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Jerusalem - In Lecture Series, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein Tackles The Issue Of Homosexuality In The Orthodox Community

Published on: January 3, 2013 11:10 AM
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FILE 2011 Photo - Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein, the son-in law of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and rosh yeshiva of the Har Etzion Yeshiva in Gush Etzion, Israel is a well-respected leader and Torah authority, particularly in Modern Orthodox circles. (Omer Miron)FILE 2011 Photo - Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein, the son-in law of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and rosh yeshiva of the Har Etzion Yeshiva in Gush Etzion, Israel is a well-respected leader and Torah authority, particularly in Modern Orthodox circles. (Omer Miron)

Jerusalem - Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein, head of the Har Etzion Yeshiva in Israel and a respected leader in Modern-Orthodox circles, was recently asked to clarify what attitude should Orthodox Jews adopt, personally and communally, concerning homosexuals in the Orthodox community.

The Rav’s words were recorded and transcribed by Dov Karoll, a student of the Rav, who has posted the Rav’s reply on his blog, Pages of Faith (http://bit.ly/VygwDf).

In a thoughtful and lengthy response, the Rav talked about the use of the term to’eivah in the Torah to describe homosexuality, and asks if that term adds “a more serious dimension” to the prohibition against homosexuality. The Rav notes that the word to’eivah is used several times in the Torah, including in a pasuk in Yechezkel to refer to people who do not feed the poor (Ezekiel 16:48-50), and in Parshas Ki Tetzei where honest weights and measures are discussed. The word to’eivah is used there in connection with those who cheat and do not have honest weights and measures (Deuteronomy 25:13-16).

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The Rav said, “…Find for me a community which responds and relates to homosexuality as if you are doing something terrible – just like it responds to those who are cheating a little bit on weights and measures. But that’s not the case, and that is because of the revulsion, which, apart from its being called to’eivah – the revulsion which is felt by the Western world toward homosexuality probably would have existed in large measure nonetheless. . . .”

He continued, “But to be fairer and more honest with ourselves and our communities, let us understand that if you deal only with the use of the term to’eivah, you can only push that particular envelope as far as you push the cheating on the weights and measures – so all the revulsion, the moral energy, that you bring against that, you should bring against this, too.”

The Rav cited the annual Israeli Day Parade as an example, where Jews from all over and of all different sects, march in support of Israel. But a number of years ago, when the gays said they wanted to participate and march under their banner as Jewish gays and lesbians, the religious high schools which normally participate threatened to bow out if the gays were permitted to march. The threat worked and the Jewish gays were prevented from marching.

“You ask yourself, wait a minute, we don’t like homosexuality, but we don’t like chillul Shabbat either – all the mechallelei Shabbat of America could have marched in that parade and no one would say boo, because we are very liberal Jews, and we like to not be judgmental, and be friendly to people to the right and the left of us,” the Rav said. “So, mechallelei Shabbat – we wish they would be shomrei Shabbat, but if that’s what they are, that’s what they are. We accept them as they are and we don’t pass judgment.”

The Rav went on to ask if it is fair then to single out Jewish homosexuals for communal condemnation and make the gays a scapegoat when we do not show such disdain for all the sinners among the Jewish people.

“Leaving aside the term to’eivah – what is a more serious aveirah, chillul Shabbat or homosexuality? Or, for that matter, there are people who worship avodah zarah who march in the parade, too. Is it proper, is it fair, and I say this without relenting in our position to homosexuality – to decide that all the sins which the whole entire Jewish community has – all of that we can swallow and march with them, with pride and with their flags and everything they want, but this [homosexuality] is the scapegoat – dispatched to Eretz Gezairah. . .(Leviticus 16:22)?

Admittedly, the Rav said, part of the backlash against homosexuals on the part of the Orthodox community is because the gays are “very aggressive,” causing many Orthodox Jews to be equally aggressive in response. “That’s something which I think should be avoided,” Rav Lichtenstein said.

Though homosexuality is primarily a personal aveirah according to the Rav, today it has become a matter of public debate. “Do you let him into shul? Do you give him an aliyah? Do you let him daven for the amud? If he adopts a child, do you let the child attend your yeshiva? You could give many other examples….”

The Rav said his own response is that while he does not approve of homosexuality in any way, he thinks that “the fire that burns in many hearts today, and the fears which go beyond the revulsion, are beyond what I think is proper. . . .My own feeling is: It’s a very unfortunate development and one that will hopefully pass, though that’s hard to say.”

Rav Lichtenstein continued, “But, for people involved: I certainly have criticism, disapproval, but tempered with an element of sympathy. These are people who are very unfortunate. I said to one of them who came to talk to me: you are thrice punished. First of all, you are punished in that you can’t have a normal life: one of the great joys of my life is my children, my family, my wife – and children you can’t have. Secondly, you are punished in that you have no one to whom to turn – you come out, risking your own situation, taking a position. Thirdly, the disapproval generates further disapproval.”

