Judaism and Marriage

On the public side of things, you haven’t had a hint of discord from me in few days.  On the protected side, I’ve shared a few (ha) issues that have opened another can of animosity between Brian and I.  Long story short, we’ve been fighting again.  World without freakin’ end, amen.  As if this ‘marriage’ is real, anyhow – which it is NOT, marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and His Bride, and my husband doesn’t give a SHIT about Christ OR His Bride, so what a bloody shambles this charade is.  Which pixxes me off, because:

  • a) I invited the state into my affairs by getting a marriage license, and
  • b)  I freakin’ HATE the state’s regulations for divorce that are now mandatory upon my person because I was stOOpid and equated the license as a requisite and not an option, and
  • c)  I was also married in a stOOpid church which I don’t even BELIEVE in anymore, so I’m bound by some retarded religious tradition on top of legal bullshit.  It’s enough to make you want to scream.

Not that it matters.  We just go the cycle, over and over.  He screws me over until I finally get mad, we fight, he pretends to not know what the problem is, I want to leave him AGAIN, he feigns ‘enlightenment’ towards the problem, I withdraw, he makes empty promises, I call him a liar, he assures me he’ll do better (whatever THAT means), I go independant, he gets as in-my-face as possible to be included, he kisses ass for three to seven days, I carry on as I always do because that’s what I do, he starts to feel like he’s winning, I cool down, he teases and jokes in his smug sureness that things are diffusing, I smile and warm up to him against my better judgment, he figures he ‘fixed’ everything and that we’re back to ‘normal’ and then goes back to screwing me.  Rinse and repeat three to six months later.

We’re in the 3-7 day ass kissing thang right now.  Let’s not talk about it.  We all know I’m not going anywhere.  I stayed with my mother through THE worst emotional abuse known to man, it stands to reason I’m going to sit here and let my husband destroy me and my children.  So just ignore the emo blonde.  This is my life.  I swore I wouldn’t end up like his mom, sitting at the kitchen table crying like that, and here I am.  Lovely.  Same damn spot, same damn troubles… and he’d promised me he wouldn’t be like his dad.  Liar.

So anyhow, in my ‘independant’ phase of the cycle, I thought I’d do some research on Judaism’s take on marriage.  Since that’s closer to Truth, anyhow, right?  And because although it’s too damn late for me and I’m stuck here in this loveless bullshit for the rest of my stinkin’ life whether I want it or not, I’m ALL ABOUT saving my kids from the same fate, if at all possible.  So it’s research time.

FINDING #1 – According to the Talmud, Rav Yehuda taught that 40 days before a male child is conceived, a voice from heaven announces whose daughter he is going to marry, literally a match made in heaven! In Yiddish, this perfect match is called “bashert,” a word meaning fate or destiny. The word “bashert” can be used to refer to any kind of fortuitous good match, such as finding the perfect job or the perfect house, but it is usually used to refer to one’s soul mate.  (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  Well, isn’t THAT interesting.  What I call “The One” actually has a Hebrew word – Bashert.  Wow.  Who knew?

 Y’know, Ev would smile at this (if she were reading). We both had this thing going when we were teens that we thought G-d should stamp the guy’s name on our head at birth and save us a lot of trouble.  “Your name is Ed?  Sorry, Ed, I’m supposed to marry a Hugh.  Got any friends named Hugh?”  ((okay, so it was silly.  Teens usually are.))  It would’ve been useful, though, don’tcha think?  It seems almost hokey to think that a voice in Heaven announces your mate, but honestly, it’s not like He doesn’t KNOW, y’know?

FINDING #2 – The Talmud teaches that, originally man and woman were created as a single being. According to tradition, Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day of creation as Siamese twins. G-d then separated the two forming Eve from Adam’s side. Thus, man and woman i.e. husband and wife began as a single entity. Togetherness is their natural state. Their love stems from this natural tendency to be one. Our sages tell us that prior to the marriage neither man nor woman is considered a complete entity. The marriage is the joining of the two halves – man and woman – into one complete wholesome being.  (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  While I have a hard time with the Siamese twin thing, I can totally see man and woman as a single entity, because both are reflections of Yah.  And it explains Genesis 1:27, which has always ‘seemed’ to contradict Gen 2: 21-22.  It also goes with this:

FINDING #3 – Marriage is vitally important in Judaism. Refraining from marriage is not considered holy, as it is in some other religions. On the contrary, it is considered unnatural. …Marriage is not solely, or even primarily, for the purpose of procreation. Traditional sources recognize that companionship, love and intimacy are the primary purposes of marriage, noting that woman was created in Gen. 2:18 because “it is not good for man to be alone,” rather than because she was necessary for procreation.  (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  This seems to go against what Paul wrote about he would rather people remain single like him, but it was better for a person to marry than to burn (with desire).  OTOH, I’ve always held that the way Paul wrote it, he was giving his opinion, and not contradicting scripture.  I’ve read that Paul, himself, had been married at one time.  Anyhow, to marry so you can have kids is NOT the goal.  The woman is not a baby-making machine, she’s your partner.  Something my asshole really needs to learn, because to his mind, I’m his accountant, maid, cook, go-fer, nanny, teacher, spiritual guru, babymaker and more… that’s NOT how it’s supposed to be.

