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New York - An Open Letter to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Published on: October 21, 2010 10:27 AM
By: OpEd By Rabbi Aryeh HaKohen Katz-VIN News
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Hollywood Rabbi Shmuley BoteachDear Rabbi Shmuley,

This is a hard letter to write because, more times than not, your thoughts on an entire host of issues are right on the mark.  You have earned the admiration of many - because of your vast intellect, your writing capabilities, and your eloquent defense of Torah issues and thought.

The issue now, however, is balance, Rabbi Shmuley.  We understand you.  We genuinely do. 

It is difficult to maintain popular appeal as “Hollywood’s Rabbi” while at the same time being faithful to the ideals, morals and standards of our holy Torah.


Your recent article  published Oct. 15 in the Wall Street Journal about homosexuality, however, is something that really needs to be reexamined.  It needs to be re-examined because you have genuinely crossed the line.

You begin with the sentence, “Some people of faith insist that homosexuality is gravely sinful because the Bible calls it an abomination..”

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“Some people?”  Are you serious?  Well, at least your choice of words does give us some insight as to where you are headed. With those words, you have excluded yourself from the vast majority of your people – from Nachmanides to Maimonides, from Midrashim to the two Talmuds,  to the contemporary halachic decisors of our nation.  The hagaddah states, “Ulefi shehotzi es atzmo min haklal kafar beIkkar.. – because he has excluded himself from the others - he has denied the very essence..”  You have sided with the norms and mores of Hollywood – the “I am okay, you’re okay” mentality where everything goes. 

Rabbi Shmuley, you sold out your people. 

No one ever said, “Hate them.”  Heaven forbid.  The very words “VeAhavta Lerayacha Kamocha – love your neighbor as yourself” appear in the Talmud in juxtaposition with the command to ensure that an excessive form of capital punishment is not meted out.  The message is clear – extend them your love.

We are to love them, the violators, but that does not mean we should tolerate or accept behavior so antithetical to the Torah way of life.  This is especially true when it is shoved down our throats daily in the media.

Rabbi Shmuley, how could you?  How could you undermine the word “Toaivah” and say that the great expositors of Judaism have taken this word out of context?

This is exactly what you do in your very next sentence. 

But that word [“Abomination”] appears approximately 122 times in the Bible. Eating nonkosher food is an “abomination” (Deuteronomy 14:3). A woman returning to her first husband after being married in the interim is an “abomination” (Deuteronomy 24:4). Bringing a blemished sacrifice on G-d’s altar is an abomination (Deuteronomy 17:1). Proverbs goes so far as to label envy, lying and gossip “an abomination to [the L-rd]“ (3:32, 16:22).

Rabbi Shmuley, you have used your G-d given cleverness, your keen abilities with words to chip away at the very meaning of the Torah.

Words no longer mean what they purport to mean.  An abomination, a Toaivah is not a Toaivah in your world.  You have matired the Sheretz, Rabbi Shmuley – in front of one and all.

And it is done, oh, so very cleverly. 

You juxtapose it with non-kosher food consumption.  You’ve equated what Rabbi Moshe Feinstein describes as “a direct rebellion against the Creator” with a “harmless” excursion to the local McDonalds.  You have compared it with the popular Hollywood practice of serial marriages one after the other and the remarriages too.  Surely, those “some people of faith” are just so, so, provincial.

But then, you realize that even you can’t go that far..

“As an orthodox Rabbi, I do not deny the biblical prohibition on male same-sex relationships. I simply place it in context.”

Taking innocent life is also abominable behavior.  Can we not place that “in context” too?  One can hear a mafia don complain, “Gee, you whack one guy – they call you a murderer!”

No, Rabbi Shmuley. 

In authentic Judaism our morals, our ethics, our ideals are defined by the Holy Torah itself.  We understand this Divine document through the rubric of our oral laws, of the great sages of Judaism throughout the generations.  When the Midrashim tell us that the saving grace of a previous evil civilization was that, at least, they never defied G-d so brazenly by instituting marriage between two men – we know where the Torah stands.
 
The Torah’s animadversions toward a behavior that, in the words of Nachmanides, represent the apex of immorality and societal debasement - are quite clear.  The Greek and Roman preference to young men even among the upper male nobility of these societies, a la Hadrian, was condemned by our sages.  And strongly so.

But you continue..

“There are 613 commandments in the Torah. One is to refrain from gay sex. Another is for men and women to marry and have children. So when Jewish gay couples tell me they have never been attracted to members of the opposite sex and are desperately alone, I tell them, “You have 611 commandments left. That should keep you busy. Now, go create a kosher home. Turn off the TV on the Sabbath and share your meals with many guests. Pray to G-d three times a day for you are his beloved children. He desires you and seeks you out.“

A very pat solution, indeed.  The problem is that, proponents of this lifestyle are exactly that – proponents and open advocates.  It is an “in your face” type of approach where they want the lifestyle accepted and advertised everywhere.  In Teaneck, New Jersey, for example, the local Jewish paper just recently printed a wedding announcement between two men.  They are not merely content to quietly violate this Torah prohibition.  Like pork and shrimp at the Reform Rabbis convention in Cincinnati at the end of the 19th century, the complete and utter negation of all that is holy and dear must be advertised to all.
 
Rabbi Shmuley, if you haven’t noticed, there is a barrage, a carefully orchestrated assault here – and you have played into their hand.  They have played you so well.  How?  Let’s look at your next paragraph..

But with one of every two heterosexual marriages failing, much of the Internet dedicated to degrading women through pornography, and a culture that is materially insatiable while all-too spiritually content, can we straight people really say that gays are ruining our families? We’ve done a mighty fine job of it ourselves, thank you very much.

In essence you are saying, “But can you blame them?  We haven’t done any better..  Heterosexuals are just as bad as homosexuals, perhaps even worse.  So let’s accept it all and just erase a few of those inconvenient lines in the Torah that don’t fit with the Hollywood, contemporary agenda.”

You are about to help them open the floodgates, Rabbi Shmuley.  Next it will be the consensual incest movement, the multiple spouse movement, and who knows what else.  You have joined on the bandwagon of “Imagine living in a world where love is denied and rejected” – where decadent form of self indulgence is painted as love and therefore must be embraced.  Where sacrosanct institutions that people of faith have always valued are now taken down in the attempt to give legitimacy to movements bent upon destruction of biblical values.

And no, Rabbi Shmuley, we reject your supposition that “homosexuality is a religious, not a moral, sin.”  Moral sins involve the negation of human virtue too and the corruption of societal values. 

The situation is analogous to someone burning the flag of the United States, Heaven forbid.  You could argue that flag-burning is also harmless.  Who are you hurting when you have an innocent action between a man and a piece of cloth?  The truth is that you are doing immense harm.  You are undermining the love, respect, and gratitude that is due our great nation. 

The United States was a beacon of light to the world in providing all sorts of freedoms.  The other democracies in the world copied the United States.  When you burn that flag you undermine the gratitude that our citizenry should feel to the United States.  You undermine the love and respect that is due this great nation. And you do irreparable harm.

When the Torah calls such activity abhorrent, an abomination, openly defying these words, re-interpreting their Divine Authorial intent is tantamount to flag-burning. The Torah is a Divine document.  It’s mores and ideals are everlasting.  What you are espousing may be “feel good Judaism”, but it is a far cry from authentic Judaism. 

Rabbi Shmuley, you could have been the voice of Torah. You had what it took. You could have stood up to the onslaught, the attack on Judaism and moral virtue. 

Instead, you buckled. 

This past article was a distortion, a misshapen, malformed and twisted presentation of the Torah’s view.  Those of us who look at the Torah as truly the Divine word of G-d, rather than a superstitious collection of the religious thoughts of a long antiquated society as most proponents of homosexuality do,  call upon you to retract your article. 

There comes a time, Rabbi Shmuley, when you just have to stand up for what is right. 

May G-d give you the strength to make the right decision.

Aryeh HaKohen Katz is a Rabbi and teacher at a Yeshivah in Brooklyn. He can be reached at aarikatz@aol.com  



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Read Comments (128)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Oct 21, 2010 at 10:46 AM brklyn11 Says:

Great editorial. Shmuley you screwed up here. and u know it.. be a Good Jew and stand up for real Judaism, not Hollywood.

2

 Oct 21, 2010 at 10:56 AM nedi Says:

It's a waste to take to task Reb Shmuley, he is egoistic, and will never admit he made a grave mistake here..

3

 Oct 21, 2010 at 10:57 AM Paskunyak Says:

Yasher Koach Rav Katz. Well said.

4

 Oct 21, 2010 at 10:59 AM ProminantLawyer Says:

"Adam....take Eve"
NOT "Adam take Steve"

5

 Oct 21, 2010 at 11:03 AM DavidMoshe Says:

When R' Boteach said "some people of faith," he clearly included not just Jews, but people of many other faiths as well. Twisting this expression, and then accusing R' Boteach of taking words out of contexts is pure chutzpah. R' Boteach never denied that homosexual activity was forbidden by the Torah-- he merely suggested that people who are gay can still have meaningful Jewish lives, and encouraged people to increase their observance. Rabbi Katz, perhaps, would be much more comfortable seeing people stoned for this violation (while I'd bet he'd be only too happy to attend dinners in honor of a guy who was mecholel Shabbos but still wrote big checks to a Yeshiva). I have to say, having read both articles, I think R' Boteach's approach does the Torah far more credit.

