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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Power and Consent- Joy of Text 2:9

by Rabbi Dov Linzer (Posted on November 10, 2017)
Topics: Halakha & Modernity, Sex & Niddah

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In this mini text episode we read a passage from Genesis 6 that sheds light on issues of consensuality in sexual relationships.

These sources accompany the ninth episode of the second season of the Joy of Text podcast.


1. Breishit, ch. 6

(א) וַיְהִי כִּי הֵחֵל הָאָדָם לָרֹב עַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה וּבָנוֹת יֻלְּדוּ לָהֶם:
(ב) וַיִּרְאוּ בְנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת בְּנוֹת הָאָדָם כִּי טֹבֹת הֵנָּה וַיִּקְחוּ לָהֶם נָשִׁים מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר בָּחָרוּ:
(ג) וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ לֹא יָדוֹן רוּחִי בָאָדָם לְעֹלָם בְּשַׁגַּם הוּא בָשָׂר וְהָיוּ יָמָיו מֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה:
(ד) הַנְּפִלִים הָיוּ בָאָרֶץ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם וְגַם אַחֲרֵי כֵן אֲשֶׁר יָבֹאוּ בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים אֶל בְּנוֹת הָאָדָם וְיָלְדוּ לָהֶם הֵמָּה הַגִּבֹּרִים אֲשֶׁר מֵעוֹלָם אַנְשֵׁי הַשֵּׁם:
(ה) וַיַּרְא ה’ כִּי רַבָּה רָעַת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ וְכָל יֵצֶר מַחְשְׁבֹת לִבּוֹ רַק רַע כָּל הַיּוֹם:
(ו) וַיִּנָּחֶם ה’ כִּי עָשָׂה אֶת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ וַיִּתְעַצֵּב אֶל לִבּוֹ:
(ז) וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֶמְחֶה אֶת הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר בָּרָאתִי מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה מֵאָדָם עַד בְּהֵמָה עַד רֶמֶשׂ וְעַד עוֹף הַשָּׁמָיִם כִּי נִחַמְתִּי כִּי עֲשִׂיתִם:
1. And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2 That the sons of Elohim saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for I regert that I have made them.

2. Rashi, Breishit 6:2

בני האלהים – בני השרים והשופטים…
כי טבת הנה – … כשהיו מטיבין אותה מקושטת ליכנס לחופה, היה גדול נכנס ובועלה תחלה:
Sons of Elohim – Sons of the leaders and judges…
For they were fair – … When they would be being beautified and bedecked with jewelry to enter into the chuppah, the important personage would enter and have intercourse with her first.

3. Malbim, Breishit 6:2

ידוע בקורות העמים הקדמונים שהיו מאמינים שבני אלהים חושקים את בנות האדם, והיו מהבילים שכשהאשה טובה תמצא חן בעיני בני אלהים ויבאו אליהן וילדו להם וכמו שיפרש בפסוק ד’, וספר שכפי מחשבת הדור ההוא והבליהם אמרו שבני אלהים הם רואים את בנות האדם כשהם טובות, אז ימצאו חן בעיניהם ויקחו להם נשים שבאופן זה זנו הנשים מתחת בעליהם עם אנשים שההבילו עליהם שהם בני אלהים, וחושקים בהן ויקחו אותן לנשים, It is known that in the histories of ancient peoples that they used to believe that sons of gods would covet human women, and they would come up with nonsense, that when a beautiful woman would find favor in the eyes of the sons of gods, they (the sons of gods) would have intercourse with them, and sire children from them, as it states in verse 4. The Torah relates that – according to the beliefs of that generation and their nonsense – they said that when the sons of gods saw the human women that they were beautiful, that these women would find favor in their eyes and they would take them as wives. Such a story served as a device to allow women to fornicate, betraying their husbands, with other men, spouting such nonsense that they were sons of gods who desired them, and who would then take them as wives.