Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sensitive Appreciation of the Sexual Union ("The Jewish Way")

Comparing patriocentricity to the practice of Orthodox Judaism according to Rabbi Maurice Lamm in “The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage

Many patriocentric groups such as those that follow Bill Gothard's teachings, the Shepherding/Discipleship movement and the so-called "Biblical patriarchy" movement advise wives that they must submit to all of their husband's sexual demands and timings as their wifely duties within marriage. Expanding upon the previous blog post that discusses the orthodox Jewish understanding that it is actually the woman who holds this right within marriage, note what Lamm states about the active and willing participation of both parties within intimate relations within marriage. Wives within the patriarchy movement are encouraged and counseled to "endure" their husband's sexual desires, even if they are repulsed or caused physical discomfort as an act of service and worship unto God. According to Lamm, this is not the case in orthodox Judaism and was never the case, as "onah" (sexual intimacy when procreation is not an issue or goal) must always be an intimate encounter wherein both parties participate very willingly and with full willingness and interest.

From Pg 119

But if not, I will take the letters of My name from them, so that they will revert to esh and esh, fire consuming fire.” Hence with God and a partner, marriage is a blessing, ish and ishah. Without God, it can become esh, an inferno where man and woman devour each other.

Pg 140 - 141

The fire that transformed Adam into ish with the creation of the divine component of marriage reverses when only bodies unite...

The physical act must be sensitively appreciated. The Halakhah understood this crucial matter and provided for the widest latitude and the fullest expression, with the constant qualification that the act retain the potential for reproduction and that there be total consent and an abiding sense of human dignity. The law comprehends the human need for variety in the conjugal act, but it has only disgust for the pe’ritzut, the obscenities of the Playboy ethic. The Talmud makes bold decisions on these matters, and Rabbi Huna even advised his own daughter in the method of conjugal relations with the goal of keeping awareness alive.
From Pg 124:

It is not good for human beings to be in pairs but still so alone. Therefore, a man shall cleave to his wife and they shall be “one flesh” – she shall be exclusively intimate with him and he with her. Elsewhere, Raavad continues: “Therefore, ‘it is proper that a man should love his wife as he loves his own being, and respect her more than he does his own self,’ and be compassionate with her, and watch over her as a person would watch over one of his own limbs; and she should love him, for she was take from his side. That is why the Creator commanded man regarding his wife that he should never diminish that which is her due – namely, food, clothing, shelter – in addition to the marital relations which must include joy and intimacy.”

Thus a physical relationship alone is animalistic. Human beings also need intimacy, an exclusive, warm, personal relationship of care and concern. As there is a “oneness of flesh,” there must also be a oneness of soul.

In the next post:

The low esteem and shameful consequences of sexual union when a husband has compels sex against the will of his wife: an act of exploitation and “domestic rape.”

Copyrighted material quoted here
under fair use for educational purposes from
by Maurice Lamm. San Francisco, CA: Harper and Row, 1980