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Coming out of the closet in the frum community

An old friend of mine recently came out of the closet to me (he gave me permission to write about him without revealing who he is) and as anyone would be, I was completely shocked, I was also super pumped because now I can say I have gay friends – whenever something that could be considered “anti-gay” slips out of my mouth. I also have one black friend, so all I need now are some Asians and Indians.

So anyway my friend is slowly coming out of the closet after being gay his whole life, in the frum community might I add. Luckily I was hanging out with him and we got to talking about it, I should mention that I was completely shocked because he is all man, there is no feminine thing about this guy – he is hairy, wears wife beaters, works on cars and other construction projects, drives a truck and owns quite a few guns, he drinks beer and grunts like the men – if it were one of my other more metrosexual friends I wouldn’t have been so shocked.

He told me that like most gay men he went through different stages, he grew up frum and went to yeshiva and lived in the dorm. He compared living in a dorm to a guy like me given full access to a girls high school dorm with the power of invisibility. He could wander the dorm at night with guys running around in boxers, bathrobes and guys coming out of the shower – he said it was heaven and hell combined. His own private nightmare – he told me that he had to refrain from staring at guys in their underwear and to keep his dignity in check even though it was insanely hard no pun intended.

He is in his upper 20s and he recently decided to start coming out – I wondered why he was coming out, if he realized what would happen to him in a frum community. He realizes everything but after hanging out with him and other friends who didn’t yet know that he was gay, I realized what a pain it was to be in the closet. Every time we pass by girls, see something sexual, whatever, we make a comment, and he makes one too – its so fake yet I feel for him – for the last 20 years he has been living a lie and it sucks – so I finally understand why people come out of the closet.

He is also having existential angst issues, like anyone who grew up frum who knew the horrible sin of homosexuality – for the record he has never done anything with a guy or a girl in that department – I can’t understand how he likes men – but he is attracted to them and thats how he was created. But when you grow up frum you cannot deny the ramifications of being gay.

He says it like this, everyone can marry besides for him, he was given everything in working condition yet told not to use it – that sucks and I have no response. I know that many ignorant frum people will say its a taiva and you should control it, but to stay away from falling in love and having a partner your whole life is a bit extreme.

So he is planning on coming out to his siblings and parents and friends sooner or later. I warned him that even though he has been friends with some folks for 25 years, they probably wont take it so well. There is still a big stigma attached to it and although I was curious about his journey and felt really cool that I was one of the first people he told – I am fearing for the aftermath of his coming out of the closet.

Your thoughts?

{ 254 comments… add one }
  • FrumButNotAidel January 26, 2009, 12:58 PM

    I hope he has joined some of the support groups. I know a few Frum gay couples and yes, it’s hard, but there are communities where they are accepted and he should look into living (if possible) in one of them. I commend your friend for his strength in facing what he is and not just ignoring it like many in our community do.

  • Wandering Jew January 26, 2009, 12:58 PM

    Hesh, although not gay myself I do believe that homosexuality is grossly misunderstood in the frum community.

    Only one specific, narrowly-defined act is prohibited, and some speculate that G-d merely meant that a man should not subjugate another man sexually.

    One thing makes perfect sense to me: By prohibiting one act (out of many), Torah obviously acknowledges that homosexuality is a part of human nature. It does not waste its time prohibiting something humans do not crave.

    An amazing post. I wish your friend hatzlacha, even as I extend to him a “yeshar koach”. It’s probably going to be a tough road for him, filled with ignorant prejudice.

  • Steve Steinberg January 26, 2009, 1:00 PM

    Well if the guy hasn’t boinked a guy yet, he obviously still really isn’t gay. If I have dreams of being in a 3 some with lots of beautiful non-Jewish girls – does that mean I did it?! Nyet.

    • chevramaidel April 26, 2010, 7:06 PM

      I can assure you that it is possible to live one’s entire life (oh, I hope not, but so far, at least) with the absolute knowledge that one is gay, without ever participating in one same-sex boink? And all the heterosexual boinking in the world will not change that.

    • chevramaidel April 26, 2010, 7:11 PM

      I can assure you that it is possible to live one’s entire life (oh, I hope not, but so far, anyway) with the knowledge that one is gay, without ever participating in one same-sex boink. And all the heterosexual boinking in the world won’t change that.

  • Susanne Goldstone January 26, 2009, 1:06 PM

    totally brave of your friend. hopefully his other friends and fam will take it as good as you have. just continue being the good friend you have so he’ll always have someone to turn to when others as you said “probably wont take it so well”.

  • Frum Satire January 26, 2009, 1:19 PM

    Steve if someone is attracted to girls but hasn’t boinked one yet does that mean he isn’t straight?

    Frumbutnotaidel – he has joined some local groups and as a guy who grew up frum he is still taken aback by many of their practices which are reform or conservative by nature.

    I asked him if he has Gaydar – he doesn’t but he found out through this frum gay dating site that people from his community that are married with kids are in the closet and he cant wait to go up to them in shul and tell them they are not alone.

  • Faith January 26, 2009, 1:21 PM

    Seriously Steve? I hope that was satire as well.

  • Frum Satire January 26, 2009, 1:41 PM

    Faith I can almost guaruntee you some very anti gay comments once phil our favorite rabid right wing commenter gets involved in the discussion

  • Yid January 26, 2009, 1:42 PM

    sometimes it can happen when there is so much of a social separation between sexes.

    A few friends of mine came out and they are frum as well. One or two were BI.

  • ouchy January 26, 2009, 1:44 PM

    Does he feel that this is related to his upbringing? sexual abuse or the like? how was his relationship with parents? many people just need to go through some therapy to get over this. However I cannot judge, I don’t know what it’s like.

  • Woodrow January 26, 2009, 1:53 PM

    He wears “wife beaters”? What are those?

  • Frum Satire January 26, 2009, 1:54 PM

    Woodrow wife beaters are undershirts that are worn primarily by rednecks

  • Michal bas Avraham January 26, 2009, 2:00 PM

    I think the point is that it’s not a sin to be gay, or same sex attracted, SSA… It is only a problem to act on that SSA. Does he know about Jonah? It’s a really good program. They help the men deal with it. I think they would even help him cope with telling people.

    http://www.jonahweb.org/index.php

  • Wandering Jew January 26, 2009, 2:06 PM

    Woodrow: Wife-beaters are sleeveless undershirts. Also known as “muscle shirts” and known to the trade as “A-shirts”, the A standing for “athletic”.

  • Brian January 26, 2009, 2:42 PM

    My heart goes out to your friend.

  • TRS January 26, 2009, 2:49 PM

    Hey! Phil is more rabid right wing than me? This is very bad for my ego.

