Sunday, November 12, 2006

navel gazing, humph!

I believe that I am bored.

Bored with food allergies, with posting about food allergies, with talking about breastfeeding, bleeding....bored, bored, bored. And yet, the urge to talk about the Democrats' power play escapes me, I do not with to discuss whether Egypt can dictate what happens to Saddam, nor do I even feel an urge to review my opinion on the MBTA's planned rate hike.

Yes, another one. Phooey on the lot of them - and that's all I've got.

Oh yes, and I'm bored with self-flagellation for being a mother with a gasp temper, and for getting annoyed with my kids. As the Man said tonight, from time to time the Eldest pulls a stunt that was tolerable when he was two (we were prepared for it then), and would be acceptable were he, say, the Toddles' age. But he's not, so we look at him as if to say, What the hell happened to you? And then we grump at him, offer him consequences, let natural consequences take their course, whatever.

This is all reasonable. I can deal, I can accept it. Thus, the ennui.

Let's talk about something else. How about taharat hamishpacha, a.k.a. the laws of Jewish family purity? Why is it that, when I go to the mikva (ritual baths), I'm supposed to pretend that I don't know anyone there? We're all women, we're all about to have a dunk in reasonably clean water, and then take our shriveled selves home to make whoopie. I know it, you know it, so if we're going to do this in a formalized fashion, why do we all look so embarrassed?

At dinner tonight, a very reasonable woman suggested that a bunch of us should get together and talk about this. Not in an academic, investigate the phenomenon kind of way, but rather as an honest acknowledgement that this is something we do which is odd, occasionally inconvenient, and even sometimes difficult. Building a language for it, she said, might make it easier to talk about.

And I bet nobody will mention cornstarch the entire evening...

11 comments:

mother in israel said...

"Why is it that, when I go to the mikva (ritual baths), I'm supposed to pretend that I don't know anyone there?"

That doesn't happen in my mikva. Everyone is friendly. Sometimes they have a party for a new bride and pass out food and ululate.

mama o' the matrices said...

That sounds really nice! And do you talk about taharat hamishpacha with friends, or is that a taboo subject?

mother in israel said...

It depends what you mean. If you're talking about going to the mikva in general, then yes. If you mean more intimate details, then only with close friends. I don't consider it a taboo subject.

Oh, and if there's something you want to discuss, feel free to email me!

mama o' the matrices said...

Thanks, I'm all set. I was just takling to a woman about to celebrate her first anniversary, who is struggling with how to formulate taharat hamishpacha for her marriage.

On the one hand, she feels like she'd be a bad Jew if she wasn't strict. On the other hand, she's miserable. What gets me is that she waited a YEAR to admit this to someone.

Apparently, she went to the yoetzet site and found queries so machmir that she felt that obviously her concerns were her problem, and the center for this practice is apparently farther right than she'd thought. Which made her feel worse.

Sigh. Women need to talk about this. We need to explain about orgasms and good sex to brides and newlyweds, we need to have a language to talk about ways to be shomer taharat hamishpacha...and on and on.

Okay, enough transliterations for one day.

joy said...

These comments led me on quite an fascinating round of googling.

mother in israel said...

Oy, what happened to the comment I thought I left last night?

I didn't really think you had a problem with TH that you wanted to discuss!

As for your friend, is her issue harchakot, seven nekiim, or something else? Has she discussed it with a rabbi? Where is her husband on the issue? Are there other issues in the marriage?

dykewife said...

this is the first i've heard about ritual baths. perhaps explaining what they're about, or some of the other rituals that you do to educate people such as myself (raised catholic now pagan) who have little idea of the type of rituals you do as a part of your practice of judaism. i know that i'd find it fascinating to learn. :)

oh, i thought as i was reading that maybe humming the viagra advertising tune might break the ice a bit. :) laughter is always a good thing.

mama o' the matrices said...

joy, dw, you are right. I'll write up a quick post with links to explain some of this stuff.

Thanks for your patience! Oh, and joy - curious to hear what google found for you...

(viagra has a theme song? Hmm. No, still not enough to make us turn the tv back on.)

mama o' the matrices said...

oh, dear me, mii - you are right. I jumped on the opportunity, not the comment. My apologies.

I'll climb on my soapbox more honestly in the post explaining this one, and not use you as an excuse, either. I'll use joy and dw, instead! heh.

But truly, I am sorry.

mother in israel said...

Not at all, I'm not so easily offended.

mother in israel said...

Let me explain again. I meant that if you don't have anyone to talk to about TH, I'm available.