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17 Adar II 5763

moral boundaries


Rabbi Jonathan Blass

Question:
How far judaisme allows men to get "in touch" with all this erotism around us ?
A few exemples ..... To watch a movie called Cleopatra (modern and last version of Hallmark studios) exposing several "bed scenes" under the pretence it is a historical film and history cannot be changed .
And how about to "look" to all these obscene dressed women on the streets and tell us that "as long there is no gratification ": it is allowed ?
You can imagine that as a woman and wife I feel deeply confused , deceived, cheated ( though not physically ) humiliated , disrespected and dishonoured . My high moral values are so invalidated and I’m extremelly unhappy and my heart is broken .
Do I need to adjust my moral values ? That the Torah say about this issue ? Please I ’m in great need of clarification and orientation. Is there is any book disscusing these issues?
Thanks for your help . I appologize for my english, but it is not my mother langauge.

Answer:
It is forbidden for a man to arouse himself sexually or knowingly to put himself in a situation where this will happen (Ketubot 46a based on Devarim 23 10). Since, as you write, not every woman dresses modestly, and since everyday life does not permit a person to shut himself away in his own home, it is important for a man to be able to think about other things- business, family, studies etc.- as he walks down the street and goes about his life. Modesty is an important virtue and you should be proud of it. If your "heartbreak" is not just because of a theoretical concern but is a result of pressures you feel from society or from family- why not consult a religious family therapist.


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