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I know that wasting seed is the worst sin in Judaism and a Jew who committed it is considered very wicked. Yet, I am not sure about wasting seed ? is it a sin or not?

I am a gentile wanting to convert to Judaism seriously, and I used to have this addiction, and I stopped committing it since almost between 3-4 weeks but sadly today I fell for it again, especially that I drank beer and I felt slightly intoxicated-not drunk though. But I didn't had the intention to get intoxicated. I know there is no excuse for sin no matter what.

Anyway, since I heard that the ones who desire to convert to Judaism may have a Jewish soul already, that means it might be a heavy sin if I committed it no matter whether it's a sin or not for a normal gentile.

Anyone knows?

P.S: I searched for similar questions in this website yet I couldn't find any.

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  • 1
    from what I remember it wasn't listed in Mishneh Torah amongst the sheva mitzvos bnei Noach
    – warz3
    Aug 14, 2015 at 17:44
  • 8
    "I know that wasting seed is the worst sin in Judaism" Actually, that would seem to be Avoda Zara and/or Murder.
    – Double AA
    Aug 14, 2015 at 17:57
  • 3
    @DoubleAA and what makes me concerned even more, is that I did read in a Jewish website that: " "Wasting seed is more severe then manslaughter, for here he is spilling his own blood and the blood of his children. In the Zohar parshas vyache it says all evil people can repent except those that commit this sin.""
    – mil
    Aug 14, 2015 at 18:00
  • 1
    @DoubleAA Does that mean that there is no hope to be forgiven even if I did repent ?
    – mil
    Aug 14, 2015 at 18:01
  • 7
    @mil True repentance atones for all sins.
    – Loewian
    Aug 14, 2015 at 18:07

11 Answers 11

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The Tzitz Eliezer brings opposing sources in his responsa discussing whether Bnei Noach are 'neherag' for wasting seed. Either way it seems undesirable from the remaining sources that he brings i.e. the gravity of the sin of wasting seed from the Talmud and kabbalistic sources. He writes:

The response in Dovev Meisharim… writes that Rabbi Yochanan reasoned that also Bnei Noah are not neherag on transgressing [wasting seed] like an Israelite… which is not so according to the Rambam who holds (Hilchos Melachim, 9:4) that Bnei Noach are neherag for transgressing [wasting seed]...

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  • 2
    Rambam Melakhim 9:4 doesn't mention wasting seed? I'm not sure your translation is accurate.
    – Double AA
    Mar 21, 2017 at 12:01
  • What does the gravity of the sin of wasting seed have to do with whether or not it is desirably for those for whom there is no sin? Sleeping with a Niddah is a grave sin, but sleeping with you pure wife is not undesirable since there is not sin.
    – Double AA
    Mar 21, 2017 at 12:03
  • עוברין means fetuses, not transgressing
    – b a
    Jun 5, 2019 at 9:10
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One is not judged by the 613 commandments unless one is born Jewish or formally converts. A non-Jew could feel they have a Jewish soul, but may eat pork aplenty until converting. (In fact, non-Jews are not supposed to observe the Sabbath, which leads to some discussion about whether someone studying for conversion should somehow break his Sabbath observance for five minutes!)

As for whether it's included in the Seven Noahide commandments -- there's discussion about it, like there is about everything else -- but the simple answer is no, it's not on that list, and therefore it's not something to be concerned about. (See R' Aharon Lichtenstein's book on the Noahide Laws.)

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein OC4:116 (top of p. 208) writes that there is "no prohibition whatsoever" for Noahides (lo ne'esar klal), and that the story of Er and Onan was God meting out harsh justice for whatever reasons were appropriate at that particular episode (that particular story was rather complicated!), not the standard textbook punishment.

Rabbi Mendel Senderovic's Atzei Besamim EH#19 cites Rabbi Feinstein, and points to responsum Chavos Yair 108 and Tosfos Sanhedrin 59b in support of this position as well. (Yes, he also cites other opinions, but is inclined in this direction in his final conclusion.)

It is important to note that some language you'll find on this subject ("GREATEST SIN EVER!!! MURDER!!! NO REPENTANCE EVER!!!") is acknowledged (see for example the Feinstein responsum above) by poskim -- experts on the entire canon of Halacha who deal with lots of real-life questions across the board, not Internet pundits laser-focused on one subject -- as exaggeration, so please take what you read with a grain of salt.

