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In Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 157:1, the Ramma quotes a Beis Yoseif saying that shaas hashmad is only when the gizeira (decree) is specifically against Jews. The Shach there (#6) clarifies that if the gizeira is against the entire medina (country or jurisdiction), even though Jews are included, it is not called shaas hashmad.
See Tosafos there (Pesachim 25a) which says that it's not referring to the medical aspects of the wood, buyt to its supernatural affects, which possibly brings one closer to idol worship.: חוץ מעצי אשירה. נראה לר''י דמיירי כגון שאין יכול להתרפא משאר עצים אלא בזה כגון על ידי שדים או שום דבר אחר משום דאתי למיטעי בתר ע''ז Similarly in Avoda Zara 27b ...
There's a Rabbi Rakeffet mp3 on this on yutorah.org (sorry no, I can't tell you which one). It's widely circulated that the Rambam wrote that anyone killed simply because they were Jewish is considered to have died "al kiddush Hashem." However ... we don't seem to actually have such a written source in the Rambam. Post-Holocaust, the subject came up a ...
Just to note, 'Giluey Arayos' includes two different forms of sin: incest and adultery. They may have different reasons. Most societies (agreed, not all) have held these two acts to be contemptuous or taboo, which may mean that it's an area of morality which should be self-evident, and if it isn't obvious, then you should check your moral intuition. I ...
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