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This article seems to claim that for single men masturbation isn't forbidden. It is a little bit over my head, especially since most of the modern day literature (albeit based largely on the Zohar and Kabbalah) seems to hold the "destruction of seed" as a horrible crime against G-d (lengthening the exile etc.).

Is there any basis for this claim (i.e has it been dealt with in other sources)?

(note: at the bottom of the article in the comments section, I've noticed there are several upset posters that accuse the author of the article of causing the masses to sin, so it sounds like there is some sort of issue with the author's logic)

(note: this is not asking about the history of masturbation being forbidden, but who falls under the prohibition)

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    There is some basis and it's outlined in that article. Are you looking for a summary? You probably figured out that the idea is it's not a waste since it wouldn't have been used any other way. You probably also figured out that most (if not virtually all) don't hold of that logic. What else do you want?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 12:39
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    What does "dealt with" mean? It is dealt with in the article you linked to.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 13:09
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    @DoubleAA I think he means do others deal with the topic as expressed in that article such as explaining why they do not agree (or even if some do agree). Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 13:33
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    @Fei23 As doubleAA noted, you need to clarify more clearly how the article isnt enough. Doesnt the article indicate it isnt unanimous? Are you only looking for sources from a particular period?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 2:19
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    Many of his proofs hinge the assumption that if a non-procreative act is permissible with one's wife, then it is permissible without one's wife. This is a huge leap, that he does not spend any time defending. In reality, given that we are most probably dealing with a rabbininc injunction, the definition will be whatever Hazal thought it was. Maybe they felt that sometimes engaging in non-procreative sexual acts with one's wife is part of a healthy sexual relationship, whereas they thought that masturbation in general is forbidden. AFAICT he does not consider this simple possibility.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 13:51

3 Answers 3

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First to explain its structure, it first says that his initial answer to the unmarried person who found himself unable to control his urges was that he was "forced" and that the situation is one where he may die if he doesn't do it (!) and thus not liable. I'm leaving that aside because the principle is true, the application is off but that is less black and white. Either way one is not "forced" if he just says I'm allowed to do it, so there is little point in dwelling on that. And there is no tradition that failure to have marital relations is potentially deadly, nor do doctors agree. As far as I can tell he just makes that up claiming it is comparable to other cases.

He attributes the position that it isn't an issue for an unmarried person to waste seed to the העזר מקדוש which is a commentary to shulchan aruch by the same author as the אשל אברהם (as this author himself writes). He derives this from the idea that the העזר מקודש holds the prohibition is rabbinic and the permission for interactions with one's wife that may lead to wasted seed. Given how off this Teshuva is I'm not spending the time to verify that this claim is correct (this is a known opinion that is usually attributed to the Drisha and not regarded as the Halacha - you can see Bnei Banim among other places that mention it - I'm just not going to see if the העזר מקודש contradicts it elsewhere and thus can't be said to agree with it), but his derivation is certainly not correct.

The אשל אברהם (the same person) to S.A. O.C. 3:14 s.q. 1 says on what the S.A. says that an unmarried person may not touch the Glans when urinating because of the concern of wasting seed, there he specifically speaks to the fact that an unmarried person is stricter than a married one and is strict in the prohibition of rubbing or holding for a married person, in the notion of "even a married person" where a married person might have reasons to be lenient. He doesn't come along and argue that there is no problem here because there is no prohibition or anything like that. This is the quote of the אשל אברהם:

נשוי ובסעיף י״ז[ט"ז] ז״ל לא הותר לנשוי לאחוז באמה אלא להשתין אבל להתחכך לא מעתה אין הכרע אי מותר לנשוי להתחכך למטה מעטרה או לוקא להשתין מותר ועיין ב״י מ״ש בשם סמ״ג שהביא ספיקא של מהרי״ל ז״ל בזה לענין אחיזה באמה ע״ש ובת׳ שב יעקב סי׳ ל׳ האריך למעניתו ופסק לאף לנשוי לא שרי להתחכך ט אם מעטרה ולמטה ע״י כתונת לוקא ולפניו אפי׳ בכה״ג אסור:

The rest of this is of similar quality, including the tenuous claim that marital relationship with a woman past child bearing years is the equivalent of wasting seed (see here). He doesn't even consider a different possibility and rejects it. He asserts these derivations as "obvious".

If someone wanted to spend more time on this I'm sure it could be more thoroughly refuted, but I think this gets the point across.

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    He addresses (or at least tries to address) the issue of OC 3 later on the page. If you haven't read the Ezer Mikodesh inside then I'm not sure you're qualified to answer this. In any event if the prohibition is lowered to a Derabanan (which is especially cogent if the events are beAkrai) that can have significant applications in terms of what sorts of Onesim would override it, even if the author, perhaps for rhetorical effect, argues solely in the most extreme direction
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 23:46
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    In any event, a full accounting here of the merits of that article is clearly forbidden by both the letter and spirit of Chagigah 2:1 as well as being a violation of Mi Yodeya's modesty policy. ישמע חכם ויוסף לקח ודי למבין
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 0:29
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    @doubleaa, I don't see that he mentions the אשל אברהם's comments, and anyway what he says is the issue is not what the sif explicitly says the issue is. I agree about the full treatment, I just felt that it was worse if this question was left unanswered, considering the Yetzer HaRa for motivated reasoning on this subject.
    – Yishai
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 1:56
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An extensive rebuttal of the permissibility of single men to masturbate is presented by Rav Yehoshua Shapira here.

He basically goes through the Ezer Mekudash's commentary on Even HaEzer 23,25 and 76 precisely describing why (in his estimations) that even according to the Ezer Mekdash (whom the author of the linked article primarily depends on) holds that there is still an issur d'Rabbanan for masturbation/wasting seed.

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I don't understand how it is possible for it to be forbidden derabanan. Since it's not yecholin lekayymo. (See Bava Basra end of 60b starting from Tanya Amar R' Yishmoel.) It also seems similarly rediculous to say that it's assur deoraysa. (See Rashi beginning of Parshas Ki Seitzie.) Face reality. And if it is forbidden, then yichud with yourself should be forbidden. Especially if it is deorayso. Although that would be not yecholin lekayymo.

I wonder if it's possible that the whole prohibition is only on doing it publicly, similarly to Tznius.

I also wonder if it's possible that many of the sefarim are exaggerating. And maybe it is not even an actual prohibition. [For example] the Mishnah in the beginning of the second perek of Nidah is very hard to imagine that it means literally that people's hands should be chopped off.

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    Why isn't it yecholin lekaymo?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 11:44
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    Why isn't getting married yecholin?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 12:15
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    Well then this is yecholin too. Just get married. You can't decide to get married at 30 and claim that that's too long to wait for this. Get married at 14. If anything that's the exact purpose of this rabbinic prohibition.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 12:40
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    It may sound ridiculous now but was it ridiculous back when? You can argue we should annul a rule that is hard to keep anymore, but you can't wonder why it was established
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 12:56
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    The gemara says everyone fails at lashon hara. Should we also wonder why rabbinic forms of that exist?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 12:59

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