FINDING #4 – In Hebrew, the word for man – “ish” – and the word for woman – “isha” – are each written with three letters. Two of the letters in each word – “aleph” & “shin” – are identical. The remaining two letters “hey” & “yud” – together represent G-d’s name. Thus, the Talmud explains that when a man and woman live together harmoniously they invite G-d’s presence into their marriage. (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  Well, THAT is really kewl!  I need to cut that out and tape it in Genesis, because that’s fantastic.  Only you’re kinda screwed if you marry a nonnie… because then you’ve got two matching letters, but Yah is nowhere to be found…

FINDING #5 – Rashi observes: Why was it not good that man be alone? “…so that [people] should not say that there are two authorities: the Holy One, Blessed is He, is unique in the higher realms, and he has no mate; and this one, man, is unique in the lower realms, and he has no mate.” Rashi’s statement makes clear that Adam needs a partner to remind him of the fact that he is not a god, and to prevent him from considering himself as complete as his Maker. God creates Eve for this job. Thus, Adam and Eve are connected from the start. First woman has much in common with first man, so much so that their relationship can be a great pleasure. Nonetheless, Eve differs in fundamental ways – physically, emotionally and spiritually. She offers Adam things he does not have – and he does the same for her. As a team, Adam and Eve each need what the other offers. Neither is complete alone. This interdependence effectively prevents any notion of perfection, and provokes Adam and Eve to reach out, connect to and hopefully bring into the world a Divine presence that is the ultimate Source of perfection.  (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  Okay, so I rankle at this, but I *do* accept that it’s true.  There are things I just defer to Brian on.  Like fixing the car, killing the snakes… that kind of thing.  I look at an engine and go completely blank, dude.  I know that.  Men have their place.  But the point isn’t that, it’s that men have their responsibilities, too, hello…

FINDING #6-   Once kiddushin (the proposal) is complete, the woman is legally the wife of the man. The relationship created by kiddushin can only be dissolved by death or divorce. However, the spouses do not live together at that time, and the mutual obligations created by the marital relationship do not take effect until the nisuin is complete. (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  That’s kewl, too.  It surely would’ve solved ALL of my problems if my parents had raised me to see kiddushin as a pre-marital binded state that could not be undone… instead of the ‘post dating’ unbound state where you can just walk.  Wha… hindsight, there again…

FINDING #7 –  …the two fathers lead a procession of the bridegroom and male guests into the bride’s chamber for the badekan (veiling) ceremony. This custom comes from the biblical story of Jacob, who worked for seven years to marry Rachel, only to discover her father had substituted the older, blind Leah, under heavy veiling. Bridegrooms still come to look at their bride before the ceremony and actually place the face veil over her.  (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  And what IS up with that stOOpid chrischun tradition of NOT seeing the bride before the ceremony?  This makes WAY more sense, and is really more intimate, y’know?

FINDING #8 – The wedding ceremony takes place under the open sky, recalling the blessing of G-d to Abraham that his seed be as numerous as the stars. The Chupah is reminiscent of Ruth’s saying to Boaz “spread your robe over your handmaid.” It also represents the desire that their home be under the protection and guidance of G-d Al-mighty.  (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe: I wondered about the meaning behind the Chupah… and I love the idea of having it out under the sky… which runs SO contrary to the ‘chrischun’ church wedding… HA!  ((<<< Anna being snarky))

FINDING #9 –  The bride and groom stand beneath the chuppah, They are accompanied by their parents whom they will continue to honor.
aNNa’S NoTe:  To me, this is HUGE.  Personally, I think the fathers should ‘officiate’, as it were.  Instead of a priest or whatever.  Which means my kids are screwed, because Brian wouldn’t officiate a freakin’ shabbat feast (he did once under duress because we were fighting and he was in ass-kissing mode), let alone a public ceremony.  Life sucks.

FINDING # 10- This is the process where the bride circles around the groom 7 times. This is not to be taken as demeaning to the woman. It shows that he is now the center of her life. This is not to be taken as a magical means of protection of creating an invisible wall to protect him from evil spirits, from the glances of other women and from the temptations of the world. Rather it is the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:22 “For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth– a woman shall encompass a man.” It is a demonstration of the shift of her allegiance from her parents to that of her husband. It is the restoration of patriarchy and it is good that while the woman circles round the man, the man should “circle” around God by reciting the 7 blessings. Thus God is the center of the man, while the man is the center of the woman.  (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  I see the 7 rotations as indicating ‘completion’… the woman completes the man, becoming his other half, no?  Yknow I still have issues with the woman NOT being under Yah as an equal, but we won’t go there today.  Not today, Anna…

FINDING #11 … a woman is acquired (i.e., to be a wife) in three ways: through money, a contract, and sexual intercourse. Ordinarily, all three of these conditions are satisfied, although only one is necessary to effect a binding marriage.  (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  The money is in the form of a ring he gives her.  The contract is the Ketubah – NOT a marriage license.  And sex is… well, consummation, eh?  But only one of those is necessary… ironically, it’s the money.  Ha.