The Rav said that psychologists are “divided on this issue”, and are not sure whether homosexuality can be controlled. “But the material which they send me. . .reflects a readiness on the part of many, and they would be very happy if you could cure them. There are some, who are very militant, who wouldn’t want you to use the term cure – they are not sick any more than the heterosexual people are sick – that’s how they regard it – that, I think, is pushing it a bit too far. You might assume they are not to be held fully responsible if it’s a genetic development, but, certainly it is not something which we want to see become more rampant,” Rav Lichtenstein concluded.



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1

 Jan 03, 2013 at 11:40 AM UseYourHead Says:

A voice of reason among the noise. I am thankful to Hashem that he gives us such fine Torah scholars to show us the right path.

2

 Jan 03, 2013 at 11:48 AM Anonymous Says:

The main problem of gays is they have an agenda that no other sinners have. They want their behavior to be accepted as normal. It is obviously not normal and should never be accepted as an alternative. If, for whatever reason, they feel they must sin, they should at least not publicize it and demand that I accept it.

3

 Jan 03, 2013 at 11:54 AM Samsaposhnik Says:

Sounds reasonable.
However the mechalilei Shabbos, for example, do what they do, but dont march with a banner proudly announcing that. The gays have an agenda, and wants banners proudly announcing what they do. Big difference.

4

 Jan 03, 2013 at 11:57 AM Crazykanoiy Says:

With all due respect to Rabbi Lichtenstein his position is flawed on many accounts.

Here is one. The Mechaleli Shabbos who march in the Israel Day Parade do not march as "the group of Mechaleli Shabbos" nor do they promote "Mechalel Shabbos Pride". If they would it would be wrong to march with them also. The ones who are ovdei avodah zorah - according to Rav Lichtenstein do not march as a group promoting "Avodah Zorah Pride". They march as individuals.

I am sure that many Homosexual individuals have marched in Israel Day parades before. Nobody is required to divulge their sexual orientation before marching. The issue at hand is openly Homosexual groups that march and "pride" themselves in act that is wrong according to the Torah irrespective of it being called "Toeivah".

Here is two. Perhaps we should exhibit revulsion at those that cheat on measures and don't feed the poor. Where is the graet mitzvah of being "non-judgemental" to be found? (Dan L'kaf Zchus - is only a middas chassidus in most scenarios) Almost all would agree that those acts are highly immoral and unethical. At a minimum the Torah then is comparing Homosexuality to an Immoral and Unethical act

5

 Jan 03, 2013 at 11:57 AM DRE53 Says:

What a clear minded analysis! Thank you rabbi lichtenstein for discussing this issue.

6

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:03 PM simplythetruth Says:

Reply to #2, very well said, couldn't have stated it better.

7

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:05 PM JOTHEPROFESSOR Says:

Rabbi Lichtenstein could also have pointed out (to stregthen his argument)also that the term "sodomy" would, if we followed Ezekiel, be defined as cruelty to the poor and to the stranger.
Political types who are less than saintly want scapegoats. Historicsally, homosexuals were very convenient and it was accepted 'fact' that they were dangerous. Now, the only group left are pedophiles and other rapists who certainly are dangerous although I suspect there maybe an excess of zealotry even there - this is a difficult issue which I probably should not touch for fear of being misunderstood. Mean time, the most dangerous group, gun nuts, are immunized by the most powerful lobby in Washington.

8

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:06 PM LionofZion Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

The main problem of gays is they have an agenda that no other sinners have. They want their behavior to be accepted as normal. It is obviously not normal and should never be accepted as an alternative. If, for whatever reason, they feel they must sin, they should at least not publicize it and demand that I accept it.

I beg to differ. When Rebbe's promote and trumpet ex cons as Tzadikim, they are doing the same thing. It is not normal to cheat and steal, whether from Jews, Goyim or the government. If we fool around a bit on our taxes, at least we keep it to ourselves.
But when a Rebbe dances with a thief upon his release from prison, it too is Toeva.

9

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:08 PM Dan_Daoust Says:

Many commenters are rightfully pointing out the difference between marching as simply not being frum and marching under a banner of Chillul Shabbos, the latter being comparable to what the gay community tends to do. R' Lichtenstein addresses this in his full remarks,

The full remarks are here: http://pagesoffaith.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/perspective-on-homosexuals/

10

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:12 PM Anonymous Says:

A very rational and balanced perspective and refreshing change from the usual rants of whackos like Yehuda Levin and other extremist rabbonim who distort daas torah in the name of bigotry.

11

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:15 PM scmaness Says:

that's right and further more there hormones are un balance,it's a medical issue too along therapy

12

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:25 PM ABlogger Says:

Reply to #1  
UseYourHead Says:

A voice of reason among the noise. I am thankful to Hashem that he gives us such fine Torah scholars to show us the right path.

More like a voice of treason... His problem is being unable to reconcile his own movement's - modern orthodoxy - tolerance of mechallelei shabbos with its rejection of homos. So instead of addressing the wrongness of the former he's advocating for the expanding the wickedness to the later. Kach hu darkoi shel yetzer hayom omer lo asai kach u'muchor omer lo asai kach...

