Fifty Shades of Talmud
Sorry, ladies. Your husband can’t wear his tefilin while making love to you. Nor can you do it in the lamplight, because that could create epileptic offspring. If you want male children, make sure you are “pleasured” first. And don’t be bashful about saying, “Hey, honey. How about tonight?” After all, “The greater a woman’s desire for her husband, the greater their children.”
Those are just a few juicy tidbits from Fifty Shades of Talmud: What the First Rabbis Had to Say About You-Know-What by award-winning author Maggie Anton. Known for her Rashi’s Daughters historical novels, here Anton takes a break from fiction to produce her first nonfiction work. Described by her as “eavesdropping at the first Rabbis’ locker-room door,” Anton takes us on a lighthearted tour of sexuality in the Talmud based on her years of study of the ancient Jewish biblical commentaries.
Augmented with cartoons and quotes about sex, Fifty Shades gives us the skinny about “the how, when, where, and with whom of sexual relations” according to our Sages. Covering topics such as good and bad sex, body part euphemisms, conjugal restrictions, virginity and impotence, Anton provides us with some funny—and definitely X-rated—material.
This delightful little gem of a book is recommended reading for any Jewish adult who has ever had or wanted to have sex. Non-Jews, too, will be fascinated, if not a bit envious learning about this aspect of our religion. Indeed, Fifty Shades of Talmud might be the perfect gift for that non-Jewish son- or daughter-in-law. As Anton explains in the book’s beginning, “Judaism would attract a lot more converts if the commandment to have sex were better publicized.” Fifty Shades of Talmud might just do the trick, enticing Jews to fulfill their biblical requirement to be fruitful and multiply.
Nancy Kalikow Maxwell is a freelance writer.