  • Anonymous January 26, 2009, 3:04 PM

    I have sympathy for him but obviously he will not be able to stay in the community where he grew up in. No matter how painful it is OJ will not “embrace” it, period, we all not that. Then comes the question about living arrangements. Naturally he can’t have kids in a gay relationship so he will have to adopt. There aren’t “too many” kids in the OJ world up for adoption that anyone will choose a gay couple for their childs adoption. There are many many straight couples in the OJ world who can’t find kids to adopt, I mean jewish kids, how would a gay couple find one. I am just asking these quesions out of curiosity how he plans to move along.

  • Michal bas Avraham January 26, 2009, 3:28 PM

    Did he decide to have a gay relationship?

    The post makes it looks like he just came to terms with the fact that he has to do something or tell someone however, he doesn’t seem to have discounted an option like

    JONAH-Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality
    http://www.jonahweb.org/index.php

    They are Orthodox.

    • chevramaidel April 26, 2010, 6:47 PM

      Michal – Would you like to be married to a man and then learn that, although he might love you as a friend, he could never truly desire you? Do you think that they advise those who have graduated from their “therapy” to be honest when seeking a shidduch? Or that they recommend celibacy to men as an alternative to having a gay relationship? I kind of doubt this.

  • ESP January 26, 2009, 3:37 PM

    you’ll be truly diversified in your social life by befriending a gay couple, one member being Jewish, the other being half African-American / half Pakistani who are jointly raising a child conceived through their mutual artificial insemination of a North Korean surrogate refugee.

  • Phil January 26, 2009, 3:37 PM

    An now the voice you’ve all been waiting for…

    At least he hasn’t boinked yet, and no I’m not saying that because I’m a gay basher, it’s simply halacha. I feel bad for this guy growing up confused and all, I vote for the rabbis to give him a heter to boink as few hot girls, maybe they’ll get him back on our team.

    How a guy can live a yeshiva lifestyle while being gay is a total shock. Put any straight yeshiva guy in the mikva with a bunch of nude women, it’s going to take lots of control to keep thing down. Maybe the fear of getting his ass kicked helped him overcome the desire to get his ass f****d.

    This guy probably knows most of the religious issues with his decision, and it’s not my place to judge him, but yes, I would highly suggest that he try to “fight” this psychological issue, which is really what it is according to most halachic opinions. No one is suggesting that it’s that simple or easy, especially if his booster cables are plugged in reverse order.

    Hesh,

    You sure he ain’t pulling your leg? (not the middle one!)

  • Phil January 26, 2009, 3:46 PM

    Hesh, your filter ate my comment (I wonder why)… A frum Gay dating site? What’s next?

    ESP,

    Looks like that’s the direction were heading towards.

  • former baltimorean January 26, 2009, 3:49 PM

    As a chasidisha yungerman, and a college grad, and no not from turo or some other on-line version, but rather from a top notch private school, I have a few gay friends myself, and have gone with them to their gay support groups, both as a good friend, and as a way to kiss up to good liberal proffesors, and yes, it is a great way to get an A. In addition, I have learnt from first hand experience, that many of the “gay steryotypes” are far from the truth. Hesh, you can not be more correct when you say that the frum community is so misinformed regarding issues of homosexuality. Unfortunately, as with most issues in the frum community, everything related to homosexuality is viewed through an extremely black and white lens, when in reality, as with most other issues as well, there is so much gray area involved. I wish your friend much luck, and thanx for writing about this issue even though I am straight, as I derive much enjoyment from having frum myths such as “this doesn’t exist in our community”, debunked.

  • Pocket Princess January 26, 2009, 3:49 PM

    I’m an Asian! I’m an Asian!

    What happened to the other Asian giyoret you told me you knew? Come to CA, we’ve taken over.

    Everyone must go against the grain somehow, someway. Some of us have it harder than others. Let’s hope that those he loves love him more than they hate his homosexuality.

    Doesn’t the Torah teach us to love the sinner but disapprove of the sins? Sometimes Frum people are so busy guarding the concrete wall around the fence around The Law that they forget what The Law actually says.

  • J January 26, 2009, 4:24 PM

    To the commenters: Men’s sexuality almost never changes. This guy has lived painfully through 13 years of post-puberty attempts to be attracted to women, meaning he probably won’t and such a person could not marry because a woman can’t be mochel her right to onah. M”Z may be yehareg v’al yaavor, but there is a serious suicide risk from trying to make people straight. Women’s sexualities do sometimes change spontaneously, but probably can’t be made to change.

    FS: The 3 Shamash.org frum gay groups have lots of people on the centrist/yeshivish end, and there’s a group of gay yeshiva alumni meeting in NYC, and the more liberal Orthodox communities do have openly gay members. R Steve Greenberg’s and R Chaim Rapoport’s books are obviously relevant. Put him in touch with me if he wants help finding supportive religious communities and people.

  • Anonymous January 26, 2009, 4:26 PM

    What is an ‘existential angst issue’?

  • Moish January 26, 2009, 4:56 PM

    Pocket Princess. “love the sinner hate the sin” was said by Ghandi not Halacha. But who knows maybe Halacha agrees.
    Have a source?

  • Moish January 26, 2009, 5:03 PM

    Ha actually St. Augustine seems to have written Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, or “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.”
    So certainly not Torah.

  • former baltimorean January 26, 2009, 5:08 PM

    moish, love the sinner hate the sin, can be traced to a Gemorah in Brachos 10a, where the Gemorah says that David Hamelech asked Hashem to remove sins from the earth, but not the sinner.

  • Michal bas Avraham January 26, 2009, 5:10 PM

    Jonah is not a frum dating site for gay men.

    Jonah is a network of support groups for those affected by this and I believe they make counseling referrals for private counseling.

  • Moish January 26, 2009, 5:17 PM

    cuz I’m sure Ghandi read the Gemorah in Brachos 10a. Then again, I doubt he read St. Augustine.

  • MoFo January 26, 2009, 5:18 PM

    Being gay is just gross, no offense.

    Unless you’re a woman, of course. Then it’s not so bad!

  • yikes January 26, 2009, 5:22 PM

    I really doubt it, that one can say he is gay with a certainty and claiming he never did the act.

    try sucking one, and tell me if you are still gay.

  • CA January 26, 2009, 5:23 PM

    Hey! Phil is more rabid right wing than me? This is very bad for my ego.

    You see, I had the same thought but was modest enough not to express it out loud.

    This is what a day of reading FR does to you.

  • Talmudist January 26, 2009, 5:27 PM

    Tough stuff. Poor guy; almost like he’s stepping right out of The Metamorphosis. Alienation to the max. Oysh.

