family purity - for Jewish mamas - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 56 Old 08-05-2002, 10:50 PM
 
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I have a friend who is frum who really shies away from talking about this topic - I know it's not exactly supposed to be discussed at a dinner party (!) but is it really a no no to talk about this? Would posting about this topic here offend anyone? I am currently learning about taharat mishpacha, and would love to discuss it here with all you Jewish learned mamas. What do you think?
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#2 of 56 Old 08-06-2002, 01:24 AM
 
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Would love to, it's a topic near & dear to my heart. I think most frum women would consider it not terribly tznu'ah to talk about it, meaning ... well, not modest, is one way of defining it, but it's more than that. A little too exposed for some tastes, I guess.

It's also something that isn't too understood, and a lot of feminists find problems with it, thinking that it's a clean/unclean anti-menstrual misogynist thing, as opposed to a ritually pure/not ritually pure thing.

Having lived life first without these laws and now with them, I can honestly say they're a lifesaver, and very very very AP-helpful.

Relating to mama'dom, the first thing that comes to mind is that every co-sleeping article/expert says that at first the mother should be next to baby, and the father may not be as sensitive to the infant's presence, so for a while in the beginning the mother should be either in between them or something like that. So the laws of taharas ha'mishpakha come along and say that for approximately eight weeks after the baby's born, mother and father should have a separation between them ... mother and baby are alone to bond as only a mother and baby could ...

It all ... fits ... so smoothly ...

I could go on all night. I'll stop now.

- Amy
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#3 of 56 Old 08-06-2002, 05:27 AM
 
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While it's not a topic I would address in the midst of a party, I don't mind talking about the subject at all. Open to all questions...
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#4 of 56 Old 08-06-2002, 10:41 AM
 
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Oh goodie!!!

Wellllll, I'm learning right now with a JME, and we've covered a lot of ground. Most of it makes a lot of sense to me (the grand exception being to consult a rabbi about a stain I'm not sure of - oh yeah, right, like I'd go show a MAN my panties). Hardy har har.

Anyway, another friend of mine who goes to the mikvah told me that I should observe it not like "the orthodox" do - that it's barbaric to check with a cloth, and that they wait too long each month just to be sure, and it's not *really* supposed to be like that, but the rabbis added more time onto the whole thing. What do you ladies say about that? I haven't had a chance to look into her point of view yet - she said that maybe there are articles out there that talk about it??? Anyone know anything about that? I haven't seen too much out there about the specifics of the observance in Conservative circles.

Another question - I am fortunate in that my dh is supportive of this (as he has been about almost everything in my journey towards observance). But when I told him last night that I couldn't give him a kiss goodnight, he poo-poohed me and told me not to be silly. How do you think I should address this? I mean, here I am, learning all of this great stuff, and he isn't. And any spare time he has, he isn't about to go read about taharat mishpacha...
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#5 of 56 Old 08-06-2002, 04:11 PM
 
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I'm very comfortable talking about it and kind of wish it wasn't so "hush hush" so that more people could see the beauty of it.
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#6 of 56 Old 08-06-2002, 06:17 PM
 
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me&3 - your friend is only 'sort of' right. This is off the top of my head, so I'll have to post an addendum later if I'm off on something. Biblically there are more than 1 kind of "flows". "dam nidda" - blood that makes you a "nidda" (menstuation) requires 7 days total before going to the mikva and "dam zova" - a "discharge", literally, requires a a week after the bleeding has stopped. Historically, women had a tradition to distinguish between the two, but as time passed, the tradition was lost. In order to be careful, women accepted upon themselves (it was not impossed by the rabbis!) to be stringent in this matter and to act as if all flows were were a "zova" - a discharge- and wait 7 days after the discharge has stopped to immerse in the mikva. I believe that I've heard said that a zova was related to an early miscarriage? The worry was that the bleeding could come when you expect your period and you would assume it was just "dam nidda" and not wait long enough. You can look up the relevant verses in the Torah - the nidda is followed immediately by the zova, but I'll have to post an exact citation later.

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.

As for the "seperation" issue with your husband, well, many people find it very hard to consistantly abstain from intercourse if they can still hug and sleep in the same bed, etc. But this is something you will have to work out for yourself and your husband and what level of observance you can both live with comfortably at the moment.

I hope this has helped!

