Chapter: 07 – Castration and Sterilization

01. Castration

The purpose of creation is to increase life in the world, as the Torah says at the end of the creation story: “God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and conquer it’” … Continue reading

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02. The Prohibition of Marrying a Petzu’a Daka

A saris (a man who is sterile because any of the three parts of his reproductive system does not function) may not marry a Jewish woman, as it says, “No one whose testes are crushed (petzu’a daka) or whose penis … Continue reading

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03. The Parameters of the Prohibition

As we have learned, a saris rendered sterile by human intervention may not marry a Jewish-born woman, but may marry a convert or a freed slave (m. Yevamot 76a).[2] We have also seen that the prohibition does not apply to … Continue reading

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04. Practical Questions

A man’s reproductive organs may be damaged several ways; to determine whether a particular injury renders him a petzu’a daka, the general rule is that if he can sire children, he is not a petzu’a daka, and he may marry … Continue reading

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05. The Prohibition on Female Sterilization

The prohibition of sterilization applies to women as well as men, but sterilizing a woman is a rabbinic prohibition rather than a Torah one. The Torah prohibits male castration, as it says, “You shall not offer to the Lord anything … Continue reading

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06. “A Monument and a Name”: Daniel, Ḥananya, Mishael, and Azarya

A saris has a choice: he can sink into the pain and despair of knowing that he will not leave anyone to carry his name forward, or he can link his life to the eternally holy, thereby gaining an everlasting … Continue reading

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