The Gemara (Sanhedrin 75a) discusses a case of a man who became so lovesick for a woman that he fell deathly ill. The Chachamim said it would be better to let him die than to be intimate with her, and even to see her (unclothed), and even to speak with her through a wall.

The Gemara asks: why is it that we take the prohibition of immorality even on pain of death to such a degree that even to speak with her through a wall is prohibited? One answer presented (that of R’ Acha b. R’ Ika) is that even though she was single, they forbade this “so that the daughters of Israel not be promiscuous toward immorality.”

What would be the Halacha in the opposite case, according to this answer of the Gemara? If it were a woman who was sick, would a man be able to speak with her through a wall? The same way that we say “so that the daughters of Israel not be promiscuous,” would we say “so that the sons of Israel not be promiscuous”? Would it make a difference if the woman was single or married if she’s the one who is sick?

Once again, I’m asking according to this answer of the Gemara. Answering that “Posek X doesn’t hold of this opinion and therefore it doesn’t matter” is not a valid answer, since I’m asking on the Gemara, not on (hopefully not) practical Halacha.

  • Why would you think it depends on who is sick? Either way, the woman is doing something that could be seen as promiscuity. – David Kenner Aug 16 '18 at 2:48
  • I have a feeling that the woman in your case, being single, could simply marry him, and she would recover? Why bother with a wall conversation? – David Kenner Aug 16 '18 at 2:49
  • @DavidKenner (1) Good catch, edited accordingly. (2) The question isn’t from the woman’s perspective, but from the man’s. Do we apply a similar principle keeping men away from promiscuity that we do from women? (3) Keep reading in the Gemara - it raises that question as well. The TLDR is that “stolen waters are sweet,” i.e. part of the cure is the fact that he’s not allowed to do it. – DonielF Aug 16 '18 at 2:52
  • 2) is a fine question, but I don't think it can be framed in this Gemara's case of the wall, because it always takes two to tango. Whoever is sick, she is doing something promiscuous. 3) Yes, good, but I mean that I think women can cool their aching hearts with marriage. Men cannot. I venture that the woman's sickness would not be over "pure lust for simple relations", but rather she would be in love. And if you will say it is possible for the woman to have a lust attack just like a man, I will venture that she should be given the chance to try marriage since it will probably work. – David Kenner Aug 16 '18 at 2:57
  • @DavidKenner Perhaps. But I’d prefer an actual source that says that. – DonielF Aug 16 '18 at 3:02

As I explained in your previous question, since the action (of observing a naked person or even talking to the opposite sex with intimate intentions) is a branch of גילוי עריות which overrides the Mitzvah of saving a life.

It does not matter who performs it on whom, as both sides are forbidden to do so.


YES, there is a principle as “so that the sons of Israel not be promiscuous toward immorality.”

Devarim 23:18 "There shall not be a prostitute of the daughters of Israel, and there shall not be a male prostitute of the sons of Israel."

Onkelos explains that a Jewish man may not marry a (non-Jewish origin) servant woman.

This is because, since kiddushin (marriage bond) has no effect on her, then their relationship is one of constant immorality. (z'nus). (Rashi, explaining Onkelos)

This explanation equally implies that a Jewish man having random relations without marriage bonds, is also called (z'nus) promiscuous immorality, and is also forbidden.

(There are other competing opinions and explanations.)

  • 2
    I don't think what the Torah is referring to and Chazal's decrees to avoid promiscuity are the same thing. The latter might be built on the former but the OP provided a source regarding women. You need to provide one regarding men. Otherwise, this doesn't answer the question. – robev Aug 16 '18 at 3:56
  • @robev Beat me to it. Well said. – DonielF Aug 16 '18 at 13:19

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