I was fascinated to learn this piece of halachik sociology on daf 6a of Ketuboth. There is a debate over whether a man can have sex with a virgin on a Friday night, for it is normally prohibited to wound or draw blood on Shabbat.

In the end the Rabbis decide that one is allowed to sleep with his virgin bride on a Friday night. However, in one beit midrash they allow it and believe that the rival beit midrash does not allow it; while in the very same rival beit midrash they do allow it but believe that their counterparts do not.

There seems to be a deep seated desire, that when permitting a leniency and allowing a certain act that might have originally been assur (prohibited), to know that someone out there is still being Machmir, some other group is maintaining the stringency.

I wonder if we see this today in Israeli society, where many Israeli’s are not religious but they still think of “authentic” Judaism as being the charedi way. They unfortunately do not see the beauty in modern versions of halacha. More accurately perhaps for this gemarah, I also think we in the modern orthodox community like the taste of rebellion and the feeling of testing the limits while others tow the line.

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