Thursday, November 18, 2004

Vayeitzei #1: Kissing Cousins: Chazal on premarital kissing

יב וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר רָאָה יַעֲקֹב [אֶת-רָחֵל, בַּת-לָבָן אֲחִי אִמּוֹ, וְאֶת-צֹאן לָבָן, אֲחִי אִמּוֹ;] וַיִּגַּשׁ יַעֲקֹב, וַיָּגֶל אֶת-הָאֶבֶן
א"ר יוחנן כזה שהוא מעביר פקק מעל פי צלוחית
וַיִּשַּׁק יַעֲקֹב, לְרָחֵל
כל נשיקה לתפלות בר מן תלת
נשיקה של גדולה
נשיקה של פרקים
נשיקה של פרישות
נשיקה של גדולה (ש"א י) וַיִּקַּח שְׁמוּאֵל אֶת-פַּךְ הַשֶּׁמֶן, וַיִּצֹק עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ--וַיִּשָּׁקֵהוּ
נשיקה של פרקים (שמות ד) וַיֵּלֶךְ, וַיִּפְגְּשֵׁהוּ בְּהַר הָאֱלֹהִים--וַיִּשַּׁק-לוֹ
נשיקה של פרישות (רות א) ותשק ערפה לחמותה ורות דבקה בה
רבי תנחומא אמר אף נשיקה של קריבות
שנאמר וַיִּשַּׁק יַעֲקֹב, לְרָחֵל
שהיתה קרובתו
וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת-קֹלוֹ, וַיֵּבְךְּ
למה בכה?
אמר אליעזר בשעה שהלך להביא את רבקה מה כתיב ביה
ויקח העבד עשרה גמלים וגו'
ואני לא נזם אחד ולא צמיד אחד
ד"א למה בכה?
שראה שאינה נכנסת עמו לקבורה
הדא היא דהיא אמרה לה לכן ישכב עמך הלילה
אמרה לה עמך הוא דמיך עמי לית הוא דמיך
ד"א למה בכה?
שראה האנשים מלחשים אלו לאלו מפני שנשקה
מה בא זה לחדש לנו דבר ערוה ?!
שמשעה שלקה העולם בדור המבול עמדו אומות העולם וגדרו עצמן מן הערוה
הדא אמרת שאנשי מזרח גדורים מן הערוה:

Bereishit 29:10 states:
י וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר רָאָה יַעֲקֹב אֶת-רָחֵל, בַּת-לָבָן אֲחִי אִמּוֹ, וְאֶת-צֹאן לָבָן, אֲחִי אִמּוֹ; וַיִּגַּשׁ יַעֲקֹב, וַיָּגֶל אֶת-הָאֶבֶן מֵעַל פִּי הַבְּאֵר, וַיַּשְׁקְ, אֶת-צֹאן לָבָן אֲחִי אִמּוֹ
10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.

Rabbi Yochanan stated: Like one who removes the stopper from the mouth of a flask.

Bereishit 29:11 states:
וַיִּשַּׁק יַעֲקֹב, לְרָחֵל...
"And Jacob kissed Rachel..."
All kissing is folly {/pritzut} with the exception of three.
Kissing of greatness.
Kissing of a sudden occasion. {perakim. "when one meets his fellow suddenly"}
Kissing of separation.

Kissing of greatness: 1 Shmuel 10:1: וַיִּקַּח שְׁמוּאֵל אֶת-פַּךְ הַשֶּׁמֶן, וַיִּצֹק עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ--וַיִּשָּׁקֵהוּ; וַיֹּאמֶר--הֲלוֹא כִּי-מְשָׁחֲךָ ה עַל-נַחֲלָתוֹ, לְנָגִיד. - "Then Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said: 'Is it not that the LORD hath anointed thee to be prince over His inheritance?"

Kissing of perakim: Shemot 4:27:
וַיֹּאמֶר ה אֶל-אַהֲרֹן, לֵךְ לִקְרַאת מֹשֶׁה הַמִּדְבָּרָה; וַיֵּלֶךְ, וַיִּפְגְּשֵׁהוּ בְּהַר הָאֱלֹהִים--וַיִּשַּׁק-לוֹ.
"And the LORD said to Aaron: 'Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.' And he went, and met him in the mountain of God, and kissed him."

Kissing of separation: Rut 1:14:
וַתִּשֶּׂנָה קוֹלָן, וַתִּבְכֶּינָה עוֹד; וַתִּשַּׁק עָרְפָּה לַחֲמוֹתָהּ, וְרוּת דָּבְקָה בָּהּ.
"And they lifted up their voice, and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth cleaved unto her."

Rabbi Tanchuma said, Also kissing of relatives, as it states (Bereishit 29:11) וַיִּשַּׁק יַעֲקֹב, לְרָחֵל -- "And Jacob kissed Rachel..."

{J: One might then frame this as a dispute, with those who do not agree to Rabbi Tanchuma and list kissing of relatives saying that kissing of relatives is not an exception, and is tiflut. Alternatively, Yaakov's kissing of Rachel could be classified under kissing of perakim.

Note also that this is only kissing of relatives. Kissing non-relatives of the opposite gender would still be tiflut, even according to Rabbi Tanchuma.

וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת-קֹלוֹ, וַיֵּבְךְּ...
"... and lifted up his voice, and wept."

... {skipping material irrelevent to this post - suggestions why Yaakov wept.}

Another explanation: Why did he cry?
For he saw the men {shepherds} murmuring to each other because he kissed her.
"What did this one come to introduce to us a new sexual impropriety?!"
For from the time the world was smitten in the generation of the Flood the nations of the world stood and fenced themselves off from sexual impropriety. ('arayot)
This is as is said that the peoples of the East are fenced off from sexual impropriety.

{J: When the shepherds objected to this new innovation, did they understand that she was a relative, according to this midrash? It is not clear. On the one hand, we read:

יא וַיִּשַּׁק יַעֲקֹב, לְרָחֵל; וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת-קֹלוֹ, וַיֵּבְךְּ. 11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
יב וַיַּגֵּד יַעֲקֹב לְרָחֵל, כִּי אֲחִי אָבִיהָ הוּא, וְכִי בֶן-רִבְקָה, הוּא; וַתָּרָץ, וַתַּגֵּד לְאָבִיהָ. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son; and she ran and told her father.

and thus he told her of their relationship only after kissing her. It is possible, and I have heard it explained so, that they did not know they were related and thus objected to this new innovation in 'arayot. On the other hand, he was just asking after Lavan, and they told him that Rachel was approaching:

ה וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם, הַיְדַעְתֶּם אֶת-לָבָן בֶּן-נָחוֹר; וַיֹּאמְרוּ, יָדָעְנוּ. 5 And he said unto them: 'Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?' And they said: 'We know him.'
ו וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם, הֲשָׁלוֹם לוֹ; וַיֹּאמְרוּ שָׁלוֹם--וְהִנֵּה רָחֵל בִּתּוֹ, בָּאָה עִם-הַצֹּאן. 6 And he said unto them: 'Is it well with him?' And they said: 'It is well; and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.'

Perhaps the midrash is assuming that they knew they were relatives, yet were still objecting. From the fact that they consider this a new type of 'arayot, I would assume that the first explanation is more likely in terms of how the midrash frames the pesukim.

Perhaps a look at the Rambam on this issue next...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

See Daat Soferim on his interpretation of this medrash which answers your question whether the shepherds knew they were related.


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