Rambam, Mishneh Torah, The Laws of Forbidden Intercourse 21:8
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נשים המסוללות זו בזו אסור וממעשה מצרים הוא שהוזהרנו עליו שנאמר כמעשה ארץ מצרים לא תעשו, אמרו חכמים מה היו עושים איש נושא איש ואשה נושא אשה, ואשה נשאת לשני אנשים, אף על פי שמעשה זה אסור אין מלקין עליו, שאין לו לאו מיוחד והרי אין שם ביאה כלל, לפיכך אין נאסרות לכהונה משום זנות ולא תיאסר אשה על בעלה בזה שאין כאן זנות, וראוי להכותן מכת מרדות הואיל ועשו איסור, ויש לאיש להקפיד על אשתו מדבר זה ומונע הנשים הידועות בכך מלהכנס לה ומלצאת היא אליהן.
It is forbidden for women to rub against one another, and it is one of the ways of the Egyptians about which we were warned, as it says, “After the doings of the land of Egypt shall ye not do,” (Leviticus 18:3). The Sages said, “What did they do? A man would marry another man, a woman would marry another woman, and one woman would marry two men.” Even though this act is forbidden, we do not give lashes for it, since it does not have a specific injunction, and it not considered intercourse at all. Therefore, they are not forbidden to Kohanim as harlots and neither is a [married] women prohibited from remaining with her husband [after a same-sex extramarital affair] because this behavior is not formally considered sex. It is appropriate to flog [such women] for disobedience since they did violate a law, and a man ought to be exacting with his wife on this matter and should prevent her from associating with women known for this, not to permit those women to visit her nor her to visit them. [Translation by Rabbi Steven Greenberg]
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Note: Despite the fact there that is no reference for lesbian sex in the Torah, the Rambam (Maimonides) describes lesbian sex as a violation of a biblical rule. He does this by combining two texts, the first (Yevamot 76a) about "female rubbing" that is considered indecent but not expressly prohibited and a Midrashic text (Sifra 9:8) that prohibits marriage between women as a violation of the biblical rule to copy the Egyptians. No other medieval halakhic authority considers lesbian sex to be a biblical violation.

2. A contemporary collection of essays by religious lesbians is entitled: Keep Your Wives Away From Them, from the quote in the Rambam that instructs men to control their wives who might "socialize" with the women "known for this." What might this suggest regarding the sexual mores in Alexandria where he lived as opposed to other places?

3. Maimonides makes it clear that for women, unlike in the case of men, sexual relations are not themselves the issue. Such relations are a social marking of outsider (non-Jewish) status. Moreover, they express a sexuality that is out of the husband's control. How do straight men, according to this reading, relate to lesbian relations? What does it mean to them?

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Time Period: Medieval (Geonim through the 16th Century)