By Danya Ruttenberg

In this designated selection of essays, a few of present day smartest Jewish thinkers discover a vast variety of primary questions that allows you to stability historic culture and sleek sexuality.

In the previous couple of a long time a couple of factors—post-modernism, feminism, queer liberation, and more—have introduced dialogue of sexuality to the fore, and with it a complete new set of questions that problem popular traditions and methods of considering. For Jews of all backgrounds, this has frequently resulted in an unsatisfied standoff among culture and sexual empowerment.

Yet as The Passionate Torah illustrates, it truly is of severe significance to determine past this obvious clash if Jews are to include either their non secular ideals and their sexuality. With incisive essays from modern rabbis, students, thinkers, and writers, this assortment not just surveys the demanding situations that sexuality poses to Jewish trust, but in addition deals clean new views and insights at the altering position of sexuality inside Jewish theology—and Jewish lives. masking subject matters similar to monogamy, inter-faith relationships, reproductive know-how, homosexuality, and a bunch of alternative hot-button concerns, those writings think about how modern Jews can have interaction themselves, their household, and their culture in a fashion that is either horny and sanctified.

Seeking to deepen the Jewish dialog approximately sexuality, The Passionate Torah brings jointly tremendous thinkers in an try and bridge the distance among the sacred and the sexual.

Contributors: Rebecca Alpert, Wendy Love Anderson, Judith R. Baskin, Aryeh Cohen, Elliot Dorff, Esther Fuchs, Bonna Haberman, Elliot Kukla, Gail Labovitz, Malka Landau, Sarra Lev, Laura Levitt, Sara Meirowitz, Jay Michaelson, Haviva Ner-David, Danya Ruttenberg, Naomi Seidman, and Arthur Waskow.

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According to BT Zebahim 116a – b, there was no prince or ruler who had not possessed Rahab the harlot: “She was ten years old when the Israelites departed from Egypt, and she played the harlot the whole forty years spent by the Israelites in the wilderness. ” This tradition expresses the rabbinic conviction that women are sexually untrustworthy, particularly non-Jewish women. However, it stresses, too, the significant lesson that past wickedness is no bar to present repentance and future salvation.

She does not find favor in his eyes because he finds something obnoxious about her, and he writes her a bill of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her away from his house; she leaves his household and becomes the spouse of another man; then this latter man hates her, writes her a bill of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her away from his house. (Deut. 24:1 – 3) The Torah authorizes a man to send his spouse away according to his whim, whenever he finds her distasteful, as his passion dictates.

Thus the halakhah was decided in accordance with the opinion of R. Judah ha-Nasi (Tosefta Temurah 4:8): visiting prostitutes was not forbidden (assuming the prostitute was an unmarried woman so that adultery was not a factor). If a man chose to visit a prostitute, despite moral 30 Judith R. Baskin exhortations to the contrary, there was a definite preference for Gentile women. This is based on rabbinic interpretations of the statements “do not degrade your daughter and make her a harlot” (Lev. 19:29) and “no Israelite woman shall be a cult prostitute [qedeshah]; nor shall any Israelite man be a cult prostitute [qedesh]” (Deut.

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