web analytics
March 27, 2015 / 7 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Individuality And Commonality

A time frame of separation is mandated to foster individuality even as the coming together fosters commonalty
Intimacy

Intimacy

Why is there a time of physical separation between husband and wife every month – a law found in this week’s Torah portion?

Perhaps the separation points to a difference between Jewish and fundamentalist Christian approaches to sexuality. In Christianity the basic purpose of sex is procreation. In Judaism, as important as procreation may be, marital pleasure as an expression of deep love is even more important. Note the words of Ramban: “Speak words which arouse her to passion, union, love, desire and eros” (Epistle of Holiness). Of course, such words and actions should be reciprocated by wife to husband.

It may be suggested that a time frame of separation is mandated to heighten the physical encounter. A kind of pause that refreshes, allowing for the love encounter between husband and wife to be more wholesome, more beautiful.

Rambam in his commentary to the Mishnah (Avot 1:16) wrote about love between husband and wife as empathetic friendship, a camaraderie involving a caring responsiveness, a sharing of innermost feelings – a relationship of emotional rapport rooted in faith and confidence.

Here again, a time frame of separation may be mandated to make sure that spouses can relate in ways other than physical, and then transfer those feelings to the physical realm when permitted.

One last approach. In many ways love is not only holding on, but also letting go. To be sure, love involves embracing the other, but in the same breath it allows the other to realize his or her potential. This is the great challenge of harmonization. How can I be one with you while letting you be who you are? On the other hand, how can you be who you are without our becoming distant and alienated from each other?

This could be the meaning of ezer k’negdo (Genesis 2:18), which Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik understands as Adam’s “discovery of a companion who even though as unique and singular as he, will master the art of communicating and with him form a community.” (Lonely Man of Faith, p.26)

Therefore a time frame of separation is mandated to foster individuality even as the coming together fosters commonalty. Each is stressed in the hope that it will spill over and become part of the other and forge a balance.

These rationales do not explain why the separation takes place at the time of niddah or why immersion in a mikveh is crucial for purification, but they may offer some understanding of why the Torah sees the separation as a conduit to enhancing love between husband and wife.

About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Individuality And Commonality”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Republican Sen. Kirk at Senate debate on pro-sanctions amendment.
Senate Warns Obama by 100-0 Vote for Pro-Sanctions Amendment
Latest Judaism Stories
Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

Daf-Yomi-logo

Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
(Kesubos 52b)

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Yachatz is not mentioned in the Gemara. What is the foundation for yachatz?

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

How was I going to get to Manhattan? No cabs were going, we didn’t have a car, and many people who did have cars had no gas.

Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?

Why does Torah make the priests go through a long and seemingly bizarre induction ceremony?

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

You smuggled tefillin into the camp? How can they help? Every day men risked their lives to use them

Rambam: Eating blood’s forbidden because connected to idolatry;Ramban: We’re affected by what we eat

Rambam warns that a festival meal without taking care of the needy isn’t fulfilling simchat yom tov

Nothing beats some preparation to make it a memorable Seder!

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

Rabbi Avi Weiss

“Adam” speaks to the universal dimension of the Temple. He is the parent of all humankind.

Perhaps the greatest manifestation of human creativity in the Torah is the building of the Mishkan

In holy places it’s important to maintain a level of silence permitting people to dialogue with God

A 3rd option: No demarcation between bein adam laMakom & bein adam lechaveiro; they’re complementary

The truth is that a mitzvah may not be the result of belief but rather the means to come to believe.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/individuality-and-commonality/2014/04/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: