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Would you light a menorah in a gay bar?

My friend calls up to tell me that I should have been a fly on the wall during an argument the other day between two fellows about whether or not lighting a menorah in a gay bar was a good idea.

The argument was between a yeshivish guy and a modern orthodox gay guy, the frummy took the classic route of – Chanukah was a holiday that we defeated the Greeks who were all about destroying the Jewish nation through public immorality and other things – while the gay dude took the route of “just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you can ignore the 612 other miztvos.”

I can understand both sides of the argument, apparently this same guy was deeply offended when someone asked him to light a menorah at a bar where there was mixed dancing (I told my friend that this is precisely the reason why chabad will always be kings of kiruv – because yeshivish kiruv artists would have said the same thing) and that doing a mitzvah in a “den of sin” is an evil thing – but is it? Shouldn’t we be trying to help those who want to be helped, wouldn’t lighting a menorah in a place like a gay bar show gay Jews that there are still mitzvos to keep despite the fact that they are sinning on a colossal scale, they are not lost souls and they are still Jews.

There are two sides to every story.

The other side is that this person doesn’t want to show support for people who are openly sinning, he doesn’t want to take God’s holy work and throw it into a place of tumah and that is also a good argument.

Although lighting a menorah in a bar is not so cool for the mere fact that you’re supposed to light it at your place of residence, unless you spend a lot of time in that particular bar.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Adena December 11, 2010, 7:07 PM

    Yes, light the menorah in the gay bar. At least there isn’t mixed dancing there 🙂

    • Mahla December 11, 2010, 7:51 PM

      +1 !!!

    • batsheva December 11, 2010, 8:05 PM

      Brilliant, Adena!

    • A. Nuran December 11, 2010, 10:19 PM

      You win the Internets for today!

  • Orthowatch December 11, 2010, 7:23 PM

    Gives new meaning to “flaming homosexual”

  • ari December 11, 2010, 7:29 PM

    why would u not? lighting a menorah has nothing to do with ones sexual preferences they are completely different things

    • Rohr December 19, 2010, 12:51 PM


  • Ed Greenberg December 11, 2010, 7:32 PM

    If you believe in the value of Chabad style kiruv, then lighting in a public place (including a bar) is fine. You can also then light at home for yourself.

    • DRosenbach December 11, 2010, 8:30 PM

      There’s no prohibition to light a menorah according to anyone — the issue would be on the recitation of a blessing, and we could skip that in the Blue Oyster.

  • ari December 11, 2010, 7:53 PM

    i like the 612 mitzvahs approach

    • Rohr December 19, 2010, 12:53 PM


  • whoa5771 December 11, 2010, 8:40 PM

    This would be just a tough call, there is the issue of a jew is a jew, is this a jewish owned club? are the majority of people here jewish? then you move on after a yes to both of the previous questions. Then there is the question of what it might imply, for example a jew with a black hat and beard cnat walk into a mcdonals to buy coffe b/c to someone ignorant of his situation it would look like an endorsement of mcdonals, would lighting a menorah look like a jewish endorsement of that club…probably not….
    so yes you should be allowed to light a menorah there
    and the second part of the argument is that
    in judaismn there is no concept of “being” gay
    when one conducts homosexual sex they sin and when the dont, they are not sinning
    so who are we to assume that these people are having gay sex with eachother, unless we are in the room/bar and see it with our own eyes? (logic is applied to queens ester…wait till purim for this one)
    now since we are no one to assume ANYTHING
    we have to light a menorah at that club (assuming its owned by jews and that the patrons are jewish) b/c if we dont we are robbing a jew of a mtizvha
    i know this b/c when i went to put on teffilin on men in gay bars, a yeshvish kiruv guy argued agaisnt it, however when the question was brought to a halachik authroity respected by everyone, the answer was that we could put teffilin on them, so by same logic
    the Menorah in the gay bar must be lit!
    also light removes darkness, and u bring light to the darkest place
    a gay bar needs the light more than most!

    • Rohr December 19, 2010, 12:52 PM


  • SML December 11, 2010, 9:35 PM

    Sounds like an interesting argument. I think next time he has such an interesting question, he should have his Rabbi on speed dial.

  • A. Nuran December 11, 2010, 10:21 PM

    Still think someone needs to open a gay bathhouse called “The Mikveh”

    • futurebarowner December 19, 2010, 3:43 PM

      Absolutely Brilliant!
      A. Nuran I will send you a personal invitation to the grand opening.

  • Jonny krapper December 12, 2010, 12:32 AM

    i have to take a dump

  • Elvis December 12, 2010, 12:37 AM

    As a gay man myself, I am offended. Heshy, please do not frustrating topics about gay people.

    • Rohr December 19, 2010, 12:55 PM

      Unless he is willing to take a position on it. He is too lax. Then we (as gay Jews) will know to follow him or not, or be ready to argue. His posting is way too cagey.

  • Anonymous December 12, 2010, 1:04 AM

    Of course someone who is gay should do any and all the mitzvot they can. But a menora has nothing to do with being in a bar. If a straight person is in a bar they should not light a menorah. So why should a gay person?

  • Erez December 19, 2010, 10:59 AM

    Sinners also buy food, and shop for clothing etc, so will see a hannukiah where others do. Stop mixing judaism and gayism.

  • Moshe January 20, 2011, 2:41 AM

    I’ve been at shopping malls that are owned by goyim in goyishe areas where they did a menorah lighting and everything. I’ve seen menorahs at bars before. So what if its a gay bar its at? I remember being in Yeshiva and listening to drasha after stupid drasha about how Chanukah is all about frumishkeit winning out over the disgusting toieva of homosexuality, how today we face the same challenge and we mustn’t get caught up in the hype that “gay is ok.” After all that tipshus, I’d love to see a menorah glowing out of the corner of my eye while grinding up against some sexy shagetz to Toxic. And what an excuse to take out that fabulous, gaudy menorah with all the tassels and colorful stone inlays your grandma gave you for your bar mitzvah!

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