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  • 1
    So I understand from your comment about Pork that even though I may feel that I have a Jewish soul, it's still not a sin ?
    – mil
    Aug 14, 2015 at 17:49
  • 2
    @Mil exactly. By law, unless you undergo conversion, you can eat all the pork you want. The "Jewish soul" thing is that some people may want to undergo conversion. But until that point, the only laws (and therefore the only sins) are the Seven Noahide ones.
    – Shalom
    Aug 14, 2015 at 18:06
  • 1
    @mil - If you weren't born Jewish, the 613 commandments don't apply to you. Basically, when G-d said that, He wasn't talking to you. Whether or not you think you have a "Jewish soul", you were born into the religion that G-d wanted you to be born into.
    – Wad Cheber
    Aug 20, 2015 at 16:24
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    Er and Onan had a status of bnei noach as they were before Matan Torah and that is the source of wasting seed which is considered killing the potential child which is why midah kneged midah they were both killed by G-d, and killing is one of the 7 noachide laws
    – user15464
    Oct 31, 2017 at 0:01
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    #Shalom Please dont answer from the top of your head. Please give sources.
    – Rh Haokip
    Jun 5, 2019 at 2:14
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Tosfos (Sanhedrin 59b) explains that the source for the prohibition to waste seed is from Pru Urvu; thus a Noahide would not be forbidden (because a Noahide is not commanded to procreate.

However Tosfos in other places (Chagiga 2b) implies that a Noahide is commanded in Pru Urevu [in accordance with the Sheiltos 165 and the pashtus of Yevamos 62]. Accordingly, the prohibition would apply equally to non-Jews.

If, however, the prohibition is from Lo Sinaf (see או״ז א-קכ״ד, סמ״ק רצ״ב), we are unable to extrapolate from a non-Jews' obligation of Pru Urvu. And although a non-Jew is also prohibited from adultery, we cannot compare it to a Jew's adultery, because they are derived from different pessukim, and therefore what constitutes 'adultery' by one would not be conclusive evidence for the other. [Like the parameters of murder are different for a Jew and non-Jew (abortion, for example), although both are prohibited from murdering.]

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  • Which Tosafos implies non jews are obligated in Pru Urvu?
    – Shlomy
    Apr 25, 2021 at 3:18
  • ד"ה לא תהו בראה . וז"ל: ועוד פרו ורבו אכולהו בני נח כתיב אף לכנען
    – chortkov2
    Apr 25, 2021 at 11:05
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    That's true.. everyone agrees bnei noach were chayiv in pru urvu. However the gemara sanhedrin 59b says that after matan Torah they lost it and it became a mitzva specifically for jews.
    – Shlomy
    Apr 25, 2021 at 13:03
  • Read Tosfos in context. Tosfos is explaining why slaves are obligated in Pru Urevu although women are not (and generally, slaves are only obligated in commandments which a woman has); Tosfos answers that they are obligated like Canaanites. This is after Matan Torah
    – chortkov2
    Apr 25, 2021 at 16:47
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    If you don't like the inference from Tosfos, see the Sheiltos here: (sefaria.org/Sheiltot_d'Rav_Achai_Gaon.165.1?lang=bi): שאילתא דמיחייבין דבית ישראל למינס' נשי ואולודי בני ומיעסק בפריה ורביה דכתיב קחו נשים והולידו בנים ובנות ולא מיבעיא ישראל אלא אפילו עובדי כוכבים מיפקדי אפריה ורביה דכתיב ואתם פרו ורבו:
    – chortkov2
    Apr 25, 2021 at 20:32
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According to Guard Your Eyes Rabbi Morgenstern (unsure of the source of what he says however):

There is a maklokes among the achronim on this question. Since there are those that say he is חייב מיתה for this transgression, if he wants to do Hashem's will, it would be appropriate to refrain.

https://guardyoureyes.com/articles/questions-and-answers/item/are-non-jews-halachically-permitted-to-waste-their-seed

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+100

You're asking a very difficult question... Tosafos Sanhedrin 59b explains the prohbition of wasting seed is from being mivatel the mitzva of pru urvu. According to this logic non- jews who are not commanded in Pru Urvu (after matan Torah) would be allowed to waste seed. However many Reishonim argue on Tosafos in Nida. They bring a proof from the mabul that the main sin they commited was wasting seed and the women got punished eventhough they're not commanded in pru urvu. However they themselves do no explain why it's forbidden to waste seed. The Mishna limelech also requires further research to why it's forbidden to waste seed. Since the reason even for jews to waste seed is unclear according to the reishonim that argue on Tosafos, it would be very difficult to derive if the prohbition applies to non- jews. However on a simple level, if the prohbition applied to the people of the mabul who were non jews it would seem to apply to non jews. It doesn't seem this would have changed after matan Torah.

