ABSTRACT

In rabbinical Judaism, the body was regarded as the vehicle of the intellect. The body was not in opposition to the spirit, as it was in Christianity, but it did not contribute to the intellect either (Roith, 1987). The body was “cared for, cleaned, maintained, without joy, without love, and without shame—like a machine” (Sartre, 1965, pp. 121–23). Women were viewed with contempt. The midrash, or rabbinical commentary on the narrative portions of the Bible, has God state:

I will not create her [Eve] from the head, lest she be swelled-headed; nor from the eye, lest she be a coquette; nor from the ear, lest she be an eavesdropper; nor from the mouth, lest she be a gossip; nor from the heart, lest she be prone to jealousy; nor from the hand, lest she be lightfingered; nor from the foot, lest she be a gadabout; but from the modest part of man, for even when he stands naked, that part is covered [Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 18:2].