Hayim Leiter
Mohel, Activist, and Educator

Rabbi Gordimer, even you are included

Dear Rabbi Gordimer,

I am so glad you wrote your blog, which dismissed my position of inclusion of the LGBT community. Your stance, as you so eloquently outlined it, is exactly why I wrote my blog in the first place. I think we can all tell that you are upset. You’re afraid that the Torah and its values will be washed away by modernity. You’re scared that people seeing rabbis and lay leaders behaving as the members of Torat Chayim so bravely do will lead to more desecration of God’s holy name.

But the behavior of the members of Torat Chayim, and people with similar values, is the exact opposite – it is a Kiddush HaShem. Not in a single article that you linked, nor in anything that I wrote, did anyone take a stance on how people should behave in their private lives. Do you know why that is? Because that is none of anyone’s business.

What we do take a stance on is exactly the point you are missing. We stand for treating people with the human dignity they deserve. We stand against people publicly shaming others for their sexual orientation or any other personal decision. And we stand for inclusion of both the Torah and the ‘other’, if you will.

I know it’s hard to understand. And you’re correct that very few logicians can explain balancing such tensions. (I have trouble doing it myself at times.) But if you’re looking for examples of how to live your life this way, I can direct you to at least 250 people who do so on a daily basis.

The truth is, Rabbi Gordimer, I’m scared too. But my fear comes from a different place. My fear comes from people who scream to the masses that they know exactly what the “Torah stance” is on every issue.

As I’m sure you know, we just finished our most introspective time of the year. My question to you, sir, is: How did it go?

Rav Hayim Leiter

About the Author
Hayim Leiter is a Rav and a Mohel in Israel , as well as 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.