Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Beautiful Captive

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The Gemora teaches regarding a “beautiful captive” that she should not be subjugated by the soldier during battle.

Rashi learns that the soldier should not cohabit with her during the battle. Cohabitation is not allowed until the captive is brought to the soldier’s house and converts to Judaism.

Tosfos asks four questions on Rashi.

1) Why does the braisa state that the Torah’s permission for a soldier to have relations with a captive is based upon the Torah’s recognition of the strength of one’s Evil Inclination? If according to Rashi, he may not cohabit with her until she converts in his house, how is his desire appeased during the war? Shouldn’t we still be concerned that the beautiful female captives would represent an overwhelming temptation for the Jewish soldier, and he will engage in illicit relationships with them?

Tosfos answers that since she will be permitted to him after some time, we are not concerned that he will be tempted to engage in an illicit relationship with her during the war. He will be able to overcome this desire and wait until she will be permitted to him. This is based upon the concept of having “bread in his basket.”

2) Why does the braisa compare the permission of the beautiful captive with eating meat from a slaughtered animal that had been dangerously ill? It is not so proper to eat such meat, as the Gemora in Chullin (37b) considers it repulsive to eat such meat! But according to Rashi, cohabitation with the captive after her conversion is completely permitted and allowed! What is the comparison between the two?

Tosfos answers that it is nevertheless regarded as a permission b’dieved, because since the conversion is done without her consent, it is not regarded as a bona fide conversion.

3) The Gemora in Sanhedrin (21a) records that Tamar was the daughter of a beautiful captive, Maachah, whom David had taken as a wife. Tamar was therefore permitted to Amnon, David’s son, for she was not regarded as David’s daughter. However, according to Rashi that David did not have relations with Maachah until she converted, why would Tamar be permitted to Amnon? Since she was born from her mother after she converted, it emerges that she was Amnon’s sister, for they shared the same father!?

Tosfos answers that Rashi will learn that Tamar was not the daughter of David at all; rather, Maachah was pregnant with her even before David had taken her from the battle.

4) However, Tosfos concludes that he has no explanation according to Rashi why the Gemora above said that there is a distinction with respect to a Kohen between the initial act of cohabitation and the second act. This is only understandable if the initial act is done during the battle and the second act is done after she converts (which is the way Rabbeinu Tam learns the Gemora). However, according to Rashi, both the second act of cohabitation and the first one are only after she converts! Why would the first be permitted and the second would be forbidden?