More Discussions for this daf
1. The best of doctors 2. Rebbi Yehudah 3. Woe to the father of daughters
4. Parnasah 5. Rambam 6. Teaching a child Umnus
7. Animals at Work? 8. Rashi's Approval? 9. Prohibitions
10. נקייה וקלה 11. נקייה וקלה

David Goldman asks:

What could be the logic for R. Yehuda prohibiting unmarried Jews from herding sheep. Did he really believe that an ordinary Jew would have a tayva for sexual contact with an animal? And if only unmarried, did he think that marriage removes such a strange inclination? If so, why? It sounds so bizarre.

David Goldman, USA

The Kollel replies:

First, it should be noted that Rebbi Yehudah's words appear in Kidushin 82a. The Yerushalmi actually says that Rebbi Yehudah's concern should be deemed legitimate and queries why the Chachamim argued with him. The Yerushalmi answers, "Chas v'Shalom we should imagine that a Yisrael would be suspected regarding males or animals." However, bestiality is unfortunately still a known practice despite normal people's repugnance from it.

The Ran writes that since shepherds watch the sheep mating, it may arouse their sexual desires. The primordial snake was aroused from watching Adam and Chavah (Rashi, Breishis 3:1) and we are enjoined not to watch animals while they are mating (Avodah Zarah 20a; Rambam, Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 21:20).

The reason why this injunction is limited to unmarried males is because their sexual desire has not yet been consummated and therefore they might look for other outlets to find gratification. In the legal codes of many other cultures, the punishment for bestiality is much more severe for a married person (see, for example, "The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages" (1194, Routledge), as this is assumed to be less legitimate and less common.

Yoel Domb