8/23/11

Does the Talmud say that Gay Sex Causes Earthquakes?

Last year we covered this nonsensical topic after the Haiti earthquakes. Here it is again.

Yes, the Talmud does say that gay sex causes earthquakes.

We mused, That must be some awesome gay sex.

But seriously, if one can get serious over this bizarre idea, some cockamamie rabbis were going around preaching that gay sex caused Haiti's earthquakes.

See here and here for the reports about Rabbi Yehuda Levin and the Rabbinical Alliance of America.

Now not only is this a strange teaching. We must chastise these rabbis for not doing their Talmud homework and for not paying closer attention to the text in Yerushalmi Berakhot (9:2), which several years back we translated and published through the University of Chicago Press.

According to the Talmud text, earthquakes are caused by any one of a number of acts: yes one of them is gay sex, but others are by disputes, and also by not taking heave offering and tithes from your produce, and also because God is just upset that the Temple is in ruins and there are theaters and circuses in Israel.

Rabbis ought to know better than to cherry pick among the Talmudic reasons for earthquakes.

So rabbis, stop all of those disputes that you keep stirring up, get busy separating your heave offerings and tithes, and go rebuild the Temple, and maybe the earthquakes will stop.

And be sure to review the Talmud more carefully next time.

Here is my translation of the pertinent Talmud text:
[III.A] Elijah [the prophet] of blessed memory asked R. Nehorai, “Why do earthquakes occur?” He said to him, “On account of the sins of [those who do not separate] heave offerings and tithes [from their produce].”

[B] One verse says, “[God protects the Land of Israel], the eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it” [Deut. 11:12]. And a second verse says, “[God] who looks upon the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke” [Ps. 104:32].

[C] How can one reconcile these two verses? When Israel obeys God’s will and properly separates tithes then, “The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year” [Deut. 11:12], and the Land cannot be damaged. But when Israel does not obey God’s will, and does not properly separate tithes [from the produce of the earth], then he, “Looks upon the earth and it trembles” [Ps. 104:32].”

[D] [Elijah] said to him [Nehorai], “My son, on your life, what you say [about earthquakes] does make sense. But this is the main [reason that there are earthquakes]. When the Holy One, blessed be He, looks down on the theaters and circuses that sit secure, serene and peaceful [in Israel], and [he looks down] on the ruins of the Temple, he shakes the world to destroy it [and the earth trembles]. In this regard [the verse says], ‘The Lord will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice’ [Jer. 25:30]. [It means he will roar] on account of [the destruction of] his Temple.”

[E] Said R. Aha, “[The earth quakes] on account of the sin of homosexual acts. God said, ‘You made your genitals throb in an unnatural act. By your life, I shall shake the earth on account of [the act of] this person’".

[F] And the sages said, “[The earth quivers] on account of disputes. [As it says, ‘And the valley of my mountains shall be stopped up, for the valley of the mountains shall touch the side of it;] and you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah’ [Zech. 14:5].” [Uzziah contested the authority of the priesthood and attempted to enter the Temple and offer an incense offering, cf. II Chron. 26:16 23. This dispute caused an earthquake.].

[G] Said R. Samuel, “An earthquake is a sign of the cessation of kingship. As it says, ‘The land trembles and writhes in pain.’ On what account? ‘For the Lord’s purposes against Babylon stand, to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant.’ [Jer. 51:29].”

2 comments:

Sirkowski said...

That must be some rought gay sex...

Metternich said...

Would this be Aggadah or Halacha?