8

It seems to me that many people who have questions about sexuality may not feel comfortable to ask a rabbi directly, and may prefer to ask an online community anonymously.

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9

I second the answers posted here. Just to focus on your point about being uncomfortable to ask a Rabbi:

may not feel comfortable to ask a rabbi directly, and may prefer to ask an online community anonymously.

The obvious question is why would someone feel more uncomfortable asking a Rabbi about such issues than, say, hilchos Shabbos. The answer: the nature of such questions is of a private nature that one would not want to discuss in person. Having an anonymous form to deal with such questions, alleviates the embarrassments associated with the question.

Except... that's also precisely why such questions should not be discussed in public. These topics are of a sensitive nature, and should be dealt with in a private fashion.

The optimal solution is for people to ask their own Rabbi in person. However, if they do feel uncomfortable, there are ways to contact reliable Rabbis while still remaining anonymous. For example:

  • Call a Rabbi over the phone. In most cases, providing a name is optional.
  • Emailing a Rabbi
  • Using online websites that allow one-on-one questions (see Reliable Ask-a-Rabbi Websites)
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  • 1
    Cogent observation! – Isaac Moses Jun 15 '11 at 19:13
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    +1 Couldn't have said it better myself. Regarding the rabbi consultation options you list at the end, I think we can discuss (without having a serious logical issue) the fact that we defer to the very judgment of those individuals to determine exactly how private or anonymous a given question should be on a case-by-case basis. – WAF Jun 15 '11 at 21:07
6

There are some issues that are, in Jewish tradition, discussed only in private. How to draw the right line around such issues isn't 100% clear. The policy on this is evolving here. Please feel free to contribute your point of view.

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6

The problem with such questions are numerous. I am listing two issues.

1 - Often the questioner is looking for a leniency which needs a Rabbi attuned to the questioners circumstances.

2 - The website without these type of questions is a place where I can allow my teenage son or daughter to explore. However such questions will make it off limits.

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  • 5
    I agree with concern #2. Concern #1 applies to all practical questions. – Isaac Moses Jun 15 '11 at 12:20
  • The difference is that by sexuality questions it can be much more severe if a leniency is taken from a website answer that is inappropiate. – Gershon Gold Jun 15 '11 at 12:31
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    @Gershon unless you're talking about straight-up adultery, it's no more severe than, say, Shabbat, which we deal in all the time. Also, we have no problem dealing theoretically with life-and-death issues, which are at least as severe as anything sexual. Any of this is problematic if people use the website as a posek, which we care about and deal with independently. The real unique problem with sexuality is tzeniut. – Isaac Moses Jun 15 '11 at 15:52
  • "no more severe than, say, Shabbat" - This is true in terms of the punishment one incurs for its violation (in some cases), which is a valid means of comparison, but there are other measures of severity both in the realm of the gashmi and the ruchani by which questions of sexual morality can be more grave than those of upholding shabas. – WAF Jun 15 '11 at 21:11
  • . . . which is not to say I agree with the premise of #1, but I think there are still degrees to consider in, as @IsaacMoses said, drawing the line. – WAF Jun 15 '11 at 21:13
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    @WAF Fair point, but we also deal with life-and-death, parenting, education, marriage and divorce, and any number of areas in which following incorrect or poorly tailored advice could cause all kinds of problems in various realms. We don't shirk from theoretical discussion of any other part of Halacha because of this kind of reason; we just might slap on more prominent "ASK YOUR RABBI" warnings in some cases. – Isaac Moses Jun 15 '11 at 21:28
  • @IsaacMoses In. Hachi nami. – WAF Jun 15 '11 at 21:34
  • @Gershon, while I agree with concern #2, questions like "Is there Torah inerrancy?" (judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/7308/…) carry great consequences if someone with the wrong attitude (or just someone generally naive) reads a post that may leave them scratching their heads because their rabbi told them something different. – Seth J Jun 23 '11 at 16:03
  • Disagreed about 2. Teenager being exposed to sexuality in a torah format, on the internet of all places, is commendable. – Baby Seal May 20 '14 at 19:10
5

Remember, if you want to ask a question here because you are too embarrassed to ask a Rav, this site will not and cannot help you.

The only reason why questions with the Halacha tag are allowed (IMHO) is because we specifically request that one consult his Rabbi before doing anything written here.

Remember, that just because an answer is upvoted, doesn't mean it's accurate. There were answers here that linked to a wrong page and still got upvotes.

No one here is officially a Rav (TTBOMK). Which means, all this website can do is

  1. provide links to help you see if there is a clear Psak (for example, if someone asks if they can turn on a light on Shabbos, he can see that an overwhelming amount of Rabbis agree that it is forbidden. Therefore, he can be stringent before he has a chance to reach his Rabbi).
  2. find sources. Many Rabbis are very busy, and will not discuss a topic at length (you call, give a case, they say "Permitted" or "Forbidden" and hang up the phone). Here, when people give sourced answers, you can see why your rabbi ruled one way or the other.

In other words, any question like "Can I do..." is automatically off limits, just as one wouldn't make a medical decision from an anonymous blog.

Therefore, if this would be the only reason such such questions could be allowed here, I say

NO

Again, there are other reasons why such questions could be wanted here. I have no comment regarding those.

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  • Also keep in mind that not every question asked to a Rabbi is necessarily for Psak (much the same way not every question asked here is for Psak). – yydl Feb 13 '12 at 2:20
-2

I think that sexuality questions should be allowed. The gemara in M. Brachos (62a) states that Rav Kahana hid under his rabbi's bed when he and his wife were alone dealing with intimate matters. When he was interrogated about why he did such a thing, he replied that "Even this is Torah, and it I must learn as well."

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  • Whoever downvoted, please explain why you did so. – Adam Mosheh Feb 12 '12 at 17:03
  • This topic shouldn't be why are sexuality questions not allowed, but rather should sexuality questions be allowed and why or not allowed and why? The way the question is asked is inherently biased. – Adam Mosheh Feb 12 '12 at 17:41
  • You'll have to speak to nute (who asked this question) about that. I assume that he/she got a feeling that such questions are disallowed and wondered why. – msh210 Feb 12 '12 at 17:43

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