Per Monica's invitation, how should this question be viewed, in light of this policy as decided here?

Specifically, for the link weary, a question about מעשה חידודים (to use the Talmudic terminology), a specific form of intimacy between a husband and wife, asking its permissibly. How should the moderators and community members apply the policy to this question?

Historical note (to what I know - moderators should have better insight) this question existed for nearly three years and was closed around that time and has remained closed. Yesterday, Shmuel argued for its revival, and garnered five reopen votes. It got reopened today, and already has 3 close votes (including one from me), so this is clearly something that the community is divided on, and without a clear decision and implementation by the moderators, the likely result will the עדים זוממין rule - whoever shows up last wins.

EDIT: As of now (May 11th, 2014) the question is now closed again. Even though I voted for that, to reiterate, preventing a last man wins rule we can expect the back and forth to continue until one side runs out of energy first - absent a clear final moderator decision, that can only be reconsidered in meta or chat.

  • note judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/8255/…
    – Double AA Mod
    May 9, 2014 at 2:37
  • 3
    As an irony, closing and reopening it will keep bumping it to the top, giving it unusual prominence... May 11, 2014 at 19:24
  • Does anyone want to explain why it isn't a duplicate?
    – Double AA Mod
    May 13, 2014 at 4:14
  • @DoubleAA, is a question that asks in very general terms about a topic (e.g. What are you allowed to do on Shabbos [yes that is too broad but imagine if not]) preclude a specific question of what are the parameters (e.g. what of X are you allowed to do on Shabbos)? I see your duplicate argument (even upvoted the comment) in a context where there are limitations in going too detailed. In other words what is salvageable about the question is a duplicate of what is already there.
    – Yishai
    Jun 13, 2014 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


I would suggest that this statement in the policy is really the controlling point:

I don't think the current question that brought this up is particularly explicit, but I do think that some of the answers that can come up may approach that problem.

I think the answer has already gone into that territory, but even if not, in order to respond to some the existing discussion, it would go there. So to leave it open and within bounds makes it impossible to really fully address the question.

Therefore, I suggest that this specific discretion be exercised:

Such questions will be closed or deleted at the discretion of the moderators or community.

In addition to closing it, I think it is only right that the existing answers be deleted, so that the question doesn't remain half-answered vis-a-vis what the community could really do to address it.

If however, the community and/or moderators don't agree with all of the above, then they should clearly note on the question that they will reverse (or prevent if that is possible) any close votes on this question - as the issue has been decided. Any specific answers or comments that run afoul the site guidelines should be flagged for moderator attention.

If the decision is to close the question, the question itself should be left so that when the next person asks they see this question is not appropriate for the site.

I do think the end result should be different for this question, for this reason. And I think the existing answer demonstrates that it invites an appropriate level of discussion - where to look, how to approach the question, etc. rather than specific details that go into how far can you go, exactly what is a problem, what other methods could a specific wording in poskim be referring to (which then have to be spelled out in response), etc.

  • Agreed, I think that broad strokes are as far as things ought to go in this public format.
    – Baby Seal
    May 9, 2014 at 5:46
  • I vehemently disagree that answers should be deleted, since you can edit it if you think it is misleading or incomplete. It's better to,provide a good answer than none at all.
    – Shmuel
    May 11, 2014 at 17:46
  • @Shmuel, but what if I want to give a completely different answer because the existing ones go off in what I think is a wrong direction? It would require a competing answer in that case.
    – Yishai
    May 11, 2014 at 18:39
  • 1
    The StackExchange format (with the up\down-votes) encourages competing answers.
    – Shmuel
    May 11, 2014 at 19:15
  • @Shmuel, exactly. Which is why I'm suggesting all the answers shouldn't be there unless the question remains open to invite further ones.
    – Yishai
    May 11, 2014 at 19:19
  • OK. [15 characters]
    – Shmuel
    May 11, 2014 at 19:25

Color me a liberal, but I'm firmly in the camp of free speech and less censorship. I think that the mission of Mi Yodeya should be to deal with any and all questions pertaining to Judaism regardless of the content. I also do not feel as though we readers should be forced to try to make sense of vague imprecise answers simply because the contents of a question or answer are sexual in nature.

