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Calibrating the femmle body: shame, disgust, and the recuperative gaze in amos gitai's kadosh.


"Calibrating the Female Body" looks at the way affects circulate in Amos Gitai's 1999 film. Kadosh. it demonstrates i Ii at shame and disgust work to maintain hierarchies within the community that Gitai depicts. As affects, shame and disgust act upon the body, by directing the shamed subject's eyes downward in isolation, or by compelling other bodies to move away from the one deemed disgusting. As Rivka and Malka are consistent ly perceived as shameful and disgusting, they are rendered subordinate in a system of phallocentric domination. Within this system however, the gaze functions in a peculiar way, at times subduing the shamed subjects, but at other times allowing for a recuperative moment. When Rivka and Malka's downward shamed gazes turn to a reflective surface, such as water or a mirror, they are able to sustain a moment of visual connection wit It their own selves, helping to ease the rupture between the ego and ego ideal--healing the split which had sustained their shame. These moments allow lou a rectiperat ion ofsubjectivit that creates an opportunity to move beyond the patriarchal system's limitations.

"Look at the laws of menstruation. They're forbidden to touch us! We sully everything." This line is spoken by Malka (Meital Barda), one of the two protagonists of Amos Gitai's 1999 61m, Kadosh. (1) Both she and her sister Rivka (Yaa Abecassis) live within the rigorously constructed boundaries of a I laredi, or rigorously Orthodox Jewish enclave in the heart ofJerusalem. It is a community founded on, and organized by, the laws of the Talmud as interpreted by male scholars. In Kadosh, patriarchal rules regarding menstruation, sex, and reproduction govern the female body and, for the women of Kadosh, constitute it as a source of shame and disgust. Rivka and Malka, as women on whom this affect is projected, see their positions within the community as ones of constant subjugation. (2)

Shame and disgust, as affects, are particularly useful when examining the women of Kadosh, because they are inextricably connected to the constitution of the self. When a body is shamed, the eyes move downward, thus isolating the subject and at the same time preventing her from expressing or receiving all other affects. (3) As Silvan Tomkins notes, shame literally acts on the body, causing the subject to engage in "an ambivalent turning of the eyes away from the object toward the face, toward the self. (4) Shame forces the subject to become overtly conscious of her own face and eyes, the source of all expression of affect, at the very moment she seeks to hide them, compelling her to internalize the affect as belonging to the self, and not the other. Sara Ahmed, in her exploration of this affect, likewise notes that the now isolated subject is "consumed by a feeling of badness that cannot be simply given away or attributed to another." (5) A shamed subject becomes disengaged from the very interaction with the object she had originally sought to attract. Disgust, similarly, is entwined with both the imagining of the self and sociality since it compels others to physically move away from the body deemed disgusting. (6) Subjects constituted as "shameful" or "disgusting" perceive the source of their affect to have been generated from their own egos, which have failed to live up to the ego ideal; an idea which they then subsume into their own subjectivity. (7)

The gaze of another subject, in the context of these affects, can also become a mechanism by which hierarchal relationships are maintained. Shame, particularly, is tied to a taboo regarding mutual looking, which, if rejected, leaves the subject vulnerable to further projections of "had affects" from the original object. (8) What is described by Tomkins as the "look-look," in which the subject tries to create a level of intimacy with the object by sharing an interocular moment, is typically tied to sexual desire, and it becomes proscribed to the degree with which overt sexuality is prohibited within a specific community. (9) The shame generated by the rejection of a gaze is made even more potent when the subject desires the approval of its object, as the more powerful body has the ability to retract his gaze, thus making the subject feel ashamed for looking. The subject, realizing this, feels shame, while simultaneously internalizing this contempt. (10) Disgust, likewise, can maintain a controlling order, since it shifts and calibrates the position of bodies as the perceiver of disgust draws back from an object or person (or space) deemed disgusting. (11)

In this context, a self-reflexive gaze can become a subversive means of counteracting the system of bodily shame and disgust. As Liza Johnson notes, the downward gaze of the shamed subject can also permit the subject to see from a new perspective, thus forming new subjective attachments. (12) Johnson describes the way in which shame, with its focus on looking, provides unique opportunities for examining cinematic language. Noting that feminist criticism has critiqued the way in which the gaze in film functions as a form of female subjugation, Johnson argues that "in relation to shame and its ways of seeing, it is possible for these same formal strategies to render very different kinds of narratives and to yield very different subjective attachments." (13) These new attachments, Johnson observes, originate from the "perverse angle" of shame, and can actually allow for new "ways of seeing" that can be redemptive for the subject. In Kadosh, the shaming of Rivka and Malka constantly slit ns the directions of their gazes, redirecting them to surfaces of glass and water. Instead of becoming isolated by their shame, this opportunity for visual contact with themselves helps heal the rupttire between their ego and ego ideal. Once they have reappropriated their own gaze, shame and disgust are no longer seen as products inherent. to their own bodies, but are recognized as being projected from an external source. With the phallic gaze thus rendered impotent, a new space is created wherein Rivka and Malka can move beyond the limitations of the phallocentric order.

THAT WAY THLY CAN DO AS THLY LIKE WITH Us During a scene at the center of Kadosh, Malka tries on a dress for her impending arranged marriage to Yossef (Uri Klattzner), a man she neither loves nor desires to marry. She cries out to her skier in frustration: "Women don't study the Talmud. No woman dares say it, but men don't want us to know. That way they can do as they like with us."

For men to "do as they like" in this community, a complex psvchoso-cial ritual must be constantly active. The men of Kadosh wield the power of the Talmud, interpreting its laws as they see fit. (14) They also have con-inland of the synagogue, its rituals, and the yarmulke, all of which are symbolic representations of the hierarchies of power. (15) As Daniel Bovarin has argued, the exclusion of women from the original male space of Talmudic study was not so much initially dictated by gender distinction in rabbinic culture, but rather gendered distinctions, in which women are inferior subjects of men, was formed as women were prohibited from what became defined as masculine space. (16) In Kadosh, there is a systemic exclusion of women from any sites of power and religious decision making, and so femininity as an inferior binary to masculinity is constantly defined and reified by its lack of access to any location from which it can claim agency outside its status as subjects to male domination.

Yet despite its access to the institutions of power, a patriarchy, such as the one illustrated in Kadosh, will inevitably still find itself negotiating with feelings of shame. According to Freud in The Ego and the Id, shame becomes unavoidable because the formation of the ego ideal replaces the longing for the father after the Oedipal stage: "It is easy to show that the ego ideal answers to everything that is expected of the higher nature of man. As a substitute for a longing for the father, it contains the germs from which all religions have evolved. The self-judgment which declares that the ego falls short of its ideals produces the religious sense of humility to which the believer appeals in his longing." (17) For Freud, shame is formed when the ego fails to measure up to the demands of the ego ideal and the ideal of the father. In the male-centric community of Kadosh, the paternal ideal structures the daily lives of all its male subjects. Yet, an ongoing sense of shame would be for its male subjects untenable as it would disrupt their dominating regime. Consequently, they must. turn to an other on whom they can project their own psychic splits. The role of the other is fulfilled, for the men in Kadosh, by the presence of women.

