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Issues of Artificial Insemination

Some contend that no analogy can be drawn from the woman in the bath scenario. These commentators emphasize that the bath case deals with a virgin and a High Priest, and the woman who conceives in the bath is still a virgin because her hymen is intact. That the question regards tainted birth rather than the virgin being forbidden to the High Priest, evidences that no analogy should be drawn from that passage to the question of whether artificial insemination constitutes adultery.12

Although the Talmud is the primary legal source of the Halakhah, there are three sources in medieval literature from which authorities have tried to make an analogy to the modern artificial insemination issue. Detailed examination of these sources is beyond the scope of this paper; however they are briefly summarized. The first source is rooted in the legend surrounding the birth of Ben-Sira from semen which his father, Jeremiah, discharged in a bath and which impregnated Jeremiah's daughter who followed him in bathing.13 The other two sources deal with ritual purity - the prohibited practice of a woman lying on her husband's sheets14 or bathing, on the night of her ritual immersion, in water in which her husband bathed.15 Since the analogy from these sources is somewhat forced many authorities reject their influence.

Thus, seeing that the authorities within the Jewish faith are unable to definitively answer whether artificial insemination is adultery based upon established sources of Jewish Law, examination of Jewish attitudes toward sexuality and marital life, in general, and adultery, specifically, before examining the conflicting schools of thought on the artificial insemination issue should prove worthwhile.

Judaism has historically promoted positive attitudes toward the male-female relations much more than the often negative implications imposed on sexuality by the Christian faith. The Jewish literature has always condemned celibacy an...

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Issues of Artificial Insemination. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:42, August 18, 2017, from
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