207. The Arayos – Niddah

December 22, 2013, by

Back in Mitzvah #181, we discussed the nature of menstrual impurity. Really, it’s just one of many kinds of ritual impurity, some of which were unique to women or men, but most of which were gender-neutral. There, we said that the reason this impurity – called niddah impurity – is still practiced today is that […]

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206. The Arayos – Sister-in-Law II

December 20, 2013, by

Polygamy was permitted by the Torah, though it was later banned in most communities. Even though polygamy was still allowed, a man was not permitted to marry his wife’s sister, as this would be a source of bad blood. This particular prohibition remained in effect even if the couple divorced (because having your sister marry […]

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205. The Arayos – Grandmother and Granddaughter II

December 19, 2013, by

This mitzvah is essentially the same as the previous one, substituting “daughter’s daughter” for “son’s daughter.” The upshot of this group of three mitzvos is that when a man marries a woman, six ancestors/descendants become forbidden to him by Torah law: his wife’s mother, her grandmother on her mother’s side, her grandmother on her father’s […]

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204. The Arayos – Grandmother and Granddaughter I

December 18, 2013, by

The previous mitzvah forbade sexual relations with a woman and her daughter. This one prohibits a woman and her granddaughter through a son. In other words, if a man marries the older woman, his step-granddaughter becomes prohibited. If he marries the younger woman, his grandmother-in-law becomes prohibited. This prohibition ought not surprise us, as many […]

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203. The Arayos – Mother and Daughter: The prohibition against relations with a woman & daughter

December 17, 2013, by

This mitzvah prohibits having sexual relations with a mother and her daughter. (It does NOT mean “at the same time,” though that is certainly likewise prohibited.) This mitzvah applies specifically where the man had married either the mother or daughter and then subsequently has relations with the other one. (We see that this mitzvah only […]

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202. The Arayos – Sister-in-Law I: The prohibition against sexual relations with a brother’s wife

December 16, 2013, by

Just as bedding one’s stepmother would be an affront to one’s father and intimacy with a daughter-in-law would be an affront to one’s son, engaging in sexual congress with a brother’s wife would be an affront to one’s brother. (In English, “sister-in-law” can mean a brother’s wife and a wife’s sister. Here, we will use […]

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