There are changes in the wind. Some people may be happy, some may be unhappy. Let's go directly to the Talmud to see its laws on some social concerns.
Judith Levine, author of Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex, is a Jewish "bad guy." Critics attacked Ms. Levine's book, saying it advocated sex between children and adults. Newhouse News quoted Ms. Levine on the Roman Catholic pedophilia scandal: "'Yes, conceivably, absolutely' a boy's sexual experience with a priest could be positive."(19) Ms. Levine later said the reporter had misunderstood her.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, radio talk show host, is a Jewish "good guy." She is one of the most prominent Orthodox Jews in America, and famous for her denunciation of homosexuality. From her radio show, Dr. Laura attacked a study of pederasty, published in Psychological Bulletin in 1998, claiming it advocated sex between children and adults. The US House of Representatives went on to pass a resolution unanimously rejecting the study. (19)
Dr. Laura with her husband, Dr. Louis Bishop, and her rabbi, Dr. Moshe Bryski at the Chabad of Conejo in Agoura Hills, California. An article in defense of Dr. Laura published in the Jewish Homemaker states:
"Her approach has earned her the respect of her largely Christian audience, which sees in her a kindred spirit. 'People have a newfound respect and understanding for Judaism,' she says … How does she reconcile Jewish law with her largely non-Jewish audience? 'I always say to callers, according to Jewish law, this is the law; let's see how we can extrapolate to your situation.' Dr. Laura admits that she is a novice when it comes to the Jewish view of things. 'Sometimes during a break I call Rabbi Bryski and say, "I have ten seconds; here's the situation. What's the law?"' … She professes astonishment at her lack of support from Orthodox Jewish quarters. 'I have been disappointed at how silent the Orthodox community has been. The people to come to my defense, and in defense of G-d's laws, have been basically Christian Protestant.'" (33)
Perhaps the explanation for Dr. Laura's lack of Orthodox support is that Jewish law permits and condones many of the behaviors Dr. Laura and her Christian listeners condemn.
Orthodox Rabbi Daniel Lapin, author of America's Real War and director of Toward Tradition, presents himself as a Jewish "good guy" to conservative Christian audiences. He is a favored speaker with Concerned Women for America (CWA), the Christian Coalition, and similar groups. Those groups condemn homosexuality and child-adult sex.
"For over three thousand years Jewish tradition and Jewish law have been unambiguous about homosexuality: it is a sin," (9) states Rabbi Lapin. However, Rabbi Lapin fails to quote the Talmud law, which makes it clear that male homosexuality is not an offense if the adult man uses a boy below the age of nine years and a day. Homosexuality is only a capital offense when committed between consenting adult males. Talmud law also authorizes adult men to have sexual intercourse with girls three years old and younger.
Homosexual Couple. (15)Married in 1999, these consenting adults would be put to death under Talmud law.
HE WHO COMMITS SODOMY WITH A MALE OR A BEAST, AND A WOMAN THAT COMMITS BESTIALITY ARE STONED. (Sanhedrin 54a)
However, if a grown man were to have sexual relations with a boy younger than nine, the man would incur no guilt.
Young Boy by Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Le Brun, 1817
Leviticus 18:22 prohibits a man lying with a man, but not with a young boy. Thus the Talmud Sages reason:
Pederasty with a child below nine years of age is not deemed as pederasty …Sanhedrin 54b
Rabbi Dr. Freedman, Talmud scholar and translator, explains in his running commentary that "… if one committed sodomy with a child of lesser age, no guilt is incurred."(13)
In the world of the Talmud Sages, grown men have sexual intercourse with girls younger than three years old. The young girls are wounded and bleed from the activity, but the Talmud Sages were of the opinion that in one so young, virginity comes back: "Intercourse with her is like putting a finger in the eye," (Niddah 44b) and the tears come back again and again. Apparently the Sages attributed the repeated bleeding during copulations to the repeated rupture of the regenerated hymen.
Another Sweet Baby
Come and hear! A maiden aged three years and a day may be acquired in marriage by coition, and if her deceased husband's brother cohabits with her, she becomes his. — Sanhedrin 55b
MISHNAH A girl of the age of three years and one day may be betrothed by intercourse … (Niddah 44b)
Fillette à la Gerbe by Renoir, 1888
Regardless how young, the Talmud wife is required to carry out her "marital duties" regularly and normally. Any problems are consigned to the lap of G-d.
One who is under [eleven] or over [twelve] must carry on her marital intercourse in a normal manner; so R. Meir. But the Sages ruled: The one as well as the other carries on her marital intercourse in a normal manner and mercy will be vouchsafed from heaven, for it is said in Scripture, The Lord preserveth the simple. — Niddah 45a
Man Holding Baby, showing relative sizes
R. Simeon b. Yohai stated: A proselyte who is under the age of three years and one day is permitted to marry a priest, for it is said, But all the women children that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves, and Phinehas [a High Priest] surely was with them …
There was a certain town in the Land of Israel the legitimacy of whose inhabitants was disputed, and Rabbi sent R. Romanos who conducted an enquiry and found in it the daughter of a proselyte who was under the age of three years and one day, and Rabbi [Judah the Prince] declared her eligible to live with a priest.
