Moshe and Leah

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Graphic by Emmarogenous.

Written by Bruriah Lost. Bruriah is a formerly frum writer, attorney and mother. She came to Orthodoxy on her own as a teenager and then came out of it as an adult. Bruriah attended kallah classes and briefly practiced the laws of ritual purity (Niddah). For more Jewrotica writing by Bruriah, check out Prohibit This Cunt.

Rated XXX

On our first blind date, we meet in a hotel lobby, where he tells me his plan to leave yeshiva and become a kosher chef. “I am never going to be a great rabbi, studying to be one feels absurd. That is just not how my mind works. I love everything about food,” he says, sipping a caramel latte.

A man who is not afraid to admit that he loves the earthly realm of dining above the esoteric world of Torah study is both shocking and somehow intensely welcome. He admits a fatal flaw, without breaking eye contact on our first date. Moshe’s brutal honesty is an instant turn on. Until we met, I always imagined myself marrying a scholar.

I marry Moshe five months later, a common time span from first date to the wedding canopy in the intensely Orthodox Jewish community. We are both nineteen and virgins on our wedding night. It takes three days to work our way from tracing concentric circles on the other’s wrists to sex under the covers. After an entire adolescence starved for touch, his hands on my nude body are a miracle.

He starts his apprenticeship with a chef in a small kosher diner in Brooklyn. I start covering my hair with elaborate scarves that I unravel, every evening, in the elevator on the way up to my apartment. I long to feel my heavy curls loosely hanging down my back, always aching for my husband’s hand running through the long brown strands. After the wedding, my hair is only for him to see and touch; hidden, as my pussy is hidden. A married woman’s hair is Erva – nakedness.

He works awful hours – as is the life in the restaurant world. Routinely, Moshe comes home in the middle of the night. My sleeping schedule begins to resemble that of our medieval ancestors. I sleep from 10:00 p.m., until he comes home. We are together for a couple of hours before drifting off to sleep. Even during niddah, when I am menstruating and all touch is prohibited, we still talk in the peaceful dark hours of the night.


One treacherously cold January night, Moshe does not come home. I sleep through the entire night and wake to a text message, asking me to skip my university classes, sleep late, and wait for him to come home and cook us brunch. The ingredients list is attached. I pick them up and spend the rest of the morning distracting myself with Netflix. I tell myself not to mourn – not yet. I pray.

God, just don’t let it be some kind of horrible disease like cancer. He prays three times a day and he is an incredibly giving lover…

As soon as Moshe walks in the door I beg him to just talk to me.

“Leah, I need to tell you this thing and I will be totally honest, but first, I need to make this meal… Please let me make you this meal.” His body moves erratically in the tiny apartment kitchen. His skin is shiny with sweat. I watch him bake cinnamon crumble cake (my favorite) and make cheddar scallion omelets. The sleeves of his flannel shirt are rolled up, the black velvet kippah slightly off center on his curly red hair.

He serves me eggs and coffee at our small kitchen table. “Leah, I am just going to be honest with you, okay? I wanted you to have food in front of you, so maybe you will be less likely to run out if you are chewing. Crazy, I know.” I just put the first fork full in my mouth. I swallow and it goes down my windpipe. He waits till I finish coughing to continue.

“I was at the doctor yesterday. I am so sorry, but I was also at the doctor three days ago and two days before that. I have been at doctor’s offices a lot lately. There is this totally new syndrome showing up during puberty and immediately after. There is so little known about it.” His eyes are wet and his voice is shaking. I am so scared. I am crying hysterically; tears falling into my coffee.

“I am not going to die. Leah, don’t cry. Please don’t cry. I am going to live, but my body is changing from the body of a man to a body of a woman. I tried coming up with softer ways to say this, but there are no words – no better, gentler words for this. They are calling it Post-Pubertal Sex Change Disorder. God, I am so sorry.” We sit silently, staring intently into nowhere.

He is right about the food. Having the food he cooked on my plate provides soul deep comfort. You can’t walk out on someone who is kind enough to feed you in the midst of his private hell.

How?” I ask a few long minutes later.

“They don’t really understand it completely. The doctor said that there are all these genes in our bodies that do nothing and when a person gets this condition, it is like something flipped the switch on those genes. There is no stopping it.” Moshe is breathing hard, between the hiccups.

“Is it going to hurt?”

“No, I don’t think it’s going to hurt.” Silent tears slip from his puffy red eyes.

“Not physically at least…” I add quietly. I want to hold him, but I can’t. I am not yet due to go to the mikvah for another three days. I am ritually impure. I can’t not touch him…him…him? The word “him” keeps looping in my mind over and over again. Moshe. Moshe. Moshe.

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Bruriah is a formerly frumwriter, attorney and mother. She came to Orthodoxy on her own as a teenager and then came out of it as an adult.