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Mizvah Night (1)

mixed media 37x35x50cm

Mizvah Night I 37x35x30cm [mixed media] (300DPI)

“Marital relations are one of the pleasures of Shabbat. Therefore scholars should have marital relations with their wives on Friday night”. (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim Chapter 280 Marital Relations on Shabbat)
שולחן ערוך אורח חיים רפ הלכות שבת תשמיש המטה בשבת
א תשמיש מתענוגי שבת הוא לפיכך עונת תלמידי חכמים הבריאים מליל שבת לליל שבת

This law is an integral, if private, side of Judaism. The term ‘scholars’ is interpreted to include all white-collar workers, as opposed to manual laborers for whom the halacha (Jewish law) is different.

Just as a woman readies herself for the Shabbat by preparing food, challot (special loaves of bread) and candles to light, so she must prepare herself, to the extent that she needs to do so and when she is not nidah (ritually unclean), for intimacy with her husband at the end of the day. After the meal is served and cleared, the guests leave and the children are asleep, then comes the time for the fulfillment of this mizvah (commandment).

In my work, I make overt reference to this hidden agenda of Friday nights. I have baked challot in the shape of breasts and put lipsticks in place of candles in the Shabbat candlesticks. Friday night really is often colloquially and half-jokingly called “mizvah night”.