It says in Maseches Sota (8a) that that if a woman would be punished by stoning, she would be stoned virtually unclothed, and men would be allowed to attend. The Gemara says that there is no concern for improper thoughts as she is dead, and people only have thoughts for the woman which they saw unclothed (so they would not desire other women by seeing this one, and this one is dead).

Huh??? - If someone saw an inappropriate movie but in real life the actress was dead (he was watching an old movie), he won't have inappropriate thoughts??

  • 3
    you are asking a bigger question but I would respond first to the smaller one. In the movie the actress isnt really dead. But I would say that yes probably if one saw the body of an actress in a movie and she or he was pale / bloody and naked one would probably not have sexual thoughts. Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 18:43
  • I haven't seen the gemara inside, but based on what you wrote, it doesn't matter if the man has inappropriate thoughts, as long as he doesn't have them about other (living) women. Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 19:01
  • 1
    How are the two comparable? If a man sees a mutilated body of a woman, the thoughts going through his head would be very different from the thoughts going through the head of a man who sees very flattering and revealing images of a now-deceased woman taken while she was living.
    – Seth J
    Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 19:17
  • 1
    Can you clarify your question? I think I'm having trouble understanding it, based on the comments above mine.
    – Seth J
    Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 19:19
  • 2
    Based on the chat linked above, it appears that Shmuel's question still stands according RY. My mistake.
    – HodofHod
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 0:38

1 Answer 1


First, to clarify, people are not executed completely naked (as noted by HodofHod).

There are two concerns involved here: 1.) Desiring a particular woman, which may lead to promiscuous behavior. 2.) Gazing at a woman with intent to derive pleasure.

In this scenario, concern #1 does not apply because she is being executed. Concern #2 could theoretically be a problem; it is still forbidden for someone to gaze at the woman while intending to derive pleasure. However, we do not expect people to do that under the circumstances.

If you watch a movie with a dead actress who is not dressed properly, concern #1 does not apply. However, you are watching a movie - not attending an execution. Therefore concern #2 still applies and it's forbidden to watch footage of an immodestly dressed woman who has since died.

This topic as it pertains to a dead woman is discussed in the Teshuvos HaBach (Yeshanos, 17).

  • i only read the beginning of the teshuva, but I don't see where he says that people wont have hirhur cuz of the somber mood, rather (from what i understand) he says that sekila is min hatorah and therefore "more important" than being choshesh for hirhur. Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 19:39
  • The Bach writes that since executing the woman in this manner is a biblical requirement, we are not concerned about such thoughts. This may mean that, since the attendees are participating in a mitzvah (e.g.וְיַד כָּל הָעָם בָּאַחֲרֹנָה or וְכָל הָעָם יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיִרָאוּ (Devarim, 17)), and that mitzvah requires the woman to be undressed, we do not expect people to have inappropriate thoughts. Alternatively, you may be correct that he means that the risk of inappropriate thoughts is outweighed. Either way, people are not permitted to actively indulge in such thoughts. Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 22:46
  • +1. what does HT stand for? Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 22:55
  • I should add that the fact that it is an execution is in and of itself enough of a reason why people are less likely to look at the woman with the wrong intent ("Ika chashasha d'hirhura b'miktzas" - "There nevertheless remains a certain amount of risk that people will succumb to prurient thoughts"). That may have factored into the Bach's explanation for why the Torah requirement to execute her in such a way is enough to permit men to attend. Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 2:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .