Sunday, August 24, 2008

single women & mikvah - part II

I personally have never gone to a mikvah other than to shlep my mother's new dishes. And I usually pass that task onto my brothers if I can.
I'm not a mikvah fan - first you have to make sure that all the labels are peeled off each item, then you have to try and not get wet, make sure you don't lose any forks, remember to say the bracha, etc... It's not a task for a Material Maidel. And that's what I've come to associate the mikvah with - work! So why would I willing want to go when I don't have to!

Ok, ok, I know there is that spiritual component there...
From what I understand (and please correct me if I'm wrong), the group of 'open-minded' single women going to the mikvah do so because they believe that pre-marital sex is ok as long as the laws of niddah are observed. I'm not a rabbi (oh have i failed to mention that?), so I'm not going to paskan on whether those views are in accordance with halacha.
And do I really want to judge? I think if there is something that you really want to do, you will find a way to justify what you are doing and find a way to do it. If you are a single girl and want to have sex - then you will (why is so much easier to get a man in your bed than a man ready to wed?). If you want to justify your slutty actions by saying you go to the mikvah - then go for it! (oops, did I say slutty? I dont mean to judge, but cmon!)
Isn't having pre-marital sex and going to mikvah the moral equivalent of making a bracha on a cheeseburger?
I guess sometimes we just want to satisfy both the good and bad within us.

26 comments:

The Babysitter said...

I agree with your "non judgment" remark.

G6 said...

You wonder whether people just want to satisfy both the good and the bad within themselves?
I wonder whether they are just not mocking everything frum Judaism stands for...
EVERYBODY is capable of greivous sins, but the need to validate them and fit them in to the framework of observance is in my mind plain Chutzpah.

Dave said...

First, don’t assume that the only reason to purify oneself is for pre-marital sex. There are plenty of other good reasons. For one, there’s, you know, ritual purification. Our ancestors took ritual purity very seriously. They would never have walked around impure. And I’m not talking about Temple times. Even a thousand years ago they took it more seriously than now, and, as I have said before, even single women dipped. Why do you dip your dishes? No, it has nothing to do with כשרות. It’s completely a matter of ritual purity. A second, more important, reason to dip is to allow “kissing and hugging”. I find it unfair to assume that, just because people can now kiss and hug, they will automatically jump to having sex. Some people just want to be able to hold each other, and that is halakhically impossible without first dipping. I don’t find that slutty at all, especially since halakhah has never had anything against that.

Secondly, sure, some of these people have sex. But, you know what? Many of these people are in their 30s and still single. Decades of “שומר נגיעה” have had their psychological toll on them. And they actually want to keep halakhah without going insane. Good for them. It's much better than those who simply choose to ignore the laws of נדה simply because it’s too hard or not cool. And, again, I don’t find that slutty at all. And they’re not the only ones who thought it was probably not forbidden. Pretty much every other mediæval authority other than Maimonides disagreed with his position that it was forbidden (as an instance of קדש/קדשה).

So, whether you think pre-marital sex is forbidden or not, this is certainly not the moral equivalent of eating a cheeseburger. Saying that about these people is both unfair and insensitive. Finally, you don’t need to apologize to anyone for joining a group that wants to keep halakhah. Being intolerant of these people will only drive them away, and lead to real “cheeseburger-eating”.

EndOfWorld said...

wow, I feel as though I've walked into another world. I had no idea that people did this. How did you find out about it?

Lion of Zion said...

MAIDEL:

"If you want to justify your slutty actions by saying you go to the mikvah"

i'm not condoning going to the mikvah for purposes of pre-marital sex, but why do you assume that the girls who do this are sleeping around and aren't in "committed" monogamous relationships

EndOfWorld said...

Not to open a can of worms, but if its such a committed relationship, why isnt it strong enough to withstand a small stroll under a chuppah first?

Rafi G said...

While it is wrong to do, the world is not black and white. people have urges. sometimes they cannot control them, or they find ti difficult or they dont want to.
while I would not condone it, it is not difficult to understand that even if they want to partake in the pleasures of pre-marital sex they still do not want to suffer the punishment of "kares" for the prohibitions of relations with a nidda.

Anonymous said...

end of the world, there's more involved in getting married then just wanting to. Maybe they are going to get married, just right now it's not a practical time. Like they each have one more year of college in different states. Or they can't yet afford an apartment and their parents can't support them. I'm just saying, there could be reasons.

Anonymous said...

Eat a cheeseburger...do tshuva. Have sex with a niddah..get kares. Oh yep. Same thing alright.

aml said...

I had a good friend in college who went to the mikvah b/c her boyfriend wouldn't sleep with her otherwise. It shows you how stupid women can be. And if you want to be married, you shouldn't use different schools or no money for an apartment as an excuse. There are pleanty of long distance marriages and pleanty of poor, young married folk who bunk up on mom and dad's sofa for a few semesters while they finish up school. A wedding can cost just the price of the marriage license; a competent rabbi can write up a kittubah (sp?) for free. Don't confuse with not being able to get married (because everything isn't perfect) with not wanting to get married. And by the way my stupid friend did want to marry this guy and her dumped her and became a holier than G-d cheredi.

