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-   -   Judaism (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=782)

emjones 09-15-2009 02:49 PM

I haven't talked to a rabbi about this, but I think that being polyamorous within Judaism seems completely reasonable. Agree? Disagree?

NeonKaos 09-15-2009 03:42 PM

It does seem to be in the Old Testament, if that's what you mean.

Quath 09-16-2009 12:56 AM

I think Old Testament is more in line with polygyny than with polyamory. In the Old Testament, a man could have wives and concubines. He could have sex with his slaves. And there were no rules about pre-maritial sex.

For a woman, it was very different. If she was raped as a virgin, she had to marry her rapist. She was killed if she had pre-maritial sex and didn't marry that guy.

So I think modern Judiasm has ways to distance itself from these laws and accept more modern cultural beliefs. A rabbi could probably help clear that up.

Fidelia 09-16-2009 03:33 AM


Originally Posted by emjones (Post 6979)
Agree? Disagree?

Agree. It was good enough for Jacob, Leah and Rachel. It was good enough for David and Solomon, and many many MANY of the heroes of the Old Testament.

Of course, these days you'd find polygyny a tough sell w/o the possibility of polyandry too, but still, the doctrine is sound.

So . . . I agree.

Polydad 10-25-2009 01:25 PM

Seems to me that while precedent does exist in the Tanakh, modern practice doesn't tolerate it. I do know one openly poly rabbi, but as I'm in Oregon and he's in Brooklyn, I can't help him start a congregation. The one rabbi I have access to here is tolerant/clueless; I'm debating whether to attempt educating him on the subject.

Magdlyn 11-25-2009 12:44 PM


Originally Posted by emjones (Post 6979)
I haven't talked to a rabbi about this, but I think that being polyamorous within Judaism seems completely reasonable. Agree? Disagree?

You're Jewish? You know that your religion isnt just Torah, right? There's this little commentary called the Talmud, you see.



According to the Torah and the Talmud, a man was permitted to marry more than one wife, but a woman could not marry more than one man. Although polygyny was permitted, it was never common. The Talmud never mentions any rabbi with more than one wife. Around 1000 C.E., Ashkenazic Jewry banned polygyny because of pressure from the predominant Christian culture. It continued to be permitted for Sephardic Jews in Islamic lands for many years. To the present day, Yemenite and Ethiopian Jews continue to practice polygyny; however, the modern state of Israel allows only one wife. Those who move to Israel with more than one wife are permitted to remain married to all of the existing wives, but cannot marry additional ones.

There's more there about unmarried ppl having sex as well.

No mention of the wife having other "husbands" or lovers while married. However, if you think about it, women are not prohibited from having relations with each other.

Add in, there are several kinds of Judaism, from "Torah observant" (Orthodox), to the more liberal Reformed. Mileage may vary.

Athena 07-02-2010 01:09 AM


I actually do not see any Biblical restriction on polygamy. In fact, the original interpretation was that you could have as many wives (and in a modern day and age of egalitarianism, husbands) as you can financially and emotionally take care of. In Ashkenazi Jewery there was a cherem (that is decree that one would be excommunicated) if one took more than one wife, but the time period it was covering has already elapsed without official renewal, and was started in my opinion, to bow to the requirements of the Christian West in which those Jews were living, which officially forbade anything but monogamy. There were actually many Christian sects which forbade marriage and sex altogether as Christianity began as a millenial religion that posited that the end of the world had arrived. And that is not to dis anyone who is Christian, because there are good points to that religion too, but that is history as I see it.

Athena 07-15-2010 01:56 AM

additional comment
And in addition, monogamy also was a custom of pagan Rome, and may have been adopted by originally Roman pagans who chose to become Christians

Athena 08-10-2010 09:53 PM

Was perusing the debate in the thread on Christianity and polyamory, see that as in some strands of Judaism, being gay and women's rights are being argued about based on the Bible. The only actual physical act outlawed by the Jewish part of the Bible is the act of Sodomy and it is forbidden both for men and women. It says nothing about punishing anyone who is gay for anything other than sodomy or "lying with a man like lying with a woman", which is again presumably male on male sodomy (male on male anal intercourse). (and also forbiddden male on female anal intercourse). No other specific physical act (other than directly casting sperm onto the actual raw dirt of the earth is forbidden in the BIBLE). So why are we busy persecuting Gay and Lesbian people for being as God made them? as even if we argue that the BIBLE is GOD's express word (and we'll use that principle for this particular debate), only those acts noted are forbidden. Being Gay or Lesbian is not expressly forbidden. Nor, have I ever been taught of a specific case where it is forbidden for a man to have more than one wife or a woman to have more than one husband (and the lack of an example of a woman with more than one husband is not the same as an expressly stated isur (forbidding)).

Quath 08-11-2010 03:04 AM

According to Ezekiel 16:49, God decided to destroy Sodom because they did not help the poor and needy. The men wanting to rape the angels happened after God decided to destroy the town. So from this story, sodomy should technically be stinginess.

The Old Testament is completely full of rules from what foods to eat to haw to sacrifice animals to how to treat your slaves. There are many physical acts that are specified by the Bible. For example, people are told to stone Sabbath breakers to death. Or they are told to kill fortune tellers. They are told not to eat lobster and not to wear mixed material clothing. There are many, many rules from the Old Testament that people ignore.

The Old Testament supports the idea that a man can have several wives. The only rules are on how he obtains them. For example, he should not marry a mother and daughter. He should marry his dead brother's wife. There is also a law that a king should not have too many wives.

A lot of these laws makes sense with the idea that people were concerned over lineage. So if you control who women may sleep with, you should have good confidence in who the parents of a child is. It is also very sexist in that it seeks only to control the women. For example, a raped woman must marry her rapist (unless she was married or engaged in which case the rapist is killed). Pre-maritial sex results results in the death penality for women, but not men. Adam and Eve commit the same sin, but Eve gets Adam's punishment and extra ones.

I personally think that these books were written for an older culture with very ancient values. The laws were probably a step up, but not a huge step up. (Like a master could not beat a slave to death, but he could beat his slave nonetheless.)

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