Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mukas Etz: Ruptured Hymens!

So my friend taught me about the strangest term of all time that shows up in the Gemara, namely mukas etz (which refers to a girl who has a ruptured hymen.) Literally it means that she was injured with a stick and that's how that happened.

Now, my problem is that I have no idea where that term first appears (it seems to be all over Kesuvos) and I want to learn more about it. For instance:

1. Does this only apply when she was literally injured by a stick or is it a term used everywhere for accidental loss of hymen not-through-relations? (It seems not to only be this specific case because there's the argument about the nine-year-old sleeping with the girl and how, since he's a minor, maybe it's mukas etz for her.)

2. Does it have to be accidental? If a girl deliberately manages to rupture the hymen (think the phallic idol-worship scene with wood in that horrible book The Red Tent), is she still mukas etz or is there a different term for that?

Anyway, where should I look to research this further? Thank you!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

From what I remember, "Mukas Etz" is a generic term meaning "The girl has no hymen, but not because of intercourse."

If she does it deliberately, I don't know if Chazal would term her "mukas etz", but she would still be considered to not have a hymen not due to intercourse.

See Kesubos 11-15 for instances where it is used. I'm sure there are others.

-Y

Shasdaf said...

as you said, it's all over Ksuvos. The regular context is: the morning after she's married her husband goes to beis din that his wife was not a virgin. He suspects after he betrothed her (kiddushin/erusin, which was 12 months before the chuppa/nisuin) she had relations with another man, which disqualifies her (as an adulteress) to her husband who betrothed her. She counters No, I did not have relations with any man, I just lost my virginity in an accident. Thus they can be married and it was just his bad luck that she lost her virginity in an accident.

Look in Encyclopedia Talmudis
vol 5: besulah (very short)
vol 20: ta'anas besulim

Shasdaf said...

It also includes a woman who ruptures her own hymen; I think they did it to prevent being forced to have intercourse with the governor the night before their weddings.

Anonymous said...

1. It is used for any loss of hymen not through relations.

2. I don't think it has to be accidental, legally speaking.

Anonymous said...

- Your Friend

Leibediker said...

Although the term sounds like there was a tree branch involved, the pashtus in rishonim is that it refers to a girl who fell and hit wood, and because of the impact she lost her hymen. Its meaning in Halacha is that she is partially blemished, not fully through relations with a man, but she is not completely untampered with. Therefore, it wouldn't make a difference if it was accidental or intentional.

Also, some rishonim hold that this can only apply to a girl under 12 1/2. Any girl above this age is considred a 'boggeres' which means, according to these rishonim, that her hyman has gone as a result of natural growth. (Whether physically this means that she has no hymen or that it has become loosened, in Halacha it makes no difference, as she is not completely untainted.) According to this shita, a true besulah is not practically found in any marriage.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Great title Chana, as usual!

Yeah, so although the falling off the tree example is a bit far fetched, the Talmud often uses the term for the classic example anywhere that example apples. As in "פסיק רישיה" ("If you remove it's head will it not die?"); it became a term for all inadvertent but unavoidable consequences.

Leib: "Also, some rishonim hold that this can only apply to a girl under 12 1/2"- Rishonim? The Gemara says "אין בתולה אלא נערה".

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Just found this (it's real short):
http://books.google.com/books?id=9jXtCGV8BvgC&pg=PA94&lpg=PA94&dq=mukat+etz&source=bl&ots=KN9FSWtluc&sig=-8S-073E_ZSBQtRF99LAeTucfkQ&hl=en&ei=BfxfS5vkIMmXtgfNopHYDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CBkQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=mukat%20etz&f=false

Anonymous said...

Hatzair, you're a good man. This entry in Google books looks fascinating, but the footnotes are not included! http://books.google.com/books?id=aaklGZAID08C&pg=PA1116&dq=mukat+etz&cd=5#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Anonymous said...

Chana, an accomplished scholar such as yourself, probably has access to an Oz V'Hadar Mesivta Gemarra Cetuva (1) . Its discussed in depth there in the Likut ha Meforshim..

Anonymous said...

Someone told me to check out this blog. Im sorry to say that this is very disturbing. This is an extremely inappropriate topic to be discussed in a public forum open to both males and females. Torah has to be learned with kedusha and tzniyus. Without that, it is not Torah, it is just another book. Please have more discretion in your future posts.

Anonymous said...

Anon February 03, 2010 10:40 AM,

your mussar is ridiculous! You don't like what's written-then don't come by to read it.It's as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Its not about my reading it or not. Its about having the proper kavod haTorah. I dont know who the author is, and kvoda bimkomo munach, but having this discussion in a mixed forum is totally innapropriate and something has to be said. I dont know if there is a competant Rav being consulted on this blog, or if it is just a few college/ post college people or whatever. But i would be really interested to know what the justification would be for this? Because plain and simple, there really isnt any. And i really think people who are having this discussion need to take a step back and take a second to think about how really innapropriate this is and how not tznius this is. im sorry if my "mussar" is offensive. i in no way intend it to be. But reading this blog was just very disturbing to me and i just hope there can be more sensitivity and tznius in the future.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Anonymous: להגן על המחברת, the same question could be asked about a bunch of immature adolescent boys learning the first few dapim of Ketubot, what the justification would be for them to be speaking all day of the most discreet of things. The same thing goes for all that "כדרכה\שלא כדרכה" talk. The answer for them, I'd say, is the same as for us; if you're speaking of such things בטוהר הכוונה, בתוך לימוד התורה, ולהגיע אל האמת it's not only ok but encouraged for us to learn what the will of G-d would be in all aspects of life, no matter how mundane or unseemly. In fact all those ninth graders are unquestionably far more immature about it than these commenters were...

Anonymous said...

What your saying is totally correct, and I do not mean to say it is an innapropriate topic to discuss in general. And yes immature 9th graders will have lots of fun with this im sure. i mean to say that it is innapropriate to be disscussed in a mixed forum, with males and females. saying it is to get to G-d's will does not justify a breach of tzniyus. we can all still get to G-ds will by discussing these topics amongst the same gender.
Again, i in no way intend to give mussar. and i am sorry if it is coming off that way. I just feel a little more tzniyus should be used here. "v'hatzneiya leches im Hashem"