This is not to say that I believe in expressing Torah in a vulgar manner, but it is possible to deal with science and real issues without resorting to cryptic euphamisms or vague suggestions. The question under scrutiny is asked in a straight forward way that does not provoke vulgarity for the sake of vulgarity.

Torah is filled with "adult content", and the fact that the content is adult, does not make it any less Torah. By closing questions like these, we would effectively be using our own discretion to determine what Torah deserves to be shared and what doesn't. I am not comfortable restricting discussions like the one in question without a definitive, authoritative source suggesting that Torah of a sexual nature should be constrained.

  • There most certainly are torah sources that it should be constrained, including a mishna (in chaggigah IIRC) as well as a teshuva from rav moshe feinstein.
    – Yishai
    May 9, 2014 at 19:29
  • Chagigah is Arayot in particular. What teshuvah from Rav Moshe are you referring to?
    – Yehuda
    May 9, 2014 at 19:30
  • 1
    @BabySeal - If your Rav wants to lump those who speak in attempt to study the word of God together with jesters who speak obscenely, then you are right, this particular p'sak doesn't mean much to me. I don't know why you would think that I don't value the words of any scholar based on my profile, however.
    – Yehuda
    May 9, 2014 at 21:32
  • @BabySeal - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Da'as_Torah - I tend to trust Torah scholars with regard to p'sak halacha. When it comes to telling me who to vote for on the other hand, it begins to make me question just how scholarly they are.
    – Yehuda
    May 9, 2014 at 21:55
  • And does your Rav has any proof other than his intuition? Because I have never seen any issur against discussing Torah using direct language ever. In fact, Reb Levi compares eating matzah on erev pesach with "Habo'el Arusato b'veit chamav" in Yerushalmi Pesachim tenth perek. This seems like we are all too happy to refer to sexual situations in order to understand Torah.
    – Yehuda
    May 9, 2014 at 21:57
  • Ahh okay, my mistake, apologies I hope i didn't offend you. Discussing Torah using direct language is actually mandated, believe it or not, even at the expense of 'clean speech'. The issue is not the subject matter, but the public format. In any event my rabbi is not yours, and his source I readily admit is not closed to alternative understanding.
    – Baby Seal
    May 9, 2014 at 22:00
  • (really sorry about that remark it was out of line and presumptuous :/)
    – Baby Seal
    May 9, 2014 at 22:02
  • So yes the Gemara talks about it all the time, but it is generally in limited detail and in the context of earnest, practical discussion of torah law. This site submits that it should be treated as a group of friends talking. That format is a different format. The issue is the group of friends.
    – Baby Seal
    May 9, 2014 at 22:09
  • @BabySeal - No worries. Just glad someone took the time to read my profile. ;) Besides, I value people speaking their minds. Regarding your Rav's P'sak - If he is approachable, maybe ask him why he is choosing to read the gemara that way when it may be costing a whole bunch of people on the internet some Torah. I don't understand why the site should be treated as a group of friends talking... I certainly am here to learn Torah.
    – Yehuda
    May 9, 2014 at 22:19
  • I'm definitely going to seek further clarification, I personally agree with you, but I also don't have a particular issue with homosexuality, and struggle with the concept of slavery, yet the word of God as you say dictates that I am wrong. I'll let you know what he says.'
    – Baby Seal
    May 9, 2014 at 22:58
  • @Yehuda, I don't remember the location of the Teshuva. Re-reading your answer it is worth pointing out that it is already part of the site's definition that there is a restriction based on topic, and not just style (whether or not it is vulgar), the point under question is if this particular question crosses the line or not.
    – Yishai
    May 11, 2014 at 4:26
  • @Yishai - do you at least remember what precisely he says in his Teshuva so that I can see if I can find it myself? Your point regarding the topic based restriction is noted, but does not justify the fact that the site is censoring Torah based on no substantial halachik basis.
    – Yehuda
    May 11, 2014 at 4:36
  • @Yehuda, I believe it had to do with not having public discussions about birth control methods.
    – Yishai
    May 11, 2014 at 5:04
  • 1
    @Yehuda This site is not a theocracy. There could be other reasons we may censor something besides halacha.
    – Double AA Mod
    May 11, 2014 at 9:13
  • @DoubleAA - hence my argument against censorship. I am only arguing on a halachik basis with those who have resorted to halacha to disagree with my sentiments .
    – Yehuda
    May 11, 2014 at 12:30

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