8

 Oct 21, 2010 at 11:19 AM The_Rat Says:

Sorry, but R' Katz misses the point of the op-ed, or maybe not.

His flag burning parallel shows that he does have insight into the issue. We make flag burning into a bigger issue than it really is. We should ignore it rather than try to pass laws against it.

As far as homosexuality is concerned, indeed, acting upon homosexual impulses violates halacha (differently for men vs. women), however, having the impulses does not. We all have impulses to act counter to halacha (yetzer hara). We also choose to accept others despite their acting on impulses. If one can accept those who indulge in "a “harmless” excursion to the local McDonalds", or those who drive on shabbat, while trying to have them do more within the confines of halacha, one should be able to do the same for a homosexual.

Toeivah does not apply to lesbians, so any argument including that aspect does not hold water as all homosexuals are treated the same way by frum Jews despite the halachic differences.

As for the issue of activism - if the frum community treated homosexuals the same way as shabbat violators or those who eat treif, no activism would be necessary.

R' Katz agrees, hate the sin, love the sinner.

9

 Oct 21, 2010 at 11:25 AM Nobama Says:

Beats me why anyone ever acknowledges this guy boteach, he might look like a frum rabbi but there is no normal frum person who considers him even remotely connected to the frum community. He is just like any other scholar jew stating his opinion, which doesn't affect us at all. Why gratify him with a response?

10

 Oct 21, 2010 at 11:34 AM Nobody Says:

He has been saying things like this this since he was at Oxford (such as "Nothing wrong with being Gay, it is just that G-d doesn't want you to do it like not eating cheeseburgers."). Although the idea that the issue is a chock is ridiculous (since it applies to non-Jews as well, and there is no such thing as a chock among non-Jews).

However, the response here completely misses the mark. Intermarriage is also a terrible aveira, but if someone who is intermarried wants to come to shul, the first reaction is not to exclude him or her until they get a divorce. Sure its a bit different, as the spouse may convert, so separation isn't the only solution, but I think it is close enough that you have to make a better argument than the disgust of an aveira. All aveiras are disgusting, even the ones that we (religious Jews) do all the time.

Where the article goes off the rails is at the end: "I am in favor of gay civil unions rather than marriage" Either one is a violation of Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach, and is an aveira to support.

(continued)

11

 Oct 21, 2010 at 11:37 AM Nobody Says:

(continued)

The next paragraph doesn't get any better. Opposing gay relationships is a basic affirmation of humanity over animal preferences. Some have a Yetzer Hara for things that others do not.

It reminds me of a story of the Tzemach Tzedek, where someone came to him with a problem: He doesn't enjoy learning. The Tzemach Tzedek told him that he is jealous of him, as he has the opposite problem: He does enjoy learning (and this interferes with learning Torah L'Shma).

So we can be sad for the tragedy of being under the grips of such a Yetzer Hara and ask Hashem for mercy for the person so afflicted, but to go along with aveira as fine is a bridge too far.

12

 Oct 21, 2010 at 11:39 AM Herzog Says:

What an absolutely moronic comment.

13

 Oct 21, 2010 at 11:46 AM ShatzMatz Says:

Rabbi Katz: I agree with you that the gay lifestyle is totally incompatible with the Jewish way of life. So is the overall moral decline of our society. But I wonder how you would counsel a former student of yours who spilled his heart out to you that he was born with an inclination that does not match the Torah. Would you tell him that his life was meaningless and hopeless? Would you tell him that although he was created by Hashem's own hands in His image, he has no place in Hashem's nation?

Rabbi Shmuley was obviously confronted with this issue many times. He needed to come up with an answer that would placate sincere individuals who were confronted with this issue. This is the best he could come up with.

Rabbi Katz, if you have a better answer for these people, please share. Do you agree with Yehuda Levine that all gay people should be dumped in the sea? Please enlighten me.

14

 Oct 21, 2010 at 11:47 AM heyrabbiyisroel Says:

The comparison to the flag is inappropriate;
However, his point is valid.
As G-d fearing Jews we realize that whatever G-d says in the Torah is for our ultimate good. So when He says that the whole idea of homosexuality is osur, then we can't accept it and tolerate it any way.
As previously stated though, we tolerate the sinner but not the sin.
Rabbi Shmuley's issue may be that he feels he has to be diplomatic, and cater to everybody. In such a case our morals and the things we have always stood for become blurred.

17

 Oct 21, 2010 at 11:58 AM DavidMoshe Says:

#7-- ha, ha! I get it! I'm not obsessed with hatred for homosexuals, so I must be in some kind of relationship with another guy! You're hysterical! Truth is, there's just one of me, but, on the bright side, nobody calls me "Paskudnyak."

Hey-- just a thought-- do you think you might have adopted such a terrible insult as your moniker because you despise yourself for your homosexuality? You might want to see a therapist.... you might be able to love yourself (and maybe a few other people, too!) more if you came out of the closet.

18

 Oct 21, 2010 at 12:05 PM ProudOrthodoxJew Says:

Altough I may not agree with everything in this op-ed I got to say I haven't read such a good op-ed in a REALLY long time. Yasher Koach!

19

 Oct 21, 2010 at 12:13 PM Yourkidding Says:

Well written article but you also need to remember that the word abomination still needs clarity. Would you consider a gentile eating non kosher food an abomination or any other of the "abominations" that the gentile is not required to adhere to. Do you find the actual behavior so revolting? Yet when it comes to homosexuality we are all on our high horses. It appears to be more of a personal revoltion rather than some spiritual sensitivity. Note that the lowliest in society appear to be the most homophobic

20

 Oct 21, 2010 at 12:17 PM torontoboy Says:

Avrohom Avienu, the greatest lover of the human race, greatest teacher of Hashem to non believers, the biggest baal chesed teh world ever knew - told Lovon "Hepored nu meila" . There is a time and place to tell the sinners to get lost. This is one such time. batach you erred. Learn from your forefathers.

21

 Oct 21, 2010 at 12:26 PM Lonelyking Says:

I did not read what Boteach said, but increasingly feel that calling him a Rabbi is a Toeiva.
Anyways, I think the problem really is, that we are lacking truthful and legit Torah leaders of today, who could answer for us.
What they answered before still applies, it's just hard for us to do that.
I wonder, how R' Soloveitchik, R' Feinstein, the Kleusenberg Rebbe, the Lubavitch Rebbe Gaonim A'H, would instruct us to deal with them today.
I am certain though, that Boteach should really publish these articles under a new name since he doesn't have the right to ruin the title and the values a frum, orthodox rabbi still (please G-d) means. The fact he is publishing these pieces under his name and title gives away the real motivation; his taava for fame, money and acceptance.
Ad matay! Meshiach! Ad matay!

22

 Oct 21, 2010 at 12:31 PM jmas6 Says:

Reply to #10  
Nobody Says:

He has been saying things like this this since he was at Oxford (such as "Nothing wrong with being Gay, it is just that G-d doesn't want you to do it like not eating cheeseburgers."). Although the idea that the issue is a chock is ridiculous (since it applies to non-Jews as well, and there is no such thing as a chock among non-Jews).

However, the response here completely misses the mark. Intermarriage is also a terrible aveira, but if someone who is intermarried wants to come to shul, the first reaction is not to exclude him or her until they get a divorce. Sure its a bit different, as the spouse may convert, so separation isn't the only solution, but I think it is close enough that you have to make a better argument than the disgust of an aveira. All aveiras are disgusting, even the ones that we (religious Jews) do all the time.

Where the article goes off the rails is at the end: "I am in favor of gay civil unions rather than marriage" Either one is a violation of Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach, and is an aveira to support.

(continued)

Where does a civil union or gay marriage for that matter, conflict with Sheva Mitzvos bnei noach?

Is there data to show that civil unions or gay marriage increase the occurrence of the actual aveira, (mishkav zachar)?

It is not in any way a "common sense" idea that this would be the case, so data would required.

23

 Oct 21, 2010 at 12:48 PM Anonymous Says:

One cannot ever give a hechsher on something that is assur. Period. Does that mean that a piece of treif food that winds up in my house cannot be given away to a goy, who may eat it? If someone commits a sin, must he/she be banished from the community and be denied other benefits of the community. Me thinks that not. But we still have no right to accept what is unacceptable. There is a serious dilemma with regards to the now "acceptable" toaiva. We should be mekarev those who fall victim to this, but not by excusing, permitting, or encouraging their behavior or lifestyle. In congruence with this statement, Boteach has a point. But he clearly goes too far in his degree of acceptance of something the Torah addresses as more than an issur, but directing us to react with revulsion.

This question requires daas Torah. And when I image just who I might consider asking, I come up with quite a few names. Funny, though, Boteach is not on the list.

24

 Oct 21, 2010 at 12:59 PM monseyyid Says:

couldn't have said it any better...great job, Rabbi Katz.

25

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:03 PM Kanaim Says:

Boteach is a moral criminal. Personally, I do side with Rav Yehuda Levin. I would definitely advocate stoning them, as long as the Sanhedrin said to do it, as we are commanded to do. Give me the first stone.
I don't care how or what someone thinks about or has desires for. When they act them out, we should be like Pinchas and spear them thru the kishkes.
If it was in my shul and there are intermarried people, then yes I want them both thrown out in the middle of davening if need be.
I'm sick and tired of hearing about tikun olam and ahavas Yisroel. I do not believe that what G-d had in mind was to be tolerant of all the things He already told us to eliminate. Years ago here in Baltimore, HaRav Schwab ordered that nobody could be a member of his shul (Shearith Israel) if they were not a Shomer Shabbos. I can't even imagine what this gaon would have said if he knew a member who was shomer Shabbos was an admitted homosexual. I hope it would have been "get out of my shul you disgusting heathen!"

27

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #25  
Kanaim Says:

Boteach is a moral criminal. Personally, I do side with Rav Yehuda Levin. I would definitely advocate stoning them, as long as the Sanhedrin said to do it, as we are commanded to do. Give me the first stone.
I don't care how or what someone thinks about or has desires for. When they act them out, we should be like Pinchas and spear them thru the kishkes.
If it was in my shul and there are intermarried people, then yes I want them both thrown out in the middle of davening if need be.
I'm sick and tired of hearing about tikun olam and ahavas Yisroel. I do not believe that what G-d had in mind was to be tolerant of all the things He already told us to eliminate. Years ago here in Baltimore, HaRav Schwab ordered that nobody could be a member of his shul (Shearith Israel) if they were not a Shomer Shabbos. I can't even imagine what this gaon would have said if he knew a member who was shomer Shabbos was an admitted homosexual. I hope it would have been "get out of my shul you disgusting heathen!"

You are an intolerant bigot, and if you are quoting Rav Schwab correctly, so is he.

What you say disgusts me, and for the record, I am both frum and heterosexual.

28

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:15 PM Aryeh Says:

Why does this issue all of a sudden have a special status over other legally prohibited consensual unions? What changed in America?

29

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:17 PM Paskunyak Says:

There is a shul in Boro Park whose Rav doesn't hold by the Eruv. If you hold by the Eruv and carry or use a stroller on Shabbos he will throw you out of his shul.

30

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:27 PM Babishka Says:

150 years ago in America, there were shuls which debated the propriety of allowing mechallelei Shabbos to be called to the Torah, and which also refused those who were married to non-Jews to be buried in their cemeteries.

31

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:31 PM Anonymous Says:

THE COMMUNIST GOALS PUBLISHED IN AMERICA IN THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD. 1963
-25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV. [ textbooks]['Break down [family] standards of morality'] [MTV, cable & "R" rated trash.]
'26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

This is why the in your face type for homosexuality. Look who surrounds obama

Another thing yesterday in Connecticut they arrest a man for having sex with a horse.
Is this also agree with Rabbi Schmuely?
We are against different sects of Mormons that practice paligomy why is this wrong.
This is not forbid in the 7 mitzvos bnei noach or the TOrah. Yet in the states
they are openly hostile to having more than one wife but gay unions is okay.
Can anybody explain this>

32

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:33 PM Aryeh Says:

"Where does a civil union or gay marriage for that matter, conflict with Sheva Mitzvos bnei noach?"

The prohibition of sexual immorality applicable to the entire corpus of mankind includes male copulation with animals, corpses and other men. The primary reason given by the Torah for the destruction of metropolitan Sodom was the institutionalization of amorality. The laws of Sodom allowed interspecies matrimony, and non-consensual male rape. Read Me'am Loez on the parsha for an inclusive compilation of sources and commentary.

Is there data to show that civil unions or gay marriage increase the occurrence of the actual aveira, (mishkav zachar)?

There are several studies demonstrating a virulent contagent effect of homosexuality in animals, wherein animals influence others toward male homosexuality. Another interesting study showed that animal groups in close proximity to large concentrated groups of human homosexuals were more likely to exhibit male homosexuality in animal populations where the behavior was not observed in populations outside the area.

33

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:33 PM Sol Says:

To #13
Unfortunately you're right. Kids with serious problems are embarassed to go to Ari Katz, he is of no help to them.
The fact is, that it is a huge problem in our community, with so many kids who have no desire to the opposite sex. It breaks the heart of any Heimishe Social Worker.

The real question is, why isn't this problem addressed anywhere in our Talmud.

If we can put this enigma together with so many Halochos, where we clearly say that we must follow Scientific facts known today, although they were not known in prior generations, then we could say that, it was never known, that there are such people who are naturally different sexually, and nothing will ever change them.
Logic would follow that the Torah is only talking to a person who is straight, and is always with women, and just wants to try it with a man for the fun of trying something different. (Note the words in the Posuk, "Mishkevei Ishoh".)

Helping these hundreds of kids is probably a bigger Mitzvah then looking for a Heter for the salmon where the scientists found worms.

34

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:38 PM freg-ich Says:

Shatzmatz - I never understood this issue - putting being PC aside - if one is genuinely frum and comes to his rabbi that his yetzer hara for a women is overwhelming - will the rabbi permit it? And if it is for cheeseburgers, would the rabbi permit it? Better yet, can the rabbi permit it? Empathize - absolutely yes, but permit it? So, the person is stuck with dealing with this issue - a serious issue indeed - his whole life. My heart goes out to him - but if he is really frum then this will be his defining nisayon in life - who can imagine his reward in the worl to come. But we can't cut the Torah to fit. Hashem wanted his to deal with this. Perhaps, according to R' Chaim Vital's mihalech, he needs to be misaken for a previous gilgal. But why are we whitewashing a serious challenge and making it kosher?? People have to deal with cancer, war, death of a loved one.. add this very challenging nisyon to the list.
But can someone explain why this can't be called for what it is - a difficult nisyon that one needs to deal with - AND not to justify it an define one's entire being as as a person of that orientation???

35

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:40 PM luchinkup Says:

Reply to #25  
Kanaim Says:

Boteach is a moral criminal. Personally, I do side with Rav Yehuda Levin. I would definitely advocate stoning them, as long as the Sanhedrin said to do it, as we are commanded to do. Give me the first stone.
I don't care how or what someone thinks about or has desires for. When they act them out, we should be like Pinchas and spear them thru the kishkes.
If it was in my shul and there are intermarried people, then yes I want them both thrown out in the middle of davening if need be.
I'm sick and tired of hearing about tikun olam and ahavas Yisroel. I do not believe that what G-d had in mind was to be tolerant of all the things He already told us to eliminate. Years ago here in Baltimore, HaRav Schwab ordered that nobody could be a member of his shul (Shearith Israel) if they were not a Shomer Shabbos. I can't even imagine what this gaon would have said if he knew a member who was shomer Shabbos was an admitted homosexual. I hope it would have been "get out of my shul you disgusting heathen!"

Me thinks thou doth protest too much...

But seriously, I think you're a repugnant and thoroughly evil being. Unless you advocate for stoning someone who turns on a light on shabbos too, in which case you're just delusional.

36

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:43 PM Paskunyak Says:

Reply to #28  
Aryeh Says:

Why does this issue all of a sudden have a special status over other legally prohibited consensual unions? What changed in America?

There is a homosexual agenda in the U.S. (and elsewhere) The homos are no longer keeping to themselves. They want the world to "know" that what they are and do is "Normal". They are politically active and have plenty of money to spend because they have no children to support. Since they have no family to spend time with they spend their time perverting others and/or running for political office in order to spread their perverted agenda. Look around. How many elected officials are homos or pander to them? This deviant way of life is more than just a perversion, it's a sickness. There are Jewish organizations like Jonah who help these poor souls heal and bring them back to normal behavior.

37

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:43 PM Kanaim Says:

Reply to #27  
Anonymous Says:

You are an intolerant bigot, and if you are quoting Rav Schwab correctly, so is he.

What you say disgusts me, and for the record, I am both frum and heterosexual.

You are absolutely correct, I am an intolerant bigot. And where did I learn this from? The same Torah you should have learned it from.
I defy you or anyone here to quote me a single instance of tolerance in the Torah that went unpunished. When you find it, let me know your PayPal id so i can send you a nice reward. Even Shaul thought he was being tolerant l'shem shamayim, and look what it cost him, the entire kingdom of Israel.
The ideas of tolerance, live & let live, hate the sin and not the sinner, and turn the other cheek are all Xtian notions, not ours. I quote to you from Rav Avigdor Miller, zt"l, on one of his tapes (sorry, I forget the tape #), wherein he says regarding a child who G-d forbid marries a Gentile, "you have to hate them", meaning your child. That is a direct quote.
You want tikun olam? Then get rid of the impediments to it. The Torah tells you how. If you would rather just put on a happy face and pretend we should all just get along like Rodney King, then have fun, because your vacation in the goldene medina of America is coming to an end.

38

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:51 PM Kanaim Says:

Reply to #35  
luchinkup Says:

Me thinks thou doth protest too much...

But seriously, I think you're a repugnant and thoroughly evil being. Unless you advocate for stoning someone who turns on a light on shabbos too, in which case you're just delusional.

Oh really now? So if we had a Sanhedrin, and they determined that indeed such a person was liable to being stoned to death, would you organize a protest against the Sanhedrin?
Ok, so we don't have one now. That in no way negates the liability, nor does it in any way free us up to do as we please. If you think it does, then it's not me that has the problem.
You have been brainwashed by the American system of democracy into thinking that you have all this freedom, and nobody should mind anyone else's business. Well I have a newsflash for you, my friend. The Torah makes your business MY business. So, if that makes you think that following that we may end up with a Jewish form of Gestapo, with spies and leather coats and asking to see your papers, then so be it. Sign me up. I wear a size 44 Regular. I'd like a pair of those cool boots, too.

