Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Orthodox Judaism and Sex (4)

In six installments I’m going to discus:

  • 1 – Orthodox Judaism and SexualityI did here
  • 1a – Orthodox Judaism and Self-Gratification I did here
  • 2 – Orthodox Judaism and the Two SexesI did here
  • 3 – Orthodox Judaism and TransgenderI did here
  • 4 – Orthodox Judaism and Homosexuality – below
  • 5 – Orthodox Judaism and Bisexuality – later

Here comes part four.

4 – Orthodox Judaism and Homosexuality

There is also here a number of main issues.

The Case and Importance of Sexual Orientation

What is sexual orientation? Most people that find sexuality only so-so, probably are trying with the wrong sex. Human beings seem incapable of passionate sexuality with both sexes. (Complaints to the Creator of the world.) And only exuberant sexuality in a steady relationship may lead to bonding, to ending one’s existential loneliness.

One may not know one’s sexual orientation because one has not (yet) have had any longing for or experience with sex, romance or intimacy. Don’t force it, don’t experiment – it will become clear in a few years. Meanwhile “just” have friends.

However, most men know from a young age. Some have strong sexual feelings but other romantic desires. After that, they may suppress it because of the oppression all around, but it can’t be suppressed forever.

Some do not seem to have a (restricting) sexual orientation because they have so much sex with everyone. It will become clearer for them when they enter monogamy or abstinence. Without monogamy and bonding, sexual orientation is hardly relevant.

People attracted to children fall into two categories: attracted to adolescents – they have a preference for either sex, and to younger children – they don’t care about their sex. But adults having sex with minors is not only immoral and illegal, it is also not real sex but rather abuse. I don’t deal with abuse here – not because it’s not important.

Like it or not, Jewish men who married a Gentile woman have placed themselves outside of the Jewish Fold until the marriage is over or she converts to Judaism. Jews for Jesus have left the Jewish Fold until they’d leave the nonsense, repent and immerse themselves in a ritual bath. But homosexual Jews, who do not deny that they need a same-sex partner to bound with have not left the Jewish Fold. They may be cursed, insulted, shunned, and excluded, but they still made no choice against Judaism, since all people need sexual bonding and you can’t be banned for something you truly can’t live without. Rather, the people who demean and reject them have left much of the Jewish Tradition. They normally only repent when someone close to them finally comes out. Because of their manifest hatred the coming out to them may take a long time and them getting a grip on their homophobia may take a long time too.

Breaking up the Deadly Status Quo?

Israel has yet another point where it is way-ahead of the rest of the world. The national electricity company for decades already, has a happy male duo of cartoon characters that grace all its mailings and ads about energy consumption and efficiency. That there are no women in these communications must please the extremely-religious communities. Never mind that these two man live together in one house. Their friendship could be platonic, no? To erase any doubt, their names are Plug and Socket! Crude and rude as this may be, no one ever made any issue of this (did anyone pay any attention?), and the virtual gay couple has been upgraded recently with a couple of cute babies, becoming more middle-of-the-road Israeli.

Trail-blazing as this all may be, making the alternative family part of the mainstream, this does fortify some serious preconceived notions about homosexuals: that they are all engaged in same-sex intercourse and that homosexual couples must consist of one male man and one female man.

Down with the Stereotyping

So let’s first talk about the hyper focus on intercourse as the supposedly main way homosexual men have sex – or better: the misrepresentation of homosexual sex. (We will keep it decent and the explicit terms will only upset the worst prudes.) This inaccuracy is directly followed by the mistaken assumption that a proper gay couples must consist of a “top” and a “bottom,” a male and a female gay. This has two false premises.

  1. As if a person is either effeminate or macho, so the one who puts out the garbage is the one who is more muscled and the top and he can’t cook or vacuum clean, but he can repair the vacuum cleaner. They need each other because one is deficient in masculinity and one in femininity.

What nonsense! Many heterosexuals are not as stereotypical already, and even more so many GLBTQs, who need to be much more flexible about the so called gender roles to make anything in their relationship work. This is especially true because many gay partners (but not all of them) are more alike than each other’s opposites – homo means similar – not only opposites attract.

  1. As if sexuality and intercourse, and not love and commitment, are at the center and the essence of their relationship.

Some homosexuals never have anal sex, or because they dislike it, or out of respect for Jewish Law.

In any case, for many people there are many different ways to have sex. As mentioned, some gay man dislike intercourse; others may find it not so hot for themselves, but would participate in it for the other. However, more importantly, for some people intercourse is the main dish of their sexuality, but for many others (not just homosexuals) it is just an optional side dish, if at all.

To spell this out a bit, for many happy couples, being intimate means in the first place time to snuggle. Cuddling then relates to climaxing as friendship to sexual partnership; the latter may be on a deeper/higher plane, but without the former it often just turns quick and shallow.

Another sexual poverty is assuming that “foreplay” is only important when it leads to climaxing – as the word seems to say. But that is like only enjoying the picnic and not the whole day trip. Or worse, only valuing the sex and not the person and the friendship.

As conclusion, we may have our doubt about the sexual health of ideas and people who claim that intimacy equals intercourse. This is not different among homosexuals.

All the Faulty Positions

Let me try to give a simple overview of flawed ideas that are popular about male homosexuality under Jewish Law:

  1. Homosexuals should try to change.

Truth: Conversion is wholly impossible (see: here).

  1. Inter-male intercourse is forbidden.

Truth: All sexuality is forbidden to homosexuals (see: here).

  1. Homosexuals should be met with compassion and tolerance.

Truth: Jewish Law and not homosexuals must by flawed (see: here).

  1. Orthodox rabbis are now more welcoming.

Truth: Rabbi Arthur Schneier mentions that “tolerance” conveys the idea “I am superior, I tolerate you.” I would add: Tolerance refers to a nuisance, something negative. It does not mean embracing.

The rabbis either don’t know what they are talking about or are collectively terrified to speak their minds. (The scandal is not being ignorant but rather not doing anything about the lack of knowledge.)

Jewish leaders and others who remain unmoved by this problem, may very well be violating several crucial Commandments towards homosexual men: not to withhold love from others for no good reason (i.e., baseless hatred, the sin that prevents Redemption from coming), and to care about your fellow as yourself (Leviticus 19:18 — a violation that enables all evil of magnitude). Even those who are not halachic arbiters, but still simply shrug their shoulders and say “That’s just the way it is” are guilty of apathy and lack of love, and of silence in the face of injustice — just as leaders and masses that stood by the Holocaust were.

Compare:

“A lack of caring enables all evil, including the Holocaust.” (Eli Wiesel)

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” (Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a rare German church leader who opened his mouth against the Nazi regime)

“The road to Auschwitz was built by hate, but paved with indifference.” (Renowned Holocaust Scholar Sir Ian Kershaw)

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transformation was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” (Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.)

The silence treatment of homosexuals by indifferent or timid Rabbis is perhaps the biggest and most-deadly Jewish-religious scandal ever.

There is no resistance, not by homosexuals, not by their families, friends and allies, not by groups and not by individuals. They all seem so intimidated that they either walk out or pretend conformity.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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