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  • The main sin for the mabul was not that. Genesis 6:12: ki hishchit khol basar et darkho al haaretz. "G-d decided to destroy the world with a flood for all flesh corrupted their way upon the earth.” Rabbi Ehrlich suggests this corruption was the sin of humans and animals eating meat. After the flood, however, G-d granted Noah the consumption of meat as a concession.
    – Turk Hill
    Apr 26, 2021 at 17:35
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    @turkill the gemara in nidda 13a says one who wastes seed is like bringing the mabul to the world. Rashi there shows the sources that the mabul came from wasting seed.
    – Shlomy
    Apr 26, 2021 at 18:14
  • Rabbi Ehrlich disagrees. He felt that eating meat brought the flood because Adam and Eve are commanded to only eat plant food in the garden. The gemara says one who sins is like so and so and Ehrlich gives the real reason why the flood happened. The first is teaching a moral lesson while the latter is revealing a historical truth.
    – Turk Hill
    Apr 26, 2021 at 19:38
  • @Turkhill when one argues on chazal there's a million more interpretations you can say and then nothing can be proven.
    – Shlomy
    Apr 26, 2021 at 22:42
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    @turkill rashi on that pasuk brings the chazal that the animals intermingled with other species.
    – Shlomy
    Apr 26, 2021 at 23:42
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It is absolutely a terrible sin for non-jews. God killed Onan, a non-jew for wasting seed. Torah scholars will always point out that one of the reasons God destroyed the world with a flood was partially because of the sin of wasting seed. It's included in the Noahide laws (of which there are far more than seven) under the category of sexual transgressions

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    About Onan, he was the son of Yehuda, it's as jew as it gets those days, and his sin was not giving his wife pregnancy. It's not clear that wasting seed is part of his sin. Jul 27, 2019 at 22:49
  • @Alaychem is right. See my answer above. This sin does not refer to non-Jews.
    – Turk Hill
    Jul 27, 2019 at 23:42
  • Welcome to MiYodeya Eliezer and thanks for this first answer. Can I recommend you take the tour to get a sense of how the site works? Also since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. See in particular the focus on sourcing your answers: since we don't know you, unless you provide sources to back up your claims, there is little reason to believe them. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Jul 28, 2019 at 4:25
  • Where are your sources? Nov 24, 2019 at 16:05
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I do not know of any source that says what is the punishment for a non Jew for wasting seed. But I do know G-d does not approve it and dislikes it very much! Therefor a non Jew must also be very carful with this sin and any type of forbidden relations. If a non Jew has already committed the sin, his Teshuvah should be by not repeating the sin anymore, having regret and remorse, educating others about the severity of the sin and living a life of truth and honesty. Non Jews are not obligated to study Torah and some subjects they are prohibited to learn (only because spiritually it can harm them) but there are many other subjects that non Jews can and even must learn in order to know how to act as Noahides and also to know what G-d is expecting from them. Since a non Jew can not correct the sin of wasting seed by learning Torah, my suggestion is to support a Jew that does learn Torah and by that the Non Jew can benefit from the Torah the Jew learnt.

Rabbi Alon Anava has an excellent video for both Jews and non Jews regarding this. Here are some other videos with links below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN6NVSU6Tjs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zD1SI6298nk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtdHt05vJZs&t=2s

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In page 451-452 of the Divine Code, it says:

Since this action is empty and corrupt, it is logical that it is forbidden. It is also expressly written in the Torah of Moses that it is an action that is evil in G-d's eyes, and it is therefore forbidden in the Noachide code.

The Sages taught that a man's semen is the strength of his body, his body's life-force, and light of his eyes, and if a man habitually ejaculates overly much, his body and his physical power are weakened, and his life span is shortened.

It appears clearly prohibited.

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0

Rav Oury Cherki (Brit Olam) in "Brit Shalom" says that wasting seed for Gentiles is not explicitly prohibited, but "still not an appropriate act".

Rav Yoel Schwartz in "View on Noahides" says that it is only according to the minority view that Gentiles are still commanded to procreate that wasting seed is forbidden.

Mori Michael S. Bar-Ron in his "Guide for the Noahide" does not even mention the subject. However, according to him, it is only anal intercourse that is forbidden for male homosexuals under Noahide law. This may also speak to the subject.

The Divine Code by Rav Moshe Weiner prohibits wasting seed, but it seems to me that the prohibition is mainly developed in the comments by the English editor/translator and is less rigid in the original Hebrew of the Posekim. Also, there is a footnote by Rav. Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg saying that this needed additional discussion.