39

 Oct 21, 2010 at 01:53 PM Anonymous Says:

So many of our kinder are commiting suicide because we refuse to accept them. We force them to marry, knowing their unhappiness for so many years, yet we say it "doesn't happen in our community." Thank you, Rabbi Boteach, for having a little understanding of their situations.

40

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:00 PM oygevault Says:

I am interested to see what Shmuley B. will say as response.

41

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:00 PM Kanaim Says:

Reply to #35  
luchinkup Says:

Me thinks thou doth protest too much...

But seriously, I think you're a repugnant and thoroughly evil being. Unless you advocate for stoning someone who turns on a light on shabbos too, in which case you're just delusional.

"i think you are delusional"

Delusional implies that you doubt that we will return to enforcing such laws one day. I hope you're not saying that. I, for one, believe 100% that we will. Just as I believe we will reinstitute animal sacrifices and every other practice mentioned in the Torah. So yeah, if 2 witnesses tell the guy turning on the light that he is subject to stoning, and he does it anyway, he can kiss his tuchus goodbye.

42

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:01 PM in@out look Says:

to announce publicly to disregard two holy commandment's that r part of the 613 is horrific and puts shame to the Torah as if not all the mitzvos are meant to taken seriously and a likely trend will follow to 610 ,609 ect. heaven forbid

43

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:03 PM Nobody Says:

Reply to #22  
jmas6 Says:

Where does a civil union or gay marriage for that matter, conflict with Sheva Mitzvos bnei noach?

Is there data to show that civil unions or gay marriage increase the occurrence of the actual aveira, (mishkav zachar)?

It is not in any way a "common sense" idea that this would be the case, so data would required.

Mishkav Zachor is forbidden to a Ben Noach (part of the sexual immorality prohibition. Simplest source is Rashi on Gen. 2:24). Another Mitzvah (the only positive commandment of the seven core ones) of a Ben Noach is to establish courts to enforce those laws. By creating legal standing for a gay union (civil union or marriage), they are sanctioning violation of the first, and violating the second.

The gemarra says that of all of the mitzvos non-Jews are supposed to do, there are only three that they keep (and this merit protects them):

1) Not writing marriage contracts for gay marriage
2) Not selling human flesh on the market
3) Respecting Torah

There is no need to speculate on the increase or lack thereof of Mishkav Zachor caused by civil unions to say that it is a violation of Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach.

44

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:04 PM Anonymous Says:

The in your face is homosexuality today; and that is the reason they must demostrate in Yerusalem. I am totally against homosexuality however if you are chas v'sholem caught up in this sin why do you want the whole world to know. Why is that so important. It is important so you take the guilt away from the sinner. Rav Avigdor Miller
zt"l said Guilt is a good thing [not excessive guilt] is cause a person to refrain. By all the in your face it takes away their guilt. Well if I miss davening I feel guilty and make corrections not just skip again

47

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:12 PM jmas6 Says:

Reply to #32  
Aryeh Says:

"Where does a civil union or gay marriage for that matter, conflict with Sheva Mitzvos bnei noach?"

The prohibition of sexual immorality applicable to the entire corpus of mankind includes male copulation with animals, corpses and other men. The primary reason given by the Torah for the destruction of metropolitan Sodom was the institutionalization of amorality. The laws of Sodom allowed interspecies matrimony, and non-consensual male rape. Read Me'am Loez on the parsha for an inclusive compilation of sources and commentary.

Is there data to show that civil unions or gay marriage increase the occurrence of the actual aveira, (mishkav zachar)?

There are several studies demonstrating a virulent contagent effect of homosexuality in animals, wherein animals influence others toward male homosexuality. Another interesting study showed that animal groups in close proximity to large concentrated groups of human homosexuals were more likely to exhibit male homosexuality in animal populations where the behavior was not observed in populations outside the area.

Studies of animal behavior would have no halachic merit here since halacha considers human beings to be fundamentally different from animals for purposes of behavior, right? (whether science does is of course not relevant to whether or not it is an aveira).

49

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:14 PM Gregaaron Says:

Reply to #13  
ShatzMatz Says:

Rabbi Katz: I agree with you that the gay lifestyle is totally incompatible with the Jewish way of life. So is the overall moral decline of our society. But I wonder how you would counsel a former student of yours who spilled his heart out to you that he was born with an inclination that does not match the Torah. Would you tell him that his life was meaningless and hopeless? Would you tell him that although he was created by Hashem's own hands in His image, he has no place in Hashem's nation?

Rabbi Shmuley was obviously confronted with this issue many times. He needed to come up with an answer that would placate sincere individuals who were confronted with this issue. This is the best he could come up with.

Rabbi Katz, if you have a better answer for these people, please share. Do you agree with Yehuda Levine that all gay people should be dumped in the sea? Please enlighten me.

ShatzMatz:

First of all, there is a big difference between saying something to a student in private, versus shouting it out for the whole world to hear. That aside, no one is ever faced with a test that he cannot pass. Worst case scenario - and by that I mean that this person truly has no desire to ever marry a woman - his tachlis and meaning in life is to win his struggle. No one can control his impulses. But everyone can control their behavior. I would like to think that Rabbi Katz, were he to be faced with this situation, would know how to respond (unfortunately, many of our Rosh Yeshiva - thankfully not facing this scenario too often - don't know what to say, and unintentially drive people even further). It is not his inclination per se that does not match the Torah; rather, it is how some people choose to deal with it. If I am "born" with an inclination towards my neighbor's wife, am I against the Torah? Of course not - as long as I don't act on it.

There are people out there who have these nisyonos. If they properly overcome them, I have a feeling we will all be mightily jealous of them in the World to Come.

50

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:16 PM Gregaaron Says:

Reply to #39  
Anonymous Says:

So many of our kinder are commiting suicide because we refuse to accept them. We force them to marry, knowing their unhappiness for so many years, yet we say it "doesn't happen in our community." Thank you, Rabbi Boteach, for having a little understanding of their situations.

Excusing their behavior is not "understanding their situations". It is not our place to judge them, but there is no need for them to be proud of it.

51

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:17 PM Aryeh Says:

To summarize a peer reviewed scientific study on homosexuality in cattle and oxen:

Acute overproduction of a certain hormone (GnRH) can be 'smelled' by other animals, causing the animals in proximity to also overproduce the same hormones. (In a way analogous to female ovulation cycle synchronization).

Overproduction of these special hormones results in homosexual relationships and long-term pairing of the affected males. Injecting males with GnRH has the same effect.

This effect spreads throughout large proximate areas of the animals and multiplies.

FACT: among sufferers of congenital anosmia, there are no male homosexual couples!

Homosexual behavior among males is contagious via hormonal changes that influence others by inhalation, hence we see clearly the wisdom of the position of the Torah.

52

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:22 PM bigwheeel Says:

Poster # 19 (Yourkidding) Your analogy fails here, due to the fact that non-Jews are also prohibited from "Legally" (i.e.; making it legal, as in gay marriage.) practicing homosexuality and bestiality, among other deviant behavior. Your last line, though , is on the mark. That those who are most adamantly opposed to this kind of practice are among the lowliest of society. That apparent coincidence lies not in their ideology but in expressing their opposition. Violence.

53

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
DavidMoshe Says:

When R' Boteach said "some people of faith," he clearly included not just Jews, but people of many other faiths as well. Twisting this expression, and then accusing R' Boteach of taking words out of contexts is pure chutzpah. R' Boteach never denied that homosexual activity was forbidden by the Torah-- he merely suggested that people who are gay can still have meaningful Jewish lives, and encouraged people to increase their observance. Rabbi Katz, perhaps, would be much more comfortable seeing people stoned for this violation (while I'd bet he'd be only too happy to attend dinners in honor of a guy who was mecholel Shabbos but still wrote big checks to a Yeshiva). I have to say, having read both articles, I think R' Boteach's approach does the Torah far more credit.

nothing personal
(disclaimer i dont know either rabbi katz or shmuli botech
personally)
a) you arent the deciding factor regarding what is or isnt a chilul hashem.In general anyone of the jewish faith never mind a public known radio personality talk show host of influence who writes or comes out saying something that can be taken the wrong way or "out of context" if you will is a chilul hashem
b)why are you personally attacking rabbi katz avowing he would be happier seeing someone stoned and "bet take money from a mechalel shabbos"
c)even should he take money from a mechalel shabbos how can you even compare the 2 as i dont think the same yeshiva would take money from an openly gay person should they be offered
d)who are you, that one should even pay any attention to your decision regarding who is right and who is wrong after reading both articles. maybe you too are more persuaded by one who is comfortable around the olam hasheker of hollywood rather then one who spends his day as a teacher educating our children our future generations

54

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:27 PM grandpajoe Says:

I find that the fact that this discussion has come to this format is the Chilul Hashem.
Rather than write a rebuttal to the Wall Street Journal to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's comments you have chosen VIN as your venue. The people who read VIN, are AWARE of the halachic issues.
I read the article last Friday and I am not in a posttiion to comment about the article -
but giving the article the attention it should have not deserves.

