There was an very interesting article in the New York Times last month called “The Orthodox Sex Guru” that examined the life of Bat Sheva Marcus, an Orthodox Jewish Sex Counselor.
Yes, you can be a religious person, but also be sexual!
In Judaism, sex is not only a physical act of procreation, but also of love and intimacy between two people within the larger framework of personal spirituality and G-dliness in the home.
Judaism teaches that sexual relations is a holy act and a “blessing, a union full of Shekinah, of G-d’s light.” In this holiness, husband and wife, as true soulmates and beloveds, live each one for the other, and always together with Hashem.
Part of this special relationship entails women maintaining a spiritual modesty by physically covering up their femininity and behaving with propriety, especially in mixed company.
Of course, men need to behave with sexual rectitude as well (although just not as often–just kidding).
The article describes however that with extreme chastity perhaps, some people may become constrained in their sexuality and develop almost a type of “sexual aversion,” rather than healthfully being able to experience the natural joy of love that G-d provided for us.
In terms of proper modesty, there is a beautiful story recounted, as follows:
One time, when the Jews were being persecuted by the Cossacks, there was a Jewish girl that was to be “roped to a horse and dragged through the streets” to death.
But before the verdict was to be executed, “she manages to pin or sew her skirt to her lower legs, stitching fabric to flesh,” so that she could maintain her modesty even under these unbelievably tortuous conditions.
It is an amazing story to think how someone about to face such a cruel and horrible edict could still think about maintaining their modesty and dignity in the face of such horror.
Whether you cover yourself with a tichel (headscarf), a sheitel (wig) or everyday hat, dress modestly, and act with decency, the point is to remember that we are G-d’s children and are to behave in a manner befitting soulful beings, and not mere animals.
We can experience the love and joy between people, and do it with devotion for each other and in spiritual connection to the Almighty. 😉
(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)