Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
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The Holocaust and how rabbis treat homosexuals

This week I heard a very interesting comparison by an Israeli teacher, an Orthodox rabbi. He said, in previous generations, students would ask teachers, “Where was G^d during the Holocaust?” Nowadays, students ask, “How could G^d forbid homosexuals all sexually?” This question, he clarified, comes from heterosexual students. They seem to imply, “How could we engage in a religion that professes such a grave immorality?”

And maybe there are more parallels between the two challenges to Judaism than meet the eye. And I don’t even mean that the Nazis also put homosexual in Auschwitz and that Neo-Nazis hate them too. (Though I think that a joint enemy for homosexuals and Jews should almost obligate both groups to fight for each other. Complaints from traditionals that they are the true victims of the politically correct GLBTQ lobby are quite similar to the laments of antisemites that they are controlled by the Jewish lobby that runs international politics, the banks and the media.) Let  me explain.

Where was G^d during the Holocaust? Religious people will find their answer, but William Styron replied with a counter question, “Where was Man?”

Maimonides explains that most hurts that we feel we caused ourselves. And then we fault G^d for them. Instead of banging our head against the wall 40 times and then blaming G^d for our headache, maybe we should stop hurting ourselves?

The Sages teach that if we want to walk around barefoot, G^d doesn’t want to know us. I think that means, Don’t blame Me if you then get hurt.

I would add that the vast majority of human hurt – if not caused by ourselves – we cause each other. War. Hunger.

Even in the case of “acts of G^d,” most fatalities come from human negligence. (No early warnings against tsunamis. Shoddy building standards (or not applying the good ones) in the case of earthquakes.)

Instead of waiting for G^d or Messiah to correct the situation, why not chip in you?

We’re waiting for G^d? G^d is waiting for us!

Don’t you think that He couldn’t have made it all perfect from the start? That He couldn’t make everything perfect right now? He can, hands-down.

But He offers us the job to earn our Heavenly reward and work with Him. How long still will we continue to decline the honor? How long will we pretend that nice intentions, good feelings and prayer alone are good enough to set the whole world right?! Paying lip service to action. (First, we need to act. Only then, we add our best intentions and prayers.)

How does this relate to the rabbis saying that G^d forbids homosexuals all sexually? (HERE you have spelled out that present Jewish Law denies them solo-sex, joint sex with someone of the same gender (and not just intercourse) and even heterosexual marriage and union!)

G^d didn’t ban homosexuals’ sexual union. Man did. The Rabbis, in their ignorance, for already 50 years, pretend to understand what is going on and don’t want to know of reason and how they must be wrong.

Rabbis cannot and should not be blamed for their initial ignorance about sexual orientation. Who knew? But by now, they can know but they don’t care enough to right the wrong. They’re behaving as wicked Pharaoh who said, “I don’t know G^d.” (Exodus 5:2) Why is that wicked? Isn’t that ignorance? No, the proper position is “I don’t know – teach me.” “I want to continue on the level I am, no matter what” is wickedness.

Just like the Rabbis (excluded a handful of exception) don’t really care, most people didn’t fight the deportation of the Jews from their midst to their destruction. It didn’t concern them. They didn’t hate them. They felt “neutral” about them. Make no mistake how deadly that is. “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 not built by hate, but paved with indifference.” (Renowned Holocaust Scholar Sir Ian Kershaw); and “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.)

Homosexual still are persecuted and murdered, in many countries prosecuted, in all countries oppressed and despised and still commit suicide (the most wonderful of young people among them) and the Rabbis don’t care. How could I accuse them? How could I not!

It’s completely obvious that G^d doesn’t forbid sex to any individual, especially not humans about whom He wrote that it’s not good to stay alone. G^d forbad homosexual intercourse to heterosexual men – alone. (If you study the Sages about this, it’s completely clear, but the Rabbis don’t want to learn there.) To think differently is first-of-all an insult to G^d. You’d think that He’s such an immoral stupid G^d? Shame on you.

Don’t blame G^d for Auschwitz or making homosexuals pariahs. Man did.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1550 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * 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, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance 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. 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 an original peek outside of your cultural bubble.
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