Btw, his example of the parade seems totally misplaced in my opinion. The issue with the gays was their insistence on marching with their flag which is completely different from allowing everyone else participate without flags bragging about their avierus.

13

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:28 PM yaakov doe Says:

"The Rav said that psychologists are “divided on this issue”, and are not sure whether homosexuality can be controlled." They may not be able to control their attraction, but they can certainly control their actions. There are many things that one may be tempted to do, but refrain from due to halacha and they must do the same. If there was nothing wrong with their acting on their urges the prohibition wouldn't be so clear in the Torah.

14

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Samsaposhnik Says:

Sounds reasonable.
However the mechalilei Shabbos, for example, do what they do, but dont march with a banner proudly announcing that. The gays have an agenda, and wants banners proudly announcing what they do. Big difference.

You're simply lying. All they want is to be accepted as jews and not shunned.

If mechalelei shabbos and people who cheated in business were shunned in the orthodox community the way gays were you know they would be out on the streets asking to be accepted too.

15

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:31 PM Anonymous Says:

In order to make his point this enlightened rabbi has to say “Leaving aside the term to’eivah". But isnt that the whole point, it IS toeiva, =disgusting.

Maybe we have to nurture the same disgust for thiefs and that is the shortcoming, that we arent disgusted by what the Holy Torah calls disgusting. How does this leader encourage us to put aside the inconvenient words of the Torah?

People should read and understand the true danger of modern orthodoxy, ochrei yisrael.

16

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:31 PM volfie Says:

lichtenstein has always been to the far left of centrist modern orthodox thinking.
his yellow light to shmutz will attract more confused people to this perverted life style and mida keneged mida even in his own "yeshiva" !

17

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:32 PM NEPTUNE NATHAN Says:

Reply to #8  
LionofZion Says:

I beg to differ. When Rebbe's promote and trumpet ex cons as Tzadikim, they are doing the same thing. It is not normal to cheat and steal, whether from Jews, Goyim or the government. If we fool around a bit on our taxes, at least we keep it to ourselves.
But when a Rebbe dances with a thief upon his release from prison, it too is Toeva.

Very well said. How can one respect a Rebbe who honors a thrice convicted rapist with kavod, and then throws out respectable Yidden who question it?

18

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:39 PM yossele Says:

Reply to #7  
JOTHEPROFESSOR Says:

Rabbi Lichtenstein could also have pointed out (to stregthen his argument)also that the term "sodomy" would, if we followed Ezekiel, be defined as cruelty to the poor and to the stranger.
Political types who are less than saintly want scapegoats. Historicsally, homosexuals were very convenient and it was accepted 'fact' that they were dangerous. Now, the only group left are pedophiles and other rapists who certainly are dangerous although I suspect there maybe an excess of zealotry even there - this is a difficult issue which I probably should not touch for fear of being misunderstood. Mean time, the most dangerous group, gun nuts, are immunized by the most powerful lobby in Washington.

"Gun nuts" are in fact the statistically LEAST arrested group of people. Law enforcement officers are arrested MORE than concealed carry licensees.

19

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:41 PM enlightened-yid Says:

The Rav got it half way right, at least admitting that other to'evas which are cited in the same books do not evoke same disgust and fiery debate from people. How many protests against cheating and stealing from government and ponzi schemes have rabbi Levin marched against because that is an "abomination"?
Other rabbis are coming on board slowly as they will have to accept the science and not quackery paraded as science such as from JONAH "psychologists." At least RCA has officially announced against conversion therapies because they conceded that there is no "cure."
And there is no "divide" or "debate" in psychiatric, psychological, and neuroscience fields on whether this can be "cured" or not. We've gone a long way from religious cultural values that early researchers imposed on their studies to actually studying these fields with scientific method across the world. The only divide in psychological community is from religious psychologists: Evangelical, Mormon Christians and Jews who don't want to accept or comprehend mainstream science as it conflicts with their faith and still want to cling to Freud and 1950s.

20

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:42 PM Solutions? ways to deal with the issues? Says:

How about some solutions or ways to deal with this major issue?
For the community's sake? For the 'victims'-homosexuals sake?-They need and deserve our help.
What a big nisayon for these people for are homosexual. It's something that people (like myself) who are not homosexual cannot understand.
Not to ch'v belittle the chomer hoissur.
Hashem yerachem.

21

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Disgusting articale!!
Shame on you VIN for posting it!

22

 Jan 03, 2013 at 01:12 PM inNY Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Disgusting articale!!
Shame on you VIN for posting it!

You seem to be very narrow minded, and you can't handle an intelligent conversation. you can disagree but do so with intelligence, and content.

23

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:45 PM RebKlemson Says:

they want to feel accepted because judaism has absolutely no place for them. so what would you do exactly if it was you? suffer your entire life or abandon your religion? its not an easy answer

24

 Jan 03, 2013 at 01:01 PM NoMan Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

In order to make his point this enlightened rabbi has to say “Leaving aside the term to’eivah". But isnt that the whole point, it IS toeiva, =disgusting.