I am adding my very unsolicited personal Noahide opinion on this: When sperm is not released by the body, it is dissolved internally and thus perishes. If the argument is that wasting seed equals murder, then every male body constantly murders. Since it is written that man was created in HaShem's image, it follows that wasting seed can not be equaled to murder.

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  • Thanks for these sources. Regarding the last point, 3 points, 1 mystical, 2 rational: Hashem established a system whereby the body naturally perishes seed. Perhaps He did not associate spiritually creative process to seed that remains in the body, so there is no "loss of life"? Rationalistically, when the DNA perishes in the body, there was no potential for life as the process to bring it to an egg never took place. Also, there is a rate at which it is produced and perishes that one can't control (His problem), however one can increase it's production and destruction by wasting it? Thoughts?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Feb 2, 2023 at 12:08
  • Shalom Rabbi. Concerning your first argument I would say that it is possible, but we cannot know. If we go this far in speculation, there would have to be similar speculation on every other thing with many possibilities and it would be impossible to decide in any matter. On your second point, I think what matters is the end result which is exactly the same in both cases. On the third point I think you are right. Still, it seems to me that wherever this act is demonized, there results an accumulation of other, worse transgressions (eg in the catholic church).
    – user25706
    Feb 2, 2023 at 12:41
-1

Wasting seed is not the worst sin in Judaism. The three cardinal sins of Judaism are murder, immorality and idolatry.

From a Jewish perspective I would imagine that there is no prohibition for a non-Jew to engage in this activity.

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  • On your first para, I don't think this is so clear cut, see judaism.stackexchange.com/q/86916/11501
    – mbloch
    Apr 22, 2021 at 9:04
  • @mbloch The average assessment would view the penalty of the sin as an indicator of the severity of the sin. The sins I mentioned all carry a death penalty and are yehareg ve'al yaavor, wasting seed possibly carries a penalty of misah bidei shamayim (as per Igros Moshe) and is not yehareg ve'al yaavor.
    – The GRAPKE
    Apr 22, 2021 at 10:07
  • וְלָכֵן לֹא הוּזְכַּר עֲוֹן זֶרַע לְבַטָּלָה בַּתּוֹרָה בִּכְלַל בִּיאוֹת אֲסוּרוֹת ,אַף שֶׁחָמוּר מֵהֶן (tanya ch 7)
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Feb 2, 2023 at 15:42
  • @RabbiKaii That statement is halachically inacurate.
    – The GRAPKE
    Feb 3, 2023 at 7:13
  • @TheGRAPKE please elaborate?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Feb 3, 2023 at 9:29
-1

Sin, what is a sin can you please explain to me what a sin is to you, the Tora and the world?

To my understanding, a sin is as follows, a Person does X or Y that is against the code of the worlds matrix i.e the worlds natural order in sense between Good and Evil.

Let's define that even more. You're walking in the meadow, and you see a homeless man, you can easily spare a pence or two, though you don't, nothing wrong there, this happens for a while, other people pick up on the action, then it becomes a custom and they are seen as selfish people in the small community.

So the person that started it, do a sin, or not? In this particular case maybe not at first, though the repetition is what made it a sin.

The world has a natural order ruled by angles or forces, they define the natural evil and good. This is how the people in the times of Noach and later on got judged, as a sin is a sin ie. an action that creates a negative print or (bad angle) in the worlds codex, this is where the phrase the the ways of the world comes from.

Now, that we have a Tora, things became more organized and harder to refute, or deny. Being so, the Tora states the seven Noahide laws, and it speaks against sexual immorality, though noachs generation were still judged before they received the laws, they were evil In the eyes of hashem so a sin for a gentile may go further than the seven noahide laws as the world/nature/forces will judge based on the outcome of your actions, from waisting seed to murder, gossip, and so on.

This does not mean once you're a jew your free, and just keep the Tora no, this is before you keep the Tora, (Derech eretz kadmore la tora) The ways of the land are before the Tora. There are many interpretations and more than one but not all are right.

The ways of the world is in reference to the natural mihagim or land, you must study where you are in order to apply correctly what you know as a jew in the environment, Or the Tora must be learned in order to learn the ways of the world.(The second is correct to an extent, and that is the laws we learn from the Tora itself- De-oraita) All others are just implications from what they understood... (long story)

So in the end yes, they are liable, And yes when it comes to wasting seed even kids under the age of thirteen are liable and not the parents, this is the only sin I have seen this occur.

Why because life force is life force, waisting it goes against nature and so on.

Hope this answers the your question.

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