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Understanding the Types of Prohibited Relationships
07-19-2017, 10:37 AM
Post: #1
Understanding the Types of Prohibited Relationships
Note: I am basing my comments and questions below on the descriptions of the prohibited relationships found here: https://asknoah.org/7-commandments/forbidden-relations

There appear to be three different "types" of prohibited relationships:
  1. There are six "forbidden" relationships (one's mother, one's father's wife, another man's wife, another male, an animal, and one's maternal sister).
  2. There is one relationship that is "universally accepted" as prohibited (one's daughter).
  3. There is one relationship that is an "abomination to G-d" (female-female).
Am I correct that this is indeed an intended demarcation of three different types of prohibited relationships?

If so, could you explain the distinctions between the types? That is, why are they separated into different types in precisely this way? For example, here are some questions that this raises in my mind:
  1. Are we to understand that, although all of the above relationships are bad, those of the first type (i.e. those that are "forbidden") are in some sense worse than the rest?
  2. Or perhaps since type 3 is called an "abomination", that implies it is actually the worse type?
  3. Maybe the distinction means relationships of type 2 and 3 could be appropriate under some very limited circumstances whereas those of type 1 are never appropriate?
  4. The second type is described as being "universally accepted" as prohibited. I assume this means that at some point in the past, essentially all humankind agreed not to engage in that type of relationship. Is such a decision by people in the past morally binding on people alive now or is it just a "very strong recommendation" on the basis of human experience? If it is morally binding, why so (that is, how does a decision by people in the past bind us morally today)?
  5. Why would a sin which is an abomination not also be categorized as "forbidden"? Or are all abominations implicitly forbidden?
  6. Which would be "worse": committing a sin that is an abomination, but isn't forbidden (female-female relationship), or committing a forbidden sin that isn't capital (maternal sister relationship)?

Thank you!
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07-22-2017, 09:14 AM (This post was last modified: 07-23-2017 04:35 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #2
RE: Understanding the Types of Prohibited Relationships
(07-19-2017 10:37 AM)gabriel Wrote:  Note: I am basing my comments and questions below on the descriptions of the prohibited relationships found here: https://asknoah.org/7-commandments/forbidden-relations

There appear to be three different "types" of prohibited relationships:
  1. There are six "forbidden" relationships (one's mother, one's father's wife, another man's wife, another male, an animal, and one's maternal sister).
  2. There is one relationship that is "universally accepted" as prohibited (one's daughter).
  3. There is one relationship that is an "abomination to G-d" (female-female).
Am I correct that this is indeed an intended demarcation of three different types of prohibited relationships?

If so, could you explain the distinctions between the types? That is, why are they separated into different types in precisely this way?

Thanks for your question, and I hope I can clear up some confusion. The words you chose for your "types" are actually intended more as descriptions, rather than an assignment of specific and mutually exclusive categories.

Here are the categories of sinful, or at least immoral, sexual relations for Gentiles as presented in "The Divine Code," Part VI, on "The Prohibition of Forbidden Relations."

1. Severely forbidden sexual intercourse.
These are the six types of consummated sexual intercourse that are explicitly stated in the written text of the Book of Genesis as forbidden. Their being stated explicitly in the text is the warning that they are capital sins (the most severe category) for Gentiles. By the Torah-Law definition of "consummated sexual intercourse," this means that the active partner is a male, and persons over the age of legal majority (13 for males and 12 for females) are liable. These severely forbidden relations are: a man with his mother, a man with a woman who has been his father's wife, a man with another man's current wife, a man with another man, a man with his maternal sister, and a man or a woman with an animal. More details are provided in "The Divine Code," Part VI.

2. Doubtfully forbidden sexual intercourse.
For a few of the relations that G-d describes in the Torah as "abominations," and that are forbidden for Jews, some Rabbinical authorities rule that they are also forbidden for Gentiles, but Rambam rules that they are permitted. See "The Divine Code," Part VI, topic 1:6. Because they are not mentioned explicitly in the written text as forbidden for Gentiles, they are not in the category of capital sins, but they should be considered as immoral and forbidden:
- a man with the maternal sister of his mother (this is a majority opinion)
- a man with the maternal sister of his father (this is a minority opinion)

3. Sexual intercourse accepted as forbidden by ancient societal tradition.
This is the category for relations between a man and his daughter.
The reason why it is not covered within the actual Torah Law for Gentiles, even though it is a disgusting matter, is because Torah Law only recognizes maternity as the blood relation for Gentiles (since a fetus shares its mother's blood). But inheritance and national origin pass through the father.

4. Sexual intercourse that is an abomination, but not forbidden within Torah Law.
This is the category for marriage of a man to a woman and her daughter (who would thus be his step-daughter) at the same time. (Torah Law does not prohibit polygamy for Gentiles).

In all of the above relations, "sexual intercourse" only means vaginal or anal intercourse. See "The Divine Code," Part VI, for more details.

5. Sexual acts that are sinful and forbidden as abominations, but they do not involve consummated intercourse, so they are in lesser categories than capital sin:
- acts of lesbianism
- acts of emitting semen without consummated sexual intercourse

6. Acts of licentious fornication that are immoral and destructive to society, which violate the verse (Isaiah 45:18), "He [G-d] did not create it for emptiness/chaos; He fashioned it to be inhabited/settled."
These are not clearly forbidden for Gentiles, but they are repulsive and worse than animalistic. This applies to fornication between men and women without intention for marriage. Prostitution is included in this category. (The minimal state of marriage for Gentiles is domestic partnership with public knowledge, living together as man and wife, but without a wedding ceremony, or official certification of the marriage, or a marriage contract. Officially certified marriage is highly encouraged.)

In all of the above matters, it is proper and righteous for Gentiles to "put a fence around the Torah," and avoid situations and acts that that would bring them even close to committing any of these things.
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