For this male-ordered system to function, women must represent the image of castration, so that men in possession of the phallus may domi-nate. (18) The male gaze on the female body forces women to, function as a "signifier for the male other," serving as a receptacle in which men can deposit their fantasies and fears. Men are then able to function free of their psychic burden. (19) Yet, while women enact this passive symbolic role, the disavowed fear of castration is still inherent in the male mind. As a result, the phallocentric gaze becomes complicated, for it both promotes women as the passive objects of desire and reaffirms the disavowed male fear of castration. (20) According to Laura Mulvey, voyeurism is one outcome of this complexity. The uneven power structure of the voyeuristic gaze naturalizes a passive female body, creating the possibility for sadism, as male pleasure "lies in ascertaining guilt (immediately associated with castration), asserting comrol and subjugating the guilty person through punishment or for-giveness." (21) The voyeuristic male gaze in Kadosh utilizes both shame and disgust to maintain the order of the phallocentric system, and to punish women who seem to threaten the hierarchical structure. Rivka and Malka's father is absent from the filme(presumably dead), a fact that, considering the typically enormous role played by the father in their community, is quite striking. The law-of-the-father is provided by the presence of Ray Shimon (Yussuf Abu--Warda), who is the rabbi of the community and the father of Rivka's husband, Meir (Yoram Hattab). hi his dual role as rabbi-father, he is the apotheosis of the patriarchal figure, and dictates many of the injunctions shaping the protagonists' lives.


The mikvah (ritual bath) is a central motif in this film, and Gitai's depiction of it is as a particularly physical and invasive ritual enacted on the bodies of women. (22) According to Talmudic law, a woman is forbidden any physical contact with her husband while she is menstruating, tbr fear of passing on her menstrual "impurity." The woman must insert a white cloth into her vagina after her bleeding has ended to et ist ire that no otherwise undetected emissions have taken place. (23) If, after seven days, the body emits no menstrual fluid, then the woman must immerse herself in the mikvah before she is deemed "clean" and permitted to touch her husband.

According to religious law, ritual impurity of those with genital emissions is in fact not limited to the female body. Several chapters in Leviticus deal with various contagions and emissions in both men and women, and male bodies, like female bodies, are often labeled as tum'ah (ritually impure). What makes niddah law so fundamental to power relationships, however, is that it institutes a relationship of power and sexual management of the female body by male authority figures, and scrutinizes and categorizes her acts of desire and I heir articulation. (24) From this position, male authority has the ability to inspect and react affectively towards a passive female body.

Disgust is often, formulated as an invasion of bodily borders, so it is particularly interesting that the textual origins of niddah stem from a description oft he way in which female emissions are both grotesque and contagious. Leviticus 15:19-24 states:
  When a woman has her discharge of blood, her impurity will last for
  seven days: anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening.
  Evervthing on which she lies or sits during her impurity vill be
  unclean, and whoever touches her bedditig must wash  clothes,
  bathe in water, and remain unclean till evening. If it is the bed or
  seat where she is sitting, by touching it he will become unclean till
  evening. If a man goes so far as to have intercourse with her and any
  of her discharge gets on to him then he will be unclean for seven
  days, and any bedding on which he lies down will be unclean.

In this model, men view women's bodies as objects of disgust and therefore establish a hierarchy designed to protect them from contact with, and contamination by, such objects. (25) Disgust can also be used to conceptually segregate the body into sections that are physically "higher" from those which are "below." The area below also represents the bodily fluids which exit from that area.(26)

A woman's menstrual blood, in this paradigm, is seen as a product of her "disgusting" lower regions, and also reinforces the idea that the entire female body is a disgusting lower object. Men, in this categorization, are able to situate themselves above these representations of the lower region. (27) Issues of contamination are also essential to understanding these laws of "purity," since an unclean woman may pass her uncleanliness to any man she touches. Once again, Ahmed's ideas about the performativity of affect become important. For Ahmed., much of what makes disgust so potent an affect is that it implies a fear of being penetrated by that deemed disgusting. Borders must be created to repel the object of disgust so that "the proximity of the object is felt as offensive" and as a result, "while disgust over takes the body, it also takes over the object that gives rise to it" thereby making it--in this case the female body--disgusting. (28)

It is imperative that a woman closely observe the rituals of the ritual bath if she is to maintain her standing within the community of Kadosh, "especially since this ritual is inextricably connected to reproductive rites. Rivka and Meir have been married for ten years, and though they both avow their mutual love, their marriage is troubled by a failure to conceive children. As a result, Rivka is accused of violating the proper procedure surrounding the mikvah. The shame that Rivka feels clue to this failure is evident in an early conversation with her husband. She is upset by her inability to produce children not only because of the embarrassment it causes her, but., more importantly, because her failure has caused her husband to lose his standing in the masculine sphere. Rivka embodies this sense of shame at a silent dinner table with her husband. The camera lingers on Rivka's face as she covers her eyes and begins to cry. The shot extends for several minutes, as Rivka, with her eyes cast downward, says to her husband, "You suffer because we have no children ... People point at us. Students at the yeshiva laugh at you. You want a child. You want a son."

The camera only turns its focus to Meir after Rivka is done speaking. He too has his eyes cast downwards, but his language reveals that he attributes his own shame to Rivka's failure. He does nothing to negate Rivka's assertion, and merely responds, "I will never leave you."

Meir's protestation proves false by the end of the film, but, more importantly, his response reveals his view of Rivka as the sole bearer of negative affect.

Rivka's next scene takes place at the ritual bath, where she is shamed not by a man, bin by her mother, who is in charge of regulating the mik-vah's laws. Rivka's mother functions in his scene, and throughout the narrative, much in the vein of the archetypical phallic mother, who attempts to reify systems of power by using the child as a means i 'trough which she can enter the imaginary; a realm, by virtue of her position as a woman in a patriarchal system, she cannot enter on her own. As Kelly Oliver argues, this is a phenomenon particular to male-dominated cultures, in which women only attain value through their production of children. The child, in Oliver's words, becomes "a substitute for access to culture and positions of power; in this sense, the child is a substitute for phallic power" through which the mother can enter the male realm of the symbolic. (29) Laura Mulvey argues similarly that a woman must often turn her children into signifiers of the desire to possess I he phallus or else risk keeping them with her in "the half-light of the imagina." (30) Rivka's mother exacerbates Rivka's shame by implying her daughter's barrenness has stemmed from her neglect of the laws of the mikvah. She questions Rivka while cleaning her nails in preparation for immersion, couching her questions in the language of corporeal disgust. (31) "You pushed the cloth all the way in? You counted seven days?" her mother asks. "You checked the cloth? Was it absolutely clean? No spots? Black ones? No yellow ones?" Rivka wonders out loud why her consultations take longer than any other woman's, and her mother replies, "sometimes women are barren because they have disregarded the laws of purity."