56

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:32 PM kollelfaker Says:

our community is now no different then many others we have our problems and we sweep them under a carpet and say they dont exist we have become the most intolerant people around and each group now says only i know what god wants
we have children killing themselves, we have hundreds of great kids running away from ourv live style, we have child abuse in our schools, shuls and homes, and yes we have homosexuality in our community just as we have frummer yidden swopping mates or cheating on their spouse. instead of yelling at the messenger
what do our frummer leadership propose to try to end these abuses and change whats happening answer NOTHING because if they say nothing in their minds it doesnt exist

57

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:42 PM nat101 Says:

Although I am Chassidish, I agree that one should be mekarev ALL yidden. I have a hunch that if they keep Shabbos, kosher, and all mitzvot, and KNOW that homosexuality is really wrong but it takes time, etc., they will eventually come around completely.

58

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:43 PM Kanaim Says:

One thing you all need to realize is that the concept of "Kol Yisrael areivim zeh l'zeh" has much responsibility attached to it. We are responsible for each other in the same way a parent is for a child. If another Jew is steering off the derech, it is your job and my job to steer them back. Turning our eyes away and burying our heads in the sand is not acceptable. Whether it means an invite for Shabbos or a smack on the face, you have to do something. You have to take a chance and stand up for what's right. If it's a Rabbi Levin or a poshiter Yid, it makes no difference. As Orthodox Jews, we do NOT accept the unacceptable for the sake of peace and love. That has no place in our lives, nor should it.
If it means throwing rocks at cars driving thru our neighborhood on Shabbos, so be it. This is NOT a chillul Hashem! A chillul Hashem is running away like a scared little child, afraid to make waves, afraid to say something, so worried about what "they" might say. Calling our defense of Torah a chillul Hashem is an oxymoron of the highest degree. Let them call us intolerant. Let them call us whatever they want. We know we're right, and we don't need to pander for approval....continued..

59

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #25 (Kanaim)

I respectfully submit you have crossed the line. Its rare that so many yidden would be moved by such a vile and hateful posting on VIN and actually want to daven for terrible things to happen to a poster, but you have motivated me and hopefully others for the ebeshter to impose on you the fate you seek for others whose derech you despise. Your sinas chinam will haunt you for the rest of your life. Hashem yarachem on your family since they will be the ones who suffer.

60

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:49 PM kopmaidel Says:

to #21
The lubavitcher rebbe did address this issue..I think (heard about this years ago so don't remember exactly correct me if I am wrong) that its like an illness, needs certain therapy to make the illness go away. The rebbe did tell people exactly what they have to do to try and remedy the situation
I am sure other rabonim deal/dealt with this issue.

61

 Oct 21, 2010 at 02:55 PM Kanaim Says:

....continuing....
Everyone asks why known tzadikim had to die in the Holocaust. Some posit that perhaps they weren't really tzadikim after all. I say nonsense. I believe that a gezeirah was made in the Bais Din shel Mailah that there was to be a churban on the Jews of Europe, and a churban on the klal means just that, the entire community. The tzadikim were held accountable for NOT standing up to the assimilation and transgressions of their brethren. So, the next time you chose to "loz em gayin" or let them go, and mind your own business instead of saying a loud "NO", and chose to allow abominations to flourish, look at what happened even to true tzadikim who kept silent or didnt do more. For a Rabbi Levin to stand up in public and scourge the immoral animals in our society takes real guts, and he should be rewarded, not lambasted. Take responsibility for your fellow Jews and make it your business!
Call your relative who invited you to their kid's wedding where they are marrying a Gentile and let them know in no uncertain terms that they have totally disgusted you and you will not attend. When you see 2 guys walking hand in hand, spit on the ground so they see and hear it.

62

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
heyrabbiyisroel Says:

The comparison to the flag is inappropriate;
However, his point is valid.
As G-d fearing Jews we realize that whatever G-d says in the Torah is for our ultimate good. So when He says that the whole idea of homosexuality is osur, then we can't accept it and tolerate it any way.
As previously stated though, we tolerate the sinner but not the sin.
Rabbi Shmuley's issue may be that he feels he has to be diplomatic, and cater to everybody. In such a case our morals and the things we have always stood for become blurred.

You are ABSOLUTELY wrong, it does NOT say in the Torah "that the whole idea of homosexuality is osur", it says that the homosexual ACT is osur. The fact that someone has a genetic predisposition to be attracted is not osur, nor is the attraction controllable. ACTING on it is osur, and is controllable.

63

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
torontoboy Says:

Avrohom Avienu, the greatest lover of the human race, greatest teacher of Hashem to non believers, the biggest baal chesed teh world ever knew - told Lovon "Hepored nu meila" . There is a time and place to tell the sinners to get lost. This is one such time. batach you erred. Learn from your forefathers.

you don't even understand what exactly is prohibited.

Go learn a little bit before you criticize your betters.

64

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:03 PM Kanaim Says:

Reply to #59  
Anonymous Says:

Reply to #25 (Kanaim)

I respectfully submit you have crossed the line. Its rare that so many yidden would be moved by such a vile and hateful posting on VIN and actually want to daven for terrible things to happen to a poster, but you have motivated me and hopefully others for the ebeshter to impose on you the fate you seek for others whose derech you despise. Your sinas chinam will haunt you for the rest of your life. Hashem yarachem on your family since they will be the ones who suffer.

Your submission is hereby rejected. You do not get to decide where the line is that I supposedly have crossed. The Torah has already done so for you. I only hope the Eibeshter imposes on these vile homo criminals the punishment they deserve, nothing more. But, should He happen to send me a message to pick up a baseball bat, I stand ready.

P.S., for a previous poster, lesbianism is also prohibited. When we are told not to go in the ways of the Mitzrim (Egyptians).

65

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:10 PM Kanaim Says:

I didnt say spit on them or beat them. Just do enough to make it know clearly that you do not accept it. If nothing else, do it for the selfish reason of not wanting to suffer for their transgressions. Make it all about you if you have to. Then it really IS your business. We are not isolated individuals. So some guy sleeping with his "partner" affects you and me as well. All this nonsense with women rabbis, lesbian and gay rabbis, gay marriages, gays having kids, it's all WORSE than Sodom and Gomorra!

66

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:13 PM I mean, seriously? Says:

Reply to #23  
Anonymous Says:

One cannot ever give a hechsher on something that is assur. Period. Does that mean that a piece of treif food that winds up in my house cannot be given away to a goy, who may eat it? If someone commits a sin, must he/she be banished from the community and be denied other benefits of the community. Me thinks that not. But we still have no right to accept what is unacceptable. There is a serious dilemma with regards to the now "acceptable" toaiva. We should be mekarev those who fall victim to this, but not by excusing, permitting, or encouraging their behavior or lifestyle. In congruence with this statement, Boteach has a point. But he clearly goes too far in his degree of acceptance of something the Torah addresses as more than an issur, but directing us to react with revulsion.

This question requires daas Torah. And when I image just who I might consider asking, I come up with quite a few names. Funny, though, Boteach is not on the list.

“One cannot ever give a hechsher on something that is assur."

Then you should get a better idea of what is assur and what is not.

Contrary to your uneducated view, homosexuality in and of itself is not in any way assur. It has been proven that homosexual inclinations and attractions are genetic, not a choice.

The only thing assur is physical relations, and this only applies to men. Your claim would equally apply to a man who has a powerful physical attraction to a married woman, which he cannot help. So long as he does nothing inappropriate, he is not assur anything (if you start with the Aseres Hadibros argument, you are even more uneducated that I assumed).

Finally, the names on YOUR list of whom YOU would ask, inclusive of Boteach or not, of no importance to ANYONE but you.

And BTW, I am not a fan of Boteach's, I am not gay, and I am absolutely frum. I just can't stand fools who misspeak and pretend they are knowledgeable and Gd-fearing tzaddikim.

67

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:14 PM Sherree Says:

I also feel that he is off the mark here and has been on many occassions. Anyone who has followed his career or watched his show understands why people of any faith can be attracted to his genuine warmth and abilility and need to care and assist however in doing so, he has transgressed on very basic religious rules that as a frum jew and a Rabbi he would not do in his normal household or neighborhood. It would have been easy for him to explain various aspects of his life and responsibilities as a frum jew or his producers could have explained these rules to the people he would have been meeting and dealing with. What kind of role model was he for his own children when they watch his show and he is shaking hands and actually hugging the women he is working with and helping?

Where does he have the right and actually the unmitigated gaul to do that when the basic and simplest explanations that a Rabbi can not touch a woman other than his wife can easily be explained by his producers before the show even gets started with the new group involved.

So yes he bends the rules and does so to please the public and we the religous folks can see right through that.

68

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:14 PM Anonymous Says:

you are all so hateful. I am no expert but most of you haters are so concerned with the external that you don't look at the person inside. And you know what it alienates people, its what drives people to go off the derech completely, because you don't appreciate individuality. I dont usually read this site anymore, its way too extreme for me, but I thought I should post something here. I would rather see a nice gay jew with good middos then some fake yeshivish looking douche.

69

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #29  
Paskunyak Says:

There is a shul in Boro Park whose Rav doesn't hold by the Eruv. If you hold by the Eruv and carry or use a stroller on Shabbos he will throw you out of his shul.

Anyone who throws someone out of a shul or anything similar is a moron who doesn't have any business being Rov of a shul.

A rov of a shul who thinks that ANY Jew who wants to come and pray to Hashem isn't good enough to daven in HIS shul is a worthless piece of garbage, sorry to tell you.

