Forbidden Relationship


Hello Rabbi, I was just wondering why the Torah/Old Testament does not specifically ban father-daughter sexual intercourse/incest. My father raped and sexually abused me on regular occasions, and I very very abandoned, betrayed and hurt by the Higher Power. F.S.

15 years


  1. Your anguish and pain are apparent from the very beginning of your letter to its end and I felt a great sadness as I read it.

    Whilst it is true that the Written Torah does not state that sexual relations between a father and a daughter are forbidden the Oral Law points out that that is because it so obvious. The Sages explain, Midrash HaGadol Leviticus chapter 18 verse 10, that The Higher Power states clearly, ibid., that incest with a granddaughter is forbidden and there is a clear legal, logical progression that leaves room for absolutely no doubt that a relationship involving a closer family relative is unquestionably forbidden. The Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin page 76, states that in the times when Biblical Law was applicable the punishment was to put the father death for such actions.

    Please allow me to make an unsolicited observation. It was not The Higher Power who abandoned, betrayed or hurt you – it was your father. Regardless of whether the Torah states something clearly or not your father chose to ignore one of the most basic and instinctive definitions of Good and Evil by behaving in such an abominable way. According to Jewish philosophical thought humans are given the basic tools to co-exist with each other even without the guidelines of Torah and it is incumbent upon each and every one of us, your father included, to live accordingly. I understand entirely that your father’s actions are irreversible and you are the one left having to live with the repercussions and I realize that this is scant comfort for you right now but your father will have to stand in front of The Higher Power and to pay the price for his indefensible behavior.

    May The Higher Power bless you with a life of goodness and contentment and may you know no more pain.

    Best wishes from the Team