Talking to Cousins

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  • #610601
    marty g
    Member

    is it muttar for a ben torah to have a coversation with his female cousins?

    #976347
    Burnt Steak
    Participant

    I think you might be confusing hallacha with appropriate behavior. I never heard of anyone assuring talking to girls(of any type), but I did that it is not a thing a ben torah does. (obviously not including shidduchim)

    I don’t see a big problem with talking to them. It helps families get together. I personally don’t talk much to my female cousin, but that is for completely different reasons.

    #976348
    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    Completely assur, I don’t know why you are even bothering to ask.

    Seriously, it all depends on what you are talking about, and why.

    #976349
    SanityIsOverrated
    Participant

    Just remember not to be insulting. Shaming a person (even a female) is a serious Aveirah.

    #976350
    WIY
    Member

    Marty g

    It doesnt matter if you define yourself as a ben Torah or a working guy (not to say thatyou cant be both) or whatever if.something is assur its assur for everyone. Nobody gets a discount. Your cousin is.no different thana stranger in thisregard since you may marry her if she isnt married yet. If youmust talk to her keep it as brief aspossible and be mindful of yichud laws. If anything theres more danger in talkingto a cousin because you already feel close. Its.dangerous.

    #976351
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    is it muttar for a ben torah to have a coversation with his female cousins?

    🙂

    By the the evry fact you ask about a “Ben Torah” vs. a normal Jew, you are asking about societal norms, not Halacha. As such, the answer is no. What if someone sees you and thinks you are a Mushchis, CV? You may be Passuled from life support!!

    Stay away.

    #976352
    MCP
    Member

    Only South of the Mason-Dixon.

    If you think there is a chance you will marry her, all the more reason to talk to her, to increase simcha in klal yisrael!

    #976353
    writersoul
    Member

    Why not?

    My family’s really close and I’ve known my cousins forever, which honestly gives me squicky feelings about cousin marriage- I mean, seriously.

    We played with each other when we were little and still play board games and stuff. I really don’t talk to them so much, especially as they’ve gotten older, but everyone’s nice and friendly, everyone says hi when they meet each other, etc.

    A lot has to do with age- my 15 year old cousin (in a super-shtark yeshiva) is more likely to talk to me than my 18 year old cousin.

    Look, whatever makes you and everyone else comfortable.

    #976354
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Its actually illegal in 38 states to marry your 1st cousin (Its Legal in NY)

    #976355
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Most people today think of their cousins like they do a brother or sister, Its generally not socially acceptable to marry your cousin

    #976356
    HaKatan
    Participant

    Pirkei Avos: Al Tarbeh scha im haIsha. BiIshto amru Kal vaChomer biAishes chaveiro.

    As others have said, since a cousin is no less of an ervah than any other pinuyah, the same “lo siKrivu liGalos ervah” applies.

    A competent Rav should be consulted for the particulars of any practical exceptions.

    #976357
    WIY
    Member

    SanityIsOverrated

    Its a chidush to me that women are people and that it would be assur to shame one.

    #976358
    Bookworm120
    Participant

    So that’s why they’ve all been avoiding me….! O.o

    Just kidding. 😛

    #976359
    HaKatan
    Participant

    What does “socially acceptable” or “whatever makes you comfortable” have to do with taava? It doesn’t, and these are halachic matters, not whatever you think is for you.

    Writer Soul, it is understandable if a younger male cousin (mistakenly, but still) believes you’re like a sister to him, more than one who is closer in age to you.

    ZDad, thinking of a cousin as a brother or sister is a nice concept – until somehow one of them doesn’t any more think of the other as only a cousin when something about the other person appeals to them in a non-cousin type way.

    Chazal knew a lot better than some people give them credit for. Ask a Rav, as I wrote above.

    #976360
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I do know I heard a Psak from Rav Ovadiah Yosef that talking to women under certain circumstances is not forbidden, I forgot the exact wording he used , but basically that it was so common it didn’t mean anything

    #976361
    sharp
    Member

    If your female cousins are fat, then by all means tell them. 😉

    #976362
    Redleg
    Participant

    First cousin marriages aren’t just socially unacceptable. They are illegal in 23 States.

    #976363
    Sam2
    Participant

    It is Muttar to talk to a cousin (unless you are in a family where you Mamash don’t know your cousing like you would a stranger).

    The Mechaber very conspicuously leaves talking out of the list of Assur interactions with Arayos. Hence, talking is not inherently Derech Chibah (while other flirtatious actions are).

    R’ Moshe says that in today’s society, if a guy is going to be friends with a girl while there are so many guys available to be friends with, there is an inherent psychological assumption that the reason he wants to have some form of relationship is because, well, she’s a girl. That, he says, makes even talking inherently Derech Chibah and Assur Min Hatorah.

