Teachings: Menstruation

Walking in Torah through Feminist Eyes - Part I

Note: The Torah portion known as Vayeitzei, includes Gen 31:19 contains a word the meaning of which scholars continue to puzzle over, "teraphaim." That is one of two mysteries we ponder in this piece. The other is that Torah reveals Jacob to have one daughter, Dina, yet Gen.14:15 speaks of Jacob's "sons and daughters."

Ritual of Welcoming Bodily Change

What ritual cues might we draw upon in our tradition to help a child move intelligently into the body of a young adult with appreciation for the holiness and health of his or her body, mind and spirit? There was a European custom in many religious communities of a mother slapping a girl upon the arrival of her first period; some say that upon bringing blood to her daughter's cheek, the mother would then give her a blessing for health and fertility and a warning to guard her "gates" against premarital entry. This transition is far too significant a life marker to leave untouched or to be so addressed in our times. Some have tried creating women's circles to induct daughters into the mysteries of the body, but some find this uncomfortable. Let us imagine an alternative scenario. You are a female and:

Ritual of Welcoming Bodily Change

What ritual cues might we draw upon in our tradition to help a child move intelligently into the body of a young adult with appreciation for the holiness and health of his or her body, mind and spirit? There was a European custom in many religious communities of a mother slapping a girl upon the arrival of her first period; some say that upon bringing blood to her daughter's cheek, the mother would then give her a blessing for health and fertility and a warning to guard her "gates" against premarital entry. This transition is far too significant a life marker to leave untouched or to be so addressed in our times. Some have tried creating women's circles to induct daughters into the mysteries of the body, but some find this uncomfortable. Let us imagine an alternative scenario. You are a female and: