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Switch to Forum Live View "Marital Relations" on Shabbat? Why is this ok?
6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 3:23PM #1
Triplet_mom_Tx
Posts: 60
Ok, I plan on starting the conversion process in Sept.  I will be doing my conversion through a Conservative  Rabbi. I love Judaism as it the only thing that finally has made sense to me.  I am a former Christian so there is a lot for me to unlearn and a lot that I just dont know.
So I have been studying alot to prepare and get a good understanding of what is good bad right wrong etc.

So I was looking into the do's and dont's of Shabbat.  One is not supposed to go to funerals on Shabbat due to the fact that the dead are deemed unclean right?  So sex makes you unclean until sundown so why is it ok to make yourself unclean on Shabbat by having sex? 

Does my question make sense?  If my understanding is wrong please explain as I genuinely want to learn.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 4:14PM #2
ffb
Posts: 2,170
this is a question dealt with at length in the talmudic texts. there are a number of parallel ideas. the first is that the act of creation is equated to a sexual act mystically and our "copying" of that act in human terms (because the divine creation is not really about flesh and bodies) is an emulation of the divine.

the second is a talmudic argument about the days when one should get married much of the argument has to do with the ascertainment of virginity status and the convocation of the local courts if there is a problem, couped with a concern that a local non jewish leader would attempt to deflower maidens so we need to beat him to the punch. the bottom line argument about whether a friday is a good day to marry a virgin hinges on the nature of the wound created by the piercing of the hymen (creating a wound is forbidden on the sabbath). I don't remember my high school classes clearly so I don't have more detail than that but suffice to say, the act of sex on a friday night WITHIN a marriage is smiled upon.

The nature of the impurities between the tum'at met and tum'at keri are different and the act which is designed to populate the jewish people is not to be pushed off because of a subsequent need to go to mikvah.

the bottom line is that we don't shy away from some actions because of a later impurity status if the thing we are doing is a mitzvah -- if there is a mitzvah to become impure by a corpse we do it, even if it means not being able to participate in the korban pesach. if a mitzvah becaomes possible, don't push it off.

in this day and age when we don't have the pure and impure status of the tempe times, the decision is even more clear cut.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 5:51PM #3
Triplet_mom_Tx
Posts: 60
Ok I think I get what you are saying.  So if someone had to go to a funeral and it was on Shabbat it would be ok because it is a mitzvah? 

Becoming unclean on Shabbat is ok?  Well I guess in a way that makes sense since a woman who has given birth is unclean for some months and there are many Shabbats in between..........................................
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 6:23PM #4
ffb
Posts: 2,170
one would not have a funeral on shabbat but if one had to go to one on friday which would create imputiy on shabbat then, if there was a mitzvah to go, yes. (not all deaths create an mitzvah obligation)
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 6:27PM #5
clyde5001
Posts: 3,501
Theoretically the funeral could be of a loved one who wasn't Jewish. Which could be on Saturday. I doubt that a Conservative rabbi would prohibit that.

BTW welcome and good luck!
Shema Y'Israel Adnai Eloheinu, Adonei Echad.

Am Y'Israel Chai!

23,298 posts as of 2/27/2009

3,208 after the transition.

A 20,090 difference.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 6:34PM #6
ffb
Posts: 2,170
i can't speak for a conservative rabbi, but judaism would forbid attending a funeral on the sabbath or a yom tov/holiday.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 6:53PM #7
Pam34
Posts: 2,650
Having sex on Shabbat is a MITZVAH!  (and I have a great Jewish joke about that to prove it, somewhere).

The funeral thing - Jews wouldn't hold a funeral on Shabbat (likely) so it wouldn't come up, so to speak - and the grieving period (shiva) is suspended on Shabbat and holy days - those are days we are commanded to be joyful, and it's hard to do that at a funeral. Unless you are weird.

As for the clean/unclean  - could we PLEASE agree NOT to use those particular words? They are very 'loaded' in English. A MUCH better translation would be 'ritually pure' and 'ritually impure'  - and as it was mentioned, without a temple, the whole point is essentially moot.
Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 7:02PM #8
lauramushkat
Posts: 625
Here I THINK you are confusing Christian ideas with ours.  I wonder what your Rabbi would say!