    By one’s cousins, this assumption doesn’t seem to apply, and certainly if the cousins grow up together. Thus, in this case, just talking (in a non-inappropriate way, obviously) should not be Assur.

    #976364
    ikno
    Member

    well if your cousin is pretty then its a different psak but first you need a psak if shes pretty at all!

    #976365
    YW Moderator-42
    Moderator

    SanityIsOverated wrote:

    Just remember not to be insulting. Shaming a person (even a female) is a serious Aveirah.

    I think popa_bar_abba would disagree with this because he holds women aren’t Jewish so there is no issur to shame them. This is also why it is assur to say Good Shabbos to them because you are in essence saying Good Shabbos to a non-Jew

    #976366
    apushatayid
    Participant

    “is it muttar for a ben torah to have a coversation with his female cousins?”

    Does he want to discuss a Ketzos or a Ramban in Trei Asar?

    #976367
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    As others have said, since a cousin is no less of an ervah than any other pinuyah, the same “lo siKrivu liGalos ervah” applies.

    Actually, (barring niddah issues) neither is an ervah.

    And lest you state that it is forbidden to talk to a cousin/unmarried woman because of one’s ervah status as a niddah), then it should be forbidden to talk to your own parent, sibling or child of the opposite gender, since they are intrinsically and permanently an ervah (unlike a cousin or otherwise unrelated, unmarried woman).

    The Wolf

    #976368
    golfer
    Participant

    Only if she’s wearing a burqa , marty.

    #976369
    kfb
    Participant

    Why don’t you decide for yourself? The decision is up to you

    #976370
    HaKatan
    Participant

    Wolf:

    Parents, siblings and children have their own issur ervah. What does one have to do with another?

    Sam2:

    Even if they do grow up together, it doesn’t matter. Once they grow up, it is at least as possible as by any pinuyah that one or both of the cousins will develop a “romantic” attraction to the other.

    Who says that R’ Moshe’s halacha doesn’t seem to apply to cousins?

    #976371
    Sam2
    Participant

    HaKatan: The Issur of talking is not due to the possibility of attraction growing. If that were true, dating would be Assur. The Issur is because, Al Pi Hapsak Shel R’ Moshe, even friendly conversation between members of the opposite gender is inherently Derech Chibah (because since you could be having the same conversation with a guy, it follows that the reason you are having said conversation with a girl is because she is a girl). Read the T’shuvah (EH 4:60). It is clear. Therefore, it stands to reason that cousins, where it is not inherently Derech Chibah, is not an issue. I am saying this myself but it is more than obvious to anyone who reads the T’shuvah.

    By your argument, it should be Assur M’ikar HaDin (or at least M’guneh) to speak to your sister.

    #976372
    yehudayona
    Participant

    ZD says it’s illegal to marry your first cousin in 38 states. Redleg says 23. Draw your own conclusions.

    #976373
    Redleg
    Participant

    Interestingly, the legality of first cousin marriages seems to be a red state blue state issue where red states generally prohibit them and blue states generally permit them.

    #976374
    Redleg
    Participant

    Marty G. in answer to your OP, it may be assur for a ben Torah to speak to his cousin, but it’s okay for you.

    #976375
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Thank goodness we have guidance to subvert our use of common sense. I mean, really? Some gedarim are mandatory; some are appropriate in context. This one seems to border the ridiculous. Consider the environment – open, with other family members around; consider the people involved; bnei and bnos Torah, with all the benefit of their upbringing and education, so painstakingly created by the previous generation of gedolim, so expensively paid for by parents;

    Have all their years of learning by example and in schools been for naught? Is this what we say – we immerse you in Torah, we teach you day and night, but we don’t trust you or the years of education we have provided for you to have a civil conversation with your cousin?

    This is naarishkeit! It is the footnote to the creation of a generation of robots who can not make the simplest, most obvious proper choices for themselves not because they are incapable, but because the power structure of our families and communities demands that they not make choices as HKBH created them to do.

    Yiddishkeit is NOT about the creation of a two tier society – decisors and sheep. The whole point of talmud torah from a young age is to create thinking Jews! So let them decide to have a conversation with a cousin, or not, and let them use everything they have been taught to recognize when and if it may become inappropriate.

    #976376
    funnybone
    Participant

    I actually discussed this with my rav when I was single. His psak was that it’s okay to say hello and how are you, but not to have a long conversation.

    #976377
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    The difference between 22 and 38 is some states dont allow it, but will recognize cousin marriages performed in other states.

    #976379
    truthsharer
    Member

    I would imagine, based on experience and from what R’ Horowitz (the Internetter Rebbe) said, that those who say talking to a cousin is 100% assur is most likely the same people bound to end up on a sex offender registry.

