Let’s appreciate progress and learn how to push back against the nonsense.
I first want to say that the validity of my sharp criticisms depends on if the Rabbi’s words and their translation are not distorted, purposely or inadvertently. The article’s headline calls this address an attempt to show the humanity of the religious objecting to Gay equality. That lacks love for Gays and is a bit self-centered, but that could be a report’s partiality.
When you read the Rabbi’s laudable attempt, you can’t help realizing how far we’ve come. It used to be normal to trash Gay men with a token sentence at the end that they must not be hated. Now, the statement has a long paragraph that no one has permission to trash Gay men.
That’s a good start, but it is sandwiched between disappointing nonsense.
The most-important disputes don’t need to address opinions or exegesis. Most progress can be made by focusing purely on facts and truths and rejecting ignorance and nonsense. Judaism is rooted in reality.
For starters, they are called Gay men. That is significant because sexual proclivity is early and unalterably ingrained in the brain, just like gender. How would you like it to be called: people with Jewish tendencies? And, if anything is a choice and lifestyle, then it is Judaism, and not what gender someone needs for sexual union. It is also too convenient but false to talk of ‘LGBT-people.’ Your issue is mainly with Gay men. Call a spade a spade.
The opening statement is as untrue as saying that “the main fluid in the human body can’t be water since when we cut it, we see blood, not water.” Yes, that shows both ignorance and untruth. His first paragraph: “A person who has homosexual tendencies and who refrains from performing immoral deeds (sic) that may stem from those tendencies is a normal person, ‘one of us,’ a person with wisdom, feelings, and sensitivities, who is capable of attainments in every area including learning Torah and acquiring fear of Heaven.” Let’s focus on the two worst mistakes.
● A man who tries never to have sex in his life is NOT like a normal (sic) person, ‘one of us.’ You could not do this, and neither can he. According to the latest figures, we’re talking about more than half a million Gay Jews and a quarter of a billion male Gay Gentiles. These are not rare exceptional cases a Divine Law for humans couldn’t take into account. Halachah is easy and beneficial to follow, not impossible or detrimental, Heaven forbid.
● He implies that he can only recognize that a Gay man who refrains from any sex as “a normal person, ‘one of us,’ a person with wisdom, feelings, and sensitivities, who is capable of attainments in every area including learning Torah and acquiring fear of Heaven.” This is all in the eye of the beholder. All Gay men are human like everyone else. Normal men can’t refrain from sex forever, so a total ban must fall outside Jewish Law.
Despite this unfortunate opening, now comes a truly great paragraph. He also takes back what he said above, that these are people like everyone else. I quote literally except for light editing to improve clarity:
“One must preserve their dignity and behave toward them with sensitivity, according to the Commandment: “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Furthermore, I am inclined to say that these days, we are obligated to accord them the extra sensitivity we must accord converts as they are ‘not like everyone,’ and perhaps must also take care not to cause them any pain, as is the law with regard to widows and orphans. We must remember that, just as we are commanded to distance ourselves from any form of immorality or the like, we are also commanded not to shed blood [importantly, this includes embarrassing others – MM] or to do anything that could lead to that, and I think you can grasp my intention.”
It must be noted that the Torah and Jewish Law recognize the extra vulnerability of widows, orphans, and converts to Judaism, and the obligation to treat them with the greatest sensitivity and care. Also, women could be mentioned here in one breath. And, to welcome them into the community as indispensable and loved to the highest degree.
I can recommend to stop reading here. This was the great news. Some 50 years too late, but better late than never. The rest I will quote too, to show what our hasbarah against the distorted ideas and reality can be.
Really Bad Stuff
The previous paragraph is so beautiful because it shows the Rabbi’s command of Judaism. But now, he ventures into all kinds of other areas, especially sexuality for Gay men, that he doesn’t know anything about.
Gay men should not take a letter of that into account. If you wanted to commission a house, would you ask a great rabbi or architect to draw up a design? If a great rabbi tells you, to save money by building thinner walls and floors, would you follow his idea? You get my drift. This doesn’t imply disrespect for the rabbi. He doesn’t know how much he fails to know here.
It now goes from bad to worse to wicked. Readers’ discretion is requested.
