THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
- QUESTION: The Gemara gives a number of situations in which it is
permissible for a man to touch the Amah. Among them:
- by means of a clay potsherd, a thick, hard rag or a small stone;
- by assistance from the Beitzim;
- from the Atarah and down;
- if he is married.
In these cases, touching will not bring about forbidden thoughts.
RAMBAM (Hil. Isurei Bi'ah 21:23) writes, "An unmarried man may neither
touch his genitals, nor place his hands anywhere beneath his belly. If he
urinates, he may not hold the Amah. If he is married, however, this is
permissible. Whether married or not, he may not touch the Amah at all
except when he needs to relieve himself."
Why does he leave out Heterim (a), (b), (c), and permit (d) only while
- On Daf 13b, Rebbi Tarfon rules that if a thorn is stuck in a man's
stomach below the belt, he may not remove it, reasoning that it is better
to have one's stomach split than to go to Gehinom. Why doesn't Rebbi
Tarfon suggest using a thick hard rag to remove the thorn? ARUCH LA'NER
proves from this that Rebbi Tarfon obviously argues and does nor permit
touching the Amah with a hard rag etc. If so, the Rambam is following Rebbi
- &(c) The Gemara tells us that Rav Yehudah was married when Shmuel told
him to hold the Amah and urinate. (It is not logical to say that the
various opinions in the Gemara argued over whether he was married or not,
as Aruch La'Ner points out.) If so, the Gemara is only permitting touching
the Beitzim (b) and from the Atarah down (c) for a married man. This is
exactly what the Rambam means when he writes that "if he is married, this
is permissible." "This" refers to touching "the genitals," i.e. all parts
of the genitals (Beitzim, Atarah and down). The only part that Rambam
prohibits a married man to touch when not urinating is the part between the
Beitzim and the Atarah, which is called the Amah.
- Next, since everyone agrees that Rav Yehudah was married, why doesn't
the Gemara suffice with that fact alone (d) to permit Rav Yehudah to touch
the Amah? From this it may be concluded that even a married person should
normally refrain from touching the Amah, since it is permitted to do so
only due to necessity, while relieving oneself. The Amora'im therefore
explained that Shmuel would not have told Rav Yehudah to touch his Amah,
since it was possible to avoid doing so by touching the Beitzim (b) or the
lower Atarah (c), which a married man may do without hesitation.
- The Mishnah Berurah 3:29 rules that touching with a thick rag is
permitted, but he suggests not to rely on this since we do not know what
constitutes "thick." The clay potsherd and small stone may be used by
married or unmarried men.
- &(c) The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 3:14-15) permits married or
unmarried men to touch the Beitzim or from the Atarah and down.
- The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 23:4) quotes the Rambam's ruling, that
whether married or not, a man may not touch the Amah at all except when he
needs to relieve himself. In Orach Chaim (3:14), however, he quotes the
Sefer ha'Yir'ah of Rabeinu Yonah who writes that it is only a Midas
Chasidus for a married man to abstain from doing so.
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