Audrey N. Glickman
Audrey N. Glickman

Homosexuality Is Not Mentioned in the Torah

Woman as a man in a Purim spiel.  Image owned by Audrey N. Glickman; used with permission.
Woman as a man in a Purim spiel. Image owned by Audrey N. Glickman; used with permission.
Homosexuality is not mentioned in the Torah.
The other day I read about Yeshiva University “tolerating” (not so much, either) LGBTQIA students and professors, while from the other side of their mouths they aver that homosexuality and whatever their authorities read into that word is against Jewish law.
I believe it was back in 1975 that a religious Christian individual pointed to “what it says in Leviticus,” accusing me of defending persons who were sinners under what he called my own laws, and I did a deep dive into what it actually says in Leviticus 20:13 and 18:22.
The passages proscribe a husband from lying with a male as with a wife.  In 20:13, “ish” and “ishah” are co-equals, a husband and wife.  “Zakhar” is the “male.”  Lying with someone as with a woman is absolutely not homosexuality.  A gay man is not lying with a woman at all.
In ancient times, in Greece and Phoenicia and other lands, it was a fairly common practice for men to dally with teenage boys rather than to risk impregnating their wives.  It was a sort of birth control.  It was horribly, horribly, wrong-minded and abusive, but it was common enough.  These passages obviate that practice.  These passages say that it is wrong to cheat on the wife, even if it is with a male.
It does not matter how others have interpreted these rules since then, out of the context in which they were promulgated.  What matters is the intent of the law as written.
We are created as we are created, in all regards including gender and sexuality.  We should appreciate our differences and acknowledge different perspectives.  No one is right, no one is wrong, we are shades and hues on a spectrum of variety.  It is not up to us to point the finger deciding someone else is a sinner based solely upon how that person was created.
Hatred and prejudice are the things we cannot tolerate.
About the Author
Author of POCKETS: The Problem with Society Is in Women's Clothing (, Audrey N. Glickman is a rabbi’s assistant, with prior experience in nonprofits, government, advertising, and as a legal secretary. A native Pittsburgher, Audrey has served on many boards, organizations, and committees, advocating for many causes, including equal rights, secure recountable voting, preserving the earth, good government, improving institutions, and understanding and tending to our fellow human beings.
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