Judaism has a long tradition of female barrenness, from its original matriarchal narratives, to the religious homelitics on the "seven barren wives." (32) Much of the rabbinic discourse on this topic vacillates between seeing childless women as sources of pity to viewing them as objects of scorn and seeing their failure to prodi ire children as a source of punishment for a presumed misdeed. Yet Talmudic discussion also determines that the obligation for reproduction is incumbent only on men. (33) Thus, in this paradigm, the barren female body is implicated in a double failure, as it fails to provide children for the community while it simultaneously compels the husband to leave an important religious dictate unfulfilled.

Rivka's body bears the burden of this history. When her mother accuses her of failing in religious duty, Rivka averts her head in shame upon being accused, and turns her eyes downward to the waters of the ritual bath. The camera has emphasized the waters of the mikvah right from the start of the scene, showing Rivka first as a reflected image on the surface of the water. The water's importance is based on the opportunity it affbrds Rivka to gaze at her own reflection. This potential. however, is negated, as Rivka closes her eyes instead of looking into the water, thereby assuring that her shame remains intact, illustrating Tomkins's claim that when a body is shamed, "the head may also be hung symbolically, lest one part of the self be seen by another part and become alienated from it." (34) When her eyes Finally open again, she does not confront her own image, but rather she verbally returns to patriarchal law by reciting the blessing for ritual immersion: "Almighty God ... Today I am ready to heed your commandment ... in your mercy my body shall be washed in pure water and my soul cleansed of all blemish and stain." Rivka is surrounded by reminders of the phallic order that encompass her mind and body, and in this context, cannot yet recuperate her own subjectivity.

* Meir, meanwhile, is being urged by his father to take a new, and hopefully more fertile, wife. In imploring Meir to do his "duty," Ray Shimon states, "You know the only task of a daughter of Israel is to bring children into the world." Rivka, in her failure to fulfill this task, is an impediment to Meir's requirement to produce more Jewish children. Implicit in this is the failure of the patriarchal order in which Ray Shimon and Meir are both invested. Couching his words in terminology of war, Ray Shimon reminds Meir of the encroaching influence of the "secularists," who would deconstruct their phallocentric regime. These others, Ray Shimon argues, have no children. Being "part of the struggle" to maintain their domination necessitates the production of offspring who could be raised to subsume the beliefs of their fathers. While Meir does not immediately accede to his father's request, from this moment forward, he and Rivka no longer have sexual relations. She has, throughout their relationship, behaved in the subservient manner his phallic dominance required. Yet, Rivka's failure to bear children renders Meir's phallus ineffectual, and she becomes a symbol of his castration (35)

When Rivka next tries to initiate sex, Meir turns her away. The camera lingers on Rivka's lowered head, as she sits on the bed telling Meir of her recent visit to the ritual bath. "I am no longer unclean," Rivka pleads, as her eyes vacillate between Meir's face and the floor. According to Tomkins, shame can only exist when the subject expects its object to illustrate interest or excitement. Shame is then created when the object fails to respond in the way the subject desired. It is this destruction of personal dignity, exemplified through the subject's lowering of the eyes, that for Tompkins, makes shame such a potent affect. As he argues, "in lowering the eyes and bowing his head, he is vulnerable in a quite unique way ... the nature of the experience of shame guarantees a perpetual sensitivity to any violation of the dignity of man." (36) Rivka's love for Meir constantly leads her to look to him for a source of comfort and affection, only to be turned away by his imputation of shame. Meir, when the camera shifts to him, responds as he did before. He, too, seems ashamed, but for him, the affect. is only a mechanism by which he can blame Rivka for his recent failures at studying the Talmud and for his diminished role within the community. Rivka attempts to comfort her husband as he recites a list of his problems, raising her eyes to his face and touching his shoulders. Meir, however, rejects his wife's caress, and she returns her head to its posture of shame. Meir exits the scene, with the camera still focused on Rivka's bowed head.


MAW Malka's relationship to the male gaze is more complex alai' her sister's. Unlike Rivka. she does not strive for the feminine ideal of marriage and reproduction. Instead, she longs for an erotic iiii ion with Yakov (Sarni Hurl), a formerly religious man who has left the community for a more secular life. (37) Unregulated desire, particularly for an outsider, is a threat. to the religious community. Consequently, Malka is subjected to a series of shaming rim-als designed to keep her body within the confines of her religious world.

Malka is first introduced as a spectator, rather than as a subject, of the gaze. It is a position which emphasizes her threat to the masculine order. As Freud argues, the sexual gaze becomes perverted when it is misdirected to inappropriate subjects. (38) Freud notes, iii fact, that the emphasis on the visual is in part what maintains sufficient economies of desire, and that its subversion can generate certain perversions. Though he argues that these perversions take the form of an overemphasis on the genitals, the desire to look at excretory Functions, or the desire to publicly exhibit one's genitals, it is not a far stretch to imagine that in a community such as the one depicted iii Kadash, the sexual gaze of a woman onto a man would be imagined by its members as a firm of exhibitionism. Noteworthy also, is the fact that Freud, in this same discussion, talks about I he way in which the covered body can excite sexual fantasies. In the world of Kadosh, women are expected to wear clothes that. conceal the shape of their bodies. This adds a new level to the 'voyeuristic power of the male gaze in this film, as its direction on women not only constitutes them as sites of shame, but also similltaneously creates them as sex objects for the male gaze, thereby ensuring their continued subjugation. Malka's gaze, as a woman in a phallocentric system, is innately perverted because she seeks to determine her own sexual objects. Her community keeps her in check by subjecting Malka to the mechanism Freud characterized as "the force which opposes scopophilia," that is, shame.(39)

Though Malka's first appearance casts her in the role of the gazer, the scene makes clear the limitations of the female gaze within a masculine order. Malka and her friend Sarah are standing behind a grating that separates them from the men at prayer. The camera first focuses on the freedom of the men's movements as they lead the prayer services, recite from the scriptures, and greet Ray Shimon as he enters the room. The women, behind a physical barricade, are first shown as the men see them, their features obscured by the separating barrier. The camera shifts to the women's perspective, as they view the activity of the men only through small holes in the divider.

The viewer discovers in this scene that Malka has refused many proposals, but she has now been betrothed to a man named Yossef. She later tells Yakov that it is an engagement which was arranged by her mother and Ray Shimon without her input. Malka's friend Sarah, from their fractured perspective, points out. Yossef's handsomeness. Defiantly, Malka asserts that she will never marry. "Of course you will. We all do," is Sarah's reply. Malka's repudiation is to no avail, and her eyes are lowered in recognition of her intractable situation.

Rivka too, having subsumed the philosophy of the patriarchy, is complicit in Matka's shame. If, as Oliver argues, women in patriarchies are denied any opportunities for reification of the self by any means other than those provided for them by the dominating power, then they often end up subsuming the drives, affects, and desires of the male order. (40) When Malka tells her sister of her plans to lose her virginity before her wedding night so thatYossef will reject: her, Rivka attempts to dissuade her by describing her own loving first sexual encounter with Meir. "He entered me by the ways of love, the ways of consent," Rivka explains, promising, "it will be like that for you too, Malka." Malka, knowing that her own desires would make a similar experience impossible for her, keeps her head down throughout Rivka's recital. The camera closes in on Malka's bowed head as she responds, "no, it won't."

One physical aspect of shame is its ability to make the body feel out of place. Working off its previously acquired history, the body first senses a feeling of shame which it then processes through the history of its own habitus. Thus, one form of shame is "the body calling out its hopes and discomfort because it feels out-of-place. This shame is the body saying that it cannot fit in although it desperately wants to." (41) When Malka's inevitable marriage to Yossef takes place, it is a spectacle of public shaming overtly acted on Malka's body. The camera traces the scene in itsentirety, beginningwith the boisterous singing of the men. Malka enters the scene and is placed in the background of the male celebration. She proceeds forward a her face, in contrast to Yossef's visual prominence, remains covered with ail opaque white veil. Her body is held rigidly, suggesting a deep discomfort with her position, as she circles Yossef's erect body. During the ceremony, Malka 's gaze remains concealed while the Rabbi and Yossef recite variotts blessings. (42) It is only after the ceremony is concluded, and Malka is bonded in marriage, that her face is revealed. She is led off from the center of the room without speaking a word to her new husband. The men resume their celebratory dance, while the camera follows Malka to the sidelines, as her mother, sister, and one friend dance somberly around her. Malka remains stiff and despondent, and she does not lift her eyes. Her only movement is a halfhearted clap of her hands as the men, still within the frame, continue their celebration of Yossef's man hood.


The scene in which Malka tries on herwedding dress presents a pivotal moment for both sisters. As she tries on the dress, Malka's body is framed by Riyka's presence, and both gaze into the mirror at their own reflections. This new opportunity for Rivka to engage with her reflect is in sharp contrast to the earlier scene at. the mikvah, since it takes place as Malka delineates the problems with the patriarchal system. The scene initiates a series ofintern al con fro, i rations that shape the two sisters trajectories through the rest of the narrative.

Rivka is both repelled and attracted by her own image during this scene. Her gaze shifts from a despondent, downcast position, to an upraised, direct look at her reflection. She clutches Malka's wedding dress close to her body, symbolizing her despair at the end of her physical relationship with Mein Rivka is staring straight at her own image, however, when she makes a shameftil revelation to Malka. She recounts a letter she recently received that includes a Talmudic passage stating that "a woman without a child is no better than dead." Rivka's hurt is apparent and her body is hunched in a position of internalized shame. As Judith Butler has argued, even disembodied hate speech has the power to interpellate a body as a subordinate subject. (43) Butler notes that "the performative is not a singular act used by an already established subject, but one of the powerful and insidious ways in which subjects are called into social being from diffuse social quarters, inaugurated into sociality by diffuse and powerful interpellatior is." (44) As Butler points out, however, hate speech serves not only to constitute the object to which it is directed, but to position the speaker within the hierarchies of power. (45)Rivka's letter, then, can be seen not only as an effort to reinforce her position of shame, but also as an attempt by the writer to situate himself within the upper strata of the patriarchal system.

Upon hearing about the letter, Malka's face registers shock, but before she can comfort her sister, Rivka continues, "I sometiines think my problem isn't sterility, but shame."She averts her eyes as she makes the statement, avoiding her own reflection as she did in the scene at the mikvah. She covers her face with her hands and continues, "It's in her eyes. Mother is ashamed of me. Even Meir is ashamed of me."Malka's angry response, in which she points directly to patriarchal law as the source of botli their problems, disrupts Rivka's shameful reverie. Rivka tries to counter Malka's blasphemous statements, physically shaking her sister as she shouts, "What are you saying? What's come over you? I believe in this law, and so do you!" However, an unexpected consequence of her outburst is that it reestablishes Rivka's eye contact with the mirror. (46) Moreover, Malka's castigation of the patriarchal system provides an alternate source for Rivka's shame that was not apparent to her at the mikvah.

The two continue staring at their reflections as they contemplate their futures. Malka still feels compelled to "marry'Yossef, despite her personal unhappiness. and Rivka is still faithful to the patriarchallaws. Yet, their connection with their own reflections, taking place as it does within the context of Malka's verbal repudiation, allows the sisters to each gain a measure of agency in the constitution of their subjectivity. Rivka makes an important distinction that she has not been able to make heretofore. She verbally points to other people, her mother and Meir, as the sources of her shame, while her gaze in the mirror allows her to see her own body removed from its shameful context.

The brief glimpse of bodily freedom Rivka sees in the mirror has lasting effects. In a later scene, Rivka rises from her bed and proceeds to the mirror. She unbuttons her nightgown, as she watches her reflection, and caresses the curves of her shoulders and breasts. It is a scene that emphasizes the shifting positions of Rivka and Meir, as the camera only turns to Meir to highlight his prostate body on the bed. The camera, rather than focusing directly on Rivka's body, shows instead her image in the mirror. Her long erotic self-caresses depict. Rivka's exploration of her body as something separate from its social constitution; something which is not a site of shame and disgust. This redirection of her subjectivity empowers Rivka to surreptitiously visit a fertility specialist, who tells her that the problem with conception lies not in her own body, but with Meir's sperm. (47) The final shot oft he scene is of Rivka smiling. Her smile does not express that she is hopeful of having children, since, as the doctor points out, a strictly observant Jewish male would never consent to certain fertility treatments. (48) The camera's emphasis on Rivka's joy illustrates, instead, her new subjective formation in Id i cl shame, disgust, and failure to bear children are not imputed to her own body.