  • Rachel January 26, 2009, 5:46 PM

    Being gay is sin but its ok for a girl to marry her uncle? I dont get it

  • s(b.) January 26, 2009, 5:47 PM

    lots of strength, and best wishes to him.

  • Phil January 26, 2009, 6:07 PM

    Mofo,

    Lesbians are still illegal midrabanan, although their bia is not bia. Apparently invented by egyptian women back in the olden days, Rambam advises against letting your wife hang around women with such tendencies as enticing as it may sound. I think the real life ones look a lot worse than the TV ones.

    Re the gay guy who the post is about, maybe he’ll switch sides when an overenthusiastic lover rips him another bum hole.

  • Michal bas Avraham January 26, 2009, 6:07 PM

    The Torah says that a man may not lie with another man as with a woman. It does NOT say that if a man wants to, he’s sinning.

    In one scenario the man acts upon the desire. In the other scenario, he does not.

    Now, if a married woman is attracted to another man, has she commited adultery purely by wanting to do something with another man?

    NOPE

    • amanda March 17, 2014, 3:01 AM

      Jesus says she doea.

  • Karl January 26, 2009, 6:07 PM

    While I am a straight frum guy and have some gay friends – some Jewish & some not, I still believe that acting on ones gay desires is 100% wrong and one can never be orthodox and homosexual. I can understand it to be the most frustrating thing to be ‘in the closet’ but I am not sure that being out of the closet in public is wise.

    I am sure that all agree that for a Kleptomaniac to act on his desires is wrong, but it still wont erase the fact that this person is a kleptomaniac. Likewise, a gay person must not act on those desires, however difficult it may be.

    I wish him all the best of luck.

  • Lakewood Falling Down January 26, 2009, 7:54 PM

    I know a few, some I was more shocked than others. It becomes very emotional, because it’s not a “yetzer harah” you can hide (there are gemaras that say if you have a desire to sin and can’t control, leave the town & satisfy it) This isn’t eating pork. One of my friends who has this “issue” will not get married because he knows guys like this who get married to an unsuspecting bais yaakov girl hoping that their feeling will disappear. What happens is really bad marriages and screwed up kids. I don’t blame your friend for coming out, but he should have a great deal of discretion. Just because normal people are understanding doesn’t mean the mainstream “hiemish” crowd wont be disgusting to him.

  • Phil January 26, 2009, 9:10 PM

    Rachel,

    Many things that are OK today were strictly forbidden by the Torah, and others that are crimes today are OK. For example, Torah allowed people to get married from age 3 and up, although it was frowned upon to marry a girls under 12. Try that today, and it’s “go to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200”.

    On the flip side, being gay is now something to be proud of to the point of having these sickening gay pride parades with all sorts of perverts dancing around in weird clothing. The Torah actually has the death penalty for gays caught in the act.

    I’m assuming the next taboo lifted will probably be bestiality, as long as the animal is of legal drinking age of course. Reminds me of the stories about the times of Noach, were women walked around naked and people actually married animals, men were men and the sheep were scared.

    Michal,

    Thoughts about sin can be worse than sin according to Kabbala, Chassidus and even some Mussar (none are disciplines I’m too familiar with). Apparently, because many people think that thought is not a sin, they feel it’s OK to think about sin as long as they don’t do it. This is incorrect, and furthermore, they never repent for these sins as they would if they actually commited them. When you multiply the number of unrepented sinful thought one can have in a day by the number of days in one’s life, the numbers are astronomical.

  • Tamara January 26, 2009, 9:25 PM

    First, Jonah is NOT a support group for frum homosexuals. What Jonah is is a group who believes that you can REVERSE homosexuality or at least train homosexuals to not follow their desires and not be who they were born to be.

    Now, I’m not frum but I did grow up with a gay brother who came out in 1981. (may he be in peace) He was gay during the harshest years of AIDS. Coming out is challenging regardless. Even in the most accepting places and families, it is likely one will lose friends and family over something so personal.

    There are frum communities who are good with the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. But my guess is that most gay men and women don’t want to live this life. Someone commented about how this guy kept “it” down in mikvah and such; it’s just like the military, he hid it because of the reaction of un-openminded people.

    I live in Los Angeles, which as we all know is very Left Coast :). The Chabad a mile from my home does have men who are openly gay. No, they aren’t snuggling on their side of the mechitza but they are open and the rabbi does know they’re gay. Yes, they still lein Torah, yes they still do kiddush. The only thing is it’s simply not discussed. My point is you can find “sort of” accepting communities but unlikely to find a very “out” orthodox community.

    Now, someone talked about not being able to adopt kids and such. I have a dear gay male friend who was raised modern ortho (I believe) and who is Yeshiva learned and such. When he finally decided he wanted a family he did it by means of artificial insemination. He found a Jewish egg donor and voila, he has an AMAZING little girl. Of course, finding a Jewish surrogate might be hard and if she’s not Jewish then no orthodox community will count your child as Jewish because the womb wasn’t; but that’s a WHOLE other issue that this Conservative girl isn’t getting in to.

    My point, there are options for children and mostly it is long past time to start being more tolerant of our brothers and sisters…period.

  • Shtetl Fabulous January 26, 2009, 10:21 PM

    SO proud of your friend Hesh, for coming out to you. And I’m really impressed by your tolerant and understanding acceptance of the struggle your friend is going through.

    Michal – sorry, but JONAH is an organization that proclaims to “cure” people of homosexuality. They want to convert people’s innate desires back to what falls into the Orthodox community’s strict rules/regulations.

    I would highly discourage any GLBT readers from seeking out JONAH, unless you think some good ol’ fashioned brainwashing can make you “normal.”

    Instead, rent Trembling Before G-d for a little healthy reassurance that you are not alone as a gay man or lesbian in the frum community. Or check out http://www.gayjews.org for a clearinghouse of sites and services for GLBT people in the frum community.

    Good luck and mazal tov to you!

  • Frum Satire January 26, 2009, 10:25 PM

    Tamara when I read what Jonah was I laughed like crazy – then I felt really sad that some people actually believe they can reverse homosexuality – in the Jewish Press they act as if it is a disease and call it SSA I think they took SSA out of the DSM 20 years ago.

    Then again the Jewish Press calls people who look at porn – sex addicts – so we can’t really listen to their so called doctors.

    Its not an easy issue to deal with – but there needs to be some sort of dialog you cant just tell someone he can reverse something that he has lived with his whole life.

  • Heterim are for Hippies January 26, 2009, 10:40 PM

    Hesh,

    Why is this taiva different than any other taiva?

    I’m asking seriously by the way. I don’t know why it would be any more challenging not to act on this than anything else.

  • Anon January 26, 2009, 10:43 PM

    JONAH is an EX-GAY organization devoted to trying to turn gay people straight. I know people who have been through their programs. They are destructive to many people psychologically, and will admit to you that they have not been very successful. Don’t be masked by the lingo that it’s somehow a “support” group for people struggling with same-sex attraction.

    Recommend to him Chaim Rapoport’s book “Judaism & Homosexuality” which is more compassionate and realistic, and let him know that he is very much NOT alone. There are strong communities of frum (remaining observant) gay men and women in NYC and a number of other areas. Some people choose to pursue relationships and some don’t.

  • SK January 26, 2009, 10:48 PM

    Hesh, your response to his coming out was way too supportive. There arep lenty of observant gays who wish they were straight.

    No mention of JONAH- the Jewish therapy group that believes it can help gays be straight. Last week’s Jewish Press magazine mentioned a book on this topic. It may not be politically correct…

  • CA January 26, 2009, 10:54 PM

    I made my response to this issue on my blog (also, posted a bunch of videos applicable to the issue, in my opinion), and since Hesh suggested I post the link, here goes: http://crawlingaxe.blogspot.com/2009/01/regarding-coming-out.html

  • Mark January 26, 2009, 10:55 PM

    Michal – The Torah says that a man may not lie with another man as with a woman. It does NOT say that if a man wants to, he’s sinning.

    In one scenario the man acts upon the desire. In the other scenario, he does not.

    Now, if a married woman is attracted to another man, has she commited adultery purely by wanting to do something with another man?

    NOPE

    This is true. Unlike Catholicism (and maybe other branches of Christianity), in Judaism it’s what you do that counts, not what you think. That isn’t to say that bad thoughts are a good thing (because they often lead you to perform bad actions). Bad thoughts shpould be avoided whenever possible.

    Phil – Thoughts about sin can be worse than sin according to Kabbala, Chassidus and even some Mussar (none are disciplines I’m too familiar with).

    I firmly believe that this is not a good thing to consider as part of Jewish doctrine. There may be some examples that it might make sense (though I can’t think of any right now), but as a general rule, I strongly oppose it.

    As far as frum and gay, I don’t know quite how to react. A man who has sex with other men who calls himself frum seems similar to a man who eats non-kosher and calls himself frum, or a man who doesn’t observe shabbat and calls himself frum. But it certainly isn’t for me to judge – those things are bein adam lemakom.

    My kids preschool had triplets whose parents were a gay couple (the triplets were actually their children, they mixed up semen from the two of them and had a surrogate mothers eggs impregnated with the semen mixture – I am sure it was more technical than that, but that’s the gist of it). They are wonderful people and excellent parents (I would even say, looking from the outside, better parents than my wife and I), and they don’t call themselves frum, I think they are Conservative (or maybe Reform), and they are extremely active in their Jewish community.

  • Aviva J. January 26, 2009, 10:56 PM

    Former Baltimorean: I just love the “this doesn’t happen in our community” line. Goes for domestic violence as well. Makes me crazy.

  • Former Teacher January 26, 2009, 11:02 PM

    I don’t think he should tell his family.

  • CA January 26, 2009, 11:05 PM

    (I don’t care where the comments to my post go. Probably better here, actually.)

  • Frum Satire January 26, 2009, 11:06 PM

    Heterim because this taiva is a basic need in life – to tell someone that they cannot fall in love, raise a family and get married is a horrible pain.

    Other taivas all have their solutions – this one has none.

    This guy wishes he was straight – he told that everyone goes through denial but he has felt this way for his whole life and just starting to admit it to himself.

    Just because you wish to be straight doesn’t mean it works – if you believe its a reversible thing such as psychological disorder fine – but there are plenty of normal guys and girls who are attracted to the same sex – I know its hard for some to admit that.

    I can’t even find this guys email so I can tell him I wrote this thing

  • TRS January 26, 2009, 11:29 PM

    Mark: you firmly believe something is not a good thing to include in Jewish doctrine? Since when did you become an arbiter of what is Jewish or not? Go learn chapter 11 of Tanya, based on the Gemara in Yoma 29a, and see there the chiddushei aggados of the maharasha, netivot olam of the maharal, and netiv haperishut. Also see ketubot 46a.
    Again, please don’t spout stupidity when you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • About To Puke January 26, 2009, 11:51 PM

    Wow!!!!!!!!!!!! what an insane situation. I just can’t believe that this gay dude has so many frum sympathisers. This totally disgusts me. The torah explicitly refer to mishkav zachur (gay) as an abomination (or Obamanation for those Obama lovers), and for good reason too. Although it’s not the case in this particular situation, I find it difficult to comprehend how most gay “frum” people feel that they are permitted to act on their taivo’s. After all, straight guys also have some pretty intense taivos, but do we act on them prior to marriage? No! I honestly feel for this guy, and I hope that he snaps back to his senses real soon for his own sake.

    • chevramaidel April 26, 2010, 7:01 PM

      Dear Puke, I cannot imagine what connection you can find between Obama and homosexuality. (Though there are probably lots of gay men out there who wish he’d switch teams!) Are you aware that you’re not the first one to come up with “obamanation”? It especially works if you can’t spell.

    • chevramaidel April 26, 2010, 7:17 PM

      Dear Puke, I fail to see the connection between Obama and homosexuality – although there are probably more than a few gay men out there who wish he’d switch teams. Are you aware that you’re not the first one to come up with “obamanation”? It particularly works if you can’t spell.

  • Mark January 27, 2009, 12:12 AM

    TRS – Mark: you firmly believe something is not a good thing to include in Jewish doctrine? Since when did you become an arbiter of what is Jewish or not? Go learn chapter 11 of Tanya, based on the Gemara in Yoma 29a, and see there the chiddushei aggados of the maharasha, netivot olam of the maharal, and netiv haperishut. Also see ketubot 46a.
    Again, please don’t spout stupidity when you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Okay, you can add it to your Jewish doctrine. I won’t be adding it to mine. Live and let live. Just so we are on the same page, the thing that I won’t be adding to my Jewish doctrine is the concept that the thought of a particular sin is worse than the actual commission of that sin.

    Can you give us some examples in which you believe that would be the case?

  • CA January 27, 2009, 12:22 AM

    Heterim because this taiva is a basic need in life – to tell someone that they cannot fall in love, raise a family and get married is a horrible pain.

    Other taivas all have their solutions – this one has none.

    Obviously, the video I posted is the answer to this (based on Ch. 27 of Tanya; although Ch. 26 is also relevant).

    An idea that everything in our life is going to be great, and we will have all our wishes fulfilled and have no struggles is not true.

    Personally, I don’t believe someone cannot live in such a situation (i.e., it’s a pikuach nefesh situation). It’s a difficult, very difficult life — but so what? That’s what Hashem wants from you — to struggle.