    #976380
    HaKatan
    Participant

    Sam2: Thank you for the clarification. However, I still don’t see why R’ Moshe’s psak wouldn’t apply to cousins other than as FunnyBone mentioned.

    #976381
    yehudayona
    Participant

    Interesting. In regards to same-sex marriage, I heard a report on the radio that said that there’s a legal principle (anybody know the name of it?) that a marriage that’s legal in one state isn’t void in another. If you can believe Wikipedia, that’s not true. The marriage of first cousins in a legal state is void in some others (Arizona, New Hampshire, and Utah). I’m a little surprised at New Hampshire, since it tends to have libertarian leanings (Live Free or Die).

    #976382
    rebdoniel
    Member

    Halakha does permit endogamous marriages, such as among cousins (I’d say that as part of ushmartem et nafshoteichem, there ought to be a takkanah banning these unions, due to genetic difficulties, as well as chillul hashem, since we view this as an Appalachian/backwards practice nowadays). It wouldn’t be unreasonable that a boy would have physical urges or impure thoughts towards such a cousin, especially if there was distance between them, and in such case, he should avoid idle chatter with them. But if the cousin is like a sister to him (and this is true in many families), I don’t see the harm in talking.

    #976383
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    If the cousin is like a sister to him, I think there is far more harm in talking.

    #976384
    funnybone
    Participant

    Wolf: The close relatives, i.e. mother sister etc. don’t have an issur ervah as there is no yetzer hora for them. A cousin has the halacha like a regular girl, where (as I understood my rav) you can ask your neighbor for a cup of flour, you can ask your cousin how she is. Shmoozing with a cousin is like shmoozing with anyone else and has the same halachos.

    #976385
    Sam2
    Participant

    funnybone: They do have an Issur Ervah. They are their own Issurim. It is Muttar to speak to them and touch them (sort of in the case of a sister) because there is no Yetzer Harah therefore even affectionate contact (hug, kiss on the cheek, etc.) isn’t Derech Chibah. Any actual Derech Chibah contact with them would be Over on a D’Oraisa of N’giyah. R’ Moshe says that talking with a Stam girl is an Issur of Derech Chibah because you’re clearly only speaking to them to get closer to them as a girl. That is clearly not true with a cousin.

    #976386
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Most people do not have a Yetzer Harah for their cousin , most people consider it like incest.

    #976387
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Most people do not have a Yetzer Harah for their cousin

    I think that is false. Maybe people with ugly cousins.

    #976388
    oomis
    Participant

    Just remember – if you don’t talk to your cousin, your mother will get untzuhernisht from your aunt.

    #976390
    HaKatan
    Participant

    ZDad:

    Would you advise someone to trust their daughter alone with her male cousin on a desert island to the extent that you would advise trusting their daughter with her brother on a desert island?

    With all due respect, it also doesn’t matter what you think most people think. LiHalacha there is no issur to marry a cousin and there is also no natural aversion as there is by a mother and sister.

    Sam2:

    I disagree with your contention that it is “clearly not true with a cousin”. It very clearly COULD be true and, by that age, likely is the case that it’s for the wrong reason except in limited circumstances as mentioned by funnybone.

    #976391
    truthsharer
    Member

    PBA, it depends what type of cousin they are. There is a biological instinct to not desire your cousin since it might result in birth defects.

    #976392
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    PBA, it depends what type of cousin they are. There is a biological instinct to not desire your cousin since it might result in birth defects.

    No there isn’t.

    #976393
    Sam2
    Participant

    HaKatan: I clearly made a distinction in my first post. I said if you don’t know your cousins that well then it could be true. I just said that by people who grow up with their cousins it isn’t necessarily true.

    Obviously, people can be Over Issurim with cousins, just like I said earlier that it’s possible to be Over Issurim with a sister or a mother. The fact is, though, that by cousins (for most people), Stam talking between cousins does not <i>inherently</i>carry the same assumption that the main reason you are talking is because the person you are talking to is a member of the opposite gender. If one talks to their cousin in an Assur fashion, then it’s Assur. But if they don’t, it is not <i>inherently</> Assur.

    #976394
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Just because the Torah allows something doesnt mean we have a Taavah for it.

    The Torah allows the eating of certain kinds of Locusts. Assuming you hold by those who say they know which locusts they are, I dont think you are running out to eat one, Most people are repulsed by the though of eating a locuts and most people are repulsed by their cousin, most people consider it incest which they are repulsed from.

    #976395
    truthsharer
    Member

    PBA, there is. See (DeBruine, 2002)

    Here’s a snippet:

    #976396
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    There isn’t. That doesn’t mention cousins.

    #976397
    Sam2
    Participant

    PBA: You should say that it’s a B’feirush Rashi (I think in Sanhedrin) that people aren’t attracted to their mothers or sisters (Hevei Mashma that cousins they are).

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