Malka undergoes a similar transfbrmation on her wedding night, prior to the physical consummation of her marriage. The focus of the camera, once again, is primarily on a reflected image. "Malka watches herself as she deliberately cuts off her hair. Her face shifts from despair, to shame, to defiance, as she simultaneously laughs and cries. She continues to look directly at her own face in the mirror, allowing her to maintain a level of ocular contact not afforded her during her marriage ceremony. Malka's attack on her own hair has specific connotations when read iii the context of the laws of 'Judaism. A woman's hair is symbolized as a source of sexuality and shame for married women, and is stipposed to ft mction only as the exclusive property of her husband, who is in sole possession of her body. The law for women's hair covering has its origins in a ritual of shame. Numbers 5:12-31 elaborates on the procedures to be fbllowed in a situation where a woman is suspected of adultery but there is no physical evidence to support the accusation. Part of the ritual requires the high priest to uncover the woman's head before the public, and declare that she will die in childbirth or suffer the death of children if she is found to be guilty (her guilt itself is determined through the drinking of an "ordeal water" made up of sprinklings from the tabernacle floor).

In Tahnudic literature, this idea is extended and the female body is further objectified. Bentkhot 24a describes the sexuality of female hair and its impact on the male gazer, while Tractate Ketubot 72a discusses how a married woman's uncovered head is a singular sign of a "transgression against Jewish practice." The text then details an argument between different rabbinical figures, who debate the various places where this dictate is most stringent. As the tractate notes, a woman on the street, iinaccom-pained by her husband, must always have her hair covered. A woman in her husband's courtyard has less of an imperative to cover her hair, since her position on his property already symbolizes her role as one of his possessions. Women's hair and the covering of it signifies, as Jerusalem lawyer Susan Weiss has argued, "the exclusive and itnilateral property rights that a Jewish i husband has in his wife's sexuality" from the moment she is taken as wife during the kinyun (purchase) of the marriage ceremony.(49) The act of de-eroticizing her body before having sex with Yossef is, therefore, Malka's rebellion against the patriarchal system that has forced her to marry. (50)

Gitai follows the image of Malka's encounter with the mirror with a scene in which she is helplessly forced to consummate her marriage with Yossef. The camera keeps its distance as Malka lays prone on the bed while her new husband looms over her, recites a religious blessing beseeching for children, and then roughly engages in intercourse with her; while Malka cries out in pain. After this scene, Malka works arduously to reclaim her body from the male system which has, until this point, manipulated and abused her sexuality. Kadosh follows Malka to the mikvah where earlier, Rivka was overwhelmed by her shame. As her mother dunks her beneath the water, Malka speaks of a spot of blood she noticed during her week of inspection. She knows that this renders her "unclean," but she refuses to tell Yossef, hoping to pass on her impurity to him without his knowledge. In actively deciding to withhold this information and directing her own sexuality, Malka begins removing her body from the jurisdiction of patriarchal management and the machinations of Ray Shimon and Yossef. While Malka's confession elicits a disapproving stare from her mother, Malka refuses acknowledge her mother's attempt to shame her, and instead, gazes straight ahead, her head held upright.


Meir is eventually persuaded by his father to leave Rivka and take a new wife, exiling Rivka to a rented room. Near the end of the film, he visits her in a drunken state, but. Rivka does not respond to his attempt to be affectionate. Meir sings a song, slurring the words, and eventually collapses onto a pillow. Rivka's reaction to her ex-husband is revealing, as her face contorts and she distances her body from his. It is an indication that Rivka is now aware that the source of the disgust and shame about her own body originated with Meir and the phallic order he represents. Ahmed argues that. disgust is characterized as a fear over "sickening invasions" of the bodily self, where boundaries are felt to be penetrated through physical contact with the object deemed disgusting. (51) Moreover, disgust can transfer from the literal object to a person associated with that object, Who then becomes disgusting in his or her own right. "Stickiness" as Ahmed terms it, is in part an "effect of the histories of contact between bodies, objects, and signs." (52) Rivka's new recognition in the role Meir has played in her earlier self-disgust allows her to "stick" this affect back onto Meir's body.

Malka similarly begins to perceive her husband to be an object of disgust. She whispers to him details of the female examination of the body as he sleeps. hoping, like Rivka, to redirect these affects back to their original source. Her rebellion becomes complete when Malka sleeps with Yakov, and in the morning tells Yossef of her affair. Yossef, enraged, calls her a "whore" and attempts to beat her with his belt, but his attempts at reasserting phallic authority fail. Yossef's belt, his virility, and the men with whom he is implicated, are finally rendered impotent. Malka runs from the room, and the camera turns to Yossef. his belt hanging limply by his side, as he silently shuts the door.

Before her final escape from the ultra-orthodox community, Malka goes to Rivka's rooms to beg her to leave as well. Rivka, her face centered in the foreground of the shot, responds to Malka's entreaties by reciting the prayer said by women in labor. Rivka is not pregnant, and her address to the male God is a sign that she still positions herself within the phallocen-tric order. Her new body, however, now freed from shame and disgust, is, as the prayer indicates, like that of a new child, which she prays will be born "painlessly and in calm." The cameraremains on Rivka, as Malka kisses her goodbye and leaves. The following, scene depicts Rivka quietly entering her old home, where once again, Meir lies passively in the foreground, asleep in his bed. She undresses and sits on his bed, wakes him, and guides his hands to caress her as she caressed herself earlier in front of the mirror. The camera. closely follows the movement of both Rivka and Meir's hands as they sink into an intimate embrace.

Meir awakes the next morning to find Rivka dead. (53) Rivka's self-touch may have allowed her to return to a formative state of presuhject hood, in which the erotic touch, as Luce Irigaray has argued, can "reopen and reverse phallocentric systems of subjectivization, yet the ultimate recalibration of her body is incomp1ete. (54) The camera suggests as much as it focuses on the various books of the Talmud and other religious accoutrements which sit on Meir's bookcase, while Meir's pained cries echo through the scene. Rivka's body, with its newfound ability to access individual sexual expression, cannot return to its earlier, confined role. Instead, while her death mirrors elements of Jewish martyrology in its model of self-sacrifice, (55) in its form it is still modeled like a male sacrifice to a masculine deity. The context of Meir's room overshadows Rivka's body, reminding viewers that martyrdom here is a surrender to a male god that. Irigarary has argued, was constructed by masculine systems to "orient his finiteness by reference to infinity." (56) In systems such as the world of Kadosh, women cannot access a divine self while surrounded by elements which emphatically postulate a singular masculine divine. As a result, precluded from the divine image, women "have no god" and so Rivka cannot fully "establish her subjectivity or achieve a goal of her own," even in death. (57)

Malka's recalibration is more successful because she chooses to redirect desire away from the entirety of the system which has shamed her and compelled her into a violent marriage, and instead selects her own sex objects and moves herself outside the community. Freed from the discursive control of phallo-domination, Malka's body acquires a new mobility, the film suggests. Cast once again in the role of the gazer, this time without a barrier mediating her stare, Malka ends the final scene of the film looking over Jerusalem from the privileged perspective of the outlying hills. She glances one last time, her hair uncovered, on the city in which her repression was enacted. She watches only for a moment, then walks away, leaving the camera focused on the empty space she abandoned.

The film ends without destroying the patriarchal order which Rivka and Malka have abandoned; it will, Kadosh indicates, continue on in their absence. Their self-reflective gazes, however, wherein they were able to maintain valuable eye contact with themselves, destabilized phallic potencylong enough for Rivka and Malka to create new spaces for their own bodies. It is in these spaces that Rivka and Malka find room to recalibrate their bodies and form new subjective possibilities.


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Bride, David. "Israeli Secularists' Revenge."Tikkun 15, no. 4 (2000): 69-75.

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__. Unheroic Conduct.: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man.. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

__. Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism. California: Stanford University Press, 1999.

Butler, Judith. Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. New York: Routledge, 1997.

Fonrobert, Charlotte E. Menstrual Purity Rabbinic Literature and Christian Reconstructions of Biblical Gender. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000.

Freud, Sigmund. Moses and Monotheism. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological. Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. 23. Translated by James Strachey. London: Hogarth Press, 1953.

__. "Three Essays on Sexuality" The Standard Edition. of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. 12. Translated by James Strachey. London: Hogarth Press, 1953.

__. The Ego and the Id. Edited by James Strachey. Translated by Joan Riviere. New York: Norton, 1960.

Greenberg, Bin. On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1981.

Irigaray, Luce. Sexes and Genealogies. Translated by Gillian C. Gill. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987.

__. The Ethics of Sexual Difference. Translated by Carolyn Burke and Gillian C. Gill. London: Continuum, 1993.

Johnson, Liza. "Perverse Angle: Feminist Film, Queer Film. Shame." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture. and Society 30, no. 1 (2004):1361-84.

Kadosh. Directed by AMOS Gital. Haifa: Kino International, 1999.

Kahn, Susan Martha. "Making Technology Familiar: Orthodox Jews and Infertility Support, Advice, and Inspiration." Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 30, no. 4 (2006): 467-80.

Samuel Krauss. "The Jewish Rite of Covering the Head." In Beauty in Holiness: Studies in Jewish Customs Ceremonial Art, edited by Joseph Gutmann, 420-67. New York: Ktav, 1970.

Schiller, Mayer. "The Obligation of Married Women to Cover Their Hair."

Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 30 (1995): 81-108.

Mulvey, Laura. Visual and Other Pleasures. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

Ner-David, Haviva. "Reclaiming Nidah and Mikveh through Ideological and Practical Reinterpretation." In The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism, edited by Danya Ruttenber, 116-35. New York: New York University Press, 2009.

Oliver, Kelly. The Colonization of Psychic Space: A Psychoanalytic Social Theory of Oppression. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

Piers, Gerhart, and Milton B. Singer. Shame and Guilt: A Psychoanalytic and a Cultural Study. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas 1953.

Probyn, Elspeth. "Everyday Shame."

Cultural .Sludies 18, no. 2-3 (2004): 328-49.

Tomkins, Silvan. Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader. Edited by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Adam Frank. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.

Wasserfall, Rahel R., ed. Women and Water: Menstruation in Jewish Lift and Law. Boston: Brandeis University Press, 1999.

Weiss, Susan. "Under Cover: Demystification of Women's Head Covering in Jewish Law." Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues 17 (2009): 89-115.

Wilson, Emmett. "Shame and the Other: Reflections on the Theme of Shame in French Psychoanalysis." In The Many Faces of Shame, edited by Donald L. Nathanson, 166-69. New York: Guilford Press, 1987.

Zimmer, Eric. "Men's Headcovering: The Metamorphosis of this Practice. In Reverence, Righteousness, and Rahamanut: Essays in Memoly of Rabbi Doctor Leo Jung edited by Jacob J. Schacter, 325-52. New Jersey: Jason Aronsoli, 1992.

Zimmerman, Deena R., A Lifetime Companion to the Laws of Jewish Family Life. Jerusalem: Urim, 2006.


(1.) Kadosh, dir. AMOS Gitai (Haifa: Kino International, 1999), feature film.

(2.) Emmett Wilson, "Shame and the Other: Reflections on the Theme of Shame in French Psychoanalysis," in The Many Faces of Shame, ed. Donald L. Nathanson (New York: Guilford Press, 1987), 166-69. Wilson, drawing on theorists from Descartes. Spinoza and Hegel through Lacan, discusses the way in which alterity is an essential component of shame. According to Wilson, shame can only be understood in the context of intersubjectivity, where there is awareness of an other to perceive one's shame. The gaze, then, becomes even more essential, as it awakens the subject to the presence of an other. Wilson quotes from Sartre's Being and Nothingness, "I am ashamed of myself as I appear to the Other ... shame is shame of oneself before the other; these two structures are inseparable" (169). The shame of Rivka and Malka can only be understood in the context of the other represented as both men and women in the community who continually reify the mechanisms of the patriarchy, and project shame onto the subjects of this system.

(3.) Silvan Tonikins. Shame and Its. Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader, ed. Eve KosofSkv Sedgwick and Adam Frank (Durham: Duke i'niversity Press, 1995), 147.

(4.) Tomkins, 137.

(5.) Sara Ahmed. The Cultural Politics of Emotion (New York: Rotatedge, 2004), 104.

(6.) Ahmed, 85.

(7.) Gerhart Piers at td Milton B. Singer, Shame and Guilt: A Psychoanalytic and a Cultural Study (Springfield: Charles C. Thomas, 1953), 13.

(8.) Tomkins, 144-45.

(9.) Tomkins, 145. For Malka, yhose role in Kadosh is inseparable from her expression of sexuality, the gaze becomes a subject of particular scrutiny.

(10.) As Tomkins argues. "the hierarchical relationship is maintained either when the oppressed one assumes an altitude of contempt for himself or hangs his head in shame," thus allowing the dominating force to maintain his position. Tomkins. 139.

(11.) Ahmed 88.

(12.) Liza johnsoli, "Perverse Angle: Feminist Film, Queer Film. Shame." Signs: journal of Women in Cullum and Society 30, no.1 (2004): 1368.

(13.) Johnson, 1366.

