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

Rabbi Yigal Levenstein is not the homophobic problem

The seemingly pugnacious Torah teacher, paid by the egalitarian Israeli Defense Forces, reportedly has again spoken up against the scourge of homosexuality. Don’t attack him; he’s not the problem and neither are the prolific writers who feel such a need to profess agreeing with him.

His Perspective

First of all, he assumes to strictly teach heterosexual Orthodox cadets to safeguard traditional Jewish values that are under attack by secularism.

He doesn’t try to attack homosexuals but rather to protect young heterosexual men against the craze of the times: sexual “freedom,” read: easily giving in to masturbation, recreational sex, promiscuity, looseness and sex-addiction. He knows that reserving sex for sexual union with one person is bliss and the rest of it is destructive.

And you know what – he’s right. Not just for Judaism but also psychologically. (Not giving license to stigmatizing, scaring, prosecuting and persecuting sexual licentiousness but still to point out that all such “liberty” in the end, does not lead to happiness but rather enslaves.)

The Real Problem Makers

What happens next is that his words are scrutinized as if he’s speaking to the general public and then leaked to make a scandal.

For sure, among his students are boys who are not heterosexual, but he’s not aware of natural unchangeable sexual orientation (although the great Rabbis Kook and Feinstein (1978) eventually became conscious of “innate” homosexuals), only of heterosexuals choosing to go astray. His ignorance endangers the mental health of some of his students. For them in the first place, his words need additional words of wisdom which he doesn’t speak. But still, he’s not the problem. Who are?

The true culprits are all the Orthodox rabbis jointly who are too ignorant and/or scared and/or indifferent and cold to say: Honestly, our 50-year old interpretation of gays, as if they chose wrongly for sin, us ignoring natural unchangeable sexual orientation, does not work. How could we expect people to cleave to a partner with whom they can’t or hundreds of millions of healthy people to forgo all sexuality? It’s impossible and unhealthy and we don’t know what’s the worse of the two.

Obviously, Jewish Law against homosexuality is only for heterosexuals.

But almost all famous and infamous, leading and regular Orthodox rabbis lack the necessary honesty, bravery and love for their fellow man and Jew to speak out in favor of the evident, the need for homosexuals to form lasting same-sex relationships and enjoy the goodness of their sexuality. They hide behind the fig leaf of traditionalism, while Rabbinic anti-gays sentiments are merely half-a-century-old modernity at best.

For starters, their position is nonsense because G^d and the Sages would not deny reality or make half-a-billion Jews and Gentiles suffer for naught.

The Acting the Injured Innocent

Yet, don’t assume that the secular Israeli public is just fine with gays. In great numbers, yes, but there is still no majority in the Knesset to stop and correct anti-gay laws. Though that’s clearly rooted in recent Biblical exegeses, it’s the secular public that’s still too homophobic to out-vote the tiny minority of Orthodox Members of Knesset on this matter. In fact, there are so many homophobic secular Israelis and so many gay-friendly Orthodox Israelis that one may safely say that it’s largely an individual psychological, not religious, issue who’s a bigot and who’s not.

But if the Rabbis would speak out in droves for rehabilitation of gays, that would sway Israeli and world public opinion. Your regular Orthodox Rabbi keeping silent is deadly. Now they even have a way to speak out anonymously, so there is no excuse. I wouldn’t like to bear their sin.

Meanwhile, the secular world progresses while the Orthodox Rabbis are stuck. How embarrassing. The worst scandal of Judaism in modern time.

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About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch Holocaust survivors 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 vegan for 8 years now. * 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 and Rav Zev Leff. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. His fields of attention are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine, Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (of 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) and Veganism. 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. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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