In Sanhedrin 108b:3, it says:

אמר רב חסדא ברותחין קלקלו בעבירה וברותחין נידונו

Rav Ḥisda says: With hot semen they sinned, and with hot semen they were punished.

In Torah Ohr 8c-d, the Alter Rebbe says (quoted from Chabad.org here):

Chassidic teachings describe the Flood as a cleansing process. The waters of the Flood are like the waters of a ritual bath—a mikvah—where the waters spiritually cleanse the one who enters it. The world similarly received a spiritual cleansing, setting the course of history on a course of hope and purpose. And just as a mikvah must contain 40 seah (an ancient measure of volume), so did the rains of the Flood last for forty days.

In Positive Commandment 105 in the Rambam's Sefer Hamitzvos (summarizing the mitzvah found in Vayikra Chapter 15), it is written:

We are commanded regarding the ritual impurity [contained in and emitted by] semen. [I.e., when contracted, one must follow all the laws associated with this impurity.]

Then the question arises: how can these "waters" (possibly שכבת זרע) of the flood be used as a mechanism to purify the world? שכבת זרע is inherently tamei!

  • 7
    I dont agree to your translation, With hot semen they sinned, and with hot semen they were punished. They were punished with 'hot' water.
    – interested
    Nov 25 '20 at 10:02
  • The whole question is based on a wrong translation/assumption. You might want to ask a Rabbi before asking questions on translations. VTC.
    – Al Berko
    Nov 25 '20 at 16:26
  • Please remember it well that on Sefaria you see with bold the literal translation and with normal typeface the interpretation. The רת"ח root is only connected to boiling. Nov 25 '20 at 16:56

The translation is: "With hot semen they sinned, and with hot water they were punished". This translation can also be found in the very source you quote Sanhedrin 108b:3. A similar translation can be found here as well.

  • 3
    Actually OP's translation was also taken from Sefaria. The translation was just updated today, after I sent them a comment based on this question.
    – simyou
    Nov 25 '20 at 19:39
  • It's probably obvious but what does OP stand for Nov 25 '20 at 19:45
  • @Yaakov "Original Poster" which in this case refers to the person who wrote the question
    – Double AA
    Nov 25 '20 at 19:55
  • Thanks :) I didn't realize that, the question makes more sense now. In general I have found many mistranslations with the Sefaria Talmud Nov 25 '20 at 20:13
  • @simyou Skayach! But is it so in Steinsaltz? Nov 25 '20 at 21:40

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