family purity - for Jewish mamas - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 56 Old 08-11-2002, 05:50 AM
 
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To our Jewish friends, at least anecdotally, do you feel the practice of family purity increases ability to conceive?
For most, yes because the time you end up going to the mikva, for most women is at the time of ovulation. Women with super short cycles may run into problems being able to have intercourse at the right time. That is why we need to have a rabbi to discuss these things with, most of the time there is a way to work it out, by shortening the amount of days, etc. Another adavantage is that if a couple runs into fertility problems all the past cycles are written down, because keeping track of the anticipated period is part of the process.

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And, are there any small prayers or devotions that are said before making love, regarding the potential for creation of life?
There are prayers that we say before and after immersion in the mikva. I have never heard of prayers at the time of intercourse.

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What about afterwards--do you have to go through a purification ritual, as we do, to be able to resume religious activities?
Not persay. I think for a man to put on teffillin he must be clean of bodily fluids, but showering is enough. We ritually wash our hands before saying holy words if we touch certain things (like genitals) and first thing in the morning.

-BelovedBird

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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#32 of 56 Old 08-11-2002, 10:57 AM
 
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BB, you are so thorough ...

About the prayer, the rav who performed my wedding told us something about that:

There's a prayer that is said after going to the bathroom, which is a thank you to G-d for the way our bodies work, and for the fact that all the openings and organs work together, and acknowledges that if any of these pieces of the human-body-puzzle wasn't working properly ... G-d forbid.

Anyway, the rav told us that some [people?sages?] suggest saying that blessing before sexual relations, but the problem is that we are commanded not to make blessings in vain, and if the woman does not have an orgasm, the blessing would be a "brakha l'vatala," a blessing made in vain. (Same issue for a man, I guess, but I had asked for myself, so got an answer directed towards the woman's satisfaction )

He suggested if we really want to make the blessing, if you go to the bathroom immediately after relations, then making the blessing would be "covered" by going to the bathroom.

Is that a clear description? I don't know, I get it, but I live it, right?

- Amy
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#33 of 56 Old 08-11-2002, 11:08 AM
 
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Also, I forgot, I have a book of tekhinas (personal prayers) from the 18th Century Italian community (got it as a wedding present), and there is a suggested prayer in it for before sexual relations.

First is a supplication to become pregnant and to be worthy of bringing up children. Next is suggested Psalm 67, which seems sensible to me: Starting with Elokim ye'khaneinu vi'varkheinu, G-d please be gracious to us and bless us, and ending with eretz natnah yevulah, may the land give its produce ...

- Amy
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#34 of 56 Old 08-11-2002, 11:27 AM
 
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... by UmmNuh

... don't you find it a challenge to communicate your feelings about such things as modesty in dress and ritual purity to some "feminists?" For me, it generally comes back to "equal is not necessarily identical." I don't want to be treated like a man, because I'm a woman.
Amen! It's one of the ironies that I feel so much freer covering up than I did when I was always looking for new ways to expose ...

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... WHY do you cover? Is it by commandment?
Well, I'll tell ya', it's a story. It is a question about whether it's a commandment or a custom that's gained the force of a commandment. But one thing I know is very religious people do not necessarily cover their hair entirely, and different communities have different customs. Our community is ... well, open, and I really had a lot of issues to work through I thought, before I could make a commitment to cover . I felt it was more a personal question than a halakhic (Jewish law) question.

So before I got married, DH-to-be said that he would leave the decision whether or not I'd cover my hair entirely up to me, and he wouldn't pressure me either way. Very nice. So I thought about it and read about itand talked to religious people who cover completely, ...who cover partially (hats), who cover twice (wigs and scarves/hats), who don't cover at all ... anyway, wedding time came and I still had not idea if I was going to cover my hair.

Now, as a relevant background aside, before I followed G-d and my religion, I followed Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead ... and through that, had amassed a large collection of very psychedelic scarves (concert toys ... don't ask). Anyway, in my thinking about haircovering, I thought I would probably wear scarves, if I did decide to cover, just because they were more my personality.

Now back to our story. Day before my wedding I was in a hotel room with my parents, and the "New York Post" newspaper was there. Now, I never read that paper, but hey, it's there, so I was leafing through it. And stopped at a page with a little blurb about Jerry Garcia, with the information that a line of scarves for women bearing his artwork was to go on sale for the first time in NYC on my wedding day, at a store two blocks from where my wedding was to be ...

