From the Babylonian Talmud, Niddah 13b:
Our Rabbis taught: ‘proselytes and those that play with children delay the advent of the Messiah’. The statement about proselytes may be understood on the lines of the view of R. Helbo, for R. Helbo said, ‘proselytes are as hard for Israel to endure as a sore’, what, however, could be meant by ‘those that play with children’? If it be suggested: Those that practice pederasty. [it could well be objected]: Are not such people subject to stoning? [I.e., punishment by the court.] If, however, it be suggested: Those that practice masturbation through external contact [by rubbing against a child]. [it could be objected]: Are not such deserving destruction by flood [i.e., by the hand of God, not through the courts]?
The meaning rather is: Those that marry minors who are not capable of bearing children, for R. Jose stated: The Son of David will not come before all the souls in Guf will have been disposed of, since it is said, For the spirit that enwrappeth itself is from Me, and the souls which I have made. [In other words, his seed will be spilled with no chance of causing pregnancy. This is forbidden for mystical reasons, because our mission is to have as many children as possible, "bringing down" the souls waiting above to be born. When all those souls have been born, the messiah will come. Women were married before they were able to have children but those marriages were not consumated until she reached maturity.]
You’ll remember Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg allegedly told victims and their parents that, because Rabbi Kolko had not penetrated the boys (no pederasty), it was not actionable under halakha. He allegedly went on to threaten these parents and victims, telling them that going to the police or media was a violation of lashon hara law and was also mesira, informing. There was another another incident where a beit din apparently found Kolko’s actions unpublishable.
And the best part about all this? The gemara quoted above is smack dab in the middle of a small section of the Talmud that stresses the evil of masturbation, comparing it to, among other things, shedding blood. Most of the section deals with forbidding a man to ever touch his penis.
Rabbinic rot goes back a long way, it seems – in this case, 1500 years.
[A voice of sanity, so to speak, in this gemara is Rabbi Nachman, who ruled a married man did not need to worry about touching his penis. The idea behind this is, a married man has a better outlet, so to speak, than his hand and, if he does arouse himself, it won’t be his exclusive sexual activity. Poskim who are lenient with regard to male-female oral sex are in part basing themselves on Rabbi Nachman – who was, by the way, the leading halakhist of his generation.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the beginning of the gemara, which states:
MISHNAH. EVERY HAND THAT MAKES FREQUENT EXAMINATION IS IN THE CASE OF WOMEN PRAISEWORTHY, BUT IN THE CASE OF MEN IT OUGHT TO BE CUT OFF.
GEMARA. Wherein [in this respect] do women differ from men? — Women are not sensitive [i.e., they are not aroused by genital touch], hence they are praiseworthy, but in the case of men who are highly sensitive [their hands] ought to be cut off.
Women have changed much, it seems, over the years. And, by the way, Rabbi Tarfon holds the cutting off of hands should be understood literally. Think about that next time you wish for a theocracy.
This gemara should be mandatory reading for everyone before they get involved with Aish, Discovery, Chabad or any other kiruv group. Wouldn’t hurt to make sure the Jewish Federations learned it before making their allocations, as well.]