Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sex With a Girl Under Three in Jewish Law: "It is Nothing"

This is a quote that anti-Semites often "dig up" and present to those unfamiliar with Jewish Law as "proof" that Jewish Law condones pedophilia:

Kethuboth 11b : "When a grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl it is nothing."

The subject of discussion is the marital property rights of virgins vs. non-virgins. Virgins have greater entitlements. The rabbis discussed the hypothetical case of a girl raped at an age less than three years old - for the purposes of her rights at marriage, is she considered a virgin or a non-virgin? The answer is that she is considered a virgin. The quotation is out of context - _for the purposes of determining her rights, if a girl less than three has sex with a man, it is nothing. The phrase "it is nothing" is a common Talmudic idiom meaning "it has no bearing on the matter under discussion" (in this case, her property rights at marriage). It does NOT mean "it is perfectly acceptable."

Source:
http://tinyurl.com/3458u8

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
DoreenDotan@gmail.com

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