There's a term called hashgakha pratis, the belief that G-d is interested in the little details, so to speak, that your every thought and action is all intertwined with the Divine.

I took that little blurb in this newspaper as being put in front of my eyes on purpose. And I began covering my hair with my psychedelic scarves. And bought a few of Jerry's, too ...

- Amy
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#35 of 56 Old 08-11-2002, 06:00 PM
 
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Thank you thank you thank you! I've enjoyed reading all the posts.
I wish I had time to respond in detail right now to a lot of posts, but I don't.
Just quickly - I think my dh and I are going to have to learn together how to do this our own way - we have not been able to not touch (and it's only been about a week!). Not having relations is NOT a problem, however (!) - I don't know about you all, but I'm usually too tired or too interested in going online anyway. priorities, priorities...

Chava - I remember your posts on the homebirthing forum about two years ago - it's nice to see you again! I very much agree with you about clothing, tzniut, and how we relate to our bodies. I'm already anticipating challenges from my dd down the line (she's only 1 yo now, so I have time...) I told my dh a while back that on some level, I would love to become ultra-Orthodox, and insulate them (my kids) entirely from the secular culture. Hmm. That's another discussion.

Another question before I'm pulled away - I'm not in walking distance to a mikveh, and I have to go on Friday night - I know I have to ask a rav - my JME teacher will for me - but has anyone else ever had this problem??
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#36 of 56 Old 08-11-2002, 11:01 PM
 
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I once visited a community that didn't have a shabbos mikva at a time when I needed to go on Fri. night. The women in the community had to wait until Sat. night to toivel ("dunk"). However, depending on where you are located, it might be a nice excuse to avail yourself of some "shabbos hospitality" from a family that is close to a mikva? PM me if I can be of any help - dh works for an international organization and is well connected around the country.

I don't remember what I posted in the homebirth forums, but I haven't gone anywhere. I just couldn't get the same screen name when the boards were switched. Someone already had "Chava"! So for the moment, I'm "mom2five", but waiting to change that any day (G-d willing) to "mom2six". I was due 8/6, so I'm waiting, waiting, waiting....

All the best,
Chava
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#37 of 56 Old 08-12-2002, 12:19 AM
 
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Thanks for the advice, Chava. And b'sha'ah tova!!! Wow - six. Good luck with the birth- are you having a homebirth?
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#38 of 56 Old 08-12-2002, 12:27 AM
 
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G-d willing, this will be my 3rd homebirth. It's so hard to wish that it should be "at the right time" but *soon*! I've had it !
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#39 of 56 Old 08-12-2002, 12:49 AM
 
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Chava ... b'sha'ah tovah, for sure ...



- Amy
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#40 of 56 Old 08-12-2002, 06:57 AM
 
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Wow Chava! B'shaa Tovah!! and I hope that that time is soon. Laida kallah!

-BelovedBird

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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#41 of 56 Old 08-12-2002, 03:49 PM
 
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me&3, the mikvah-on-Shabbos thing is difficult. Usually a rav will tell you to go another night.

Staying at someone else's house is a possibility, but some ravs will say not to do that because it's not, well, tzniusdik (ie., your sexual schedule becomes someone else's knowledge), and to wait.

Also, about the men's/women's mikvah issues, usually they have separate, but sometimes they're the same place with different hours.

When DH was in Tzfat (Safed) in 1991, he went to the mikvah of the Ari z'l, by the cemetery where the Ari and other great kabbalists are buried. He was there late in the afternoon, and other men were there, too, and suddenly there was a big commotion outside as a large group of women summarily kicked them out . It was a Sephardi group who were getting a bride ready for her wedding that night. (It's a tradition in many ... most? all? Sephardi communities to have a real party when taking the bride to the mikvah before her wedding ... any Sephardi mamas on here to fill in that information gap?)

We've since been to the Ari's mikvah and they've made it men only.

And as a totally off-topic aside, at that cemetery in Tzfat is where Channah and her seven sons (part of the Chanuka story) are buried, in a small cave to the side of the cemetery. I'd always known the tradition that it's very powerful to daven at the graves of the righteous, and had been to Makhpelah and Kever Rakhel ... but nothing prepared me for the intensity of being in that little cave. The time I was there was several months after a miscarriage, too, and the power/energy praying by the resting place of this woman and her seven children ... anyway, just an aside, since I was thinking about that story w/DH in the cemetery ...

