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Where does the Torah say masturbation is a sin?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein


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Genesis 38:7-10 “Now Er, Judah's firstborn, was evil in the eyes of the Lord… Now onan knew that the progeny would not be his, and it came about, when he came to his [deceased] brother's wife, he wasted [his semen] on the ground... Now what he did was evil in the eyes of the Lord..."

Rashi (based on the Talmud1) comments about Er: “His evil was like the evil of Onan, viz. that he wasted his semen... Now, why would Er waste his semen? So that she (Tamar) would not become pregnant and her beauty be impaired".2


  • 1. Tractate Yevamot 34b
  • 2. For more information about the prohibition to spill seed, see in paragraph 13


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Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105). Legendary French scholar who authored the fundemental and widely accepted "Rashi commentary" on the entire Bible and Talmud.
The first book of the Five Books of Moses. It records the story of Creation and its aftermath, and chronicles the lives of the Patriarchs.
1. The fourth son of Jacob and Leah. He was blessed by Jacob to be the leader of the tribes. Consequently, the Davidic royal dynasty is from the tribe of Judah. 2. The southern part of Israel which was occupied by the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and always remained under the reign of the kings from the tribe of Judah.
The halachic status of the next of kin to the deceased from the time of passing until after the burial.