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The mishna on Kiddushin 82a presents R. Yehudah's opinion that an unmarried man should not be a shepherd or share a blanket with another unmarried man. The chachamim allow it. In the gemara, the argument is connected to and resolved by a braita in which the chachamim said to R. Yehudah that Jewish people are not suspected of homosexuality or bestiality (a position which the Rambam codifies as law).

I don't know the independent location of that braita or if there is any discussion there but it appears then that R. Yehudah's position is that we DO suspect Jews of these desires -- he does not give any response and there is no citation by the chachamim that he can reply to. But the statement in the mishna which is explained by quoting another conversation between the identical players doesn't do anything to flesh out R. Yehudah's position or tell whether he retains a suspicion and if so, what it is based in.

Is there any other discussion which explores why R. Yehudah and the chachamim rule the way they do?

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  • The quoted beraita is from Tosefta Kid. 5:10.
    – Oliver
    Jul 28, 2019 at 4:11
  • @Oliver I found the tosefta on Mechon Mamre but there is no commentary on that and it doesn't shed any light on this mechon-mamre.org/b/f/f37.htm
    – rosends
    Jul 28, 2019 at 13:32
  • Since you wrote “I don’t know the independent location of that braita...” I thought you hadn’t found it.
    – Oliver
    Jul 28, 2019 at 14:33
  • @Oliver I hadn't so I appreciate the citation. I was hoping that in its original location, I might find more discussion of explanation, but the mechon site has nothing other than the text.
    – rosends
    Jul 28, 2019 at 14:37

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R. David Luria, ibid., suggested that R. Yehudah’s suspicion (or, precaution) may have stemmed from the fact that in his day, due to penurious conditions, it was common for multiple young rabbinic students to share one blanket (San. 20a).

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  • I don't see exactly where R. Luria deals with this point, but that Sanhedrin citation indicates that they still learned Torah -- why would he have the suspicion?
    – rosends
    Jul 28, 2019 at 13:30
  • @rosends It’s his first note on the 82a. True that despite their condition the students still learned Torah, though Rada”l is seemingly suggesting “לכך הוצרך ר״י להזהיר”; IOW R. Yehudah was implementing a precaution.
    – Oliver
    Jul 28, 2019 at 14:36
  • so were the chachamim not aware of poverty, or did they not think that the poverty changed a baseline assessment of Jewish people (also, isn't there a difference between a suspicion and a precaution?)
    – rosends
    Jul 28, 2019 at 14:40
  • @rosends I (we) can’t know for sure, even Rada”l’s suggestion is conjecture. It may be R. Yehudah had a deeper (or, different) analysis of human nature and since he also viewed human inclination in a certain light (cf. Sukkah 52a) maybe he felt lines should be drawn differently than how his colleague(s) felt. He was also distinguished as a pietist (perhaps somewhat of an ascetic too). I’m not even sure who “וחכמים” are in this specific dispute (R. Meir, R. Shimom) to be in a position to guess their motive.
    – Oliver
    Jul 28, 2019 at 15:10

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