(14.) The Mishna Soto discusses whether or not a woman is permitted to be educated in religious law. While in the context of the argument there were some who advocated a basic religious education for women, others disagreed. Rabbi Eliezer wrote, "anyone who teaches his daughter Torah (the Hebrew Bible) it is as if he has taught her lasciviousness." In the ultra-orthodox community depicted in Kadosh, this idea would likely have been upheld. (The term mishna refers to a series of texts that are a redaction of rabbinical discussions on the laws articulated in the Hebrew Bible, and the customs that had been orally transmitted through general ions It is these conversations which formed the basis for the Talmud, which later incorporated and explicated on the topics presented in the books of mishna). See Danel Boyarin's examination of patriarchy and rabbinic culture in Unheroic Conduct: The Rise' J Heterosexualitv and the Invention of the Jewish Man (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997). The limitation of women's ability to appropriate these symbols of power only holds true lor those who ascribe to a stringent traditional form of Orthodoxy. Movements such as I he Reform and Conservative and more progressive Orthodox branches of Judaism. to varying degrees, encourage the role of women in religious learning and leadership roles. In the community of Kadash, however, women are proscribed from such behavior. Malka, as she argues with Riyka about the problems within the community, makes note of such a fact. Not only does she mention that women are forbidden to study the Talmud, she also notes that they are forbidden to touch the Torah. "Just once," she angrily declares, "I'd like to stand in the synagogue and take the Torah in my two hands like a man."

(15.) For detailed explanation of the history of the yarmulke, see Samuel Krauss, "The Jewish Rite of Covering the Head," in Beauty in Holiness: Studies in Jewish Customs and Ceremonial Art. ed. Joseph Gutmann (New York: Km, 1970): 420-67. See also Eric Zimmer, "Men's Headcovering: The Metamorphosis of this Practice," in Reverence, Righteousness, and Rahman at: Essays in Memory of Rabbi Doctor Leo Jung, ed. Jacob J. Schacter (New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 1992): 325-52. The yarmulke emerges from a history that marks it as a signifier of power and status. Its biblical originals are negligible, as there is merely a brief mention in Leviticus 21: 10 of the high priest keeping his head anointed as a sign of his sanctified position. According to Krauss, in early Jewish communities male scholars and intellectuals began to cover their hair as a sign of their powerful communal role. By the Talmudic era the covering of the male head had become a symbol of extra piety, so that in a Talmudic discussion on avoiding sin (Kiddushin 31b), a member of the rabbinical conversation remarked, rather offhandedly, that Rabbi Huna, son of Rabbi Yehoshua, would not walk four cubits (about 6 feet) without his head covered, so as to keep a reminder oft lie divine presence above him at all times. However, this was not considered a religious mandate, but as the text indicates, merely an act of devotion. Likewise, in the late tenth century, Maimonides compiled the Mishneh Torah, a treatise exploring the laws set down in the Talmud. In the section Hilchot De'ot (Laws of Knowledge) he states, "Torah Sages conduct themselves with exceptional modesty. They do not demean themselves and do not bare their heads or their bodies." he Guide to the Perplexed, a later work of Maimon ides which sought to delineate the philosophical underpinnings of religious observances, again noted that "the great men among our Sages would not uncover their heads because they believed that God's glory was round them and over them." It was only in the late fifteenth century that the wearing of a yarmulke became a customary practice among most Jewish men, will] the publication in 1550 of the Shulkhan Arukh, a codified book of Jewish law. I i contrast, most of the religious literature on female hair covering describes it in the context of defining woman's relationship to man. The mandate requiring women to cover their hair stems from a religious dogma that calls for women to conceal the head, among other body parts. so as to deflect the lascivious male gaze. The contrasting dynamic between these two outwardly similar directives establishes a hegemonic system where men are the suhjects of God, while women are the subjects of men.

(16.) Boyarin, Carnal Israe4165.

(17.) Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the M, ed. Jame& Strachey, trans. Joa Riviere. (New York: Norton, 1960), 33.

(18.) Laura Mulvey, Visual and Other Pleasures (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), 14.

(19.) Mulvey, 14,15.1n Mulvey's argument, women in all patriarchal cultures literally symbolize the "the bleeding wound" of male castration fears. The dominant male, by virtue of his gaze on the passive female, can maintain her subjugation by constantly confining her to this symbolic role, where she then figures only as the marker of meaning for the male psyche.

(20.) Mulvey. 21.

(21.) Mulvey, 21-99.

(22.) These laws of ritual purity are deemed so essential to religious life that the Talmud devotes an entire tractate (Tractate Niddah) to its examination. The word nidelah refers to a woman who is rintalk impure during her menstrual cycle. While Gitai's depiction of the rules of niddah is unabashedly and polemically negative, the laws oldie mikvah are often understood in complex and nt lanced ways by women in Mar1V religious communities. Some modern perspectives on taharahat Initishpacha (family purity). winch see it as an integral part of a healthy marriage and Family life include: Bin Greenberg. On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradiion (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1981): Deena R. Zinmerman, A Lifetime Companion to the Laws of Jewish Family Life (Jerusalem: Urim 2006): and Flayiya Ner-David. "Reclaiming Nidah and Mikveh through Ideological and Practical Reinterpretation" in The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism, ed. Danya Rtitten-berg (NewYork: New York University Press, 2009). 116-35. Conversly, Rachel Adler, who In "Tam 'ah and lhharah: Ends and Beginnings-originally saw niddah law as a means of women recuperating agency nitheir own bodies, later recanted lier argument.. In a subsequent essay, "In Your Blood, Live: Re-visions oldie Theology of Purity" Tikkun 8, no. 1 (1992): 38-41, Adler describes niddah laws as a hierarchical system which ultimately subjugates the Female body. Other important work oil this topic includes Rachel Biale, Women and Jewish Law: An Exploration of 1iomen's Issues in Halakhic Sources (Schocken: New York, 1984); Rahel R. Wasserfall, ed. WOMen and Water: Menstruation in Jewish Life and Law (Boston: Brandeis University Press, 1999): and Charlotte E. Fonrobert, Menstrual Purity Rabbinic Literature and Christian Reconstructions of Biblical Gendel (Stanford: Stanford University Press. 2000).

(23.) Detailed examples of this examination process are dictated throughout Tractate Niddah. There are also extensive descriptions of the various types of fluids that are emitted from the female body, and which ones constitute a state of impurity. Disgust and horror of the female body are evident, for example, in a citation below, extracted from the Mishna and argued in pages of detail by the Talmudic scholars: "five kinds of blood in a woman are unclean: red, black, a colour I ski like bright crocus, or like earthy water or like diluted wine. Beth Sharamai ruled: also a colour [sic] like that of fenugreek [sic] water or the, juice of roasted meat; but Beth Hillel declare these clean. One that is yellow, Akabia b. Mahalalel declares unclean and the sages declare clean. R. Meir said: even if it does not convey un-clea mess as a bloodstain it conveys uncleanness as a liquid. R. Jose ruled: it does neither I lie one nor the other."

