Judiasm and breastfeeding - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 01:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
phathui5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Oregon
Posts: 17,471
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Are there any Jewish moms here who can give me information on Judiasm and breastfeeding? I work for WIC and it seems like all of our Jewish moms breastfeed. I think it's great, but I was wondering if there's a religious reason.

Thanks.

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
phathui5 is offline  
#2 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 02:10 AM
 
merpk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 14,887
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


This is really abbreviated, but traditional Judaism makes breastfeeding virtually mandatory ... as in the baby has the right to breastfeed for at least two years. And the Talmud suggests that the normal nursing period lasts two to three years, and if necessary for the child's well-being, then up to four or five years.

The Ari'z'l, one of the greatest Jewish mystics/kabbalists, considered two years the minimum nursing period, and as a general rule, Jewish sages frowned upon weaning before two. Yes, "frowned upon," as opposed to merely suggesting nursing till two, with all that implies.

I see you're in Baltimore, big frum (Jewishly traditionally observant) community there, so you would get a lot of fanatic nursers ...

More another time ...
merpk is offline  
#3 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 02:31 AM
 
crazy_eights's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Nisht ahir un nish aher
Posts: 6,837
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
NOt to mention that it often helps to space your kids!
crazy_eights is offline  
#4 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 03:01 AM
 
applejuice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: hunting the wild aebelskiever
Posts: 18,543
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
a little T

I refer to the preface to the book, Cooking Kosher Naturally by Jane Kinderlehrer of Prevention Press, written by Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn, M.D., pediatrician, medical advisor to LLLI, and the FIL of a very fine rabbi.

In the preface he wrote in this very fine book, he took rabbis to task for allowing infant formula to carry the chesher stamp for being kosher, i.e., "fit" by Torah standards. "Fit" for whom?

Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn often said that bottle feeding was a dirty habit that should be carried out only in a bathroom if at all.

You do get his point, don't you?
applejuice is offline  
#5 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 03:01 AM
 
BelovedBird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: HOME!! Northern Israel
Posts: 3,505
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The breast, and breastfeeding are used throughout torah to describe different things. It says that you should learn torah every hour of the day, just as the baby breastfeeds. - Not only does the torah endorse bfing, it endorses bfing on demand.


here is a good article. here is the continuation of that article.



Mostly OT, here is an interesting Q&A from a rabbi, about breasts.
A good book on the subject

Now back to the reason I'm awake!- challah baking!

-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).
BelovedBird is offline  
#6 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 03:22 AM
 
Faith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 1,202
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Okay, I have a stupid question.

I am a Christain, but I am very interested in accepting my Jewish roots as an adopted child of God. I am trying to learn and practice the Jewish holidays and all that. (It is sooo compliated for an outsider!)

So, um ...what is the Torah? It this stuff about BFing for that many years in my Bible? Or is this just things that Jewish leaders have said, or what?

It is awesome either way!
TIA!
Faith is offline  
#7 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 09:25 AM
Banned
 
DebraBaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: PA
Posts: 5,311
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Applejuice writes, "In the preface he wrote in this very fine book, he took rabbis to task for allowing infant formula to carry the chesher stamp for being kosher, i.e., "fit" by Torah standards. "Fit" for whom?"

Ahhhh, I loved Dr. Mendelsohn, he was a great advocate for women and children and *I'm* old enough to have had children before he passed away.

Perfectlove, the Torah are the first five books of the Christian Bible. The writings of Moses.

(help me other better moms) the Jewish Bible is divided into three sections (correct me if I'm not getting this perfectly) the Torah, the Prophets, and the poetry.

Then there's the writings like the Talmud and the Kabbulah that help people understand the Torah (first five books) and the Tenach(sp) the rest of the scrolls. (If someone like Belovedbird chimes in I will be glad to delete this entire posting.)

It is wonderful that, throughout the ages, the Rabbis and sages have been such great advocates of the breastfeeding relationship.

Debra Baker
DebraBaker is offline  
#8 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 09:36 AM
Banned
 
DebraBaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: PA
Posts: 5,311
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, BTW,

the articles Belovedbird linked were wonderful and thought-provoking.

Also, you (and everyone in Israel) are in my thoughts and prayers during this horrible time.

Please keep safe.

DB
DebraBaker is offline  
#9 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 10:30 AM
 
captain optimism's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Good Ship Lollipop
Posts: 7,461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Torah does mean the first five books, but it can also mean more.

A sefer Torah is the scroll containing the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, the so-called Five Books of Moses. A bound book with just those five is called a Chumash (which means "five").

The Hebrew Bible is sometimes referred to by its acronym, the Tanach, which stands for Torah, Nevi'im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings, which does include all the poetry! )

Christians believe that the Hebrew Bible (aka "Old Testament") is a sacred text.

Torah can also mean the "oral Torah". The Talmud, which consists of the Mishnah (in Hebrew, codified in roughly 220 of the present era) and the Gemarra (in Aramaic, codified maybe 500?) is a written-down version of the oral Torah, the traditions about how to interpret the Torah.

Christians do not, in general, follow the Talmud. The early Church Fathers (I'm thinking for example, St. Augustine) told them not to follow mitzvot (commandments). (The whole purpose of the Talmud and its commentaries is to help us figure out how to follow God's commandments in the Torah.) Puritans and some other Christian traditions have historically taken on Jewish festivals and customs as a way of getting closer to Jesus.

Kabbalah means "reception" or "tradition" and is the term used for Jewish mystical tradition. Mysticism exists in every religious tradition, it's whatever method that religion has for intentionally seeking intense religious experience. Kabbalah relies heavily on interpretation of Torah--down to the very letters!--for those experiences. A lot of esoteric Kabbalistic practices have been integrated into mainstream Judaism. (For example, the psalms we recite on Friday evening before the service, called Kabbalat Shabbat, were part of a kabbalistic practice and are now normative.)

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
captain optimism is online now  
#10 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 10:45 AM
 
BelovedBird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: HOME!! Northern Israel
Posts: 3,505
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
To add to what CO nd DB said- when torah observant jews say that "torah says" or "we learn from the torah" usually we are refering to the oral and written torah, the commentaries, and things learned from statements in the oral and wrtten torah.
HTH!

THank you for the thoughts and prayers Db and everyone! My neighbor's daughter was injured in the last attack- she is still in the hospital with shrapnel wounds... Another person from my town was killed.

-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).
BelovedBird is offline  
#11 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 11:04 AM
 
captain optimism's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Good Ship Lollipop
Posts: 7,461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
I don't think this answers the question of why Jewish women who use WIC, nurse. I'm medium knowledgeable (not super knowledgeable) about Judaism and I had no idea until folks here posted about it what the Torah (and commentaries) said about breastfeeding.

(I did know that Sarah Imeinu is described in Midrash Rabbah as having an abundant flow of breastmilk, so I had a clue that it was viewed positively. But that was just a fluke of having heard a dvar Torah that included that source.)

So maybe there are some sociological or cultural factors at work?

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
captain optimism is online now  
#12 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 11:08 AM
 
BelovedBird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: HOME!! Northern Israel
Posts: 3,505
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
CO, what do you mean? If the OP is in Baltimore she is probably working with the women from the frum community there. I think that the "socialogical and cultural factors" are largely the result of Torah. Most frum women nurse, because it is part of the torah and torah culture. No?

-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).
BelovedBird is offline  
#13 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 12:46 PM
 
dandelion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 138
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
CO, I have found that outside of more-frum circles, Jewish women are not very aware of the religious importance of breastfeeding. Even if they've been doing a lot of learning. I think this is because many of the more "modern" rabbis/teachers (of any denomination, including Orthodox) are not comfortable discussing it. Just as many are not comfortable discussing the importance of taharat hamishpacha (family purity). I find this very unfortunate.

But as BelovedBird said, it's quite likely the women in Baltimore using WIC are quite knowledgeable.
dandelion is offline  
#14 of 15 Old 06-13-2003, 05:41 PM
 
Faith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 1,202
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks, Mommas!

Very interesting thread!
Faith is offline  
#15 of 15 Old 06-15-2003, 02:21 AM
 
crazy_eights's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Nisht ahir un nish aher
Posts: 6,837
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just to elaborate on my earlier point - -in circles where women won't use birth control (unless there is a threat to health - mental included), there is a lot of talk about what we would call 'ecological breastfeeding' to space your kids. At least that has been my experience.
crazy_eights is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off