Prof. Gideon Aran: The sensual dimensions of Haredi life

A literary autobiography recently published by a former yeshiva student offers a fascinating testimony to the Haredi bodily regime. With credible and precise realism, it describes the daily (and nightly) routine in the life of a fourteen year old boy during the month of Elul.

Written By Gideon Aran

Gideon Aran

Gideon Aran

The sensual dimensions of Haredi life and their characteristic tensions, such as the dissonance between the function of the mikveh as a purifying pool and its revolting look and smell are emphasized.The author is particularly sensitive to the contradiction between the aim of making the body vanish, and its increasing presence in adolescence.

For him, the intense activity devoted to repressing the body actually reinforces its presence, and the attempts at purifying apparently impure body parts only serve to charge them with a demonic potential that takes over the believer and arouses in him forbidden and guilt-inducing passions, fear, and an insufferable hatred of the body.The Haredi body collapses beneath the burden of prohibitions, and is filled to bursting point with feelings of sin.
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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