Hayim Leiter
Mohel, Activist, and Educator

OK, Rabbi Gordimer, let’s talk facts

Dear Rabbi Gordimer,

I apologize that you felt uncomfortable in any way. That was not my intent. I truly felt that I was describing the situation correctly. You must admit, though, that with statements like “how much further will this all go”, it does seem as if you are concerned about how this will play out. And to expand on my Yamim Noraim comment, the matter we’re dealing with is beyond mere Halachic pilpul. People’s lives are at stake.

There is no doubt that you’ve done a great job of being objective here. And I will grant that I react more out of emotion. But we need to find a middle ground. Just as no legal system can be based solely on emotion, it cannot be completely devoid of it either.

I fear that your objectivity can have horrible consequences. Demanding that frum gay individuals lead a life of celibacy causes people to commit suicide. That is a fact and that should greatly concern you.

How each member of Torat Chayim chooses to open his or her arms to the LGBT community is something I’m not prepared to defend. The members choose to do as they see fit, much like the halachic process itself. Some people invite members of the LGBT community for a Shabbat meal, while others give speeches at commitment ceremonies.

The effects these actions will have on the trajectory of the Jewish community is an unknown. But again, what is known is that, if we are not welcoming, the results can be catastrophic; and I do believe this to be a case of safek nephashot l’hakel (in matters of life and death, we must be lenient).

Rav Hayim Leiter

About the Author
Hayim Leiter is a Rav and a Mohel for the greater Jerusalem area , an activist, and a Jewish Educator. He founded Safer HaBrit, an organization committed to protecting both our sacred ceremony of Brit Milah and the children who undergo it. He made Aliyah in 2009 and lives in Jerusalem with his wife and children.