Yoseph Janowski
By the Grace of G-d


If someone is pulling out their own hair, society tries to help that person.

Thirty-seven years ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe used the above example, to address the matter of gay rights that was then becoming a much-discussed matter. As I remember it, he explained that wasting semen is similar to pulling out hair. (I think he quoted Maimonides, that semen is a source of vitality, and wasting it is wasting a person’s vitality.) And instead of encouraging or praising what the person is doing, we need to try to help that person.

These days, society is dealing with sharply divided viewpoints. There is rhetoric by many on the religious right condemning anything that differs from religiously-approved relationships. And there are opposing claims that the religious right hates and discriminates.

The Rebbe took a middle of the path approach. Not condemnation, nor approval. Rather, a caring, wanting to help the person.

Despite today’s intense polarization, I think that when society thinks about the Rebbe’s viewpoint, consensus can be reached.

About the Author
The author lives in Toronto, Canada. He has written for