Haredi Body Culture Has a Rich Repertoire Of Indirect

As in other puritanical cultures, Haredi body culture has a rich repertoire of indirect and suggestive expressions for talking about intimate issues or areas, which can nonetheless be interpreted as sharp and serious.

Written By Gideon Aran

Some expressions for parts of the body appear in code, usually taken from religious sources. For instance, pubic hair is nicknamed “the lower beard”, which sounds comical, though the expression actually comes from the Babylonian Talmud. And how could we neglect to mention the common epithets for the penis, in a secret language of Kabbalists and euphemism.

An outsider could not guess that “sinew” is a synonym for “penis”. There is a wide range of expressions for describing the penis, most of them rich with traditional meanings, such as “keystone” (even ha’rasha). The most common name for the penis is “the organ” (ever). With the cheeky smile of one skirting the edge of the legitimate, young Haredim repeatedly quote from the Mishna: “There is a small organ in man which satisfies him when in hunger, and makes him hungry when satisfied.”

Taken from “Denial Does Not Make The Haredi Body Go Away Ethnography of a Disappearing (?) Jewish Phenomenon”, By Prof. Gideon Aran.

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