Notes for Religious Studies 369:
Introduction to Judaism
The Jewish Home
- Centrality of the family as a religious setting.
- Division of gender roles: Are they defined by the religion, or is the religion merely regulating an existing reality?
--> Should the religious norms change to respond to changed realities?
--> Can change in roles and status be achieved without threatening the viability of the family?
- Jewish law commands and defines honour due to parents and to spouses.
Rolled parchment for a Mezuzah
- Mezuzah: Requirement to place Torah passages on the doorposts of the house.
...You shall write them on the door-posts of your house, and on your gates.
- Meals as religious activities: The Talmud compares the table to the altar.
Blessings recited before each type of food--acknowledging that God is the source of sustenance.
Grace after meals: Expresses thanks to God for providing sustenance to all creatures; for the land; for Jerusalem and the Temple; for general favours.
A Mikvah (purification bath)
- Sex life and family purity: Jewish tradition encourages sex in marriage not only for procreation.
Biblical law forbids sexual relations for a week following onset of menstrual period. According to the Talmud, the women extended the prohibition to the week following the end of the period.
At the conclusion of the forbidden time, the woman immerses in a purification bath (mikvah) and the couple may resume their marital relations.
Ambivalent modern attitudes towards impurity rules.