In relation to the body, as with other matters, the Haredim move back and forth between two polar options, both of them obsessive. On the one hand, they eliminate the presence of the body in public and private discourse. In its place a vacuum is formed, a secret. On the other hand, they treat the body in a coarse, technical, stringent and particularly assertive way.
Written By Prof. Gideon Aran
There are notable Haredi silences about the sexual body that contribute to heightening the tension around it. However, the Haredim have produced an abundance of methodical texts concerning this issue, which eradicate any shred of mystique, and deprive the body and sex of all connotations of the sublime often attributed to them in other cultures. Sometimes, it is in exactly those places where silence would seem to be most fitting that it is aggressively shattered by pointed prose.
This dissonance between the delicacy of the subject and the crudeness of its treatment can be found in the countless pamphlets, books, newsletters and even handwritten notes that also demonstrate the sharp shift from total dumbness to an overwhelming flow of words. From the profusion of normative-ritualistic texts relating to sex, take, for example, a rabbinical instruction manual, a prevalent genre in the Haredi world, in fact a kind of Ten Commandments for the young Haredi man’s first sexual experience.
This semi-formal educational and supervisory text is delivered to yeshiva boys before their wedding ceremony. Below is a partial quote from “The Groom’s Behavior on the First Night”. This authentic document provides insights into perceptions of the Haredi body and its management.
Taken from “Denial Does Not Make The Haredi Body Go Away Ethnography of a Disappearing (?) Jewish Phenomenon”, By Prof. Gideon Aran.