70

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:20 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to Kanaim

We will "spit on the ground" when you walk by while hopefully seeking to change the behavior of those who are not shomrei torah umitzvot. As another poster noted, the pain and suffering you seek to impose on other will b'yh be imposed on you. Those of us who "take responsibility" for other yiddin will do it with the love and kindness of ahavas yisroel. Your own fate is sealed by your own words.

72

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:23 PM Dont Ask Dont Tell Says:

Homosexuality is indeed a disease, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe pointed out - but neither bashing nor Boteach/Reform style acceptance is the answer. A gay couple who openly proclaims pride in their gay lifestyle really has no place in a shul - but for those who are fighting it or living quietly and not flaunting it, the answer is "don't ask don't tell".

On the other hand, the probably apocryphal story about the posek who said that gay suicide is a mitzvah is disgusting. The person who told it is a naval birshus haTorah who has no neemanus, but if it did occur, it is even worse than the vapid nonsense and acceptance of toeva which the touchy feely son and chief money launderer for a California arms dealer advocates in his latest attempt to get attention.

73

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Not too long ago, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote an op-ed piece, in which he criticized Donald Trump, by alleging that Trump went from wife to wife, and showed them off as "trophy wives". I think that Boeach's criticism of Trump was unjustified for several reasons. First of all, Trump's personal life is his business; secondly, Trump has a lot of Yidden employed in his organization, including frum Yidden; third, several years ago, when Trump's limo broke down on the way back from Atlantic City, a frum Jew, who was very mechanically inclined, stopped and rendered repairs to Trump's car, and fixed it. Trump was so impressed with that individual, that he actually paid the person's mortgage off!

74

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:55 PM mnmys1987 Says:

I have only one thing to say to Mr Boteach (he is not worthy to be called Rabbi with such ideology): you no longer represent the Torah view. You said:

“There are 613 commandments in the Torah. One is to refrain from gay sex. Another is for men and women to marry and have children. So when Jewish gay couples tell me they have never been attracted to members of the opposite sex and are desperately alone, I tell them, “You have 611 commandments left. That should keep you busy. Now, go create a kosher home. Turn off the TV on the Sabbath and share your meals with many guests. Pray to G-d three times a day for you are his beloved children. He desires you and seeks you out.“

Did you know that it was written in Chazal: "one who deny a single mitzvah of the Torah is as if he had denied the entire Torah."

You cannot say to a gay that despite violating the prohibition of homosexuality, "You being a gay? It's not a problem. Observe the other Mitzvos, and everything will be ok." This is not the Torah way of thinking. A man should fight his pulse. Making statements as yours endanger the beautiful hard work of organization such as JONAH (Judaism Offers New Alternatives to Homosexuality)...

75

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:57 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #70  
Anonymous Says:

Reply to Kanaim

We will "spit on the ground" when you walk by while hopefully seeking to change the behavior of those who are not shomrei torah umitzvot. As another poster noted, the pain and suffering you seek to impose on other will b'yh be imposed on you. Those of us who "take responsibility" for other yiddin will do it with the love and kindness of ahavas yisroel. Your own fate is sealed by your own words.

Hopefully seeking to change their behavior? And exactly how do you propse to do that? Let me guess....leave it to the "professionals" right? In other words, do nothing. Thought so.

76

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:58 PM TorasMosheEmess Says:

I think we would all agree that for homosexuals, their desires are from their yetzer hara to which they succumb. However, to argue that since we ALL have a yetzer hara to which we all sometimes succumb, that their engaging in homosexual acts makes them no worse than any one else is a red herring. Allow me an analogy:

Let us examine a thief. I think we would all recognize a difference between people who steal because they are desperate and would other wise starve from people who steal, even though they know it is wrong but cannot control themselves (maybe it's the thrill or whatever) and still yet from the people who steal, do not believe there is anything wrong with stealing and not only declare that stealing is aperfectly valid way of life and even demand that WE acknowledge that it is valid.
(continued)

77

 Oct 21, 2010 at 03:59 PM Kanaim Says:

Reply to #69  
Anonymous Says:

Anyone who throws someone out of a shul or anything similar is a moron who doesn't have any business being Rov of a shul.

A rov of a shul who thinks that ANY Jew who wants to come and pray to Hashem isn't good enough to daven in HIS shul is a worthless piece of garbage, sorry to tell you.

I never said he threw them out of his shul. I said they were not allowed to be members. They could still daven there. Using your logic, if an intermarried couple showed up, the shiksa should be allowed to stay and pray ,too. Not in my lifetime I hope.

78

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:01 PM Kanaim Says:

Reply to #66  
I mean, seriously? Says:

“One cannot ever give a hechsher on something that is assur."

Then you should get a better idea of what is assur and what is not.

Contrary to your uneducated view, homosexuality in and of itself is not in any way assur. It has been proven that homosexual inclinations and attractions are genetic, not a choice.

The only thing assur is physical relations, and this only applies to men. Your claim would equally apply to a man who has a powerful physical attraction to a married woman, which he cannot help. So long as he does nothing inappropriate, he is not assur anything (if you start with the Aseres Hadibros argument, you are even more uneducated that I assumed).

Finally, the names on YOUR list of whom YOU would ask, inclusive of Boteach or not, of no importance to ANYONE but you.

And BTW, I am not a fan of Boteach's, I am not gay, and I am absolutely frum. I just can't stand fools who misspeak and pretend they are knowledgeable and Gd-fearing tzaddikim.

"The only thing assur is physical relations, and this only applies to men."
Lesbianism is also assur my friend. Just not the same penalty.

79

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #74  
mnmys1987 Says:

I have only one thing to say to Mr Boteach (he is not worthy to be called Rabbi with such ideology): you no longer represent the Torah view. You said:

“There are 613 commandments in the Torah. One is to refrain from gay sex. Another is for men and women to marry and have children. So when Jewish gay couples tell me they have never been attracted to members of the opposite sex and are desperately alone, I tell them, “You have 611 commandments left. That should keep you busy. Now, go create a kosher home. Turn off the TV on the Sabbath and share your meals with many guests. Pray to G-d three times a day for you are his beloved children. He desires you and seeks you out.“

Did you know that it was written in Chazal: "one who deny a single mitzvah of the Torah is as if he had denied the entire Torah."

You cannot say to a gay that despite violating the prohibition of homosexuality, "You being a gay? It's not a problem. Observe the other Mitzvos, and everything will be ok." This is not the Torah way of thinking. A man should fight his pulse. Making statements as yours endanger the beautiful hard work of organization such as JONAH (Judaism Offers New Alternatives to Homosexuality)...

he is not denying the mitzvah but saying you have others to focus on so dont fret.

80

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:02 PM Anonymous Says:

To kanaim #61
Who says that YOUR way of standing up against transgressions of our brethren is the correct way?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe was mekarev rechokim with love, not with spitting on the ground when he saw abominations.
You remind me of Milhouse.

81

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:07 PM seagul47 Says:

1. It may be worthwhile realizing what audience Boteach was addressing/writing to in his op-ed. In the context of the WallStreetJournal reader, it may be a very appropriate article--it is not addressed to the frum audience.
2. No one realizes what to-eva means--look at "Unklos" in Ekev--Toavas Hashem is translated as "me-rachek me-Hashem". Abomination is not something ugly--it is something that puts a distance between you and HKB"H--the opposite of Kedoshim Tihyu--to be kedoshim and close to Hashem. To'eva is the same root as "lo sesa-ev Edomi"--
3. Boteach is consistent with what he wrote when he was still in Oxford 15 years ago about homosexuals in dealing with them and the concept of kedusho.
4. last and not least--Boteach may not be my rov, nor yours, and you don't have to agree with him--nor invite him to your shul, and sometimes he can goof too. you don't have to pillory him if his hashkofos don't go over well in BoroPark.

have a good day.

82

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:12 PM Kanaim Says:

Reply to #80  
Anonymous Says:

To kanaim #61
Who says that YOUR way of standing up against transgressions of our brethren is the correct way?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe was mekarev rechokim with love, not with spitting on the ground when he saw abominations.
You remind me of Milhouse.

It's not the only way, but it's a way lot better than doing nothing, which seems to be the preferred method here. I see plenty of "mind your own business" attitudes, and no other proposed methods of battling this cancer. But I'm open to suggestions if you have any.

83

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:14 PM mnmys1987 Says:

because you are saying that being a gay is not a problem as far as you observe other Mitzvos, so why change? So what's the need of organizations such as JONAH?

I don't agree with terrorism against gay peoples, but as a "Rabbi", your attitude is irresponsable. The Lubavitcher Rebbe and the Satmar Rebbe were ohev kol yisroel but they never compromised with the Halacha and Torah issues. What's written is written and you cannot deny it and trying to transform the Torah to accomodate your public is disgusting, misguiding and irresponsable.

R. Shlomo Luria, in Yam Shel Shlomo, commenting on Bava Kamma 4:9, wrote:
"Rather we see from here that we are obligated to give ourselves over and sanctify G-d's name and if one, G-d forbid, changes one law it is as if he denied the Torah of Moses... To [lie and] say that one who is innocent is guilty or vice versa is like denying the Torah of Moses. What is the difference between denying one word and denying the entire Torah?"

Think about that Mr. Boteach.