Anonymous said...

anon 1 here- far as i know, bia while not the ideal way to do it, is actually a form of marriage, so the whole get married and live on your parents couch idea you had was more or less what these people are doing. and you really think its a good idea to get married when you are totally not ready just so you can have sex? a marriage is more than sex, part of it is being a grown up and taking care of yourself, living at home and having it be socially/halachically sanctioned to have your boyfriend sleepover once a month does not a marriage make.

aml said...

no. I think you shouldn't have sex unless you're married. I was commenting on the whole "committed relationship" thing. If you're not married and are having sex, don't confuse things and go to the mikvah. Its just mocking the mitzvah. You want to have sex- go ahead, I could care less. But don't pretend you're doing something holy by including the mikvah in your sex life.

Gila said...

As a 37 year old single woman.... motek, perhaps G-d will be nice and just send you everything you want, just like that. But I do remember being 20, and judgemental, and looking at my 30+ friends and wondering "gosh, why is she single".

Moral of the story--don't be so quick to judge. You have no idea what it is like to stand in our shoes and for all you know, G-d may have prepared a pair of shoes just like it all for you.

Gila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

im not saying mikva is not special or holy, but really, whether you like it or not going to the mikva, single or married make you not nidda and therefore makes it not karet. maybe it doesnt make it allowed or good or advisable, but why do you think people think its making their sex special and holy and marriage-like, maybe it's really just making it not punishable by karet. maybe that's enough for them right now. why is it better to have sex without mikva and get karet? if you think it doesn't "work" and its still just as big a sin, G-d will take care of it, so don't worry, and if it's a less bad sin, G-d will also take care of it, and if it's not a sin, let G-d decide that. it's G-d's problem not yours so really theres no real point in discussing anyone else, decide what you wanna do and thats it, let G-d worry about everyone else.

Maidel said...

if you can't afford a car, you ride a bus. you don't steal a car.
and you certainly can't drive without a license just because you need to get somewhere.

Maidel said...

and gila honey, believe me, i've thought about your shoes.
did you read this post?: http://materialmaidel.blogspot.com/2008/06/how-long-does-shomer-negiah-apply.html

Yehuda said...

Just to clarify what some others have said:

There is a halachic precedence system: coarsely speaking, there are things forbidden by the torah, things forbidden by the rabbis, and things that are obligatory customs.

It is only a rabbinic prohibition not to have sex before marriage. And a disputed one at that. It is a universally acknowledged torah prohibition to have sex with a woman in niddah.

It is far better to violate a rabbinic prohibition than a torah prohibition. So it is nothing at all like your comparison to a bracha and a cheeseburger.

Yehuda

Anonymous said...

As Yehuda points out, the simile is incorrect because Nidda is far more stringent, being biblical, than eating cheeseburgers. However, pre-marital sex is forbidden only by the rabbis, and because in the early middle ages this was being ignored because of the lesser prohibition leading to many unwed mothers, so the rabbinate of the time forbid singles to use mikva in hopes that the now-stricter prohibition (sex + nidda) would deter relations. It worked, for the most part, until the comparatively recent past.
The rabbinic issue now is, should the ban on singles going to mikva be removed, since it clearly is no longer working?

Maidel said...

i like my cheeseburger analogy!
it's called an analogy for a reason... it's similar to, but not exactly same.

what about the consequences of having premarital sex? even if you've come to an agreement with
G-d on the subject, you can't deny that there is a higher risk of STDs and pregnancy when you're having sex with someone you're not wed to.
http://www.reproline.jhu.edu/english/6read/6multi/tgwg/tgrh05e-01.htm

Maidel said...

ohhh... and the whole pregnancy thing....
ok, so if she's on birth control i guess you're cool.
but nothing is 100% full-proof.
so what happens when she's got a challah in the oven?
aren't abortions forbidden?
maybe you'll raise the child out of wedlock.
but what about the whole 'wasting seed' issue? isn't that kind of a big deal - a big deal that the written torah talks about?

onanothertopic said...

Obviously sex without marriage is far from ideal, even if the woman goes to mikveh. For halachic Jews this is no big chiddush.

But it amazes me how self-righteous people get about single women and mikveh. What about MARRIED women and mikveh? Because let me tell you, I've been to a lot of mikvaot, and they're just not as crowded as any given women's section, even after you make every conceivable (heh) adjustment for age, pregnancy, summer house in the Hamptons, etc..

Maidel said...

good point 'onanothertopic'.

but i'm not there yet. and ive never really discussed the topic with my married friends. maybe i should start...

Gila said...

Actually, there is a growing trend of Orthodox women (older ones, in general) having kids solo. Of course, they normally go the artificial insemination route, but if you are going to do it anyway, natural insemination is a lot more fun. :) While I do not plan on going this route myself, I think it is great that women are doing this.

STD's, etc....you know...not every unmarried woman who is having sex is doing so with a different partner every time.

As for thinking about my shoes--there is nothing like the experience of wearing them. From my own experience wearing them, the major thing I have learned is not to judge quite so harshly or quite so quickly.

onanothertopic said...

Right on, Gila. It's great if people's mainstream Ortho. dreams come true.

But what if they don't? Should people get karet? (Read: be cut off from the Jewish people and die an unnatural death?) (While being held to higher standards than married women?) Be childless?

(Lonely is another matter--although there's nothing like single & lonely, marriage is no guarantee against it).

Anonymous said...

A few points:
1. to onanothertopic, OH, common. You forgot breastfeeding. I never missed my time to mikva... and I go to shuil rarely... very rarely... but with pregnancies, breastfeeding, and eventually old age, I think I've been to shul more often. This is stam a lie on the frum world.
2. I have a relative who does this. She used to not go. Several boyfriends dropped her. Finally she met someone she likes, and is engadged. So meantime she goes to mikva. I don't approve, but its better than without...!