Maybe we have to nurture the same disgust for thiefs and that is the shortcoming, that we arent disgusted by what the Holy Torah calls disgusting. How does this leader encourage us to put aside the inconvenient words of the Torah?

People should read and understand the true danger of modern orthodoxy, ochrei yisrael.

You ignored the context of his statement even in this short excerpt of his remarks. He pointed out the other toeivos forbidden by the Torah and observed how Torah observant community - Charedi more than modern Orthodox, leider - don't condemn their transgressors. The Torah calls money cheating toeivah the same way it calls homosexuality toeivah. He is "leaving aside the term to'eivah" to make the argument easier for YOU! And you still must fail! Because we can't decide which toeivah is really worse.

25

 Jan 03, 2013 at 01:15 PM sholom Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Disgusting articale!!
Shame on you VIN for posting it!

Judging by your spelling, seems you didn't/couldn't read the 'atricale'.

26

 Jan 03, 2013 at 01:31 PM R Tzodok Says:

The Torah and Medrash mentions stories of Homosexuality three times.
Once, when the people Sedom wanted to attack Lot's guests. Second, Potifar purchased Yosef to use him sexually. Third, when Yosef the Vice King wanted to abduct Binyomin, Yehudah suspected Yosef of homosexual reasons.
In all these cases the Violators had normal hetrosexual wives, but wanted some extra homo activity as a side pleasure, which is Ossur.
But today, Scientists have realized and proven, that there are actually certain people, (gay), that Can Not have normal wives, and no decent human being would let his daughter marry such a person. Where is the Mekor that in such a reality, it is also Ossur?

27

 Jan 03, 2013 at 01:59 PM kolemes Says:

The gay issue is the tip of the iceberg being used today to ram down a whole slew of anti moral ideas its cozy to back a "civil rights" issue but they are really out to undermine the whole bible ethical norms that why we are so against stealing has and alway was done by a certain segment of society.
For R Lichtenstien to to come out ever so lightly in support of the gays will only help the deivents in there malicous plans to undermine the whole torah so in a sense he will become a "usefull idiot" even though that was not his intension.
On a seprate if somone marrys a woman and she gets afflicted with a sickness is it moral to dump her just because the husband doesn't find her attractive anymore?
Same thing if someone "finds out he is gay" is it moral to dump his wife?

28

 Jan 03, 2013 at 02:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

In order to make his point this enlightened rabbi has to say “Leaving aside the term to’eivah". But isnt that the whole point, it IS toeiva, =disgusting.

Maybe we have to nurture the same disgust for thiefs and that is the shortcoming, that we arent disgusted by what the Holy Torah calls disgusting. How does this leader encourage us to put aside the inconvenient words of the Torah?

People should read and understand the true danger of modern orthodoxy, ochrei yisrael.

read the article, please....

29

 Jan 03, 2013 at 02:26 PM LebidikYankel Says:

Reply to #3  
Samsaposhnik Says:

Sounds reasonable.
However the mechalilei Shabbos, for example, do what they do, but dont march with a banner proudly announcing that. The gays have an agenda, and wants banners proudly announcing what they do. Big difference.

Rabbi Lichtenstein says in that article that he is well aware of this distinction. However his issue is whether in fact this accounts for all the strong feelings or is something else also going on...

30

 Jan 03, 2013 at 02:31 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
yaakov doe Says:

"The Rav said that psychologists are “divided on this issue”, and are not sure whether homosexuality can be controlled." They may not be able to control their attraction, but they can certainly control their actions. There are many things that one may be tempted to do, but refrain from due to halacha and they must do the same. If there was nothing wrong with their acting on their urges the prohibition wouldn't be so clear in the Torah.

Rabbi Lichtenstein makes this point abundantly clear

31

 Jan 03, 2013 at 02:40 PM Ayin_Tachas_Ayin Says:

Reply to #26  
R Tzodok Says:

The Torah and Medrash mentions stories of Homosexuality three times.
Once, when the people Sedom wanted to attack Lot's guests. Second, Potifar purchased Yosef to use him sexually. Third, when Yosef the Vice King wanted to abduct Binyomin, Yehudah suspected Yosef of homosexual reasons.
In all these cases the Violators had normal hetrosexual wives, but wanted some extra homo activity as a side pleasure, which is Ossur.
But today, Scientists have realized and proven, that there are actually certain people, (gay), that Can Not have normal wives, and no decent human being would let his daughter marry such a person. Where is the Mekor that in such a reality, it is also Ossur?

Hello???

How about

Leviticus 20:13

"'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads".

32

 Jan 03, 2013 at 02:51 PM qazxc Says:

Reply to #16  
volfie Says:

lichtenstein has always been to the far left of centrist modern orthodox thinking.
his yellow light to shmutz will attract more confused people to this perverted life style and mida keneged mida even in his own "yeshiva" !

Perhaps you can cite an example of Rav Lichtenstein's being "to the far left of centrist modern orthodox thinking".

Typical of many in black hat yeshivos who couldn't touch Rav Lichtenstein's father in law (a"h) in learning, you choose to cast aspersions on him by referring to him simply by his last name (as if you have some authority granted to you from Above to rescind the semicha of those more intelligent than you) and to his yeshiva in quotation marks.