As a Lubavitcher, I'm used to deal with non-religious Jews. And when they have a problem with a point in Halacha, I help them to get there, step by step, but not in telling them "It's ok!"

84

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:16 PM anon1 (cont) Says:

gay lifestyle actually refers to a ban on the behaviours that I just mentioned - and they are still banned today.
Congratulations to a few of you who actually upheld the Torah view on this topic without resorting to spewing hatred and intolerance. You are very eloquent.

85

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:22 PM Kanaim Says:

ok, so go ahead and defy them. hope u like jail or lashes.

86

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:28 PM Nobody Says:

Reply to #81  
seagul47 Says:

1. It may be worthwhile realizing what audience Boteach was addressing/writing to in his op-ed. In the context of the WallStreetJournal reader, it may be a very appropriate article--it is not addressed to the frum audience.
2. No one realizes what to-eva means--look at "Unklos" in Ekev--Toavas Hashem is translated as "me-rachek me-Hashem". Abomination is not something ugly--it is something that puts a distance between you and HKB"H--the opposite of Kedoshim Tihyu--to be kedoshim and close to Hashem. To'eva is the same root as "lo sesa-ev Edomi"--
3. Boteach is consistent with what he wrote when he was still in Oxford 15 years ago about homosexuals in dealing with them and the concept of kedusho.
4. last and not least--Boteach may not be my rov, nor yours, and you don't have to agree with him--nor invite him to your shul, and sometimes he can goof too. you don't have to pillory him if his hashkofos don't go over well in BoroPark.

have a good day.

The Torah is the same Torah in Boro Park as in Oxford as in Hollywood.

87

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:32 PM Kanaim Says:

The parents also need to make it clear that this lifestyle is not acceptable. The child's "partner" should be banned from their house. If that means the child never comes to the house again, so be it. Does anyone sit shiva anymore for a child who intermarries? Send the kid an email saying I still love you, but until you stop this behavior, you are not allowed here. All this tolerance leads to absolutely nothing but more trouble.

88

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:40 PM Raphael Kaufman Says:

I would like to offer the following general comment. A person who performs a mitzvah because he or she derives satisfaction from doing so, or refrains from commiting a lav because he or she finds it distastful, is not being fully m'kiyaim the ratzon HaShem. He or she is simply following personal preference. For instance, if one rejects eating raw oysters because they look revolting (which they do), not only is that less than full observance, a person accustomed to act in that fashion has no defense when they are confronted with a lav that may be enjoyable like lashon harah. Rather the response ought to be, " Gee, those raw oyster look delicious! I'd love to try one but, what can I do, the Torah says not to." That is true Torah observance.

Likewise, as has been mentioned by several earlier posters, in the subject of this thread, not only does no issur accrue to any individual who declines to act on his or her forbidden impulses, great reward must apply to those follow the Word of G-d in opposition tho their own desires.

89

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:43 PM seagul47 Says:

Reply to #86  
Nobody Says:

The Torah is the same Torah in Boro Park as in Oxford as in Hollywood.

I did not say it is different. I said you should read his article there and see his approach. Nowhere does he approve of homosexuals!
But instead of going after them with an ax, he tries explaining.
What I was trying to say, maybe unsuccessfully, the article was not approving of homosexuals.
We are guilty of treating homosexuals with disdain or worse. What I was trying to say was that approach--disdain, etc.-- may work in BoroPark (probably doesn't, and would just worsen the problem) but won't work in the WSJ for the greater community. His article was for the greater community.
People in "kiruv" have a different approach and vocabulary. and sometimes (more often than that) even are successful at it.
with 3 of my ba'h 6 children involved with NCSY (as leaders, organizers, etc) I see their results (and efforts)

and yes, the Torah is the same, but what works (maybe) in BoroPark doesn't work elsewhere.

90

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:48 PM Raphael Kaufman Says:

P.S. I really hate the term "homophobic".

1. a phobia is an unnatural fear or loathing. Being religiously opposed to homosexuality does not constitute a phobic reaction anymore than being opposed to chillul Shabbos makes one a "chillulshabbosophobic.".

2. "Homophobia" is an etymologically incorrect construction. Properly speaking, it means "irrational fear or loathing of human beings".

91

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:50 PM Thunderhill Says:

I don't know how a Rabbi, let alone some one as bright at Shmulley can aver that sexual immorality is a victimless affront to religion. I forget the chapter but Rabbi Fingerer, in his book Search Judaism (Targum, 2009), seems to prove that there is no such thing that sins of such order are definitely moral in nature. He build an excellent case based on Torah, history, and science. I enjoyed the book very much and I suggest that Boteach get a hold of the book ASAP.

92

 Oct 21, 2010 at 04:59 PM HaNavon Says:

There are many people who suffer from many psychiatric and psychological illnesses. We should not fault them at all, that is NOT the Torah way!

What would you say if you met a man who suffered from a psychological disorder that manifested itself in a sexual attraction to gorillas?
We would have rachmonis on him!
We wouldn't castigate him for his actions. Why is homosexuality any different?
I don't happen to like R' Shmuley that much, but I do respect what he said.

93

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:01 PM cholent Says:

Rabbi Shmuli is part os a sect of klal yisroel that dosen't have a leader or leadership at all. Terrible infighting without any direction and little Torah learned other that what a few previous rebbe's taught.
When am haaratzus is rampant and people believe whatever they want and claim that great people said certain things that seem fringe, this article by Rabbi Shmuli is in line with that chassidus and a direct result of all goes in the name of kiruv. As an out of towner, I see what really goes on in these houses.
Hashem yishmor.

94

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:06 PM Bella Says:

In this age of moral turpitude, I am surprised that Rabbi Boteach "buckles" as you say...perhaps too much time spent being a 'yes' man to Hollywood and it's culture? Very good editorial and I agree that we cannot make rules to suit ourselves although I am sure at times we want to, when it is convenient (typical behavior of mankind! it's the nature of the beast!)...after all who is the supreme rule maker and why is Hashem who he is?

95

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:11 PM Nobody Says:

Reply to #89  
seagul47 Says:

I did not say it is different. I said you should read his article there and see his approach. Nowhere does he approve of homosexuals!
But instead of going after them with an ax, he tries explaining.
What I was trying to say, maybe unsuccessfully, the article was not approving of homosexuals.
We are guilty of treating homosexuals with disdain or worse. What I was trying to say was that approach--disdain, etc.-- may work in BoroPark (probably doesn't, and would just worsen the problem) but won't work in the WSJ for the greater community. His article was for the greater community.
People in "kiruv" have a different approach and vocabulary. and sometimes (more often than that) even are successful at it.
with 3 of my ba'h 6 children involved with NCSY (as leaders, organizers, etc) I see their results (and efforts)

and yes, the Torah is the same, but what works (maybe) in BoroPark doesn't work elsewhere.

By supporting civil unions he does indeed go away from Halacha. His conclusion that Torah conflicts with basic humanity is also problematic (even though he uncomfortably sides with Torah), but I think civil unions is the bright red line.

96

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #92  
HaNavon Says:

There are many people who suffer from many psychiatric and psychological illnesses. We should not fault them at all, that is NOT the Torah way!

What would you say if you met a man who suffered from a psychological disorder that manifested itself in a sexual attraction to gorillas?
We would have rachmonis on him!
We wouldn't castigate him for his actions. Why is homosexuality any different?
I don't happen to like R' Shmuley that much, but I do respect what he said.

I think we would castigate him for his actions (if he did anything with a gorilla). However, his attraction (even if he didn't act on it) would universally be regarded as a problem in need of fixing. Unfortunately, only those who follow the Torah view see that as the case with homosexuality.

97

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:14 PM harvey Says:

yes, as you cn see here, with these 80+ comments, putting things into perspective does really scare people

98

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:20 PM Nobody Says:

Reply to #93  
cholent Says:

Rabbi Shmuli is part os a sect of klal yisroel that dosen't have a leader or leadership at all. Terrible infighting without any direction and little Torah learned other that what a few previous rebbe's taught.
When am haaratzus is rampant and people believe whatever they want and claim that great people said certain things that seem fringe, this article by Rabbi Shmuli is in line with that chassidus and a direct result of all goes in the name of kiruv. As an out of towner, I see what really goes on in these houses.
Hashem yishmor.

The "sect" that he grew up in kicked him out a long time ago (to the degree that they do). His association is strictly one-way.

On the other hand, Motzei Shem Rah is apparently allowed in your "sect."

99

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:29 PM fornally Says:

'. A gay couple who openly proclaims pride in their gay lifestyle really has no place in a shul '

Does this also apply to a slum lord who openly proclaims his wealth for everybody to see

100

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:34 PM fornally Says:

"Call your relative who invited you to their kid's wedding where they are marrying a Gentile and let them know in no uncertain terms that they have totally disgusted you and you will not attend."

Can I do the above when am invited to a fancy frum wedding that I know was paid through fraud and genava shtick, or because the father saved money for many years by lying and getting section 8 and food stamps falsely.

can I spit on the ground every time I see a frum person who is dressed to the hilt buy groceries with food stamps can I spit on the ground and say how disgusted I am. Or does only to gays, or is lying to get food stamps not a sin?

101

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:37 PM Anonymous Says:

#32
are several studies demonstrating a virulent contagent effect of homosexuality in animals, wherein animals influence others toward male homosexuality. Another interesting study showed that animal groups in close proximity to large concentrated groups of human homosexuals were more likely to exhibit male homosexuality in animal populations where the behavior was not observed in populations outside the area.


