buy thesis papers writing a paper in 3rd person judaism research paper essay for cheap hamlet research paper topics organisational behaviour assignment

“Heavenly Sex: Sexuality in The Jewish Tradition”

HEAVENLY SEX: SEXUALITY IN THE JEWISH TRADITION by Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer and Jonathan Mark [NYU Press], $22.95
Heavenly Sex, a rich, readable compendium of biblical and talmudic anecdotes regarding love and sexuality, is a strong Jewish antidote to The Bridges of Madison County, in which romantic bliss is portrayed as being nearly impossible to find. In the Jewish view presented here, God has created all humans with the capacity for sexual and relational bliss, and halakhic guidelines are intended to help Jews experience the profound spiritual pleasures that are a part of physical and emotional intimacy.

Westheimer and Mark bring important new angles to familiar Jewish texts and rituals. For example, they discuss biblical precedents for non-halakhic unions (like Ruth and Boaz, David and Bathsheba, Joseph and Potiphar’s wife), and they explain the sexual (kabbalistic) symbolism of Shabbat and Havdalah candles; the former candles—two, freestanding—symbolize that Jews are ushering in a day that is specifically intended for the holiness of relationships. The latter candle—like intertwined limbs— makes a closing Shabbat statement: the day can now end, in part because sex has been sacredly consummated.

Though readers might be distressed by the absence of any mention of AIDS or contraception (this is, after all, 1995!), Heavenly Sex is otherwise an excellent book. Judaism is uniquely pro-love and premarital-sex; halakhah seeks to create an environment in which love and marital sex are enhanced, and in which both are sustained as holy. It’s inspiring to be reminded of this.