    Compare that to a pedophile. Both things are clearly recognized as wrong. A person has a certain desire, no alternative, etc., etc. — so what? That’s something he needs to deal with in his life.

    And don’t say it’s sad. It’s sad, if you can do something about it and don’t do anything. And I wouldn’t want this (not just the issue at hand, but anything in particular) happen to anybody lehatchila. But once it happened, bedieved — Hashem wants you to be this way, in this situation. “Deal with it. Hashem does not make unreasonable demands.”

    The whole issue of heterim, which I find ridiculous, is another discussion, so I won’t open the can of worms.

  • TRS January 27, 2009, 12:23 AM

    I’m not adding anything to Judaism. This is Judaism. If your religion is not based on the Talmud, what is it based on? Your feelings? If it feels good to be gay, then that’s part of Judaism? What is your judaism exactly? Is it based on what G-d wants, or on what you want?

    Go look up the sources I provided for you and come back-then we can talk.

  • Frum Satire January 27, 2009, 12:25 AM

    The torah never said anything about pedophilia – in fact didn’t some of our great sages marry 3 year olds.

  • Talmudist January 27, 2009, 12:25 AM

    G-d created a subset of Orthodox Jews that are gay. They are faced with a stark choice: leave Orthodoxy or off themselves. Nobody said that this world is lacking for its share of absurdity.

  • Mark January 27, 2009, 12:39 AM

    TRS –

    I’m not adding anything to Judaism. This is Judaism. If your religion is not based on the Talmud, what is it based on? Your feelings? If it feels good to be gay, then that’s part of Judaism? What is your judaism exactly? Is it based on what G-d wants, or on what you want?

    Go look up the sources I provided for you and come back-then we can talk.

    TRS, how about before that, you read my post and respond to it rather than responding to something I didn’t say. Besides, I don’t have a Tanya handy here at home, and my shas is still packed up in boxes. And for the rest of the seforim you mention, I would have to go to the beis medrash at shul.

    The ONLY thing I am claiming not to be in my Jewish doctrine is the concept of the thought of a particular sin being worse than doing that sin. I really wish you would give us a few examples of sins that you think this might apply (mainly because I can’t think of any at the moment). I always thought that that was a uniquely Christian concept, but maybe I am wrong.

    However, just to be even more clear. I firmly believe that the Torah forbids a man to have sexual relations with another man. These two beliefs regarding doctrine have no conflict with each other.

  • S Roth January 27, 2009, 12:41 AM

    I think he wants you.

  • S Roth January 27, 2009, 12:42 AM

    I think he wants you. and that is why you were of the first people he opened up to. I am sure there is some psychologist who can support my theory.

  • CA January 27, 2009, 12:43 AM

    The torah never said anything about pedophilia – in fact didn’t some of our great sages marry 3 year olds.

    Whatever — compare homosexuality acc. to Torah to pedophilia acc. to modern society.

    What’s a pedophile to do today? He cannot possibly act on his desires (yes, because he’d supposedly harm somebody — that’s not the point; he can’t act on his desires). What next? What do they do?

    And do pedophiles “come out”. They don’t (unless forced), because it’s considered shameful (for whatever reason).

    Breaking Halacha is shameful. If somebody doesn’t agree to this, I don’t know that we are talking about the same religion.

    (Btw, marriage meant something else, but doesn’t matter.)

  • CA January 27, 2009, 12:57 AM

    I live in Los Angeles, which as we all know is very Left Coast :). The Chabad a mile from my home does have men who are openly gay. No, they aren’t snuggling on their side of the mechitza but they are open and the rabbi does know they’re gay. Yes, they still lein Torah, yes they still do kiddush. The only thing is it’s simply not discussed. My point is you can find “sort of” accepting communities but unlikely to find a very “out” orthodox community.

    Do you know which men in that community masturbate regularly? Certainly, it’s not such a serious sin as to be shunned. People should be accepting of other people who cannot control themselves and struggle.

    For some reason, people don’t “come out” about masturbation — the same way they do about homosexuality. If they do it, they do it quietly, without anybody else knowing. Why? Because it’s considered shameful and inappropriate.

  • Mark January 27, 2009, 1:37 AM

    For some reason, people don’t “come out” about masturbation

    Uh oh. Don’t you know that mentioning something about “coming” out and masturbation might bring on a post about it by FS!!! 🙂

  • TRS January 27, 2009, 1:40 AM

    Mark. I’m sorry if I offended you. Obviously Hamaaseh hu haikir, but it does mention that thinking about sinning causes more damage to the soul than the actual sin, because thought is closer to the soul than either speech or action. Also, it mentions that thinking about even lawful carnal unions is a issur d’oraisa, devarim 23, 10. It also mentions this by bittul Torah and by someone who wakes up and doesn’t learn Torah.

  • Mark January 27, 2009, 2:10 AM

    TRS – Mark. I’m sorry if I offended you.

    No offense taken, and no need to apologize, just it would be better to read more carefully before responding in the future.

    Obviously Hamaaseh hu haikir, but it does mention that thinking about sinning causes more damage to the soul than the actual sin,

    Ah, but can one really perform a sin (well, a big one, not a small one like tchum shabbat) without thinking about it?

    because thought is closer to the soul than either speech or action. Also, it mentions that thinking about even lawful carnal unions is a issur d’oraisa, devarim 23, 10.

    Is thinking about it really an issur deoraita? I am not so sure that would be true in all cases. First of all, we are talking about “Venishmarta Mekol Davar Ra”, so are we saying that lawful relations is something that is a “Davar Ra”. That doesn’t seem possible because lawful relations are a mitzvah (though I know certain analogies can be made with things that are used for a mitzvah at certain times, but are assur at other times).

    So, for example, I don’t think that if certain thoughts happen to enter my wife’s mind when she is on the way to the mikvah or on the way home from the mikvah, that those thoughts would be assur.

  • former baltimorean January 27, 2009, 7:19 AM

    To About To Puke- no one is denying what it says in the Torah regarding homosexuality, all that we are saying is, that there many aveiros in the Torah, that when they are transgressed by one of our friends or aquaintiances, no one gives a hoot, i.e. machlokes, or lashon hara etc., issurei dioraisa in their own right, because they are “socially acceptable”, therefore the same should be for homosexuality, if someone is gay, it is because they were born that way, they are not trying to convince anyone else to be gay, they will not “jump your bones” in shul when no one is looking, so just accept them for who they are, and let their “aveiros” be bein adam lamakom, just as you would like your aveiros to be!!

  • Phil January 27, 2009, 8:55 AM

    God wouldn’t forbid being gay if it were impossible for gays not to remain straight. That is a basic belief related to any sin in Judaism. People with gay feelings don’t need to give up their beliefs, they need to work on themselves to rid themselves of their perverse thoughts. Read books, go to Jonah or similar support groups, maybe even see a shrink or Rabbi if need be.

    I agree with C.A. Why is being gay the only sin that people have decided to “come out” about?
    All it can do is cause harm to friends and family. Do you see people coming out in public about stealing, cheating, or any other sin? What’s next, a support group for Shabbos desecraters or treif eaters?

    What if the guy was into screwing chickens, goats, his grandmother or baby sister? Would all you bleeding heart liberals stand up for him?

    Then you get these nightmare stories about artificially inseminating surrogate mothers with mixed up sperm. WTF? Are these freaks taking advice from Jerry Springer?

    My advice to this guy is to seek professional help and keep his mouth shut instead of admitting or bragging about his perversity. If he can’t or won’t get help, take a tub of vaseline and get back in the closet!

    • Tova April 30, 2010, 12:23 AM

      “bragging about his perversity”

      Who says he’s bragging about it? Methinks you need to stop bragging about your own BIGOTRY.

  • wow January 27, 2009, 11:12 AM

    You gotta love Phil (no, not that way)

  • Phil January 27, 2009, 12:01 PM

    Hesh,

    This guy does have choices, as we all do. Just as a guy that has a desire to eat pig is expected to eat beef instead, or a gu that has a desire to smoke on Shabbos is expected to wait until after Shabbos, so too when it comes to perversity, we are expected to do the morally and halachically proper thing, which in this case would be abstinence. Is he any worse off than an unmarried frummy that is expected to stay shomer negiah and not masturbate even though he has trouble finding a wife?

    Mark,

    We are commanded to strive to keep our thoughts, speech and actions in accordance with halacha. To put it bluntly, when a guy or gal starts fantasizing about illegal sexual acts (even legal ones according to Tanya), he should divert his mind to thinking about something holy (not that type of hole).

    No one is saying that being gay is worse than breaking Shabbos, or that you can’t perfom other mitzvos if you are gay. But don’t try justify being gay as far as religion is concerned because is has now become socially acceptable.

  • Chris_B January 27, 2009, 12:29 PM

    Phil,

    You said “Put any straight yeshiva guy in the mikva with a bunch of nude women, it’s going to take lots of control to keep thing down.” Believe it or not although men have certain automatic reactions, alot is situational.

    I feel bad for the suffering this guy will (and has) dealt with even if I dont have direct sympathy for him.

    Side note I’ve seen comments on JBC type sites about how gerim have suffered when they “came out” as Jews to friends and family.

  • Seth January 27, 2009, 1:30 PM

    Phil said “All it can do is cause harm to friends and family”

    Are you kidding me? Do you have any idea what this guy is going through himself? That doesn’t matter because being gay is halachily (sp) wrong? I suppose that since you condem this then you have never violated any mitzvah at all? I love peeps that are holier than thou. Hesh keep being the guys friend it’s narrow minded thinking like Phil that makes people that are gay commit suicide. Hey Phil what’s worse actually treating a gay person like a human with dignity and respect without judgement or knowing that your attitude towards an individual might have been the thing that pushed them over the edge. Sometimes a choice is not a choice…….

  • Phil January 27, 2009, 1:54 PM

    Seth,

    I have violated plenty of sins, but don’t go around bragging or letting my friends and parents know what they are. OK, maybe I bragged about a few girls stories when I was younger, but definitely not to my parents or family for exactly the reason of not wanting them to worry of feel bad about the things I did. Furthermore, I’m not proud and parading around about my sins wearing pink shorts and leather caps.

    I haven’t mistreated anyone, I’m just telling it like it is. I very highly doubt any gay guy will kill himself because of some comments posted on a satirical web site, if they did, it would be because they were unstable to begin with.

    People survived the Holocaust and it’s atrocities without killing themselves, do you actually think some crybaby would kill himself because someone said something he couldn’t handle?

    Even if this guy were to ‘slip’ and boink his buddy, does that mean that he now needs to enter a relationship and keep boinking and sinning for the rest of his life?

    I never said that he was less of a Jew than any other Jews, nor did I condem anyone for being his friend, although Hesh might have to start thinking of reverse yichud laws if this guy decides to crash at his place.

    “A choice is not a choice” when a guy puts a gun to you and your kids head and asks you who’s dying first. In this case the right choice might be hard for him, but no one is forcing him to do anything. Besides, this guy has never done anything yet, so technically he hasn’t violated anything major to begin with. In fact, if he’s in his upper 20s and still a virgin, he likely has the willpower to abstain from leading this sort of lifestyle.

  • TshuvaDude4Dudes January 27, 2009, 2:33 PM

    Mayer E. Rabinowitz, “On Homosexuality”
    EH 24.1992d

    Judaism’s view of the will of God as expressed in the Torah and by the Rabbis is that of heterosexuality.
    The only way to change the halakhah concerning homosexuality is by means of abrogating biblical law–la’akor davar min haTorah. In order to do so, the needs of the majority of the community must prevail, and it must be shown that such abrogation is for the overall good of the Jewish community.
    We hereby declare that it is an issur – a prohibition – to discriminate against gays or lesbians in all areas of life.
    We hereby declare that it is an issur – a prohibition – to discriminate against gay and lesbian individuals in synagogue membership.
    Homosexuals who advocate homosexuality as an acceptable alternate Jewish lifestyle are prohibited from holding positions of leadership in our synagogues, institutions and schools.
    It is a hiyuv -an obligation- for our synagogues, institutions and schools to welcome homosexuals (non-advocates), and to offer them the same privileges offered to all other members, many of whom have conflicts between their personal lives and needs, and their commitment to halakhah.

  • TRS January 27, 2009, 2:51 PM

    Mark: In some cases, it’s fine. In other cases, it’s not.

  • Phil January 27, 2009, 3:06 PM

    TshuvaDude4Dudes,

    You forgot one crucial area: The Mikvah.
    Banned or welcomed?

    • Kippah May 10, 2010, 9:04 PM

      I’m Jewish and gay, when I go to the Mikvah I’m not there to sneak a peak, I’m there to fufill a mitzvah. It’s about Hashem, just like davening or keeping the Holy Days.

  • Tamara January 27, 2009, 4:08 PM

    CA:
    In response to your response: “For some reason, people don’t “come out” about masturbation — the same way they do about homosexuality. If they do it, they do it quietly, without anybody else knowing. Why? Because it’s considered shameful and inappropriate.”

    Actually, those gay men are open enough that the rabbi knows they’re gay. I know for a fact the Chabad rabbi doesn’t condone this, but they are not shunned or treated as sinners.