FINDING #12 – A Kosher Jewish wedding may consist of the following: the bride accepts an object worth more than a dime from the groom, the groom recites a ritual formula of acquisition and consecration. These two acts are witnessed, and that is it. Everything else is a custom: the canopy (chuppah), the seven wedding blessings, the breaking of a glass and even the presence of a Rabbi.  (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  There it is: the money (ring or whatever) and a promise… in my findings known as the Ketubah.  Everything else – EVEN THE PASTOR – is just custom, not required.  So basically, if my child wishes to marry (and BTW, the Jewish age is as early as 12 years old, but more typically between 18 and 24), then we just invite the people we wish to include, find a nice place to have it (the beach, the woods, a riverbank, whatever), and have a small ceremony in which he gives her a ring, and a Ketubah is presented and read.  We could include a Chuppah and the blessings or whatever we’d like, but no state, no church, just witnesses and a contract with payment before Yahweh.

FINDING #13- The ketubah spells out the husband’s obligations to the wife during marriage, conditions of inheritance upon his death, and obligations regarding the support of children of the marriage. It also provides for the wife’s support in the event of divorce. There are standard conditions; however, additional conditions can be included by mutual agreement.(Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  Wow, this would be worth WAY more than a stOOpid marriage license.  It spells out what happens.  I’d have it done twice over – once as a will (notarized and witnessed) and once fancy to be framed on the wall.  They have REALLY fancy ones, you know.  And I know someone said that if you don’t have a marriage license, you have tax issues and social security issues and power of attorney issues and inheirtance issues and insurance issues.  Frankly, I don’t see that.  Just file taxes separately, collecte SS separately (you can’t expect it at this point, anyhow), each person has a will stating power of attorney, executor of estate, and inheritances… the only problem I see is medical.  And I’m beginning to wonder just how relevant THAT is going to be in the near future.

FINDING #14 – Every legal procedure in Jewish life is confirmed by at least two “kosher” witnesses. These witnesses can under no circumstances be of the immediate family or even distant relatives to the participating parties. All Jewish documents must bear the signatures of two kosher witnesses.  (Link here.)
aNNa’S NoTe: Okay, so it’s not exactly LEGAL in the state-accepted way, but since LEGAL means ‘of the Law’ and the Scripture is THE Law, then it fits.  Better than otherwise, if’n y’ask me.

FINDING# 15- After the ceremony the bride and groom adjourn to a private room. This procedure is witnessed by the same two exclusive witnesses who were designated at the time when the ring was placed on the Kallah’s finger under the Chupah. The few minutes the couple share together allude to their new intimate relationship and emphasizes that their absolute privacy be respected. …Because of this brief seclusion, Jewish weddings usually do not have receiving lines..  (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  This is a really nice idea.  Wouldn’t it be nice to just stop and unwind in the middle of the biggest, most monumentous occassion of your life (since bat/bar mitvah?)  I could’ve used this, THAT’s for sure.  A good twenty minutes, while people were setting up the potluck.  Because in my next marriage, there won’t be wedding gifts, there’ll just be people bringing potluck items as their ‘gifts’ – to spare me the expense of catering (and them the expense of something we don’t need/want).

FINDING #12 – The meal is begun with a blessing over a wedding challah (a large braided loaf of egg-rich bread). This blessing may be led by the bride and groom. The bridal couple may then bring a piece of challah to each table. This may allow them to greet their guests.
aNNa’S NoTe:  Well, now, this almost sounds like you start the married life by having communion with them.  That is SUCH A KEWL IDEA, did you know that?!  What a better way to start out your married life?  Damn, but the ‘c’hurch should’ve come up with that.  ((Catholics probably do it, they re-crucify Christ any chance they get, rotten bastards…))  Still, I think that’s phenomenal, don’t you?!

FINDING #17 – Jewish intimacy contains the highest potential for spirituality, as a means through which a married couple expresses their holiness. At its highest the sexual union in a Jewish marriage brings holiness beyond the household, into the world at large. This happens through the spiritual, emotional and physical bond of husband and wife.  (Link here)
aNNa’S NoTe:  Yeah, that’s assuming there IS a spiritual, and emotional bond of husband and wife.  I don’t want to talk about it.  I’m just gonna do my little research and pray for something better fro my kids.

Ironically, I was married in a Jewish Wedding ceremony.  About fifteen times.  No crap – lifted up and carried around on a chair, smashing the glass, under the Chuppah… the works.  I was Tzietel in Fiddler on the Roof.  At the time I didn’t have a CLUE what all of that meant… it was just blocking, acting, and cues.  But now I know… and I can see how this is far more meaningful and interesting than the ‘c’hristian counterpart.   Isn’t it KEWL to learn new stuff?  Almost makes this hell called life worth living…

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