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Elevating Intimacy    

Elevating Intimacy



It goes without saying that if we are going to teach our children to wait, to elevate intimacy, we need to teach them how to see the human form in a less shallow manner.

 



I recall many years ago a conversation I was having with a friend about the AIDS crisis, which was a new crisis at the time. He remarked that it struck him as sad that this was a terrible thing and yet unlike many problems we have on the planet, the solution to this was totally in human hands. We change our behavior and the problem is solved. The fear of this disease was so understandably palpable it had distracted me from the obvious reality that this was not like a weather event. Granting that this is to some degree an over simplification, I think that conversation was the first time I had really seen it as a problem we can solve. 

Because of the looming US election big emotional issues such as abortion are very much on everyone’s minds. My approach to this issue was born from that discussion I had with my friend many years ago: we change the decisions we make and the problem is largely solved. The vast majority of abortions that occur in this world results from sex outside of marriage. After the encounter the man and woman have a shocking revelation that intercourse is how babies are made. Who knew? It’s maddening; then again it is something we have the power to change, which is encouraging.  
 
To suggest in this day and age that people wait until marriage for sex sounds laughable to many people. It sounds stupid, old fashioned, naive, hypocritical, out of touch, maybe even like disastrous advice. How would you know if you and your mate are compatible in that area? Everyone does it and always have and always will. We aren’t ashamed of sexuality any more; it’s OK. Telling people not to do it makes it even more appealing, the forbidden fruit. All of these thoughts have their merits. I can understand these arguments. They aren’t crazy ideas. 
 
I must say that despite their merits my husband and I will teach our son that it is best to wait. For all of the arguments that exist, as good as they sound and as sound as they are, elevating sexuality is something that is very appealing to both of us and teaching our son to see it in an elevated manner is something we think we can do. We can not control him. But we can teach him and challenge him to see the world differently from the way advertisers, MTV, and film makers want for him to see it. And we can provide for him many grand reasons to not cheapen something so powerful and something that can be so fantastic, regardless of what the devil on his shoulder tells him or what some of his peers may tell him. The rest will be up to him.
 
I don’t think that many people in the world understand that in Judaism sex between married people is not seen as something to be ashamed of, as something that is at all dirty. It is a God given avenue for connecting with your soul mate. This is what we will teach him. It is joyous. It is immensely beautiful. It is not just for the production of children. It is a sacred act between two people who have made a commitment to one another. It is a vital component of the relationship that stays within the relationship. As a rabbi whose name I have unfortunately forgotten once said, “The heat in the bedroom warms the whole house.” That makes a lot of sense to me. It helps forge a bond between the husband and wife that becomes a secure foundation for the rest of the family. When kids see the closeness it creates between their parents, it gives them something to look forward to. 
 
In the spirit of openness, something of which I am fond, we have somehow cheapened the elegance of the human form and our sexuality. I don’t want to get into a debate about whether or not we are more or less coarse than people a thousand years ago. To me it is irrelevant. I know that when I see MTV, something that is clearly marketed to young people, it has literally become pornography. Is this the best image of sexuality we can give young people? I don’t want to shame people for having sexual feelings, for finding it intriguing, for enjoying the beauty of the human body. It’s just that what I see held up as entertainment is a cheapened and trashy version of something so exquisite. What I want for young people is something much more precious and profound. Think of it this way: dinner can be a greasy fast food hamburger made from super processed, antibiotic laced, low grade, over cooked, ground beef loaded with filler on a stale, skimpy, sugary sweet, bleached flour bun that sat under a heat lamp for forty minutes before you bought it. Or dinner can be a made to order two-inch thick, perfectly marinated, mesquite grilled, grass fed, free range, Angus beef t-bone. I don’t think taking the shame away from sexuality means we need to offer our youth a junk food version of intimacy. We can teach them that in the right context, intimacy is much more intense, powerful, and gratifying than what the producers of MTV are hocking.
 
It goes without saying that if we are going to teach our children to wait, to elevate intimacy, we need to teach them how to see the human form in a less shallow manner. This is where modesty comes into play, even though modesty has become almost meaningless in our culture. It doesn’t feel old fashioned to me to teach our children that we are so much more than our packaging. We are a soul that reflects our Creator.  When we over emphasize the packaging, we make it hard to see that the packaging is just the beginning. I don’t think this means women need to walk around in burquas. Nor does this mean that we can’t look pulled together, healthy, and maybe even chic. There is always the middle road. The middle road is to not distract from the beauty of the person’s soul by over emphasizing a beautiful curve. We can be so obsessed with attaining physical perfection we forget how attractive a tranquil, joyful, deep person is.
 

I would be a liar if I didn’t say it is daunting to me to teach my son this way of viewing the world. It’s like whispering something important in his ear in the midst of much shouting and screaming to the contrary. But hasn’t it always been the case that seeing the Divine obscured by the physical is the great challenge of living a religious life? To see beyond what is right in front of our faces in a world full of forces that are distracting us? When I think of it that way, I’m not so intimidated. This is simply the reality of the human condition. I can hope and pray that if we raise him to connect with his Creator, the thrill that comes when he is able to transcend the trials of this world, the distractions of the physical, will overwhelm his cravings for the junk food with which is surrounded.





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  1 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  1.
  noachide radio station
miriam12/11/2008 12:21:12 PM
     
 

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