You obviously are incapable of debating him so instead you attack him like a spoiled child. Grow up.

33

 Jan 03, 2013 at 02:54 PM Rifka Says:

If homosexuality were a sickness, the Torah wouldn't punish the transgressor.

34

 Jan 03, 2013 at 03:00 PM Pesach Says:

Reply to #16  
volfie Says:

lichtenstein has always been to the far left of centrist modern orthodox thinking.
his yellow light to shmutz will attract more confused people to this perverted life style and mida keneged mida even in his own "yeshiva" !

"Volfie" you are an ignorant coward. How dare you insult a true Gadol BaTorah by referring to him by his last name. He is holding in all of Shas including Kodeshim. I know someone who witnessed Israeli Briskers lining up at a chasuna to ask him their kashas in Kodeshim.

You've obviously never entered his yeshiva where Torah is learned b'hasmada day and night.

35

 Jan 03, 2013 at 03:13 PM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

The main problem of gays is they have an agenda that no other sinners have. They want their behavior to be accepted as normal. It is obviously not normal and should never be accepted as an alternative. If, for whatever reason, they feel they must sin, they should at least not publicize it and demand that I accept it.

And yet most of us have extended family who engage in chillul shabbos, eat treif, and let their daughters dress like street walkers. But we never shun them. We never turn them away from our simchas. We go out of our way to accept them. We welcome them at our shabbos table even when they think we are "backwards" as one of my cousins called it, or that we oppress women (as another cousin claims). They are militant in their denial of H" and His Torah. They are as forceful in their denial of Torah as the gays are in their demand for "acceptance".

Yet, we always approach them with open hands and open hearts. We allow them to express their "sympathy" for our wives who are "forced" to be "oppressed" (using their words, of course) and we quietly DEMONSTRATE that their "beliefs" are a delusion, not reality.

We should embrace everyone who is off the derech for WHATEVER the reason. None of us is perfect in our observance, but like the secular world we sometimes diminish others to make ourselves seem higher up. The reality is that a person who looks to diminish others for his own gain is only diminishing himself in the eyes of the world and H".

Love every Yid until it hurts.

36

 Jan 03, 2013 at 03:22 PM 5TResident Says:

There are so few Jews in the world and so many billions hate us...should we be shunning other Jews?

37

 Jan 03, 2013 at 03:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

You're simply lying. All they want is to be accepted as jews and not shunned.

If mechalelei shabbos and people who cheated in business were shunned in the orthodox community the way gays were you know they would be out on the streets asking to be accepted too.

To number 14, I was talking about the parade, and my comment its very clear and true. Maybe what you wrote is the reason, but out doesn't change what I wrote, and doesn't make me a liar.

38

 Jan 03, 2013 at 04:00 PM Ayin_Tachas_Ayin Says:

The parallel he has drawn is completely off base...

The gays in question, would like to be "accepted" as "orthodox" jews.

Chaza"l say "Mumar l'mitzvah achas" is considered a "mumar l'chol hatorah". A mumar is one who's "bold" with his transgression.

Mechalelei Shabbos would never be recognized as orthodox jews when they do so in a bold fassion and neither would a "Jew for Jesus" be accepted as an orthodox jew.

The curve ball that is always thrown is the "geneivah" issue. I have never seen a jewish thief say publically that he expects others to condone his actions as acceptable. Even more so that for the most part the main buzz refers to "tax evasion" etc. which (I know that I'll get flack for saying this) in chaza"l is not considered geneivah and there is a mitzva of pidyon shivuim for "mavrichai meches - i.e. tax evaders". Most other instances of genaivah are highly condemned.

"Aroyos/Sexuality" is one of the main things that separate us from the rest of the world.

The rabbi may be ashamed of himself for giving a helping hand to those who would like to deteriorate the moral fabric of our society.

Leviticus 20:13

"'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both

39

 Jan 03, 2013 at 04:06 PM OPTIMIST Says:

what a sinnerman!!! Everyone knows there are averos and there are aveiros. You cannot compare aveires one to each other. Rape and shabbos are both 2 aveiros in the luchot. So what everyone knows that no matter how bad mechlel shabbos is. Rape is 10 times as dirty. Maybe we should ask why are we banning the rapists if we let the mechall shabbos............................

40

 Jan 03, 2013 at 04:25 PM unable to reconcile Says:

To the fool that wrote this;
More like a voice of treason... His problem is being unable to reconcile his own movement's - modern orthodoxy - tolerance of mechallelei shabbos with its rejection of homos

Please enlighten me, MO does many things, like Torah and Midos, advocate learning a career rather than planning on living off charity, BUT DOES MO REALLY advocate or tolerate chillul Shaboss?

41

 Jan 03, 2013 at 04:29 PM kehati Says:

Reply to #16  
volfie Says:

lichtenstein has always been to the far left of centrist modern orthodox thinking.
his yellow light to shmutz will attract more confused people to this perverted life style and mida keneged mida even in his own "yeshiva" !

