Tag : niddah

The Lilith Blog

April 11, 2019 by

Can Leviticus’ Purity Laws Help Us Understand #MeToo?

The poet Galit Hasan-Rokem wrote the following poem entitled “This Child Inside Me”: 

This child inside me
Sorts my existence into elements:
Blood and urine
Calcium and iron.
In my sleep I am a quarry
Where rare treasures are suddenly found.        

Blood and urine, calcium and iron. The fluid and elements that, in part, make up the physical constitution of a human body. This is, in part, the focus of our Torah portion earlier this month, called Parashat Tazria—which is always a confounding one for the bar or bat mitzvah student. The particular section of the Torah that we read at this time of year addresses issues of ritual purity. Some of those considerations include menstruation and childbirth. This part of the Torah is, indeed, a bar or bat mitzvah student’s worst nightmare. Every year, one or two innocent and unknowing soon-to-be 13 year old finds themselves forced to find relevant meaning in rules concerning nocturnal seminal emissions and afterbirth. Meanwhile their more fortunate classmates with simchas that land in the fall are assigned Noah’s ark and the Garden of Eden.

Leviticus builds character. 

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The Lilith Blog

August 23, 2018 by

Bloody Waters at the Mikveh

The tablecloths in this palatial Newton synagogue are all Tiffany blue, as are the event programs and the lanyards for our nametags, which have High Holiday-style fundraiser cards on the back.  My nametag is as expected. My companion S’s, however, lists the name and title of a Baptist preacher, a woman who runs an abortion outreach group funded by Planned Parenthood. This woman had invited me to be her date to this shindig weeks before—presumably as she didn’t want to be the lone Christian clergyperson at a mikveh fundraising gala without a Jewish wingwoman—but had succumbed to a late-spring cold at the eleventh hour.  S., magnanimously, agreed to come with me instead. 

“Come on,” I’d said to my friend S, “It’s a mikveh gala with circus arts. It cannot possibly be boring.” 

“Alright,” she’d said, grimly, “but I am not changing and I am not putting on heels. It’s 6PM on Thursday; that’s a time for people with nannies.

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