Kol tuv (all the best),
Chava
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#7 of 56 Old 08-07-2002, 12:13 AM
 
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To add to Chava's explanations, I can attest to the fact that we were not conceiving at all, and I summarily refused to ask a rav anything at all, and finally got tired enough of getting my period that I agreed to ask, as funny as I felt about it ... anyway, the point is, and this is no exaggeration: The first month we sent a cloth to a rav to inquire, he told me we were waiting too long, and what I had considered a "stain" was not a halakhic stain at all. We conceived immediately. And following the rav's explanation, we continued to conceive.

Our rav put it to me this way: The halakha on its face involves a separation, but the job of a rav is to keep husbands & wives together.

- Amy
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#8 of 56 Old 08-07-2002, 12:17 AM
 
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Oh, and there was something else about that issue, which was that in the years of the enormous Jewish immigration to the US, when many women were still very strict about following the halakhas of taharat ha'mishpakha, Jewish women had lower cervical cancer rates ... by a large margin ... than the rest of the population. In the post-war years, as observance waned, Jewish cervical cancer rates evened out with the rest of the population.

Interesting, right?

- Amy
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#9 of 56 Old 08-07-2002, 12:28 AM
 
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Sorry to keep doing this, but I keep getting ideas for responses after I hit the "post reply" button, & hey, I'm getting close to that senior label, can't help myself.

As far as the mechanics of the separation go, I was concerned about it at first. We lived together in our pre-frum stages, and separation wasn't where we were at, you know? Well, we have found it to be a particularly important part of our lives. The approx. two weeks apart means really time to ourselves, while still being together. Not being able to use sex as a means of making up from an argument means having to use actual communication {!!} to get out of an argument.

And the absolute separation, the laws that say not even to touch, those took a while of practice and a lot of discussion about comfort levels. Every couple works it out how they want, whatever feels right for them.

Again, having lived first without it and now for years with it, it's one of the most powerful centers and grounding mechanisms I've ever known ...

- Amy
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#10 of 56 Old 08-07-2002, 12:48 AM
 
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Pssst...It's I, your friendly neighborhood Muslim. More, please. This is fascinating--not in a gawking way, more like an Ah-ha experience way. Where can I read all about these things, so I don't have to eavesdrop and pick up only bits?
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#11 of 56 Old 08-07-2002, 01:28 AM
 
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Do a web search for "taharat hamishpacha", "mikvah", or "Jewish family purity" - that should give you a good place to find info.
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#12 of 56 Old 08-07-2002, 02:58 AM
 
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Hey, UmmNuh ...

At its basics, taharat ha'mishpakha involves monthly separation around the menstrual period. From the moment that the first drop of blood appears until seven days after the last drop leaves, husband and wife do not (at the very least) have sexual contact, and at its most stringent application (and the way it is generally followed, truth be told) don't touch at all. That includes not hugging or kissing, or even passing a salt shaker ... or sleeping or even sitting on the bed together. (The bed part involves separating the mattresses by a few inches at the least.)

The time of separation is in the woman's hands, and the decision when it ends is, too, and the woman checks thoroughly (and physically, again in the stringent application) to make sure there is not even a hint of blood ... and counts seven days. After the seventh day, she prepares herself thoroughly, cleanses every millimeter of her body, takes a halakhically-mandated minimum half-hour bath (I love that part ) and then immerses in the mikvah (ritual bath).

Immersion in the mikvah is my favorite thing in the universe (even though I'm not crazy about going under water). Feminist writers compare it to returning to the womb, being reborn. It feels that way, truly ...

- Amy
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#13 of 56 Old 08-07-2002, 11:14 AM
 
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Ummnuh, I've been eavesdropping too. It sounds really interesting, and when I get time I will do those searches.

Amyprk, I asked you in another thread why you cover your hair. I guess that question fits in here better!
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#14 of 56 Old 08-07-2002, 02:49 PM
 
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Actually, Irishmommy, my hair covering is a separate issue from the laws of "family purity." UmmNuh had a thread I glommed onto about that months ago ... right around the time my baby was born, which is why I think I missed where that thread ended up ...

- Amy
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#15 of 56 Old 08-08-2002, 04:36 PM
 
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Hi!
This is a very interesting thread for me because I didn't practice taharat mishpacha for the first two years of marriage (we didn't live in a country where that was really possible, but I know about the dedication many women have to this part of their lives overcoming many more obstacles than I had - but I guess I didn't think it was that important). Then we moved to a place where mikvah was very accessible and nice so I decided to try it and since we talked about trying to have a baby, i thought it would be especialy important to conceive "in purity" and also to make the TTC time more romantic so the sex doesn't become a routine performed just to TTC. Anyway...
me&3, you said:
"when I told him last night that I couldn't give him a kiss goodnight, he poo-poohed me and told me not to be silly. How do you think I should address this?"
When the seperation time came my husband had the same reaction. to deal with it, I made a deal with him that went along like this "let's try this for three cycles, sticking to the rules (which I explained as simply as possible) and see if the sex is better and the relationship as well". He agreed reluctantly, but my husband would be interested in almost anything that promised more sex and better sex, etc. LOL - so this worked for him. After 3 months, I'm not sure how much he believed it was better, but he and I had both become used to it, so we kept at for about 2 years.
This brings me back to my question. We were okay with the taharat mishpacha and I think maybe I enjoyed it more than he did because of the sense of space, anticipation and the very spiritual mikvah experience. Finally, we decided to really ttc and stopped using birth control. I got pg in 3 months and all was good. Then had our ds (almost a year ago). Because of how it all went in the end and the birth by c/s which left me more devasted and depressed than I should say here, I became a little, hmmm, angry with the medical establishment, this spilled into my view of the world and changed the way I see a lot of things with regards to the way men and women are treated differently in society, etc. I think/hope you understand where I am and why. On top of this, I still haven't menstruated, but then I didn't go to mikvah after the postpartum bleeding and lochia, etc all stopped, either. I wasn't in the state of mind or body for it when all the discharge stopped and though I thought about it, I haven't gone back, because something in my mind is telling me that this isn't really right anymore for all the feminist reasons you mentioned, Amy. (Another reason is because sex hasn't really been so important to me since ds was born, much to dh's disappointment, since we wouldn't have to seperate for niddah periods during this time )
So my question is this: what is the compelling arguement in support of the practice of taharat hamishpacha, or that the seperation during the niddah period specifically is not another way to say that women are lower on the scale than men? How do I reconcile my growing "feminist" feelings with my wish to live and raise ds in a traditional Jewish home? Sorry for the rambling here, there is so much going through my mind and I know I am still very much not myself in the sense of how the c/s has affected my life, so i don't know how much sense this makes. But i really would like to talk about this topic.
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#16 of 56 Old 08-08-2002, 07:14 PM
 
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Nylika, I'm sorry about what you've been through and can certainly understand your feelings. I used to see taharat hamishpacha as conflicting with my feminism as well, but I now see it as a privilege rather than something forced upon me. Since observing this mitzvah, I have been able to appreciate my womanhood in a way I never was before. I now actually enjoy bleeding and feel more womanly than usual, almost as I did in labor. And then of course there's the whole mikvah experience...

Going to the mikvah now may give you a sense of renewal and may be just what you need after the c/s. And remember that this mitzvah is retroactive.

(I'd write more and hope to later, but I just realized the time and I've got to run. I do want to let you know, however, that my husband and I don't observe taharat hamishpacha in the most stringent interpretation and most likely never will. It's just not us. And Amy, I'm not sure you're correct that that's the way it's "generally followed". I suppose it depends on the circle.)
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#17 of 56 Old 08-08-2002, 07:22 PM
 
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Just one more thought about feminism -- Many feminists feel it's repressive for women to stay at home with their kids and not have full-time careers out of the home. And then there are those of us that feel that it is *because* of our feminism that we forego a career to care for our children. Perhaps this is why a traditional Jewish home works for some, but not for others.
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#18 of 56 Old 08-08-2002, 07:26 PM
 
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Just want to recommend the book "Total Immersion" by Rivka Slonim, a collection of essays about mikvah and taharat hamishpacha. I've read and own many other ones (including the widely recommended "Secret of Jewish Femininity" which, frankly, I hate, although that's the standard text in many JME classes), but I think this one is the best, esp. for women who are not FFB (frum from birth).

Mama to four great girls: 14 , 12 , 7 and 4
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#19 of 56 Old 08-08-2002, 07:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by nylika
So my question is this: what is the compelling arguement in support of the practice of taharat hamishpacha, or that the seperation during the niddah period specifically is not another way to say that women are lower on the scale than men? How do I reconcile my growing "feminist" feelings with my wish to live and raise ds in a traditional Jewish home? Sorry for the rambling here, there is so much going through my mind and I know I am still very much not myself in the sense of how the c/s has affected my life, so i don't know how much sense this makes. But i really would like to talk about this topic.
I am sorry about the trauma of the C/S.

