Love, Marriage, and Family in Jewish Law and Tradition


The author presents a complete guide to Jewish courtship, the Jewish wedding, marriage, sexuality, and childrearing. He examines the advice given by Jewish sages on how to find a mate, what to look for in a spouse, the keys to a successful marriage, and the fundamentals of Jewish sexual ethics and behavior. He concludes with an investigation of the Jewish teachings on parenting and family life, emphasizing that it is not the synagogue that is the central institution of Jewish ...
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Love, Marriage, and Family in Jewish Law and Tradition

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The author presents a complete guide to Jewish courtship, the Jewish wedding, marriage, sexuality, and childrearing. He examines the advice given by Jewish sages on how to find a mate, what to look for in a spouse, the keys to a successful marriage, and the fundamentals of Jewish sexual ethics and behavior. He concludes with an investigation of the Jewish teachings on parenting and family life, emphasizing that it is not the synagogue that is the central institution of Jewish life, but rather the home.
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Editorial Reviews

A comprehensive exploration of love, marriage, and human sexuality as viewed by Jewish tradition, presenting the richness and profundity of Jewish wisdom regarding human relationships. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568218847
  • Publisher: Aronson, Jason Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/1996
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Kaufman

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Rabbi Nachman Bulman
Jewish Values for Our Time
I. Marriage: A Jewish Duty
Procreation, the Fundamental Biblical Command
God's Partner in Creation
The Marital State: The Norm of Jewish Life
A MaleIs Not a Man
A State of Wholeness
Marriage as Optimal for the Woman
Fulfillment through Marriage
The Single State as the Selfish State
Judaism and the Single Man
2. Whom one may - And May Not - Marry
Judaism's Marriage Taboos
What's Wrong with Intermarriage?
"Liberalized" Marriages, Divorces, Conversions
A Deepening Division within the Jewish Community
Nonhalachic Conversions
Nonhalachic Divorces
The Mamzer
Marriage and Divorce - For the Specialists
Marriages Forbidden to a Man by Jewish Law
Marriages Forbidden to a Woman by Jewish Law
Marriages Permitted to a Man among His Relatives
Marriages Permitted to a Woman among Her Relatives
3. Choosing the Right Mate
The Big Gamble: Society's Guide for Finding a Marriage Partner
Making a Good Match: Like Splitting the Red Sea
Career versus Early Marriage
Beginning the Search
A Woman of Valor
The Place of Beauty
The Importance of Religious Observance
How Important is the Partner's Family?
Looking at Close Relatives
The Quiet Family
Three Vital Traits in a Mate
What about the Convert?
Hesed in a Woman
In the Footsteps of the Matriarchs
Why Modesty is Desirable
Torah Study: How Essential Is It?
The Desirable Son-in-Law
A Scholarly Match
Why Not Marry for Money?
The Charm that Captivates
The Wise and Worthy Wife
Age Difference
Comparative Accomplishments
The Asset of Charitableness
Avoiding Certain Negative Traits
Too Much Talk
The Quality of Truth
Frugality and Indulgence
Avoid the Worrier
What Kind of Partner Will He/She Make?
Predicting His/Her Future Behavior
In Times of Crises and Joy
Self-Esteem - A Desirable Trait
Derech Eretz - A Composite Personality Trait
The Traditional Jewish Way to Meet a Mate
The Shadchan as Catalyst
A Jewish Mating System that Works
Nurturing Genuine Affection
The Most Important Decision of a Lifetime
4. The Jewish Idea of Love
Love as the Jewish Formula for Peace
Love as the Basis of the Torah
Different Expressions of Love
The Supreme Virtue - Love of God
Man Loves God Best When He Loves His Fellow Best
God's Image
Love is More Than an Emotion
Putting Hesed into Practice
The Nature of Romantic Love
The Source of Popular Ideas on Love
Romantic Literature: The Celebration of Illicit Love
Idealization: Transforming Desire into Love
Self-Love: The Basis of Romantic Love
The Impermanence of Romantic Love
How to Create an Enduring Love
The Components of Ideal Love
Loving Your Spouse as Yourself
The Oneness of Love
How to Have a Happy Marriage
Giving, the Key to a Successful Marriage
Why Marriages Fail - And How to Do Something about It
True Love: More Than Yesterday, Less Than Tomorrow
5. Judaism and Spirituality
Harmonizing the Spiritual and the Biological
The Jewish Idea - To Sanctify Everyday Life
Attaining Holiness through Proper Behavior
Abjuring Illicit Relations: Sanctifying Licit Ones
The Reward for Moral Sexual Behavior
Conjugal Relations - Sacred When Pure
Human Oneness as the Way to Attain Unity with God
Use of the Term "Knowledge" in the Torah
Knowledge as a Metaphor for Understanding God
Sexual Imagery in the Bible
Bride and Groom: Allegorical Symbols for Israel and God
Israel's Betrothal to the Torah
The Marriage Allegory in Sacred Jewish Institutions
The Torah as a Guide for Practical Living
6. Jewish Sexual Ethics - From Animalization to Humanization
The Mark of the Maker
The Dual Nature of the Sexual Drive
Humanization or Animalization
Free Will, a Spiritual Imperative
Avoiding Confrontations with Temptation
Sex Before Marriage
Judaism and Homosexuality
The Rare Incidence of Homosexuality among Jews in the Past
The Mitzvah of Marital Relations
"Sex=Sin" Equals Neurosis
7. Preparations for the Wedding
The Engagement
The T'na'im - Conditions of Engagement
Setting the Date
Where to Hold the Wedding
Selecting the Rabbi
The Marriage Document, the Ketubah
The Husband's Guarantee toward His Wife
The Antiquity of the Ketubah
The Sanhedrin Ordains the Form of the Ketubah
The Financial Obligations of the Ketubah
Commissioning a Personalized Ketubah
The Wedding Ring
Wedding Apparel
The Wedding Attendants
The Week Before
The Sabbath Preceding the Wedding
The Wedding Day
The Fast
The Bride's Gift to Her Groom: A Tallit
8. The Marriage Ceremony
The Structure of the Marriage Service
The Prenuptial Reception
The Veiling Ceremony
Preparing for the Hupah
The Hupah
The Wedding Procession
Erusin - The Prenuptial Blessing
The Recitation of the Marriage Formula
The Presentation of the Ring
The Reading and Presentation of the Ketubah
The Seven Blessings
The Meaning of the Blessings
Breaking the Glass
The Seclusion Room
The Festive Wedding Meal
Grace After the Meal
The Week after the Wedding
9. Family Policy: The Jewish Refinement of Sexuality
The Nidah Laws
Holiness and Sexuality: The Institution of Mikvah
A Concern for the Woman and for the Marriage
The Period of "Loving Friends"
The Value to Marriage of Periodic Abstinence
The Hedge of Roses
Bride and Groom Once Again
Preventing the Wife from Becoming a Sex Object
The Sanctity of Time
The Medical Benefits
Nidah and Hygiene
Purification versus Cleanliness
Mikvah and its Priority in Judaism