To Jews sex is not prohibited in the same ways that it is for Christians. There are things we should not do but they are very few.  If you read the Bible you will see that the way they used to marry was that the woman would lie with the man.  Sex is a sacred gift from G-d to humans not only to procreate the way animals do (and for many Christians the only reason for sex) but to give us pleasurer and show how much we love our spouse.

There is no greater way to show love to your spouse then on one of the most sacred days of the calendar-the Sabbath.

I have had deaths in the family on Thursday and normally the funeral is the next day.  Because the next day leads into the Sabbath you would be more likely to have the funeral Sunday.  I do know a family where for some reason they HAD to have it on a Friday so the funeral was set very early on Friday morning and there was no shiva service till Sat night after Sabbath was over.

So most likely the funeral you would be attending would not be a Jewish one.  I have known those who had to go to the non-Jewish ones on Friday and just made sure they were home for the start of the Sabbath.

Hugs
Laura
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 7:10PM #9
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
One of the things you will need to "unlearn" is the Christian dependence on the Biblical text as written. Judaism of all varieties interprets the Written Torah through lens of the Oral Torah -- the ongoing evolution of Torah among the Jewish people, building on the teaching of the rabbis in the Talmud and going forward.

"Cleanliness" and "Uncleanliness" or "purity" and "impurity" -- taharah and tum'ah in Hebrew -- have no practical application in the modern world. These terms are meaningful only in connection with a Sanctuary in which the Divine Presence dwells -- the Temple.

Tum'ah -- impurity -- is nothing more or less than a metaphysical energy charge, so to speak, acquired by persons or things which come into contact with death or with certain things that make one think of death. A dead body, human or animal, is a major source of tum'ah but so are the sexual fluids -- semen and menstrual blood -- because their emission from the body symbolizes a diminution in the life force of the individual. That which was tamei (impure or unclean) could not be allowed to come into contact with anything that was kadosh or holy -- the source of holiness was the Divine Presence in the Temple and all associated with it: the Ark, the Altar, the sacrificial food, the tithes individuals set aside from their crops for the priests and for themselves to eat on pilgrimage festivals, etc. Contaminating something that was holy with something that was tamei was a grave sin and a person who was tamei was not permitted to enter the Temple or eat consecrated foods.

The ejaculation of semen symbolizes a diminution of the life force of the man, and anything that comes into contact with semen -- clothing, bedding, other people -- is rendered tamei. They would be required to bath in a mikveh and wait until sunset, after which they would be "pure" or tahor again and could enter the Temple and eat the sanctified foods.

There is no moral value ascribed to tumah. Being tamei does not mean anyone has sinned or is morally bad. Tum'ah is simply a side effect of death and death is a part of life. Everyone would have been tamei at some point in life; one just needed to be mindful of the sacred lest one contaminate it. The separation between the holy and the tamei was probably the overarching concern of the ancient Israelite religion.

None of this applies any more in our era because we do not have a Temple and there is nothing for anyone to contaminate, deliberately or not. So, you don't have to worry about being "unclean" or "impure." It's just not something that matters any more.

As for sex on the Sabbath, of course it's not spelled out explicitly in the Torah that a couple is to have sex on the Sabbath. However, the rabbis derived in a very complicated exegesis I think from the list of animals that Jacob gave his brother Esau as a greeting gift that average people should have sex once a week. The Kabbalists considered the Sabbath to the be wedding feast of the male aspect of God, the Holy Blessed One, with the female aspect of God, the Shekhinah or Indwelling Presence. Just as on the Sabbath, as in the World to Come, the Divine Name is unified in the marriage of the Holy Blessed One and the Shekhinah, so too should couples be unified on the Sabbath.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2008 - 10:29PM #10
Triplet_mom_Tx
Posts: 60
Wow  thank you all for so much detailed info.  This is new to me and as far as my Rabbi, well I .....didnt really want to call and ask him about this.......kinda embarrassed and thought I might sound silly.  I do indeed need to unlearn the Christian way of thinking as it is a very different way.  This is why I am so drawn to Judaism.  It has so many layers and they make sense.  I will be sure not to use the words unclean and clean anymore.  Sorry still a newby :)

Thanks again and Shabbot Shalom!
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