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Today: Where Do I Fit? People anonymously
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following E-Mail came to me under the
subject: What's up with the hole in
have been asked by many non Jewish
friends about a practice in which
Jewish people have sex through a hole
in a sheet. Is this an actual practice
with some Jews, or just another
example of a false Jewish stereotype?
through a hole in a sheet?"
Anybody who would hear something like
this about Jews would have to wonder
attitude toward sex is between two
extremes. Judaism rejects the extreme
of "anything goes" and also
rejects the opposite extreme that sex
is dirty or sinful. Instead Judaism
imposes numerous restrictions on
sexual relations, but also promotes
regular sex between a husband and wife
as healthy, worthy of enjoyment and a
mitzvah (an affirming commandment.)
for sex through a hole in a sheet, I
must confess I had never heard
anything like that so I began to
investigate. Tracking down information
was not easy. Ultimately, I contacted
6 different rabbis. All 6 of them said
they knew next to nothing about the
practice--FYI, 4 of the rabbis where
Orthodox. One of the Orthodox rabbis
told me he had never heard of it.
other 5 rabbis told me they had heard
some mention of this practice but that
is about it. None of the rabbis had
ever known anybody who actually
practiced "hole in the sheet
I was already on the subject, I asked
further, what would be the rational
for this kind of sex? None of the
rabbis knew. One guessed that it might
have something to do with modesty or
"tziniyut" since sex in the
dark or at night is encouraged by some
sources for modesty reasons. Another
rabbi thought it might be some form of
"negiah" taken to the nth
degree. Negiah is a part of Jewish
tradition that prohibits physical
contact between a husband and wife if
she is menstruating.
of the rabbis told me that in their
opinion, this alleged sheet practice
would actually be a violation of
Jewish law! One told me that Jewish
law encourages full contact between a
husband and a wife and even grants the
wife permission to request full body
contact...a sheet in the way would
obviously cause a problem!
to add a little (more) humor to this
mystery, one rabbi told me that he
speculated that this rumor may be a
result of non-Jews seeing tzitzit
hanging from the clothesline and
assuming it was a sheet with a hole in
it. (Tzitzit are the undershirt like
garments with fringes on the four
corners that many observant Jewish men
wear beneath their shirt.)
number sixth I spoke to had the most
plausible explanation to me. After
racking his brain he called me back to
say that perhaps the rumor comes from
a little known Jewish divorce law that
speaks of a spouse willing to have sex
only through a sheet. This is
considered so bad, that the other
partner can cite "the sheet"
as grounds for divorce--with no
financial remuneration! In other words
the law condemns such behavior.
conclusion, apparently having sex
through a sheet is not practiced by
Jews and indeed is a false stereotype.
I am amazed that you say you have been
asked about this practice by
"many" non-Jews since all 6
of the rabbis barely knew what I was
talking about when I asked them.
Things in the rumor mill about what we
Jews do must be getting pretty slow!
anybody out there can shed any more
light on this subject, I welcome your
E-mails. I suppose now I will receive
all kinds of mail with questions and
comments on the subject of Judaism and
sex. I am sure, I won't be bored!
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© Copyright Gil Mann
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