(24.) See Daniel Bayarin, Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture (Berkley: University of California Press. 1993).

(25.) Ahmed, 88.

(26.) Ahmed 88-89. Ideas of "above" and "below" are also evident in other ritu" als of this communit. Rivka, in a conversation with NIalka, discusses her wedding night with Men' and describes a belt that Mcir wore around his hips. Site notes: "Arotmd his hips, he wore that belt which divides the spiritual from the material world. He undid it." Though Rivka argues that "He honored me. He entered me by the ways of love, the ways of consent." ii is evident from Melt's garment that sex itself, even within marriage, is, by use ot a barrier. something literally confined to the "lower" realms of the body and spirit.

(27.) Ahmed, 85.

(28.) Ahmed. 85.

(29.) Kelly Oliver, The Colonization of Psychic Space: A Psychoanalytic Social Theory of Oppression (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), 110-11.

(30.) Mulvey, 15.

(31.) According to the laws of ritual immersion, every surface of the body must be touched by the waters of the mikvah in order to render "purity" on the subject. Women must cut their nails, remove any tangles front their hair, and even scrape off healed scabs from the skin so that their entire body is completely submerged.

(32.) These often refer to the matriarchs Sara, Rebecca, Leah, Rachel, as well as Samson's mother, Manoah's wife, Hannah, and the future of Zion, described as a barren woman. See, Judith R. Baskin, Midrashic Women: Formations of the Feminine in Rabbinic Literature (Hanover: University Press of New England, 2002), 136.

(33.) Baskin, 119-126.

(34.) Tomkins, 134.

(35.) Pierre Bourdieu, Masculine Domination, trans. Richard Nice (California: Stanford University Press, 2001), 13. As Bourdieu argues: "Manliness, virility, in. its ethical aspect ... remains indissociable, tacitly at least, from physical virility, in particular through the attestations of sexual potency--deflowering the bride, abundant male offspring, etc.--which are expected of a 'real' man."

(36.) Tomkins, 136.

(37.) Mulvey, in her follow up to "Visual Pleasure," argues that films featuring a female protagonist do not necessarily subvert the phallocentric order. Instead, women remain positioned betweetit lie two competing desires of masculine (active) and feminine (passive) sexuality. Unlike films with male protagonists, headlining females allow suppressed images of sexuality to become a primary narrative element and consequently make the film melodramatic. Though Gitai's film ultimately extols the virtues of fulfilling feminine desire, one could problematize the narrative (particularly Malka's role), by referring to Mulvey's caveat. See Mulvey, '35.

(38.) Sigmund Freud, "Three Essays on Sexuality," in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud Volume 171, trans. James Strachey (London: Ilogarth Press, 1953), 156-57.

(39.) Freud, 157.

(40.) Oliver, 128.

(41.) Elspeth Probyn, "Everyday Shame," Cultural Studies18, no. 2-3 (2004): 354.

(42.) See, David Biale, "Israeli Secularists' Revenge," Tikkun 15, no. 4 (2000): 70. In Biale's review of the film, he notes several inconsistencies between Gitai's representation of the Orthodox world and its traditional practices. The marriage ceremony is one such place. The ceremonial giving of the ring is actually the moment in which, according to religious law, the actual marriage contract occurs. It is puzzling that Gitai chose to exclude this, as the exchange of the ring is a uniquely male act, in which the ring symbolizes the male purchase of the woman and the woman does not reciprocally give a similar token to the man. The blessing recited at this moment also speaks to Gitai's theme, as it. states, "now you have become sacred (kadosh) to me."

(43.) Judith Butler, Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative (New York: Routledge, 1997), 18.

(44.) Butler, 159-60.

(45.) Butler, 28.

(46.) Butler, 12. As Butler notes, hate speech can also have a redemptive role for its addressee, as it allows the possibility of a response that the speaker did not intend, thus creating a means of resistance.

(47.) The fertility doctor also queries Rivka as to the nature of her sexual life with Mein She asks her about the positions in which they have sex. and the ways in which Meir arouses het; When the doctor asks, "does he touch you. lick you?" Rivka responds with a sharp, "God forbid. doctor." According to Freud. those who condemn the practices of oral sex as perverted "are giving way to an unmistakable feeling of disgust, which protects them from accepting sexual aims of the kind" ("Three Essays on Sexuality," 151). Though Freud points out that these various sexual desires are perceived as disgusting only within certain social contexts, in the world of Kadosh, where the female body is itself is a site of disgust, oral sex on a woman would be seen, by men and women alike, as a Specifically disgusting activity. .

(48.) Gitai does not. address the fact that in contemporary rigorously Orthodox communities, the use of fertility treatments: is on the rise, as modern rabbis make dispensations for couples attempting to build families, and new religious monitors work with fertility clinics to ensure adherence to rabbinical law. See Susan Martha Kahn, "Making Technology Familiar: Orthodox Jews and Infertility. Support, Advice, and Inspiration," Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 30, no. 4 (200(3): 467-80.

(49.) See, Susan Weiss, "Under Cover: Demystification of Women's Head Covering in Jewish Law." Nashim: A Journal of-Jewish IVomen's Studies and Gender Issues 17 (2009): 89. Weiss also discusses the various mythologizations and apologetics surrounding women's hair coverings, as well as the religious and secular legal repercussions of the power dynamic signified by this mandate.

(50.) While traditional Hungarian. Galician, and Ukranian Hassidic customs require women to shave their entire head so that no stray hair reveals their nakedness (email), this is a minority practice, as most rabbinic authorities require that the wife remain sexually attractive for her husband. See Mayer Schiller, "The Obligation of Married Women to Cover Their Hair." journal of Halfichn and Contemporary Society 30 (1995): 101-102.

(51.) Ahmed, 89-90.

(52.) Ahmed. 90.

(53.) The cause of Rivka's death is never hilly explained, leaving the viewer to wonder if it is a deliberate suicide. or an otherwise unarticulated cause of death. In his review. Stephen Holden critiques what he terms this "didactically melodramatic ending" which disrupts some of the film's "dramatic credibility," although, as Holden asserts, Kadosh still maintains "a disquieting rhetorical power." Stephen Holden, "A Dark View of Orthodoxy in Jerusalem," review of Kadosh, dir. Amos Gitai, New York Times. February 16, 2000.

(54.) Luce Irigaray. The Ethics of Sexual Difference, trans. Carolyn Burke and Gillian C. Gill (London: Continuum, 1993), 185.

(55.) As in some of the Maccabean narratives, for example. See also Daniel Boyarin, Dying far God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism (California: Stanford University Press, 1999).

(56.) Luce Irigaray, Sexes and Genealogies, trans. Gillian C. Gill (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), 61.

(57.) bigamy, Sexes and Genealogies, 63.
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