Sex as Sport
come Religion and the Law became involved in sex? In any case,
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was brave enough to deal with the subject
of sexual activities in his recent book which is reviewed
by Linda Dangoor-Khalastchi
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
218 pp. £9.95
"Kosher Sex" a clever title or food for thought? When I asked
a good friend of mine (who is a learned and devout Jew), this
question, his prompt answer was "a clever title! Now, whether
his opinion has been slightly coloured by the controversies
surrounding Shmuley Boteach, I really do not know, but he
proceeded to say that the book was too superficial and that
each subject that Boteach deals with deserves to be a book
in its own right.
perhaps. But, politics apart, Shmuley Boteach who is a director
of the L'Chaim Society, an educational organisation in Oxford,
Cambridge and London, has succeeded in producing a very dynamic
and informative book and... a lot of publicity. Drawing on
Jewish wisdom and common sense, his book which took him a
year to write, breaks down sexual taboos and superstitions
by the use of a good dose of psychology and humour.
Sex consists of five chapters each with very direct, if slightly
sensational, subheadings (or slogans in some cases) such as:
Is Oral Sex Wrong? Is there a Kosher Kama Sutra? Married People
and Masturbation. Orthodox Sex, a hole in a sheet? And Does
size matter? To name but a few.
clever way to attract our attention, you might say. And why
not? Unlike the shallow Tabloid Press which uses the same
techniques, Boteach delivers. He deals with all the possible
permutations of thoughts and feelings that one might have
concerning the subject. And, although I do not necessarily
agree with everything he writes, I must hand it to him for
trying to answer some very tricky questions.
Love and Lust he says "Whereas love is about wanting to
draw closer to someone, lust is about wanting to possess someone....
Love is about sharing, while lust is about taking."
the subject of the Orthodox Jewish (perhaps Ashkenazi) way
of making love with a sheet separating the couple, save for
a small hole in the middle, Boteach clarifies that Jewish
Law does not mandate that a sheet be used, "... it even
wouldn't allow it if the couple desired it out of a misguided
sense of piety. The ancient Rabbis do not allow any articles
of clothing to be worn during love making... it must be done
without a stitch of clothing so that there is no barrier to
the intimacy which the couple achieve.
Boteach does not explain how and from where this "myth" originated.
Should he know the answer, the Scribe would be very happy
to publish it.
what about pornography, sex for single people, making love
in the dark, marrying early in life, becoming desirable again,
marriage and divorce? You have to read the book....
the sensitive subject of divorce, he writes "In this respect,
I treat divorce like the decision not to resuscitate a dying
patient because their quality of life has deteriorated too
far amidst incessant pain." For Boteach, this is a thorny
subject, being himself, the product of a broken home which
"heightened my insecurities and left me feeling that nothing
in life really works. Strong words. Such open and direct descriptions
of his vulnerable side is very touching and that a rabbi should
be courageous enough to talk so freely about his feelings
makes the book compelling. Boteach does not preach. He talks
like a therapist of counsellor and uses the language of today
and the techniques of the media to reach his audience.
who think that Kosher Sex only concerns Judaism or Jews are
wrong. It is for everyone. Boteach explains: "While I am
a Rabbi and this book does contain the word 'Kosher' in its
title, it is not a book that draws only on Jewish sources
and wisdom. Less so is it a book meant only for Jews. Rather,
the essentially Jewish grounding of the book derives from
Judaism's unique qualifications to discuss both sex and relationships."
book to read.
Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait. (If only the
young had the knowledge, if only the old had the ability).
Nowadays, knowledge is well within the reach of the young,
and Viagra is giving ability to men of all ages.
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