Well, to begin with it is my firmly held opinion that women are not "lower on the scale than men" in torah judaism. After growing up very much as a feminist in a feminist house I have found my most fulfilling expression of being feminine in torah judaism. If anything the seperation of a niddah from her husband puts the woman in control of the situation, the man being the one at the disadvantage not the woman. He does not decide if she is tamay or tahor. Only the woman says whether she is tahor or not.
The basic idea behind taharas hamishpacha in my view, as I have learned it:
A person with a soul has a level of (tahorah/ kedusha) purity/ holiness. Creation of life is a higher spiritual level of tahorah and kedusha. A pregnant woman is considered to be on a higher spiritual or holiness plane bacause she contains more than one soul (holy spark from G-d). A woman who is at the fertile point of her cycle, at the point where the egg is ready or is about to be ready to be fertilized has more "holiness" because of the potential creation of life. A woman whose body has let go of that potential life (by birth, miscarriage or menstruating) now has a void of that holiness, her body no longer containing that other potential life. Therefore she immerses in the mikva to begin te cycle again, in holiness and purity.
Men have a similar status when they have an immision of semen, because that is also a potential for creating life.
I know this post is a bit choppy/ unclear, Im sorry. I am really tired and have a big headache.

-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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#20 of 56 Old 08-08-2002, 11:41 PM
 
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Dandelion,
You said: "Going to the mikvah now may give you a sense of renewal and may be just what you need after the c/s."
Maybe you're right!
I know this sounds like it's a quick turnaround, but I've spent so much time thinking about this on and off, thinking about what this means if I go to the mikvah, what I'm saying about myself and the "evil" medical establishment (I know it must sound so strange to be relating everything to doctors, but that's just the way my mind is bent these days) how I can reconcile it with my very personal decision to never EVER again be put into a demeaning situation because I am female, and so on and on. But I guess I'm dancing around the real test of my feelings. I should just count my clean days and go and see if I like it again or if I get a panic attack. Thanks for reminding me of this sensible approach to all mitzvot. I'm probably misstating it here but I remember something from my yeshiva days about doing first and understanding why later. Thank you.
Nylika
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#21 of 56 Old 08-08-2002, 11:51 PM
 
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Beloved bird,
you said:
"A person with a soul has a level of (tahorah/ kedusha) purity/ holiness. Creation of life is a higher spiritual level of tahorah and kedusha. A pregnant woman is considered to be on a higher spiritual or holiness plane bacause she contains more than one soul (holy spark from G-d). A woman who is at the fertile point of her cycle, at the point where the egg is ready or is about to be ready to be fertilized has more "holiness" because of the potential creation of life. A woman whose body has let go of that potential life (by birth, miscarriage or menstruating) now has a void of that holiness, her body no longer containing that other potential life. Therefore she immerses in the mikva to begin te cycle again, in holiness and purity.
Men have a similar status when they have an immision of semen, because that is also a potential for creating life. "
I didn't know this. I also read the Secrets of Jewish femininity book, but I don't remember this particular explanation of the cycle of tahor and tamay. Does this mean that if a man has an emmission of semen that is not during intercourse, then he becomes tamay?
Thanks for sharing this and I hope you feel better soon.
Lovinglife, thanks for the book recommendation. I think I should do a little more reading about this - refresh my perspective.
Nylika
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#22 of 56 Old 08-09-2002, 01:15 AM
 
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nylika, my understanding of the male emission question is that yes, he does become tamay ... but there are no actual ramifications to it nowadays since the Temple no longer exists. Though DH tells me that some men refuse the offer of aliya to the Torah in shul (the honor of reading/making the blessings on the Torah reading in synagogue) if they're in that situation and haven't made it to the mikvah yet.

And BelovedBird, you put it all so beautifully that I can't begin to add to it.

To add a slightly off-topic sideline, there's a commandment in the Torah that after giving birth to a son, the woman must wait a certain number of days before going to the mikvah (I forget the number), and after giving birth to a daughter, she must wait a little longer before the mikvah is allowed. Why?

My rebbe z'l taught that when you carry a son, you carry that one soul, that one body, that one potential life. Once it's left your body, there's a little bit of mourning, too, that you no longer have that life within. But when you carry a daughter, you carry generations. A girl is born with every egg intact in her ovaries. In essence, you're carrying your grandchildren, too ... and the "mourning" for giving up those lives from inside your body into the world is just that much more ...

I just love that Torah.

- Amy
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#23 of 56 Old 08-09-2002, 01:25 AM
 
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Oh, and dandelion, the reason I say that the most stringent application is generally what's followed is that the practice of taharat ha'mishpakha is exceedingly rare in non-Orthodox circles altogether. So the vast majority of those that do observe it are Orthodox, and in the Orthodox community today, generally stringencies are the way everything goes (which is a whole 'nother subject ...)

I know that it's becoming more popular outside of Orthodoxy, which is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful thing ...

It always fascinated me, in my journeys around Judaism, that women in the "progressive" communities were always so busy creating new rituals, etc., but had no knowledge of the traditions that already existed.

- Amy
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#24 of 56 Old 08-09-2002, 03:14 AM
 
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Nylika - I think others have answered your questions well and I just wanted to add a few things. I don't know the situation surrounding your c/sec, but I know that the things you are feeling are common (victimized by the medical establishment, etc.). Perhaps joining ICAN or a similar organization might help you to find women who are working through similar issues? I am an L&D nurse, and I have to say that unfortunately, many of the female OB's have embraced the system with far more enthusiasm than some of our male OB's. The latest trend among the female OB's when they themselves are pregnant? Elective c/sec to avoid labor and "female problems" down the road! Of all the OB's that I would recommend to women, the ones that will try everything before going to a c/sec - most are men, only a couple women. I find that amazingly sad.

As for the feminist issues with the mikva - in my mind, I group many of the laws related to women in one group, such as those relating to dress, as well as mikva. All of these laws are almost "post-feminist" in agenda, though many from the outside view them on the surface as anti-woman. There is a lot of baggage about "dirty women's bodies" and the need for them to "cover up" and be demure. However, I don't think that this is the purpose of the laws at all. They are there to prevent the objectification of women. So many of the complaint of women in society *and* in relationships boil down to "you view me as a sex object" and "you don't respect me as a person, only as a body". Ironically, our whole culture is sending us a message that this is what is really valuable and how we should present ourselves. Think of the American obsession with fitness, thinness, looking young and sexy. Think of the whole Brittany Spears phenomena among the younger set. I am really glad that for my daughters, dressing in that fashion will not be an option for them. You cannot present yourself as a body and then demand to be respected for your mind! As for the mikva and all its related laws, they help our intimate relationships from becoming to heavily weighted toward the sexual as well. While a healthy sexual relationship is celebrated in Jewish life, the cycle of the mikva prevent the couple from taking one another for granted sexually as well and force them to develop other aspects of their relationship.

I can so relate to the irony of the fact that lactation amenorrhea often equals no sex drive! What a bummer - no worries about having to seperate, but at the same time no interest in persuing an intimate relationship either. Personally, I've found that my sex drive returns with my period......

Hope this has helped.
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#25 of 56 Old 08-09-2002, 05:13 AM
 
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Nylika-
Thank G-d my headache is gone!

What I wrote is more hashkafa (philosophy) than practical explaination. All the mitzvos have ramifications for our soul and inner spiritual existance, some are known and some are not. Rebbetzin Abramov's book is meant to be a down-to-earth guide of the laws and customs.
The spiritual facts of tumah and taharah affect every aspect of life when there is a bais hamikdosh (bimhaira veyomaynu). Today we are less aware of these statuses in many cases.
A man becomes tamay with emission of semen which occurs not during intercourse. It is a lesser form than niddah, as there is no prohibition of having intercourse with him afterward. But during the times of the bais hamikdosh some of the affects were similar (transferance of tumah onto objects, etc) This is the reason why there are men's mikvas, why some chassidim emmerse everyday, or every erev shabbos (like just in case, not that they have emmisions everyday.

A funny side story-
We live in a neighborhood with alot of miva going men. My dh doesnt go so the kids are not really aware of the mikva's function. We never really thought about explaining it to them until ds who is 5 asked a guest to our home who was going to the mikva before shabbos if he could go with him "because that is how chassidim get curly peyos (sidecurls)". He thought they went there to wet their hair and make their peyos curly, because when they leave the mikvah they are usually curlibg their peyos with their hand!

Have a good Shabbos everyone!

-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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#26 of 56 Old 08-09-2002, 10:10 AM
 
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BB ... cute story!!

nylika, you're reading T. Abramov's book looking for heart stuff and only finding head stuff.