The Rabbi now explains he’s not trying to antagonize Gay men but rather protect all Jews because he has no permission to decide anything else, and he’s fearful that homosexual intercourse in Israel could anger G^d so much that He would send all Jews into exile again. Do we feel bad for him?
I don’t ascribe to such an assimilated (Christian, pagan) way to relate to G^d but that’s what it is. I’d feel bad for him if he felt bad for Gay men but he doesn’t. So many young Gay men commit suicide or have their spiritual and physical lives ruined by his panicked ruling. Does that hurt him?!
He sees the pride flag as an ad for the worst sin. He exaggerates his own understanding. Homosexual intercourse is this capital sin he talks about. Gays spilling seed and Lesbian relations are not as bad in even the most conservative Halachah. And what sins actually are committed by Asexuals and Intersex people? The pride flag covers all of them. He doesn’t know.
He exaggerates again when he says that “everyone must refrain from [Gay intercourse] in every circumstance, even if it entails giving up one’s life.” This clearly is not addressing women. They can lie with a man as with a woman if they’d like. And, if he’d known any Gay men and would listen to them, he could know that they never “lie with a man as with a woman.” This most grievous sin, in the p’shat, addresses heterosexual men, only. Just as the Talmud warns: It makes them leave their wives and children.
He has a great problem with the pride and openness. He still thinks this could stand for promotion from anger or choice. And—worse—for recruiting youngsters. The old and vile lie about Gay men. Pride here is only to offset the huge shame society laid on these innocent sweet boys.
Yet, he warns that “due to the controversy in the public sphere in these matters, one must proceed with great forethought and wisdom, and take advice from those with experience in dealing with such matters.”
He is right because making Jews look bad (obsolete) is the worst sin.
He then should be forgiven for his ignorance regarding Gay sex as also most psychologists don’t know what they are talking about. He’d be so proud when he discovers how correct the Torah is and how backward psychology is. The issue in sexuality is not what attracts and repulses. Men need to leave their parents and cleave to a wife. Heterosexual men can’t cleave to men. If they’d try, they would become addicted and promiscuous without limit. And homosexual men can’t cleave to a woman. Despite friendship, sex, love, and kids, they’d stay lonely until they can’t take it anymore, break up the family, and choose a man. What a disaster!
The Talmud states that for a left-handed man, his right hand is his left hand. For a Gay man, his husband is his wife. NB: Not because either of them must be more feminine. They can be neither or both effeminate.
You can’t just be fearful about Gay men’s sex and not about them wasting their lives. Where in the Torah or Talmud or Codexis of Jewish Law do they get permission not to have an intimate sex life? It’s not good for humans to end up alone. Gay men are human too. Only Moses, after the age of 80, was commanded to refrain from sex. No Gay man alive is on his level.
Conversion therapy is worse than missionary activity on the Jews. At least, the latter don’t commit suicide or have their intimacy ruined, sometimes for life. They can repent and return to Judaism intact.
Not inhibited by any knowledge, he adds a token line about transgenders. He, reportedly, sees “far greater dangers [sic–perhaps damage?] inherent in the transgender operations they permit. Furthermore, this population has a much higher suicide rate, seven times worse than could be caused by a psychological program.” The high suicide rate is from religious parents not accepting them, not from psychological help. Also, by far not every transgender person opts for hormones and operations.
Lastly, he’s upset that Magain David haAdom (MDA), in woke fanatism, replaced ‘father’ and ‘mother’ on blood transfusion forms by ‘parent 1’ and ‘parent 2.’ He can tell them the only thing that counts for transfusions is parental DNA. MDA just should print: ‘biological father’ and ‘biological mother.’ I understand that the Rabbi and his community feel attacked by everything out of the ordinary, but this is just silly nonsense.
Yet, a family is not only a woman plus a man plus kids. If you think that’s the only exemplary form suitable to all, you have no idea what happens outside your bedroom. There are Jewish couples that consist of one gender that are models to all of love, closeness, caring, and holiness.
Let me close off by pointing out from where all the nonsense must come. Not to shame anyone. Rather, I ask G^d to give them a chance to repent. This fanatical rejection of reality and truth, not inhibited by too much knowledge, must come from a lack of humility and of love for Gay men. I’d really like all Gay-rejectors to repent, as I don’t envy their Heavenly fate.