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Why does Torah restrict man from doing things that are natural?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

I’m not sure what you’re referring to by “things that are natural” but I will respond to your unspoken assumption that everything natural is good. This assumption itself is quite natural, so much so that we don’t really think about it. If we did we would see that it is nonsense.

Imagine you walk into a couple’s house and the place stinks. You don’t say anything, you’re polite, but the place smells of human waste.

After a while you figure out that their two-year old is not trained and has been doing his business all over the house. So why don’t you guys use diapers? you finally ask in desperation.

They say: “Oh, we read this really great book about raising kids and it says you should try to be as natural as possible. Do not impose your preconceived notions upon your child. We thought that diapering the child was rather reactionary and frankly unnatural. Very knee-jerk. On our trip to Kenya we saw the cute little monkeys running around—no diapers in sight. Perfectly natural. As nature intended. The kid was born naked; we’d like to keep him that way for as long as possible.”

That’s a rather outlandish example, but you see the point. It is natural for people to rip off the towels from the Marriot. It is natural for people to lie about their income to the IRS. It is natural for people to speed if they think they won’t get caught.

Do you still think that natural equals good?

G-d created us with certain natural impulses so that when we overcome them we have achieved something. If we were all angels—as you imply—there would be no purpose for our existence. That’s why the Torah was not given to angels—it was given to us. Naturally.

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