Holy sheet!

Is it true that Orthodox Judaism requires sex be performed through a hole in a sheet? That is, a sheet must be placed between the man and the woman with a hole cut out in the appropriate area?

I have heard many hole-in-the-sheet references (it seems to be popular with sketch comedies) but don’t know the SD on its actual occurrence.

Anyone give a sheet?

Back off, man. I’m a scientist.

Absolutely not true. Wish I knew where this UL came from.

Don’t feel too bad, though. As misconceptions go, it ranks up there along with Jews having horns.

Directly from the soc.culture.jewish FAQ:
What’s this I’ve heard about a hole in a sheet?
We don’t know what you’ve heard, but what we’ve heard is that when it comes time for three men to “witness” a woman’s conversion (involving nude immersion), what’s commonly done is for the water’s surface to be covered with a thick, opaque sheet with a hole in it, just big enough to let her head through while discreetly shielding the rest of her body.
Anything else is probably just your warped imagination, and no, we still have no idea of what you’re thinking, but you should be ashamed of yourself, just in case. And another thing, it’s not true, so there.
Actually, there is an urban legend regarding what you think. As with any urban legend, there is a spark of truth in it. Here are two explanations:
[ul][li]The myth derives from seeing Jews in religious neighborhoods hanging their “talitot katan” out to dry. This poncho-like garment is about two feet by four feet, has a fringe on each corner, and a hole in the center for the wearer’s head, and it looks somewhat like a small sheet with a hole, and many people have vivid and warped imaginations.[/li][li]There is such a practice, but it is based on a misreading of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, a poor source for information on mainstream halakhic opinion on sexual matters. Most consider the legend to be an incorrect practice. Nevertheless, the practice does seem to survive in some “fanatical” extremes of Orthodox Judaism, without Rabbinic agreement.[/ul][/li]For either husband or wife not to be nude during sex is not only wrong, it’s grounds for divorce (Ketubot 48, Shulhan Arukh, Ever haEzer, 76:13).

“Kings die, and leave their crowns to their sons. Shmuel HaKatan took all the treasures in the world, and went away.”

How about Like Water for Chocolate? That movie presents some Catholics using this practice (or else I have a really twisted imagination). Is this a UL about Catholics as well, or do some of them do it?

Nothing I write about any person or group should be applied to a larger group.

  • Boris Badenov

Thanks, for the info. Especially about how the UL might have begun. The whole thing seemed a bit sketchy to me too.

My Jewish friends are not of the Orthodox variety and were of no help. Us Gen-X’ers are lousy when it comes to knowledge of religious practices. And my go-to website for Judaism had no info on it.

I hope the question didn’t ruffle any feathers. I’d rather be open to its possibility than say “Someone debunk the existence of this obviously ridiculous practice” only to find out it’s a highly sacred ritual.

I think “Jews having horns” is an entirely separate level of a UL.

Back off, man. I’m a scientist.

OK, the sheet thing was debunked before I got here… but let me say, I do have a horn. It’s called a shofar, a ram’s horn, one blows it to make … well… sounds. (I was gonna say music, but…)

Alphagene: <<< I hope the question didn’t ruffle any feathers. >>>

Don’t sweat it, you phrased it quite properly.

So what you’re saying, CK, is shofar, sho good? :wink:

Well, I’ve never seen the movie, so I can’t judge how twisted your imagination is, but it’s not a Catholic practice I’ve ever heard of. Not that I can say there’s never been a Catholic (or Protestant, or etc.) that’s done something like that.

Your Official Cat Goddess since 10/20/99.

I’ve heard the sex-through-a-sheet story but as I remember, it was attributed not to Judaism but to Quakerism or Shakerism or one of those retro-devout Christian denominations like that.
I’m not sure I really believe the story, but the logic IS there if you believe that men and women should be segregated and that sex for pleasure is evil.

In his book How To Make A Jewish Movie , Melville Shavelson attributes this strange custom to the Hasidim, please pardon my spelling if I got it wrong. Conveniently for me, I have lost my copy of this out-of-print book, which is a sort of memoir of making “Cast A Giant Shadow” [1966], a supposedly awful movie starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, a ton of other names. This would have been, then, Hasidic Jews in Israel in '66, according to Shavelson.

Is he reliable? According to other posts, no. If any Jewish person, or religious scholar of any sort, has read this book and would care to debunk other assertions of his, please drop me a line. I have been snickering about some ketchup and toilet paper anecdotes for several years now and am now strenuously doubting their truth.

I shall stop attempting to properly code anything until I can get it right.