Rev. Dr. Israel W. Slotki adds in a footnote: "I.e., permitted her to continue to live with her husband." — Yebamoth 60b
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlersteinis the director of Project Next Step of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and a professor of Jewish Law and Ethics at Loyola Law School. Rabbi Adlerstein writes:
"… many of the pressing moral, ethical, and legal issues that are front-burner today were already painstakingly and lovingly considered by savants of the past. Jewish law in particular surprises and delights moderns, because it not only suggests solutions, but teaches how complex moral issues can be attacked and dissected. Within its ancient legal code are deep and detailed considerations of issues like privacy, allocating medical resources, the causes of violence, and many more. So much of the future stands to be illuminated by the minds of those who specialized in pondering deeply and subtly." — Rabbi Adlerstein (37)
Homosexuality between women is not forbidden in the Talmud. Some Sages disapprove, but the Talmud contains no ruling against it, and no punishment, save this:
Women who practise lewdness with one another are disqualified from marrying a priest. — Yebamoth 76a, Shabbath 65a
One wonders: Does Rabbi Bryski withhold these facts from Dr. Schlessinger, or does Dr. Schlessinger know and withhold it from her Christian listeners?
Jennifer Oneill and her son
The purity of the relationship between mother and child is implicit in a portrait like this. To Americans, there is no suggestion of eroticism. Yet the Talmud indicates that eroticism between mother and son is not unexpected. It is not an actionable offense and the Sages have only the slightest condemnation for the mother. Depending on the son's age — is he older than eight years? — the mother may be ineligible to marry a priest.
Our Rabbis taught: If a woman sported lewdly with her young son [a minor], and he committed the first stage of cohabitation with her — Beth Shammai [Sages] say, he thereby renders her unfit to the priesthood. Beth Hillel [Sages] declare her fit. … All agree that the connection of a boy aged nine years and a day is a real connection; whilst that of one less than eight years is not: their dispute refers only to one who is eight years old … — Sanhedrin 69b
Such practice is foreign to the standards of most Americans. It will take some getting used to.
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Robert Knight is the director of the Culture and Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America. Knight told CNN that Judith Levine's book, Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex, gives "academic cover to child molestation."(28) However, Knight has high praise for Rabbi Daniel Lapin's Toward Tradition organization, which he describes as "revolutionizing relations between Christians and Jews and fueling a rebirth of traditional Judaism." (29) Rabbi Lapin was a featured speaker at the October 26-27, 2002 World Conference of Families meeting in Washington, DC, which was co-sponsored by CWA, Toward Tradition and others. (30) Lapin was quoted in CWA's commemorative news article. (12)
Orthodox Judaism, to which Rabbi Lapin subscribes, teaches that the Talmud is the Word of God. The Talmud authorizes and sanctifies sexual intercourse between adults and very young children, including homosexual intercourse. Has Rabbi Lapin neglected to tell Concerned Women for America about those Jewish doctrines? Americans must get beyond fear of rejection and be open and frank with each other if we are to have real understanding between different religious faiths.
Beverly LaHaye (left) is the founder of Concerned Women for America. Her husband, Tim LaHaye(right), is co-author of the Left Behind novels, fictionalized accounts of End Times and the Rapture of true believers.
One wonders: Does Rabbi Lapin withhold these facts from the LaHayes, or do the LaHayes know and withhold it from their CWA members?
Dr. Sigmund Freud
Of all the complexes Dr. Freud allegedly found in the human subconscious, the Oedipus complex is probably the most well-known. According to Freud, a child lusts carnally for the flesh of his mother and yearns to replace his father in the marriage bed. The world was deeply shocked by Freud's statement when he published it. Freud said the world's denial was really an affirmation of his theory, but some scholars have a different perspective.
"One of the cornerstones of psychoanalysis is the Oedipus complex. According to the generally accepted version during a session of self-analysis Freud unearthed a childhood memory of being sexually aroused by seeing his mother naked (Ernest Jones, 1961). However, as Webster pointed out there is no evidence whatsoever that this episode ever occurred. What Freud wrote about his discovery to Fliess was that he remembered a long train journey, and because it was so long he deduces that he might have had the opportunity of seeing his mother naked. He then deduced further that he might have been aroused by the scene. Although the incident might have happened there is a good probability that the memory Freud recovered was in fact false (Webster, 1996). Soon after Freud uncovered these memories from his own childhood he postulated a universal law — the Oedipus complex." (34)
Dr. Freud's work loses the sparkle of originality when seen in the light of the Talmud doctrines that formed a part of his cultural background.