- Amy
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#42 of 56 Old 08-14-2002, 05:00 AM
 
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Totally OT - but I had the baby! A boy, born at home 8/13, 8 lbs. 2 oz. Nurses like a champ.

Chava
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#43 of 56 Old 08-14-2002, 06:33 AM
 
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Mazal Tov, Mazal Tov. Now you gotta change your SN.

-BelovedBird

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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#44 of 56 Old 08-14-2002, 09:47 AM
 
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MAZAL TOV!!!
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#45 of 56 Old 08-14-2002, 01:25 PM
 
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Welcome to the world, new little brother!!! May you always be as proud of your aba and ima as you were when you picked them!!!



- Amy
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#46 of 56 Old 08-14-2002, 01:37 PM
 
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Much love to your family--when do you name your new son?

Congratulations!
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#47 of 56 Old 08-14-2002, 05:21 PM
 
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Has anyone read anything by Judith Hauptman? I picked her book, "Rereading the Rabbis" the other day, and just finished the chapter on Niddah. It was very interesting - she seems very thorough in going through the sources. One of her points is that it wasn't women who took upon themselves to be more stringent (adding the 7 days after the flow stops), but the rabbis. According to Hauptman, if read in context, the rabbis said that the women had taken on the stringency in regards to *ziva*, not niddah.

If true, I'm not sure that changes anything, anyway, but it's an interesting point. Thoughts, anyone?
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#48 of 56 Old 08-14-2002, 11:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mom2five
As for checking with a cloth - there are a number of issues involved here. First, often you will be surprised to find that you are still staining when if you were not doing the checks you would not notice the discharge. Secondly, this is something you probably won't be able to appreciate at the moment, but many of the rabbis who are experts in examining the cloths (to determine whether the blood invalidates a counting or not) can often tell subtle distinctions that can indicate other conditions - for instance, I've personally known women who were told (correctly) they were pregnant, had a tubal pregnancy or that they should follow up with an OB b/c the blood on the cloth indicated uterine cancer (we should never know from it!). This is the level of training in the distinctions between types of bleeding they have. Just so you should know - the cloths (and underwear!) can be submitted anonomously.
I've been thinking about this "checking" issue a bit this week (since this is THE week...) I think it's perhaps a bit, well, excessive. If you have done the hefsek check, then why do you need to check EVERY day, TWICE a day, for 7 days? Just on the off chance that you may find a spot or something that could perhaps, like Chava says above, be diagnosed by a rabbi as something unusual? I figure that if there's any discharge, you'll see it on your underwear, and you can then do a check...

Well, perhaps I'm just too scatter-brained to remember to check twice a day, but I do really feel that it's a bit excessive. Do you disagree? I'd like to hear anyone else's POV. TIA!
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#49 of 56 Old 08-14-2002, 11:45 PM
 
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Chava,
A huge Mazal Tov! hope you and your family are enjoying this special time together.
Nylika
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#50 of 56 Old 08-15-2002, 10:49 AM
 
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... by me&3
... If you have done the hefsek check, then why do you need to check EVERY day, TWICE a day, for 7 days? Just on the off chance that you may find a spot or something that could perhaps, like Chava says above, be diagnosed by a rabbi as something unusual? I figure that if there's any discharge, you'll see it on your underwear, and you can then do a check...
Aaah, once again, taking the mundane/practical and remembering that the purpose of it all is holy/spiritual.

The analogy I love is to Kabbalat Shabbat (the prayers said just as the Sabbath is beginning). There are six Tehillim (Psalms) and then the L'kha Dodi, the prayer welcoming the Sabbath Bride. And those six Tehillim are a spiritual fixing for each day of the week, right? So that when Shabbos comes, we are whole and ready for it.

Well, those six days of checking are, to me, a physical fixing for the six days of the week for my body. When I was preparing for marriage, they were a fixing for whatever brokenness I had sexually (and being a ba'al t'shuva ... a "returnee" to religious life ... I had a lot to fix), and ever since they're a fixing for anything I've done to increase the brokenness of my body at all.
Particularly important since mama'hood, since my children need me to be whole and healthy, right? And the seventh day is my preparation for being a bride, for my Yom Kippur, like the Kohen Gadol, preparing for my immersion to enter the Holy of Holies ...

And as for the twice a day, well, any "brokenness" I may cause can happen any time of day, and sometimes vigilance is required not to screw up ...

Also, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom kippur it's ten days, right? Two days for R'H, then seven intermediate days, and then Yom Kippur is one day. So the seven intermediate days are my "shiva neki'im," my seven days of forgiven uplift, as it were, before my Yom Kippur ... mikvah ...

