That's why I was so happy that Lazer had a new teaching for us. Specifically, about what the treyf, non-Jewish world calls "incest." Now, the modern-day, Jew-hating Babylonians of the world don't like us Torah-true yidden following our God-given directives to marry our nieces or cousins, even though the great sages of the Talmud said it was cool. Just ask Rashi!
since a man naturally loves his sister, says Rashi, he will have a special affection for a wife who is the daughter of his sister.
That's right, anyone who's ever had a hot sister knows there's nothing you'd like more than to have an excuse to spend some quality time with her kid. Or something. Anyway, thanks Rashi.
Rabbenu Tam agrees with Rashi, and says that the mitzva is to marry the daughter of a sister specifically (more than a brother), because the daughter of a sister will bring her husband good fortune and sons who resemble the father.
Um... actually, they'll resemble the GRANDPARENTS, but, you know, details. I guess Rabbenu Tam didn't know from Mendel.
The Rashbam disagrees with Rashi and with Rabbenu Tam, and says that marrying the daughter of a brother is just as good a mitzva as marrying the daughter of a sister.The Rambam, in agreement with the rationale of the Rashbam stipulates (Hilchot Issure Beia, 2:14), that it's a "mitzvat khakhamim", a rabbinical ordnance, to marry a niece, whether she's the daughter of a sister or a brother.
How dare they! Stop being all logical and harshing our buzz, Rashbam. You and Rambam can go jump in a mystical lake or something. I mean, jeez, "marrying your brother's daughter is JUST as good as your sister's?" What are you, Reform?
Ok, so the sages are cool with it. But what about the, you know, potential for Elephant Man-ism or Lobster Claw?
No fear, says Lazer.
the Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a in the name of his grandfather, the holy Shatzer Rov of blessed and saintly memory, that ever since Abraham married his niece Sarah, there has been a blessing among Jews for marrying nieces. Also, the Shatzer Rov wrote that the doctor's warnings about hemophilia and other genetic or medical flaws as in the case of the European monarchies does not apply to a family that observes halacha, most specifically, family purity and refraining from forbidden relations. In short, if you have a worthy niece, whether the daughter of a brother or a sister, you are allowed to marry her; not only that, but you will merit the blessings of our sages from the Gemorra.
Really? No fooling? Because I heard about a rebbe, I think he was head of the Bankrobber Hasidim, and he said that ever since Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac, there's been a blessing among Jews for robbing banks, and that federal and state laws about bank heists and grand larceny do not apply to Jews that observe halacha, especially family purity.
Except that then all his Hasidim went to jail. Go figure.
It's interesting; despite Lazer's great trust in his rebbe/rebbe's dead grandfather and the rabbis of the Talmud's blessing, he still seems to not be entirely sold on this whole "your genes have magical Abraham-blessing fairy-dust encoded on them" thing:
In any event, I strongly urge to test for Tay-Sach's disease before you even begin approaching the prospective match.
Hang on! Either Abraham's blessing is in effect and covers genetic diseases or it doesn't. You don't get to have it both ways! That's like Reform rabbis who don't observe second-day yontif but count it as a day off. I call you out, Lazer! If you really believe in the Shatzer Rov's teaching, you should feel REQUIRED to tell everyone who reads your blog to marry their nieces and cousins, Tay-Sachs be damned. In fact, they should especially marry if they have Tay-Sachs.
I guess what I'm trying to say is... where's your emunah, Lazer? Just trust in Hashem, man.