The Jewish Eye
A Hedge of Roses
A Hedge of Roses (6th Edition, Revised)
Jewish Insights into Marriage and Married Life
By Rabbi Norman Lamm
Feldheim Publishers, NY: 1987
Reviewed by Simone Bonim - November 7, 2008
Continuously in print since 1966, A Hedge of Roses by Norman Lamm has long been the definitive introductory book on Jewish family purity laws (Taharat ha-mishpahah) and the spiritual aspects of a Jewish marriage. This book is designed to introduce Jewish marriage practices to those new to Judaism, for individuals contemplating marriage, and for those already married who are looking to explore the spiritual aspects of married life.
Concise and to the point, A Hedge of Roses does not attempt to explain all the laws of Taharat ha-mishpahah, Niddah (laws of separation), or how and when the Mikvah (ritual bath) is used. Rather Lamm sets out to explain the basic principles behind these laws and practices and to explain how these laws raise intimate marital relations to a spiritual level. He explores how these religious practices serve to strengthen the Jewish marriage bond and improve the level of happiness and satisfaction within a marriage. He also looks at the psychological and philosophical aspects of these practices.
Over the years, A Hedge of Roses has been continually updated and revised, ensuring that this handy guide remains as fresh and significant as when it was first written. Within the pages of this tiny, discrete book, you'll find a wealth of information, insights, and inspiration. This book will help to ensure the sanctity of Jewish married life and the Jewish home.
A Hedge of Roses is designed to be an appetizer, a book that introduces you to a subject and prepares you for further study on the spiritual and religious aspects of Jewish married life. For those that hunger to learn more about Taharat ha-mishpahah and the spiritual aspects inherent in a Jewish marriage, I recommend the following books:
- A Women's Guide to the Laws of Niddah, by Rabbi Binyomin Forst
Written with clarity and accuracy, this book is written specifically for married women and provides a comprehensive overview of the Laws of Niddah.
- The Laws of Niddah, by Rabbi Binyomin Forst
This book provides a detailed and exhaustive exposition of the underlying concepts and applications of the Laws of Niddah.
- The Secret of Jewish Femininity, by Tehilla Abramov
For women by a woman: The laws of family purity, interwoven with philosophic insights.
- Total Immersion: A Mikvah Anthology, by Rivkah Slonim
Forty-seven essays on mikvah (the ritual bath).
- A Lifetime Companion to the Laws of Jewish Family Life, by Deena R. Zimmerman and Rabbi Yehuda Henkin
This book was written to help married -- or about to be married -- couples of all ages learn the laws of Jewish marital life.
- The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage, by Maurice Lamm
With the traditions and laws of the Bible as his base, Rabbi Lamm portrays the great effort Judaism has expended in creating and maintaining the institution of marriage. He shows how indispensable it is to society as a whole and to the Jewish community in particular. He summarizes the traditional views of marriage and explores the outward symbols, practices, and customs of the traditional wedding ceremony, explaining their significance.
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