I know, BT meshugas is higher and deeper than most, right? (Sorry for the Yiddish. In plain English, that meant we "born agains" are all nuts. In all faiths )

- Amy
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#51 of 56 Old 08-15-2002, 11:12 AM
 
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Thank you for your insight, Amy. I don't think it's mishegas at all - actually, I found it quote profound!!! (or is it just that I like BT mishegas? )

I'm not a very detail oriented person in my private life... so I think that a lot of these detail-i sort of things just rub me the wrong way, perhaps. Dunno...

Someone suggested earlier in this thread a book - _Total Immersion_, I think it was. I want to go find that to read!
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#52 of 56 Old 08-15-2002, 11:14 AM
 
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Originally posted by me&3


I've been thinking about this "checking" issue a bit this week (since this is THE week...) I think it's perhaps a bit, well, excessive. If you have done the hefsek check, then why do you need to check EVERY day, TWICE a day, for 7 days? Just on the off chance that you may find a spot or something that could perhaps, like Chava says above, be diagnosed by a rabbi as something unusual? I figure that if there's any discharge, you'll see it on your underwear, and you can then do a check...

Well, perhaps I'm just too scatter-brained to remember to check twice a day, but I do really feel that it's a bit excessive. Do you disagree? I'd like to hear anyone else's POV. TIA!
Yep, I disagree that it is excessive.
The requirement is that you are sure they are 7 days free of blood. The torah does not hold by assumptions of halachic issues, ecspecially in an area as important as this. The blood may stop and start again, without a strong flow and may not get to the underwear, but be washed away with a shower or wiped away with toilet paper. If the blood was there there were not shiva nikkim. The ONLY way to know if there is bleeding from the uterus is to check. Certainly checking with a soft cloth is no worse than using a tampon, a keeper, or having sex. If it is a matter of discomfort for you, speak to your rabbi.

As far as whether shiva nikiim were implimented by the women themselves or the rabbis, Chava knows better than me. I have never heard of the book you mentioned. To me, honestly, it doesn't really matter. I follow the mitzva the way I studied it, from the women and rabbis I discussed it with, the way it is normally done by those who practice it. When moshiach comes we can figure out exactly what we need to fine tune as far as lost mesorah goes.
Of course I am comfortable doing it that way, if you are not I would advise you to find a rabbi to discuss it with. Good Luck


-BelovedBird

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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#53 of 56 Old 08-15-2002, 11:16 AM
 
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Oh,and Amy I LOVE your BT meshuganess. Keep it coming!

-BelovedBird

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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#54 of 56 Old 08-15-2002, 11:28 AM
 
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Hi BB - for me, I think it's more a matter of scatter-brainedness and minor annoyance than a discomfort. After all, it doesn't hurt. (Although it could happen - a friend of mine said that she's allergic to the cloths and her rav told her she only has to do a certain amount of the checks - I think 3 days of the 7.)

If I can keep in mind Amy's words, perhaps I'll be able to lift this to a higher spiritual level.
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#55 of 56 Old 08-18-2002, 11:08 PM
 
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Just a little update- I read _Total Immersion_ and was really inspired!!! It's 'Mikvah Anthology"- chockfull of many wonderful stories, and insights on the mikvah. I was really awed by some of the stories of women who had to endure hardship to do this mitzvah (especially Freida Sossonko's story, which was the last one in the book).

I also really was impressed by some of the "In Theory and Practice" chapters, such as Chanoch Shuster's chapter, "Thinking Like a Jew." One of the quotes of his I loved was, "There may be a single word to sum up Judaism, and of course that word must be understood: totality. All the man, all the time, in every place, underall cicrumstances,in every activity, in every fiber of his being, can serve G-d, can apprehend Him, can communicate with Him..."

WOW!! Isn't that profound???

Anyway, I loved the mikvah, and am already looking forward to next month.
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#56 of 56 Old 08-19-2002, 03:42 AM
 
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The mikvah is a powerful thing, those of us in the babies/extendednursing/morebabies cycle don't get to do it that much.

It is, however, sometimes painful for women TTC with fertility problems, which was pointed out to me early in my marriage (before my miscarriages) when I was waxing lyrical about it in the waiting room. Every month that a woman goes to the mikvah is another chance at conception, but for someone having a hard time, it is also ... heavy.

Just a thought.

- Amy
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