    As a matter of (odd) fact, one of the gay men that frequents this shul is in “Trembling Before G-d”. He is featured in the documentary so another person from the same community, the gay man with the child that I mentioned, did a video screening when the film came out. Not only did they tell the rabbi about this documentary, they invited him to the screening.

    Yes, the rabbi AND his wife came to the screening. Did they like it? Likely not, but this just shows that you can think someone’s lifestyle is not “appropriate” (which is not how I feel), but we don’t have to ostracize and try to “fix” them.

  • SWISHER January 27, 2009, 4:12 PM

    As long as your friend remains celibate there is no halachic problem. They are many things that some of want to do, but don’t because of issurim. Is there any straight man who hasn’t lusted after a woman other than his wife?

  • B January 27, 2009, 5:10 PM

    Maybe coming out to trusted people will help him. I’m bi. The idea that I will never be with someone of my own sex became a lot easier once I accepted the fact that I have these impulses sometimes.

    Accepting that label doesn’t mean that he is going to do anything that is against halacha.

  • Frum Satire January 27, 2009, 6:09 PM

    He is coming out because he is living a lie, until I hung out with him and other people this didn’t hit home. If you think about much of the conversation for my age people is about girls, sex, shidduchim, shomer negia etc…he has to fake his way through them- he hates lying and hates having to cover up the truth.

  • Mark January 27, 2009, 6:25 PM

    TRS – Mark: In some cases, it’s fine. In other cases, it’s not.

    What exactly is fine in some cases? Are you referring to thoughts about lawful relations?

  • CA January 27, 2009, 6:52 PM

    I don’t understand why people keep talking about shunning. Of course you shouldn’t shun another Jew — for whatever reason. Duh.

    But would I want the rabbi of my shull to be an open Shabbos-breaker?

    Hesh — as I said, stupid reason imho. Shouldn’t be having those conversations lehatchilo.

  • real Jew January 27, 2009, 7:31 PM

    Frum people think they know the answers and have a hold on “real” Judaism. In fact they don’t. I hope the gay guy in question can step outside the arbitrary limits set by 21st century Orthodoxy and realize he can remain devoutly Jewish and be an out, practicing homosexual. Proper Judaism is not as yeshivah-buchers and rebeim define it. And clearly any worldview that says a person is required to live a lonely, unhappy life is borderline-retarded, fit to be disregarded and has a severely off-base appreciation of what Hashem really wants from people. The non-Orthodox Jewish world should not accede to Orthodox claims of monopoly over deciding what’s kosher and what’s treif.

  • TRS January 27, 2009, 7:35 PM

    Mark: I’ll quote from Lessons in Tanya chapter 11 now:
    This is the case where one does not actually contemplate committing a sin, but merely indulges in contemplation on the carnal union of male and female in general, wherby he violates the admonition of the Torah, Devarim 23, 10, “You shall guard yourself from every wicked thing,” which our sages interpret as an injunction, Ketubot 46a, that “one must not harbor impure fancies by day, so that he will not become polluted by night.” Thus, contemplation on such matters violates a command of the Torah.

  • Phil January 27, 2009, 8:02 PM

    “real” Jew,

    Your version of Judaism is about as “real” as Pamela Anderson’s implants or Michael Jackson’s nose.

    Following your twisted logic, we 21st century Jews are better than walking to shul on Shabbos, so we might as well drive, instead of hurting our feet or waling in freezing cold or boiling hot temperatures, that would be hazardous to our health.

    Once we’re at it, why should we keep buying kosher meat at outrageous prices, after all it’s hazardous to our wallet. Working too hard to earn enough for kosher food might lead us to dementia.

    Heck, let’s legalize interfaith marriages, after all fat askenazim and hairy sephardim don’t look half as good as some of the shigsas and shoygotzim out there, why limit ourselves to ugly, long nosed people, isn’t it time we mix our genes with our “cousins”?

    Bottom line is that no one is forcing anyone to observe anything. If you want to sin, sin away, but don’t try to rewrite the religion to suit your perverted needs, you’re not folling anyone but yourself.

  • low rider January 27, 2009, 8:21 PM

    I don’t get why you’re asking what a wifebeater is. Google it! You can also google images and you’ll see exactly what it is. And there’s no reason to answer his questions, the asker prob won’t be back to see it. Get a clue about comment posting, kabish?

  • real Jew January 27, 2009, 9:00 PM

    Phil:
    No, I know it’s tough for you to conceive because you were raised that way and have chosen to accept it as fact but your flavor of Judaism is based on collective delusion. I don’t drive on Shabbat, wouldn’t marry out, eat kosher but beliefs that gay people should be lonely and miserable is just the inherited silliness of generations of clueless rabbis. They haven’t earned the right to call the shots. I’m sure you’ll live your life and go to the grave cocksure that the dictates of the rabbis have a claim on ultimate truth. Too bad they don’t.

  • Mark January 27, 2009, 9:00 PM

    Mark: I’ll quote from Lessons in Tanya chapter 11 now:
    This is the case where one does not actually contemplate committing a sin, but merely indulges in contemplation on the carnal union of male and female in general, whereby he violates the admonition of the Torah, Devarim 23, 10, “You shall guard yourself from every wicked thing,” which our sages interpret as an injunction, Ketubot 46a, that “one must not harbor impure fancies by day, so that he will not become polluted by night.” Thus, contemplation on such matters violates a command of the Torah.

    Aha. Does it actually say “impure fancies”? That I can clearly understand (the “wicked thing”). If, for example, someone fantasizes about something forbidden all day, come nighttime, if there is no relief, it is clearly possible to be over a laav, even unintentionally (though not at my age :-).

    But what about the case that I was discussing, not the case of “impure fancies”, but rather the case of “pure fancies”? Judaism, as opposed to Christianity, doesn’t believe that all sex is impure (a “wicked thing”), to the contrary, in the context of marriage, and at the appropriate time, it is a great mitzvah! So, when my wife calls me at work to ask me to come home early one evening because she has to go to the mikvah, if I have a brief thought about sex, I think it is entirely permissible (and in almost all cases unavoidable anyway).

    I think I have to save up to buy a set of Tanya one of these days. I also need some better bookshelves for my seforim.

  • TRS January 27, 2009, 9:06 PM

    I was getting really frustrated with all the stupidity expressed on this particular thread, and then I read Phil’s latest comment. My knight in shinging armour. Phil, I mean this seriously, thank you.
    Real Jew: so who does have a claim on the absolute truth?

  • Orthopractic, but Eskeptical January 27, 2009, 9:08 PM

    Both Orthodox Jews and Christian Fundamentalists firmly believe that God gave theTorah to his Chosen People, Israel, during the miraculous revelation at Mount Sinai. For Orthodox Jews this is the pivotal event in the history of the Jewish people. But modern archeology has dug up a great deal of compelling evidence to suggest that much of this history never happened—and certainly not as recounted in the Bible.