10. Conjugal Relations: Privileges and Duties
"And He Shall Cause His Wife to Rejoice"
Applying Courtesy to Privileges
Preventing Conjugal Neglect
The Woman's Conjugal Rights
Emotional Commitment
A Concern for Women's Sexuality
The Essential Preliminaries
The Quality of the Act
Mutual Pleasure: The Cosmic Plan
Advocating Moderation
The Imbalance in Favor of the Women
Communicating Love and Peace

11. The Woman's Right in Marriage
Marriage: A Legal Contract
The Husband's Ten Obligations
The Ketubah, a Charter of Women's Rights
Divorce by Mutual Consent
When the Husband May Compel Divorce
When the Wife May Compel Divorce

12. Making a Marriage Work
Sh'lom Bayit - A Vital Goal
The Peaceful Home and the Peaceful Nation
A Division of Roles
The Jewish Wife - The Source of all Good in the Home
The Jewish Husband - His Responsibility to Provide
Making a Wife Happy
Adorning Herself - A Woman's Obligation
Take a Wife's Counsel
Economic Problems in a Marriage
Friendship - The Core of a Good Marriage
The Danger of Anger in a Marriage
Handling Anger through Self-Restraint
The Art of Avoiding Quarrels
The Obligation of Mutual Courtesy
The Little Things that Count
A Woman's Need for Outside Interests
The Dual Obligation of Sh'lom Bayit
The Rules for a Successful Marriage
The Value of Peace
Reconciling Couples
The Home as a Temple

13. The Jewish Home and Raising Children
Family: The Medium for Jewish Survival
Marriage and Family: Primary Torah Commands
A Child-Centered Judaism
The Home as the Prime Educator
When to Begin Jewish Education
Honoring Parents: The Child's Primary Duty
The Required Extent of Filial Reverence
How to Teach Children to Honor Parents
When to Disobey Parents
Good Parenting and Eternity
What Makes a Happy Home?
How to Discipline a Child
Rules for Maintaining Discipline
Being Positive and Consistent
Tempering Discipline with Love
How to Build a Close Relationship with Children
Parents as Role Models
Teaching Children Good Manners
The Influence of the Sabbath
The Weekly Sabbath Meals
The Golden Rule in the Home
Opportunities for Family Discussion
Sabbath as the Climax of Family Living
"And You Shall Teach Them Diligently to Your Children"
Education in Jewish Schools
Art, Music, and Sports for the Child
Common Mistakes Jewish Parents Make
"Where Did We Go Wrong"
Intermarriage - The Ultimate Break
Deciding Where to Live
The Jewish Home: Role Model to the World
Bibliography of Selected Hebrew Sources
Bibliography of Selected English Sources

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