Who are the ones the Torah addresses?
This may hurt. Sometimes, the truth hurts. For those who seek it.
This Yom Kippur, Orthodox Synagogues around the globe will again read from the Torah about its numerous sexual Injunctions. Among them, the Command [implied: for a man] not to have sex with a man as he would have with a woman.
My Moroccan synagogue has a nice solution. At Festivals, we have an extra Chazzan who’s Yemenite. He’s a very learned Jew and Levite. So, they give him the second Aliyah, but a little bit more than the division in the prayer book. He reads the text, including the injunction on homosexuality, in the traditional Yemenite way, and no one really understands what he reads.
That’s a smart tradition because statistically, at least one-third of all Jews in attendance have a first-degree LGBTQ+ family member.
The simple meaning of the Hebrew Torah text is that heterosexual men should not engage in homosexual intercourse as if he’s with a woman!
Yet, the rabbis don’t need to destroy all their anti-homosexual rhetoric. But they must address the proper people, the Straight Guys. For sex, don’t seek men instead of women! Sexuality is to forge deep connections, not an addictive pleasurable pastime.
The Torah was the first widely circulated Document that gave rights and esteem to women. But it seems so sexist. Not for what it says but for what it doesn’t. It hardly acknowledges women. This should be understood well.
Generally, women are not the problem in the world. Who make wars, who are selfish and lack empathy, who oppress for their pleasure? Yes, there are moral men. Yes, there are immoral women. But the Torah addresses the typical person, not exceptions. And if most regular men would shape up, all of humanity would be in a much better place.
Yet, the rabbis don’t need to destroy all their rhetoric against immorality. But they must address the proper people, the men. Don’t blame everyone for being too selfish. Don’t you realize how much most wives and mothers secretly sacrifice of their comfort?
Here, we can be brief. Stop blaming the Atheists. Reb Shlomo Carlebach already said: ‘When the restaurant is good, people will eat there.’ If Jews don’t show up at our services and lectures, there’s something (a lot) we do wrong. Go learn from them. Eat humble pie, and try to learn from what they know. When Orthodox Jews shape up, the others will be interested.
Yet, the rabbis don’t need to destroy all rhetoric against serving the self instead of G^d. But they must address the proper people, Orthodox Jews.
The Torah could not have been clearer. While it’s a Blueprint for life for any decent person, it puts most of its demands on Jews.
Surely, there is Antisemitism, and not so little. But the rabbis always hold both the Antisemites responsible but highlight to Jews that G^d let them because of our sins. No, we don’t blame the victim; we empower them.
And what terrible sin must we break to turn the world around?
How about smiling at everyone you meet and meaning it?
Hard? It’s supposed to be hard. But not impossible!
We’re allowed to cry until we can do it!
First, admit we took life as a burden. Only then, make the change.