Rav Lichtenstein is a giagantic Talmid Chacham, renowned for his modesty and his ability to connect to Jews across the entire spectrum. In a million years, I cannot fathom what motivated you, as an obviously observant Jew, to post such a hateful comment.

42

 Jan 03, 2013 at 04:47 PM grandpajoe Says:

I agree with number 35, some I know several 'Gay' people and they are very nice - in fact they support my relioous observance -
Some people are 'born' that way - my complaint ro the entire 'Gay' community - leave me alone I do not care if you are gay or not - do not force your agenda on me -
To me that is issue today - before you did not know who was or wasn't - now they have to BROADCAST - and that is one of the problems.
The Rav tired to explain the issue - but there is no explanation - but what is worse -
A gay person or a Frum person who swindles people out of their life savings

43

 Jan 03, 2013 at 05:05 PM seagul47 Says:

The word "to-eivo" actually means "put a distance"--as those who do certain things create a distance between them and HB"H--(Onkelos translates "to-avas Hashem" as "merachek d'Hashem"). We have a mitzva of "v'hyesem kedoshim"--strive to be holy and close to Hashem; a to'eiva puts distance between you and Hashem.

Our attitude should be based on that approach.

44

 Jan 03, 2013 at 05:31 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

You're simply lying. All they want is to be accepted as jews and not shunned.

If mechalelei shabbos and people who cheated in business were shunned in the orthodox community the way gays were you know they would be out on the streets asking to be accepted too.

'All they want is to be accepted as jews and not shunned.' - Like a mechallel shabbes trying to become a member of a shomer shabbes shul.

45

 Jan 03, 2013 at 06:15 PM ShmuelG Says:

Seems that the good rabbi is very confused.

1. Saying that this particular to’eivah is like other to’eivos of not feeding the poor or cheating with wights and mesures. You would expect the good rabbi to know that the Torah insists on putting to death the disgusting men involved in this particular to’eivah and nothing like this for being stingy with poor (which is in Yehezkel, not in chumash) and cheating with weights.

2. Marching in parades with mchallelei shabbos - not my type of activity, still those mchallelei shabbos don't attempt to march as such b'davka, and the immoral men attempt to do exactly that.

Does Lichtenstein not understand these distinctions? I suspect he does. But he has a point to make, and by modern allegedly orthodox, making a point takes the kadima over emes, doesn't it?

As for revulsion, the good rabbi has a point there. That indeed is our visceral reaction to men like those. And it's not wrong.

46

 Jan 03, 2013 at 06:25 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #20  
Solutions? ways to deal with the issues? Says:

How about some solutions or ways to deal with this major issue?
For the community's sake? For the 'victims'-homosexuals sake?-They need and deserve our help.
What a big nisayon for these people for are homosexual. It's something that people (like myself) who are not homosexual cannot understand.
Not to ch'v belittle the chomer hoissur.
Hashem yerachem.

What kind of solution are you looking for? There is no reliable way to remove this inclination from men who have it. Although therapy does help many men who sincerely want to change, there may be some who can't be changed.

But like men with any other inclination acting on which is prohibited by Torah and disgusts decent men, they should certainly not openly identify themselves by it and demand to be accepted as such.

If they didn't act on their inclination, and not declare it publicly, they wouldn't have any more problems being accepted in our society than any other unmarried men.

47

 Jan 03, 2013 at 06:26 PM LGinsburg Says:

Reply to #35  
PMOinFL Says:

And yet most of us have extended family who engage in chillul shabbos, eat treif, and let their daughters dress like street walkers. But we never shun them. We never turn them away from our simchas. We go out of our way to accept them. We welcome them at our shabbos table even when they think we are "backwards" as one of my cousins called it, or that we oppress women (as another cousin claims). They are militant in their denial of H" and His Torah. They are as forceful in their denial of Torah as the gays are in their demand for "acceptance".

Yet, we always approach them with open hands and open hearts. We allow them to express their "sympathy" for our wives who are "forced" to be "oppressed" (using their words, of course) and we quietly DEMONSTRATE that their "beliefs" are a delusion, not reality.

We should embrace everyone who is off the derech for WHATEVER the reason. None of us is perfect in our observance, but like the secular world we sometimes diminish others to make ourselves seem higher up. The reality is that a person who looks to diminish others for his own gain is only diminishing himself in the eyes of the world and H".

Love every Yid until it hurts.

Wow - good for you! A thoughtful, compassionate, well written comment - all in all a rarity on this site. Thank you for reminding so many that the readership of VIN is in fact more diverse than some of the missives may otherwise suggest.

48

 Jan 03, 2013 at 07:23 PM qazxc Says:

Reply to #45  
ShmuelG Says:

Seems that the good rabbi is very confused.

1. Saying that this particular to’eivah is like other to’eivos of not feeding the poor or cheating with wights and mesures. You would expect the good rabbi to know that the Torah insists on putting to death the disgusting men involved in this particular to’eivah and nothing like this for being stingy with poor (which is in Yehezkel, not in chumash) and cheating with weights.

