Assorted rabbis continue to miss no opportunity and spare no effort to seem like total nutcases to the general population. On top of that, in their idolatrous worldview, they give no substantial guidance to the stringent religious public while ignoring all the other Jews and the rest of mankind. Especially in the area of sex, gender, and sexuality, they are completely in the dark and terrified, want everyone to know this, and try to emulate classical Christian doctrine as if Judaism doesn’t have its own robust outlook. If the Messiah would arrive now, which I pray for, s/he would defrock them all on the spot. Let me explain.
Assorted rabbis — not all rabbis. Many are wise, kind, and cautious men. But the loudmouth ones who feel they need to parade their egos, are a total embarrassment. The silent ones don’t speak out against them, from misplaced humility and from fear to be branded heretics.
Reportedly, several reservist rabbis from the IDF rabbinate have now published a halachic handbook for religious soldiers on how to serve in the IDF with women. It’s an amazing compilation of narrow-mindedness, unworldliness, and showing off their own holier-than-thou-ness.
These rabbinic authors seem to have much too little awareness that:
- The First Commandment is not to embarrass G^d by making Jews, His People, look bad, in the eyes of the Gentiles or in the perception of Jews.
- Their work should be to be a beacon of wisdom for all Jews (and Gentiles), not just for the religiously stringent.
- Their work should be to be a beacon of wisdom for all Jews (and Gentiles), not just for the religiously stringent. The way it’s written now is as if they only care about “their own.”
- It is more important and more urgent to serve humans and than G^d. The Latter knows how to take care of Oneself — thank you. Instead of being self-serving (look how much fear of Heaven I have), they should try to serve the public. Therefore, they should not imply that G^d advises us against things because He’s uptight or overdelicate but because He wants us to have a good life and sex that is not for cementing a steady committing relationship is always at best, short-lived fun with an enormous costly hangover. Formulated like that, maybe not-so-observant soldiers also can absorb such teachings for their own benefit.
- The Sages teach that to permit is preferred over to forbid. G^d wants us to have, within kosher limits, a good life in this world and a good afterlife. Instead of ordering withdrawal and abstinence, they should have sought for ways to make potential unkosher situations permissible. Just like physicians and counselors can work with clients they are potentially sexually attracted to by leaving a door open to someone outside the consulting room. It’s so simple, primitive, and lazy to just say: forbidden. Portraying sexuality as dangerous and evil is also not the Jewish message.
- Jews need to teach Christians from our ancient ways, not follow their most fundamentalist anxious hang-ups.
- It is idol worship to think that G^d wants us to please Him (or to serve Him to be rewarded). He’s feeling great already — thank you for your concern. He wants and challenges us to be our best. His Guidelines are for our sake, not for G^d’s sake, for Heaven’s sake.
- This might be new to some of them — they should listen to their wives (Genesis 21:12) — but women are much more than a sexual challenge for most men. They’re G^d’s highest (last) creatures. They are brilliant people who have so much wisdom that all men should be startled about them all the time. To only talk about them as sex objects is such a grave insult — also to most men (who are not so oversexed and who value women).
When I hear of rabbis who malfunction like this, I try to remind myself that I’m not so perfect either, so how would I be entitled to rabbis who are more Jewish and less assimilated? But I also remember that Judaism is not theirs. It’s defined in Jewish Scriptures (the Oral and the Written Law) and they can’t copyright and steal it away from others. Yet, I don’t see permission to stay silent when our holy Tradition is made fun of.
I also have something doubtful to discuss. When a violation of the Shabbat Laws must be done, it is preferable that religious soldiers volunteer for that. For safety, such ‘violations’ are not violations. And the pious who know the laws will ‘violate’ them with trepidation because they should prioritize preventing loss of lives over almost everything else, and not because they don’t care about Shabbat. And this is how it’s done.
So what about boys serving with girls close-by? Should not that too be done especially by religious soldiers? They know the gender modesty laws and their wisdom and necessity. But, on the other hand, religious soldiers might be less desensitized by immodesty than many less-pious soldiers. So, maybe this is an area not to volunteer for? I don’t know.
But I always have a funny feeling when a woman in the bus says to me: I respect you so I will not sit next to you. It’s well meant but I always think: Shouldn’t you rather sit next to me than next to someone who shows no commitment toward keeping proper distance?
And now the surprise. My oldest son is very religious and just finished five years serving in the IDF. In the end, he was a commander with only women below him. Not his preference but that is how it worked out. The IDF is very considerate of pious soldiers so he found little conflict. But he read the “new” booklet now and tells me: there is nothing new in it. It says what the rules were already. Where there were no rules printed yet, when you asked the rabbis, they answered what is written now. This does not describe how to behave but how the IDF is functioning already. Where it says that things are absolutely forbidden, in practice there are no very observant soldiers in such situations. The booklet is much about nothing.
But it sounds terrible and that is now exactly the first thing that the rabbis must learn to prevent.