

Okay, this was a really good post and I almost completely agree with you except for the part where you talk of "niddah whores" which I find a little bit offensive because I have been in that situation, as you well know. I hope you realize that while most Jews who engage in these types of relationships with non-Jews do indeed end up marrying them, it is not the whole lot that ends up this way. Not all non-jewish women are "niddah whores" - many of us are righteous gentiles - sex is a two way street - if Jewish men were better able to keep it in their pants, there would perhaps be less intermarriage or less extramarital sex. I thought Jews were supposed to be a "light unto other nations"..

Zoe Strickman said...

I agree with you 100% on all accounts; I should have been clearer before using a term which can be misunderstood. Sorry for that. "Niddah whores" are rumoured to be non-jewish girls who have sex with men for money while their wives are having their period. I hear this happens in Borough Park and in various other communities, however, I sincerely hope this is a rumour [the whores, not women having their period].

Anonymous said...

Have got.
To be kidding me.

You attack fellow Jews, call them horrible names, preech from your soapbox how the world is supposed to work.

Yet you say nothing about the suffering of these same Jews who, for one reason or another, cannot get married, cannot get a shiduch, cannot find their soulmate.

Go look up this: website:http://www.shomernegiah.

And please, stop your arrogant, self-indulging speeches. Until you walk a mile in THEIR shoes, don't be calling them loathsome names.

Barefoot Jewess said...

I agree with both commentators. I kinda spaced out after "Jewish scum". I think that is unfair and a no- win situation. I agree with anonymous that until you as a more conscious Jew, walk a mile in another's shoes, should not preach.

I really love your passion for this. But it might help to relate it only to yourself and your own struggles. Perhaps more rachamim is in order. I have discovered over time that all those urges are within me and sometimes they are difficult to recognise and/or deal with. I find myself, in my more honest moments, to be unable to judge.

Zoe Strickman said...

Barefoot Jewess, your comment about rachamim has been noted. I even went back into the post and took out some angry words to calm the language a bit.

Anonymous, I don't know if you realize, but I've been as celibate as one can get since I've been frum. I mean, no touching, no massages, no dances, no hooking up, no sex, nada. Coming from a place where before I was frum I lived a normal, secularly *clears throat* healthy sex life, I know what it means to be intimate, and I know what it means to indulge. I also know what it means not to indulge, as I have been practicing that with frustration every day of my frum life. We are close to counting 1,200 days of no sex, no touching, and no intimacy. I believe that gives me the privilege to say and write what I have said because I live it every day. Anonymous, I write about life in MY shoes, because MY shoes ARE THEIR shoes.

However, if you are defending the apparently religious guys who break Torah and have adulterous sex with other women while they are MARRIED with their wives in NIDDAH in their homes while they go satisfy their temptations, in those shoes I will NEVER walk.

I have read Nice Jewish Girl's blog on many occasions, and I have even commented on it on a few posts. Her situation scares me because I am not too many years behind her and I am single too. She grew up frum, and I grew up anti-frum. I feel terrible that she has never been kissed, and I wish her the best. I admire her dearly. It's a shame she's not writing frequently any more.

In short, I am very surprised I am getting such resistance from this message. I meant it to be spiritual and enlightening; a kick in the butt and a dose of truth. I was actually writing the post more for me than for all of you because as you know, I think about my chosen state of shomer negiah (abstinence) almost every day. I am highly lonely and I am seriously frustrated. I ask Hashem (G-d) that this loneliness stop and that one day I get rewarded for abstaining from girlfriends, touching, and sex.

Despite what I have complained about in past blog entries, I am still shomer negiah although I can't say for a nanosecond that I enjoy it.

I hope you are able to see past any perceived pontifications to realize that I am a simple guy trying to understand why Torah has forced me to be estranged from intimate experiences with women (even with one girlfriend) and why I have taken this prohibition on, as it is my strongest desire.

Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

"We are close to counting 1,200 days of no sex, no touching, and no intimacy"

I applaud you and wish you chazak ve-ametz, really. But do you know that I went 9000 days with "no sex, no touching, no intimacy"? Okay, shave off half of that, if you like, for pre-adolescence. Going 25, 30, 35, 40 years--or a lifetime--without sexual intimacy of any kind (except for your own trusty hand, and then feeling like lightning should strike you dead for it) is an enormously difficult and unnatural proposition. I understand your passion and commitment, but in this instance compassion as well as passion is called for.

Good luck with your struggle and please accept my blessing that you and everyone in Yisrael who struggles with this find the resolution they need soon.

Barefoot Jewess said...