Oedipus gouges out his own eyes (unidentified dramatic production).
Sophocles (the playwright, 496-406 BC), his Greek audience, and the hundred generations of audiences since that time have viewed the life of Oedipus as a profound tragedy. His unintentional marriage with his mother is not the fulfillment of a subconscious wish for either of them, but an accident ordained by the Fates. When they learn the truth, Oedipus blinds himself in grief and horror, and his mother, Jocasta, commits suicide.
In contrast, the Talmud Sages discuss Oedipal intercourse casually as though it were a common occurrence in family life. The issue of concern for the Sages is whether such a woman is still fit to marry a priest:
If a woman sported lewdly with her young son [a minor], and he committed the first stage of cohabitation with her, — Beth Shammai say, he thereby renders her unfit to the priesthood. Beth Hillel declare her fit. — Sanhedrin 69b
House of Freud's birth, 1859, in Pribor, Czech Republic, formerly known as Freiberg, Moravia. (20)
Freud came from a Hasidic family and always asserted his Jewishness, joining B'nai B'rith in his later years. Using a search string such as "Freud Hasidic" with an Internet search engine brings up a wealth of information. The American Jewish Congress publishes an article that states, "Freud saw psychoanalysis as a 'metamorphosed extension of Judaism'." (17) As Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz tells us, "In many ways the Talmud is the most important book in Jewish culture, the backbone of creativity and of national life. No other work has had a comparable influence on the theory and practice of Jewish life, shaping spiritual content and serving as a guide to conduct." (35) The Talmud discusses sexual activity between mother and son as a commonplace.
Some of Freud's borrowings from Judaism seem to have been even more direct — During his lifetime, a guest once found seminal books on Jewish mysticism in Freud's personal library. (18) The links between psychoanalysis and Judaic religion, both direct and indirect, are recognized by many scholars.
"The Lurianic Kabbalah represents the most complex and sophisticated variant of Jewish mystical theosophy. As transmitted by his disciples (notably Chayyim Vital, 1542-1620, see Menzi and Padeh, 1999), and later interpreted by the Hasidim, Isaac Luria's dynamic understanding and reformulation of the symbols of the Zohar, provides a theological scheme which cries out to be interpreted in psychological terms. Freud is reported to have exclaimed 'This is gold!' when presented with a German translation of one of the Lurianic works (Bakan, 1971), and Jung once wrote that 'a full understanding of the Jewish origins of psychoanalysis would carry us beyond Jewish Orthodoxy into the subterranean workings of Hasidism and then into the intricacies of the Kabbalah which still remain unexplored psychologically' (Jung, 1975, p. 358-9)." — Dr. Drob (16)
Upon learning of these things, one is confronted with two questions: Why didn't Freud tell us the source of his doctrines, and why didn't rabbis who were familiar with Jewish mysticism, point out the similarities at the time?
Rabbi Daniel Lapin, "national radio talk show host on political, economic, and cultural values, and the author of two best sellers … Rabbi Lapin was recently appointed by President Bush to a three-year term on the Government's Commission on U.S. Heritage." (14)
"Rabbi Daniel Lapin is President of Toward Tradition, a national educational movement of Jews and Christian Americans seeking to advance the nation toward traditional, faith based principles of government, the rule of law, and a moral public culture."(30)
In reading this, a Christian might not inquire to which traditions and laws Rabbi Lapin would advance the country. Christian traditions and laws concerning sex and children are very different from Jewish law.
The Very Reverend The Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, the late Dr. Joseph H. Hertz
"This is not the place to speak of the influence of the Talmud; how throughout the centuries of persecution and darkness, it saved Israel from intellectual and moral degradation. My purpose is merely to give a brief presentation of the Talmud as a book. I shall therefore conclude with the words of I. Abrahams. ‘The Talmud,’ he says, ‘is one of the great books of the world. Rabbinism was a sequel to the Bible; and if, like all sequels, it was unequal to its original, it nevertheless shares its greatness. The works of all Jews up to the modern period were the sequel to this sequel. Through them all may be detected the unifying principle that literature in its truest sense includes life itself; that intellect is the handmaid to conscience; and that the best books are those which best teach men how to live. The maxim, Righteousness delivers from death, applies to books as well as to men. A literature whose consistent theme is Righteousness, is immortal." — Rabbi Hertz (32)
We are told there is a movement afoot to make pederasty (child-adult sex) socially acceptable and legally permissible. Researching the issue, we find that many dominant voices on both sides of the controversy are Jewish.
How is this possible? Which voices speak for the core values of Judaism? Our questions are not prompted by idle curiosity, but by social concern. America is rapidly becoming Talmudized, and we should understand the direction in which our social policies are moving.
Let us start with an article in the Washington Times, a major newspaper that espouses conservative Christian values. The Times provides a useful starting point because they name names. Let us borrow the Times' viewpoint.