    For all religious fundamentalists moral behavior consists of doing God’s will, as laid out in Holy Scripture. They believe, further, that divine retribution will be meted out to those who fail to conduct themselves accordingly. For Orthodox Jews, doing God’s will means self-segregation and a series of very explicit and restrictive practices.

    Can you explain how, if the Scripture is our timeless guide for proper moral behavior, that the Torah could sanction such a clearly immoral practice as slavery? Is it the fear of God’s punishment that motivates you to act the way you do? If not, what does?

    I think religion should serve humanity, not the other way around.

    Where do you come down on the basic question of who is right?
    • The fundamentalists, who claim that the religious experience can be understood only by a lifetime of devout
    practices and study of theHoly Scriptures?
    • Or those who believe that the way to understand the religious experience is to understand its psychological,
    sociological, and neurobiological underpinnings?

    Anyway, Mazal Tov for your friend!!!

    Tell him to consider that everything he learnt might be wrong. Also, tell him to remain practicing Judaism but without fundamentalism.

  • Mark January 27, 2009, 9:11 PM

    but beliefs that gay people should be lonely and miserable is just the inherited silliness of generations of clueless rabbis

    Ummm, I don’t anyone that has such a belief, Rabbi or not. The only belief that I am aware of is that a man isn’t permitted to have relations with another man.

    that the dictates of the rabbis have a claim on ultimate truth

    And this is definitely not true – only Hashem Yitbarach has any claim on the ultimate truth. Hopefully he shares it with us soon.

  • TRS January 27, 2009, 9:14 PM

    Orthowhatever: right or not, the only authentic judaism is the fundamentalist version.
    Mark: he did share it with us. At Sinai.

  • Mark January 27, 2009, 9:16 PM

    Can you explain how, if the Scripture is our timeless guide for proper moral behavior, that the Torah could sanction such a clearly immoral practice as slavery?

    I wonder how different “slavery” in the Torah is to a contract worker sitting in a cubicle for 6-7 years? Before you answer try to remember what labor meant in those years compared to currently.

  • Mark January 27, 2009, 9:20 PM

    Mark: he did share it with us. At Sinai.

    I was referring to after Mashiach arrives. I recall hearing a medrash that the Torah is complete truth for this world, but in olam habah, there will be the ultimate truth 100-fold (or something like that, my memory isn’t what it used to be).

  • TRS January 27, 2009, 9:27 PM

    As the passuk says, Torah chadasha ma’eti taetza. Sorry for the poor transliteration. Or how about umala haaretz da’a we Hashem k’mayim l’yam mechasim? You are correct, when moshiach comes, everything will be different. At the same time, there was only one Matan Torah. For more info, contact your local chabad shliach.

  • Phil January 27, 2009, 9:30 PM

    Real Jew, I suppose those gay and lesbian rabbis have a handle on the “real” truth and an the “real” way judaism is meant to be practiced. Kind of makes one look a “loving your fellow” in a whole new light.

    What you are preaching is no better than what jesus or the reformers did. How can you claim that the rabbinic law is the proper path when it comes to Shabbos or Kashrus and then claim that we have a new set of politically correct rules to accomodate tuchus shtuppers?

    Orthopractic,

    Nothing wrong with slavery, isn’t anyone on your payroll a slave for all practical reasons? You tell them when to wake up, when to eat, how much they’ll earn and when they can have time off to spend with their families. Sounds like glorified slavery to me.

  • Orthopractic, but Eskeptical January 27, 2009, 9:33 PM

    “Mark wrote: I wonder how different “slavery” in the Torah is to a contract worker sitting in a cubicle for 6-7 years? Before you answer try to remember what labor meant in those years compared to currently.”

    Can you apply your comparison to homosexuality and what it meant in those years compared to currently??

  • Orthopractic, but Eskeptical January 27, 2009, 9:37 PM

    Are the doctrines of Orthodox Judaism really true?

    The Hebrew Scriptures set forth historical narratives. Do they portray things that were actually said and done in the way they are set forth, in some other way, or not at all?

    And if reason and criticism lead to the conclusion that the history that Scripture records is a fabrication, then some other Judaism must be devised to replace gullible Orthodox Judaism with a reasoned and sound theology resting on Scripture rightly expounded.

    But who defines the intellectual program of Orthodoxy, itself a diverse collection of Judaisms or Judaic religious systems?

  • TRS January 27, 2009, 9:50 PM

    the point is not whether orthodox Judaism is true or not. The point is that for 3000 years it has been the authentic Judaism. What do you want to replace it with? If you don’t like it, go frie out totally. Why keep any of it? You like the rituals or something? If you’re not giving it your all, why bother with any?

    • Frumsatire Fan May 7, 2010, 11:01 AM

      I find 2 problems in what you say:
      1) Tradition for its own sake sounds like some sort of idolatry. Defending tradition just because it’s traditional could be the same as holding on to a mistake that’s grown old. (N.B. I’m not denying the value of tradition.)
      2) If you look at the greater picture, Orthodox Judaism is a relatively recent innovation, a reactionary response against the “maskilim”. Before that, the really “traditional” Judaism was more open to creative innovation in halacha. I’m not saying they were ok with gay sex, of course, but they had greater flexibility to adapt Halacha to new social realities.

      This isn’t just a Jewish thing. Muslims and Catholics too have had to cope with fast changes in the last 200 years (esp. in the last 100), and there have been sectors that got scared and became reactionary, i.e. opposed to any sort of change, in an attempt to preserve tradition. Maybe tradition is preserved this way, but at the price of becoming really narrow and inflexible – and less fit to survive in the long run. When religions felt less “cornered” and more self-confident, they were more flexible; f. ex. compare burqas etc. with the much more open Muslims of 11th century Spain, who would hang out with Christians and Jews and even interpreted the Koran in ways that allowed them to drink wine.

      • TRS May 9, 2010, 6:30 PM

        Very strange, this is the second comment I’ve gotten on this comment of mine in the last two days. I’d like to point out that you may, if you wish, scroll to the end of all the comments on this post and see what I had to say there. However, I will attempt to answer your queries here.

        1. We do not hold onto our tradition because it is a tradition. We hold onto our tradition because that is the way we were taught by our mentors, and they by their mentors, going all the way back to the revelation at Sinai.

        2. I’m not entirely sure that I understand where you’re going here. You seem to think it preferable to lose tradition in order to gain flexibility and be able to survive in the long run. As far as I can tell, Satmar is one of the fastest growing segments in world Jewry, and they’re certainly not flexible.

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