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If a soldier is in battle and meets an attractive woman, there is a dispensation for him to have her. Opinions differ as to whether he can rape her or whether it must be consensual, and how many times he can do it.

All of these interpretations are still relatively extreme forms of behavior. Why does the dispensation go to this extreme without first stopping at less extreme forms of behavior such as masturbation?

Wouldn't it be less destructive for the soldier to try masturbating to sate his desires before having sex with a strange woman?

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Please a) clarify the question, b) cite sources, c) consider rephrasing in terms respectful of your audience and halacha. – WAF Feb 9 '14 at 1:36
The answer is probably that those other options wouldn't satisfy him sufficiently. – Double AA Feb 9 '14 at 6:51
so supposing it would, would the soldier be allowed to take this intermediate action? – Clint Eastwood Feb 9 '14 at 13:41

The teshuvos Maharsham (7:26) quotes the Zohar that masturbation is worse than all other sin. The teshuvos P'nei Yehoshua says that it is like murder. The Maharal in Be'er HaGula (Be'er sheni perek tes) says that it is worse than murder.

In contrast, being with the "strange woman" is probably not considered "wasting seed" - they could have a child and this would at least constitute לשבת יצרה - see תוס' גיטין מא א ד"ה לישא.

So this would be a lesser sin than masturbation.

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I don't like it, but at least is an answer. Here is why I don't like it: I recall something from Megillat Ruth that Ploni Almoni's faliure to redeem his family was so bad that his name was withheld from the narrative and Ploni Almoni was used instead. I contrast, Onan's name is left in. – Clint Eastwood Feb 9 '14 at 21:05
@ClintEastwood Ploni Almoni is mentioned - his name is Tov. He is only not mentioned after he neglects to redeem his family. Er and Onan are also not mentioned after their sin. – Y ez Feb 9 '14 at 22:01
actually, they are. Bamidbar 26:19. The fact that Ploni's real name is alluded to before is sin only strengthens my point. – Clint Eastwood Feb 10 '14 at 3:14
@ClintEastwood They are named in recounting lineage. They are not named again in the story. Tov does not come up again anywhere else in Tanach, so there really isn't any indication from Bamidbar 26. – Y ez Feb 10 '14 at 3:17
@ClintEastwood Additionally, Ploni Almoni being left out is not necessarily indicative of the severity of the sin, rather the nature of the sin. He failed to continue the name of his family, so his own name was erased. – Y ez Feb 10 '14 at 3:19

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