By Sharon Faye Koren
This e-book addresses a valuable query within the learn of Jewish mysticism within the medieval and early smooth sessions: why are there no recognized lady mystics in medieval Judaism, in contrast to contemporaneous pursuits in Christianity and Islam? Sharon Faye Koren demonstrates that the male rejection of girl mystical aspirations relies in deeply rooted attitudes towards corporeality and formality purity. particularly, medieval Jewish male mystics more and more emphasised that the altering states of the feminine physique among ritual purity and impurity disqualified ladies from the hunt for mystical reference to God.
Offering a provocative examine premodern rabbinical perspectives of the feminine physique and their ramifications for women’s non secular improvement, Koren compares Jewish perspectives with medieval Christian and Muslim perspectives of either woman menstruation and the potential for girl mystical adventure.
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Extra resources for Forsaken: The Menstruant in Medieval Jewish Mysticism
33 Hekhalot mystics, by contrast, imposed the purity requirements of the Temple cult upon the heavenly realm and barred the ejaculant from mystical activity because he was ritually impure. All of the possible rabbinic definitions of ba al qeri are found in Hekhalot literature. 35 The addition of the phrase “even during the day” indicates that the text refers to both nocturnal emissions and to conscious ejaculation. The prescribed period of isolation from seminal pollution varies in the Hekhalot materials.
Does it mean mystical practice? May these virtuous men follow Ishmael’s example and enter the celestial realm while living, or must they wait until after death? Rabbi Ishmael clears up this confusion in a subsequent statement, explaining that the secrets of Torah will be granted to men who observe the laws of niddah. 81 This statement therefore introduces a preparatory ritual neglected in most Hekhalot techniques. According to the BdN, scriptural secrets, a veiled allusion to mystical knowledge, may only be achieved by strict isolation from the niddah.
The authors of the traditions in the BdN, like the authors of Hekhalot literature, were trying to discover a viable spiritual solution to a Judaism without a Temple. The rabbis had their Talmud. But the authors of the BdN and Hekhalot materials were “ambivalent” toward rabbinic halakhah. They did not sublimate Temple cult symbols, but enlarged upon them, making the Temple and the Torah the essential aspects of religious life. Indeed, traditions in the BdN focus on priestly contact with menstruants, offer anecdotes about high priests, and endow Jewish ritual objects with sacred status.
Forsaken: The Menstruant in Medieval Jewish Mysticism by Sharon Faye Koren