2. Marching in parades with mchallelei shabbos - not my type of activity, still those mchallelei shabbos don't attempt to march as such b'davka, and the immoral men attempt to do exactly that.

Does Lichtenstein not understand these distinctions? I suspect he does. But he has a point to make, and by modern allegedly orthodox, making a point takes the kadima over emes, doesn't it?

As for revulsion, the good rabbi has a point there. That indeed is our visceral reaction to men like those. And it's not wrong.

Like the mental midgets who couldn't hold a candle to his shver's learning, there are the ShmuelGs of the world who are so insecure in their own little world that they feel threatened when anyone demonstrates the ability to look at issues from an intellectual view point instead of a raw emotional one.

Nebach, the ShmuelGs of this world just cannot grow up
Maturity is just too frightening to contemplate.

49

 Jan 03, 2013 at 07:47 PM clear-thinker Says:

Reply to #44  
Anonymous Says:

'All they want is to be accepted as jews and not shunned.' - Like a mechallel shabbes trying to become a member of a shomer shabbes shul.

In many "shomer shabbes shul" someone who is mechallel shabbes is welcome as long as his donations are large enough. Are you ready to accept gays in the same way? If they are poor will you welcome the person who is machallel shabbes as well as a gay person. Be careful, since the answer may say more about you than you might think.

50

 Jan 03, 2013 at 08:15 PM Anonymous Says:

Pray to Hashem for your priorities. G-d is the answer.

51

 Jan 03, 2013 at 08:37 PM DanielBarbaz Says:

We all have our tests in life. Would this not be a better world if we would work on improving our own midos rather than telling others what to do?

I do not understand why anyone would be threatened by another person's sexual behavior. Live and let live and do not judge anyone until you have been in their situation. If this behavior is a sin then it is between that person and the ultimate judge. Let us treat everyone with respect and love. That is the real way to mekareiv people.

52

 Jan 03, 2013 at 09:39 PM A Says:

Reply to #44  
Anonymous Says:

'All they want is to be accepted as jews and not shunned.' - Like a mechallel shabbes trying to become a member of a shomer shabbes shul.

You have no idea how many people in your shul secretly watch television on Shabbos or turn on the stove to heat their Shabbos meal, talk on the phone, go on the internet, etc. etc. It's usually not shoved in anyone's face so no one cares or thinks about it. I wonder if these people would be shunned and kicked out of their shuls if it were known.

53

 Jan 03, 2013 at 10:42 PM Avi Says:

Its very simple it is simply within our Gd given nature to feel repulsive from this behavior !!

Now lets take it 1 step further if someone sins w animals would this rabbi advocate also not to feel disgusted or repulsed ?? After all its just like stealing?!?!

And would he embrace this person or a gay person and be willing for his daughter to marry him??

54

 Jan 03, 2013 at 10:50 PM Avi Says:

Also here is a quote from previous article from yu abuse scandal

He said many of the e-mails he receives are from other YU abuse victims who have seen their lives destroyed – including divorces, drug and alcohol addictions and repeated thoughts of suicide – all as a result of the abuse they endured during their high school years."

And so thats another reason we feel repulsive as they many times destroy lives to seek out their pleasure

55

 Jan 04, 2013 at 12:05 AM Anonymous Says:

You can "hate" the sin, but not the sinner. That would be cruel & judgmental. I know, a close family member is gay. He & his friend are welcome in our home & we are very fond of them both. They never, ever behave at all inappropriately when they are with us, even outside of our home. I wish I could say the same for my straight relatives who behave like animals.

56

 Jan 04, 2013 at 12:41 AM charliehall Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

The main problem of gays is they have an agenda that no other sinners have. They want their behavior to be accepted as normal. It is obviously not normal and should never be accepted as an alternative. If, for whatever reason, they feel they must sin, they should at least not publicize it and demand that I accept it.

To the contrary, the Reform movement wants chilul Shabat and achilat chazir to be accepted as normal. Yet we welcome them to pro-Israel events but expel the Gays. That is inconsistent, and that is precisely the great rabbi's point. (And it is worthy of note that Chazal say that financial transgressions are worse than giluy arayot, but you'd never know it from the number of financial scandals within our community.

57

 Jan 04, 2013 at 12:53 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #53  
Avi Says:

Its very simple it is simply within our Gd given nature to feel repulsive from this behavior !!

Now lets take it 1 step further if someone sins w animals would this rabbi advocate also not to feel disgusted or repulsed ?? After all its just like stealing?!?!

And would he embrace this person or a gay person and be willing for his daughter to marry him??

What a moronic comment! Why would the Rov want his daughter to marry a man loving male? The man himself would not be interested in marrying ANY woman! Go back to your daled amos!