R' Aryeh Kaplan has a book about mikvah, "Waters of Eden," that gives you the heart stuff.

I'm sorry about your distress over your birth experiences. I second Mom2Five's suggestion about finding a support group.

One of the things about the pre-mikvah preparation is the opportunity for self-reflection about my body. In the past, in former good days, I would think about my body from a vanity standpoint, and self-reflection meant thinking about how my legs looked with a tight skirt on. Now it means, pre-mikvah, contemplating how my body helps to "create" my children, and how my body must keep up with my children and must be maintained so I can have the strength to raise my children, not to mention having the energy to enjoy my marriage (how's that for a euphemism? ) As I clean each part, even toes, I think of how I use that body part with my children ... and visualize strengthening that part ...

Then with each immersion (I "go under" 7 times) I have a different kavanah (intention). That's for the next post, though ...

As a side note: Of course, since I've been nursing for five years straight, I haven't been to the mikvah that many times in the last five years. Which, of course, is why I don't contemplate my body as much as I should, which is probably one of the reasons my body's gone to pot as it has (look at how I just relieved myself of all responsibility for my own out-of-conditionness!! amazing, isn't it!!?? : )

- Amy
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#27 of 56 Old 08-10-2002, 02:39 PM
 
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I love you ladies and I am loving this thread--I love feeling surrounded by women having intelligent, thoughtful, truly spiritual conversation! Even if I am not really a part of it!
I am sure you know that Arabic and Hebrew share a lot of words...Tahara means purity in Arabic, too, and of course, we have purification rituals--although they are quite simplified. I know they are co-opted from Judaism. We face a lot of the same agruments against some practices--like women being excused from prescribed prayer during periods, etc. We also have mandated waiting period after birth...some women think it is a "dirty women" hang-up, and I disagree. I see it as an honoring of the potential of my body. And I frankly have never heard Muslim men (don't know many Jewish men) say some of the lewd, nasty things some "Western" men say about women's parts...
But 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.
Amy, our talk about covering petered out...WHY do you cover? Is it by commandment? It is in Islam--and it is for those reasons stated above--protection from objectification, and symbolism of submission (but not submission to men ).
Do most of you move primarily in circles where you face little opposition? If not, how do you make the argument? Is it enough to say "Scripture says so"?
One more ques--so, there's a men's and a women's mikva? Housed adjacent to a synagogue, or somewhere else?

Oh yes, and Amy--it sounds as though we dress much alike, too...hee hee
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#28 of 56 Old 08-10-2002, 08:39 PM
 
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Okay, which way is it? I've heard it two ways:

* Covering is a cultural practice in many countries that predominantly Muslim.
* Covering is a religious practice in Islam.

I'm really curious. I've also heard that women won't uncover for any reason in public but will happily breastfeed in public, which I like, being lactivist and all.

I find all this fascinating, I've always found Jewish ritual interesting, although I have my own feminist misgivings about it as well, I'm not one to say whether someone's religious practices are "right" or "oppressive", there's just so much that goes into a religious observance.
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#29 of 56 Old 08-10-2002, 09:47 PM
 
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UmmNuh-

Haircovering in judaism is learned out from the torah verse about the "sotah" (wife accused of adultery) in which it says that as part of the process her hair is
uncovered .

Mikvahs are sometimes housed adjacent to synagogues. I think that is usually for convienence, so everyone knows where it can be found. Every mikvah I have gone to has been in its own building, though. Sometimes men and women use the same mikva, in many communities there are seperate ones for each. A natural body of water is also a mikva, if it fits the requirements, as also a man made mikva must do.
Here is something I found aboutmikva
-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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#30 of 56 Old 08-11-2002, 12:23 AM
 
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Thanks for the link, BB--very interesting, and a wonderful explanation of the holiness of sexual relations between husband and wife. Almost poetic.

Off topic, but, to Jessica: All Muslim women cover to pray. A Hadith (reported saying of Muhamad pbuh) states that women should, at the onset of menstruation, show faces and hands. The Qur'an does not use the word "head," but calls fo modesty in dress. For this reason, it is (or at least should be) a woman's choice. Covering the face is another story...

To our Jewish friends, at least anecdotally, do you feel the practice of family purity increases ability to conceive? And, are there any small prayers or devotions that are said before making love, regarding the potential for creation of life? What about afterwards--do you have to go through a purification ritual, as we do, to be able to resume religious activities?
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