1. Genesis: Va Yiggash & Va Yehi

I know…bad bad bad.  The days have just totally gotten away from me.  But don’t worry, I’m still here.  Reading and thinking. 

We’ve come to the end of Joseph’s story, the end of Genesis.  Everyone has kissed and made up (then died).  Joseph took care of his family and forgave them their, um, unkindnesses.  So I guess when the people we love do anything short of throwing us in a pit and selling us as slaves, we should consider forgiving them.  Maybe the lesson’s kind of obvious, but still.  It’s amazing how we hold onto our grievances, isn’t it?  I’m still kinda pissed at a friend who once told me that he wouldn’t take sides in a matter that left me very vulnerable.  For heaven’s sake, take sides!  I’m your friend….you didn’t even know the guy who was hurting me!  But yes, I should get over it.  I’m sure everyone else involved has completely forgotten the whole incident.

Two thoughts are floating around in my head from the last two weeks’ readings:  sex and death.  I’m not sure which to tackle first.  I think sex, since it comes first.  Or maybe death, just because I know it’ll make me sad and I should get it over with.  I’ll go make a cup of tea and I’ll have decided by the time I return.

Sex.  If you notice, every time there is a list of offspring in the Torah, there are ever so many boys and ever so few girls.  But the girls do get mentioned.  At first I thought perhaps the girls just weren’t being mentioned.  And maybe some, or even many, of them are not.  Regardless, there are an awful lot of sons.  And I know that sons were the preferred style of baby back in the day. 

As I’ve already mentioned, I’m in the midst of reading the Rashi’s Daughters series.  There are some pretty explicit sexual descriptions in the book.  Keeps things interesting and kind of spicy.  Apparently, there is a Talmud portion that deals with sex and explains to husbands how to please their wives.  Yes, how to erotically please their wives both before and during intercourse.  By Jewish law, men are required to provide three things for their wives:  food, clothing and SEX .  And they must provide sex that is pleasing to the wife.  Sex is not just for procreation or male pleasure.  As a matter of fact, it seems that the husband’s pleasure is and should be tied directly to the pleasure he instills in his wife.  He must never force her and he must make sex pleasurable and that means foreplay.  In all it’s many styles.  Explicitly described.  Apparently the sages knew that a happy wife makes a happy husband.  And yes, there is a point that I’m heading toward here.  Be patient.  Remember it’s always better if you wait a bit.

One of my girlfriends, ever so many years ago, wanted a daughter.  She already had one son and really wanted a girl as well.  So she bought a book that told her how to have a girl.  There were specific ways to have sex, and times to have sex.  Based on her description, the sex has to be really boring.  No orgasm for the woman.  She must be on her back, missionary position only.  And again, did I mention, NO ORGASM.  At all.  Ever.  At least not until after the baby is conceived.  My friend lasted about two weeks.  She had another boy.  Apparently there is something about the speed at which boy versus girl sperm swim and hormones excreted by women during orgasm that make for boy babies.  So seriously, when I see a woman with a passel of girls and no boys, I really want to give her a hug.  And a vibrator.

But now back to Rashi’s Daughters.  In the story, they describe some of the passages from the Talmud that deal with sexual relations.  The characters in this story are very pious and study and know Talmud very well.  Several times there has been reference to how important it is for the woman to “spill her seed” before her husband.  In other words, to have the first orgasm.  This will assure them a son.  So the Jews knew more about sex than did scientists fifty years ago.  And honestly, I think there is more and better information about relationships in the Talmud than in most of the relationship books I’ve seen.  They understood way back when that relationships that are close and loving are necessary, and that sexual relations are a part of this closeness.

So, that’s why there are so many boys when you look at a list of Jewish progeny.  The sages taught that to have sons, men should please their wives.  And please them well.  Apparently they did.

The more I learn, the more I love being a Jew.

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