58

 Jan 04, 2013 at 12:55 AM volfie Says:

to #'s 16 ,34,and 41.regarding some of your responses.
to your shock i am not from a blackhat yeshiva -although i wear one .
his title is not used because of brevity -no disrespect intended.what does JB have to do with all this ? Blame Harvard for lichenstein's liberalism.He has over the years
advocated land for peace ,or rather land for jewish blood to the savages we have to deal with.finally and you will undoubtidly love this-most contempary orthodox rabbis (not all) sport some kind of hair growth on their face.
i remember as a child when i attended a day school in far rockaway asking
my parents why the "rabbis" in my school don't speak yiddish nor have a beard.
they essentially responded -welcome to america.It's certainly out of the ordinary in Israel !

59

 Jan 04, 2013 at 09:50 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Samsaposhnik Says:

Sounds reasonable.
However the mechalilei Shabbos, for example, do what they do, but dont march with a banner proudly announcing that. The gays have an agenda, and wants banners proudly announcing what they do. Big difference.

Exactly! Mechallei Shabbos marching are not marching under a banner identifying themselves as such and promoting chilul Shabbos.

60

 Jan 04, 2013 at 09:50 AM Ari Says:

My two cents, for what they are worth…
I think we definately are much more harsh towards people who unapolagetically follow a lifwstyle that the Torah Hakdosha labels a toaivah, and for a very good reason - in order to avoid having to feel guilt and remorse etc for their lifestyle choices they say that biologically they have no choice, that they are “born that way”…
As a beleiver in the Ribono Shel Olam and His Torah, I maintain that by virtue of the Torah forbidding it, and calling it toaivah no less, it is impossible to say that they have no choice and that it is how they were born etc…
How could the Torah do that to someone?
Clearly, they may have a predisposition, or slight leaning towards that lifestyle, however, justas clearly, if they overcome it they can also have a perfectly normal relationship with a woman, and sire children etc, and overcome that leaning. In fact, recognizing that every one of us is born with a unique set of charachteristics to set up our bchira chofshis in our unique goals in our lives, this inclination, and the opportunity to overcome it, is part of Hashems Master plan - whether we understand it or not…
To say it is how they are born and they cant help it is kefirah of the highest order.
The Gemara mentions that Hashem creates some people with a bloodlust - can they then say that murder is ok because thats how they were created??! The Gemara says no - they should become a shochet etc…
Finally - the Torah lifestyle has many many restrictions on various relationships, can a pedophile rationalize his perverse lifestyle by saying its not my fault this is how I was created???!!!! Anyone who buys into that totally secular rationalization is kofer b’ikkur.
That said, the Mitzva of Ahavas Yisrael requires us treat others with respect, sympathy and dignity. Just dont try to sell us on the concept that it isnt your fault…

61

 Jan 04, 2013 at 10:19 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #31  
Ayin_Tachas_Ayin Says:

Hello???

How about

Leviticus 20:13

"'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads".

Of course we know that there are two parshos in the Torah, one forbidding the act and one telling us the punishment.
But in the three stories I mentioned we can see what kind of people the Torah is focusing on,; and that is, regular people that can and do have relationships with women as well. Don't forget that in those times it was taken for granted that every single person can biologically be attracted to women.

62

 Jan 04, 2013 at 12:20 PM A Says:

Reply to #54  
Avi Says:

Also here is a quote from previous article from yu abuse scandal

He said many of the e-mails he receives are from other YU abuse victims who have seen their lives destroyed – including divorces, drug and alcohol addictions and repeated thoughts of suicide – all as a result of the abuse they endured during their high school years."

And so thats another reason we feel repulsive as they many times destroy lives to seek out their pleasure

You are confusing homosexuality with sexual abuse. People who commit sexual abuse do not limit it to males, some (many) rape females. Plus, it's an attack on another person. Homosexual acts are by mutual consent of the parties involved.

63

 Jan 04, 2013 at 01:09 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #51  
DanielBarbaz Says:

We all have our tests in life. Would this not be a better world if we would work on improving our own midos rather than telling others what to do?

I do not understand why anyone would be threatened by another person's sexual behavior. Live and let live and do not judge anyone until you have been in their situation. If this behavior is a sin then it is between that person and the ultimate judge. Let us treat everyone with respect and love. That is the real way to mekareiv people.

“ We all have our tests in life."

Yes, we do. And the test of the man with perverted inclinations is to control them, failing that, to deal with them in private while working towards controlling them. Their test was never supposed to be to announce their perverted inclination publicly and to demand that we accept them. That we will not do.

Gut shabbos.

64

 Jan 05, 2013 at 05:11 AM DoTeshuvahNow Says:

Reply to #3  
Samsaposhnik Says:

Sounds reasonable.
However the mechalilei Shabbos, for example, do what they do, but dont march with a banner proudly announcing that. The gays have an agenda, and wants banners proudly announcing what they do. Big difference.

You took the words out of my mouth! No one is telling the Gays not to march in the parade like everyone else. No one else marches with signed that stand for Chilul Shabbos, or any other Aveirah! If any other group would come along and say we want to march with a big sign that clearly stand for an Aveirah, we would have the same problem with them!

I am disturbed that this very wise Rabbi made such a obvious mistake in his public equation on this matter.

He should correct it, and he has inadvertantly said melighned all those frum yidden by making them seem wrong about their "singling out" the gays.

65

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