I reread it. I don't find it offensive any longer; thank you for making the changes cause you have interesting thoughts to impart.

I can't really comment on the topic otherwise, having NOT been in your shoes (your sexual history, the fact that you are male). I do find your personal reflections and processes on this fascinating and thought provoking. I also imagine it is devastatingly lonely for you and a kind of deprivation that is sorely felt.You would have to be incredibly strong in your faith.

Rowan said...

I've enjoyed most of what you've taught me of the Jewish faith, but this is as wrong as I feel about the Catholic faith condemning all women as being drawn into temptation, and thereby, tempting man. Secondly, the more disturbing is that this taken into an orthadox/fundamental meaning scares me! This is so biggotted and narrow minded! I agree, there should be limits to who you have sex with, no doubt, hopefully only with your wife. but, the way you are describing "non-jewish" women is the way some people would seggregate blacks, whites, yellows, reds, (pink, blue, green) doesn't matter. Your religion, though should be similar in order to have a healthy and prosperous marriage I agree, I don't think interfaith is evil. My husband and I are interfaith. In the end, I think similar thoughts on what goodness equates is what matters.
Please, don't take this the wrong way, I mean it in the best of ways, but I have a hard time understanding how such an intelligent man, could be so cruel and race important. Do you think it is not a two way street? Do you think Hitler's way of thinking couldn't go the other way? With thoughts of how non-jewish people are somehow secluded from you worries me. Is this not how Middle Eastern people are viewing us Westerners? This is how wars are started! I choose to ignore this sad part of your faith. I also believe that someone could convert if as you said before, only in faith (not race) but I don't think the race part should matter in these dark times anyhow. I hope to find you are more openminded, I had always thought you were, even towards your religion. you are a thinker. Please think of how wrong this seems. If I am misunderstanding (which I hope I am) please forgive me and explain. I just find it so inhuman. My religion teaches that as long as others are holy (follow God's teachings and do not indulge in evil) they are accepted as part of the world's holy fellowship.

Zoe Strickman said...

Rowan, think about it. If the Old Testament gives a strict prohibition that Jews aren't supposed to marry non-Jews, and you accept that as true based on faith of accepting the whole Torah for what it is, not understanding the reasoning of most of it, wouldn't you find it offensive if men practiced their sexual abilities on you only to use you and to leave you for a Jewish woman when the time comes to get married?

There is nothing wrong with non-Jewish women, except that Jewish men are not allowed to marry non-Jewish women. It's nothing complex.

Hitler (may his name be erased from history) had the right idea when he thought that Jews were a race, rather than just members of an organized religion. Anyone who had Jewish "blood," whether they practiced Judaism or not were considered Jewish. There is a whole structure of Jewish lineage moving through the mother's line. The Torah states that a Jewish woman will have a Jewish child, regardless of whether the husband is Jewish or whether the child will be raised Jewish. A non-Jewish woman who mates with a Jewish male will have non-Jewish children, even if they are raised Jewish.

Jack said...

Some of this goes beyond the pale. I am not a fan of being shomer negiah. I don't see it as being helpful and in some cases I think that it can be harmful.

All things in moderation.

Andy said...

I agree with you and applaud your own personal self control. May your gevura (strength) continue and may you reap a reward of happiness and fulfillment in a future relationship.

A few comments.

First of all, I think that succumbing to sexual temptations is a major problem for gentiles as well as Jews today. This isn't to detract from your well taken point about Bilam's blessings relating specifically to the Jewish people. But I just wanted to point out that the problem of sexual immorality is not specifically a Jewish problem.

Regarding conversion for love, I think that the minhag today is to accept converts for love. In fact some batei dinim even prefer this type of conversion since there is a better chance to root the new convert into a Jewish way of life if they are part of a Jewish family.

I think righteous converts reading this blog might be offended by your comment. Having said that, I agree that it's wrong for a Jew to date gentiles with the idea of requiring conversion if it leads to marriage. There are so many wonderful Jewish women who need husbands! They are loosing out.

And one more thing. Your reference to Kundalini is strange. Is that one of the ideas behind the Niddah laws? Is it some kind of eastern asceticism? That's not at all obvious to me.

Anonymous said...

Sex is a powerful force in our lives and you understand that. Sex can be harmful, and sex can also be healing. It is true- intermarriage harms the jewish people because it lessens their numbers- that's it.

personally, I don't believe that the will of the many supersede the individual's will and needs. That was the old communist way, and that is the religious doctrine, but you know what? people come first. A Jew can choose to honor and love and respect whomever s/he wishes even at the expense of religion.