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Time and Difference in Rabbinic Judaism$
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Kattan Gribetz Sarit

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691192857

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691192857.001.0001

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Men’s and Women’s Time

Men’s and Women’s Time

(p.135) Chapter Three Men’s and Women’s Time
Time and Difference in Rabbinic Judaism

Sarit Kattan Gribetz

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the construction of a gendered temporality by examining a set of daily rituals mandated in rabbinic sources, some of which applied to men and others that were only required of women. It begins with the first ritual discussed in rabbinic sources, the recitation of the Shema prayer. Timing became an essential component of the Shema's recitation, and thus the tractate includes numerous debates about ritual time. One's time, it is suggested, ought to be marked first and foremost by this regularized declaration of devotion to God each morning and evening. Another feature of the rabbinic Shema is that only men became obligated in its recitation. While women are excluded from positive time-bound commandments, an entire set of rituals related to the laws of menstrual purity applies only to women and constructs a woman's time in ways that were markedly different from the time of men. The chapter then traces the development of the laws of bodily purity from biblical texts to rabbinic texts, which focus far greater attention on laws related to the menstruant woman.

Keywords:   gendered temporality, daily rituals, rabbinic sources, Shema prayer, ritual time, menstrual purity, bodily purity, menstruant woman

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