This week’s Parsha, Parshat Tazria, begins with the purity and impurity laws of a yoledet, a woman who gives birth. A woman postpartum, according to the Torah, goes through two time periods: one with a stricter set of laws in which she is unable to be with her husband or to visit the mikdash and a second one in which she is unable to enter the mikdash, yet is allowed to be with her husband. (Nowadays, the laws are different due to Rabbinic decrees, of which I will not elaborate on in this dvar torah.) The postpartum impurity varies in length between a woman who has a baby boy and a woman who has a baby girl. When a woman gives birth to a boy, she is tamei for seven days and prohibited from visiting the mikdash for an additional 33 days. When a woman gives birth to a girl, she is tameifor 14 days and prohibited from visiting the mikdash for an additional 66 days. Many commentators tackle the obvious question: why is there a difference between the lengths for a girl and a boy?
When I – a nervous twenty-something – married the boy/man of my dreams, I knew that I had no idea what lay ahead. I knew that I needed to learn and become fluent in several new languages, including those of healthy communication, family finances, sex, and taharat hamishpachah (laws of family purity).
New beginnings often seem scary, and getting married means taking on several new beginnings all at once. At some point during our hectic preparations for all these new beginnings, we learn about the laws of taharat hamishpachah. It’s no wonder that these classes tend to focus on the laws themselves, since we’re so pressed for time that we can barely pay attention (at least I couldn’t!). Yet if the classes are truly about imparting all the information we might ever need, then we are in trouble. Taharat hamishpachahis a huge topic, to say nothing of the basics of sex and relationship skills, which can be just as critical for brides-to-be.
I believe that our focus has to change. Yes, kallah classes should include the basics of taharat hamishpachah, as well as an intro to sex and tips for a healthy relationship. [Read more…]
When a woman comes to the mikveh, her mind may very well be elsewhere: on the intimacy to come, the baby she wants, the fertility treatment she’s had, or the baby she’s lost. Over the past few weeks, the Eden Center’s Balaniot Class has worked to teach mikveh attendants how to speak to women sensitively about issues of sex and infertility. Through the course, Eden hopes to teach balaniot how to better understand where the range of women they encounter at the mikveh are coming from. [Read more…]
Isn’t it wonderful how much time and effort Jewish women invest in their daughters’ wedding preparations? Everything is planned meticulously down to the smallest detail in order to make the evening a big success.
One “small” but highly important matter is often not given the amount of attention and consideration it deserves. This is the choice of Kalla teacher who will assume the awesome responsibility of preparing the bride for marriage and intimacy. In many cases the Kalla herself finds someone with whom to learn, having adopted the suggestion of one of her newly married friends. While friends are a wonderful source of help and support, in this case they often lack the information and perspective needed to make an accurate recommendation. [Read more…]
The Laws and Concepts of Niddah, by Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky is what it title claims it to be. In this expansive work (304 pages in English by the author, 20 pages of additional opinions in English and another 278 pages of sources in the original Hebrew), the author goes step by step through key concepts of the laws of niddah. For each concept, the relevant halachic debates are brought in detail, complete with an erudite rendition of the stages of each argumment. [Read more…]