Need to provide link to the study

#52

please provide link to study

if you do not have it, then what you say is not worth a dime

102

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:38 PM fornally Says:

#92
What would you say if you met a man who suffered from a psychological disorder that manifested itself in a sexual attraction to gorillas?
We would have rachmonis on him!
We wouldn't castigate him for his actions. Why is homosexuality any different?

big difference in humans you a consenting adult in animals you do not

103

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:39 PM fornally Says:

why is there more hatred to gays than to a rebbie who molests boys, which in amny cases is a homosexual act if the boy is off age

104

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Since when do we get to pick and choose which aveiros are more serious than others? Both rebbeim are wrong in this respect. When we get to the point of choosing which ones are "better", we're no better off than the other "branches" of Judaism.

105

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:42 PM cholent Says:

Reply to #98  
Nobody Says:

The "sect" that he grew up in kicked him out a long time ago (to the degree that they do). His association is strictly one-way.

On the other hand, Motzei Shem Rah is apparently allowed in your "sect."

It is well known "bapei telasa" so there isn't any motzei shem ra.
Before attacking the writer deal with the substance which you haven't.
You just got emotional because the truth hurts and you can't deal with it.
Most shocking in your knee jerk response was that I didn't mention anyone to be considered motzei shem ra!!! Proving my point about rampant am haaratzus and blatant ignorance.
Now back to my chitas.

106

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:45 PM a-simple-jew Says:

Yasher Koach Rabbi Katz for speaking out. Boteach has definitely crossed the line

107

 Oct 21, 2010 at 05:57 PM BrachaDe Says:

So many comments!!!

Homosexuality is such a "hot topic" among Frum Jews...they seem to forget the high rate of suicide among homosexuals, especially young adults and teens many in religious communities. Proving it is not a choice. I am absolutely for Shmuely Boteach. This type of close mindedness is what drives our children to suicide and self hatred. The physical act is what is forbidden, not being homosexual which is not a choice for most people. Many frum people proclaim in their defense that they don't "hate" homosexuals, but they do! and they talk disgustingly about the gay community. They make it out to be the most forbidden thing in Torah when there are many things considered abominations in the Torah. They talk horribly about gays in frum circles and lectures. They speak lashon hara and encourage hate. The Baal Shem tov says we despise in others what we see in ourselves. Homosexuality is forbidden because it is fairly common, not because it is rare.
If people took even a small fraction of their anti-gay passion and put it into preventing child abuse there would be no child abuse!

108

 Oct 21, 2010 at 06:00 PM torah_jew Says:

Dear rabbi Katz.

I have read your Open letter to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in regards to his Article in the Jpost about the Gay Lifestyle.

Abhorrence to his article, can not describe my reaction. What however surprises me, is your actual shock that the "Rabbi" should espouse such a view.

If you would have followed the "rabbi's" career path over the last few years, beginning with his first book "kosher…", the Michel Jackson farce and others, you would not have concluded that we are dealing here with a traditional orthodox rabbi with a little off-center views.

You would have realized long ago that there is noting orthodox about him, nor even conservative. Why, Labowitch has distanced themselves from him years ago. He is a living, walking chilul hashem. A 'nuvol bershis hatora' and an embarrassment to all Torah true yidden all over the world. I'm amazed that it took this latest outrage to wake up true Torah leaders like you, and other like minded leaders to the danger that this Apikoires represents. There should have been 'Hasbura' Ad's and proclamations to our goyisha shachinim, that this train wrack, in no way represents us, nor is he of us. He can be anything he wants to be, but not an orthodox, torah true Jew.

We are lucky in a sense, that he wrote this article, because maybe, just maybe, we will finely wake up to realize who he actually is, and what he represents.

109

 Oct 21, 2010 at 06:09 PM Nobody Says:

Reply to #105  
cholent Says:

It is well known "bapei telasa" so there isn't any motzei shem ra.
Before attacking the writer deal with the substance which you haven't.
You just got emotional because the truth hurts and you can't deal with it.
Most shocking in your knee jerk response was that I didn't mention anyone to be considered motzei shem ra!!! Proving my point about rampant am haaratzus and blatant ignorance.
Now back to my chitas.

There was no substance to deal with, that was my point. If you think making vague accusations of "I know what goes on" is "bapei telasa" I really can't help you. There was no truth there, because there was no fact there, just vague innuendo.

I don't see how my response was any more "emotional" than the original. You made vague accusations that cannot be refuted. The only "fact" presented was the view that Shmul Boteach is a Lubavitcher, which I dealt with.

Interesting that you think "motzei shem ra" requires naming a specific individual, and that making large accusations against large groups of individuals is perfectly Kosher. Good luck with that.

110

 Oct 21, 2010 at 06:20 PM Gregaaron Says:

Reply to #107  
BrachaDe Says:

So many comments!!!

Homosexuality is such a "hot topic" among Frum Jews...they seem to forget the high rate of suicide among homosexuals, especially young adults and teens many in religious communities. Proving it is not a choice. I am absolutely for Shmuely Boteach. This type of close mindedness is what drives our children to suicide and self hatred. The physical act is what is forbidden, not being homosexual which is not a choice for most people. Many frum people proclaim in their defense that they don't "hate" homosexuals, but they do! and they talk disgustingly about the gay community. They make it out to be the most forbidden thing in Torah when there are many things considered abominations in the Torah. They talk horribly about gays in frum circles and lectures. They speak lashon hara and encourage hate. The Baal Shem tov says we despise in others what we see in ourselves. Homosexuality is forbidden because it is fairly common, not because it is rare.
If people took even a small fraction of their anti-gay passion and put it into preventing child abuse there would be no child abuse!

"Homosexuality is forbidden because it is fairly common, not because it is rare."

No, it is forbidden because the Torah says it is. People who openly flaunt this lifestyle deserve to be castigated. Again, if someone came into Shul bragging about his Chillul Shabbos, and demanding acceptance, we should be "open minded" and treat him just like another buddy?

I am in no way saying that someone who has this nisayon should be cut out of our lives. Absolutely, their Rebbeim and friends should be open to their struggles. But that's a person who knows such behavior wrong, and he fights with all his might not to give in to the Yetzer Hara and act on his instincts. But if someone does the deed, and rather than be disgusted with himself tells the whole world, "Hey, guess what I do!", and doesn't care that it is a Chiyyuv Misah/Kareis - then yes, I'm sorry, we do have a right to be against him.

And please don't join the bandwagon of those who feel the need to bring child molestation into everything. No one thinks it's a good thing. No one (well, except NAMBLA). People "putting their passion" (in your words) into that issue wouldn't help too much, but that's a discussion for somewhere else.

111

 Oct 21, 2010 at 06:28 PM mnmys1987 Says:

Who knows how to contact Rabbi Ketz to personaly thank him for his answer which is definitely the Torah pov? Mister Boteach and all those people who dare supporting him, did you know that it was the erev rav who lead the bnai yisroel to sin in the desert? I wonder if Mr Boteach would have the same reaction with someone who have intercourse with her sister/daughter, "You transgressed the prohîbition of incest? It's not a problem, there are 612 other mitzvos."

112

 Oct 21, 2010 at 06:43 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #66  
I mean, seriously? Says:

“One cannot ever give a hechsher on something that is assur."

Then you should get a better idea of what is assur and what is not.

Contrary to your uneducated view, homosexuality in and of itself is not in any way assur. It has been proven that homosexual inclinations and attractions are genetic, not a choice.

The only thing assur is physical relations, and this only applies to men. Your claim would equally apply to a man who has a powerful physical attraction to a married woman, which he cannot help. So long as he does nothing inappropriate, he is not assur anything (if you start with the Aseres Hadibros argument, you are even more uneducated that I assumed).

Finally, the names on YOUR list of whom YOU would ask, inclusive of Boteach or not, of no importance to ANYONE but you.

And BTW, I am not a fan of Boteach's, I am not gay, and I am absolutely frum. I just can't stand fools who misspeak and pretend they are knowledgeable and Gd-fearing tzaddikim.

I did not misspeak. And if you wish to disagree, stop the name calling and disrespect. I learned for many years, continue to do so, disseminate chiddushei Torah, and have no similarity to the character you attack in your comment.

The Midrash speaks openly about the lifestyle of same gender marriages. While this is not included in the specific prohibition of mishkav zochor, it is nevertheless not permissible. The effeminate patterns that are typical of the gay lifestyle are a choice, while the inclination is certainly less so. I am also educated in the sciences, and I am privy to the claims about the genetic roles in homosexuality. There is much research on this, and the conclusions are unclear. Some studies indicate probable genetic factors, others fail to find significance. I am open to the possibility, but it is by no means "proven".

However, in your anonymity, you have pronounced me a fool. What a shame that way too many Rabbonim, Roshei Yeshivos, Rebbes, and Gedolim with whom I interact regularly don't know the real me.

Stick to commenting on a subject. Don't get personal. You embarrass yourself.

113

 Oct 21, 2010 at 06:46 PM mnmys1987 Says:

To Mister Boteach and to all those who dare defending him (I'm reassured in reading the comments that you are a minority), did you know that it was the Erev Rav who led the Bnai Yisroel to sin in the desert? To all who think that we are harsher when it comes to homosexual relationship, I have one thing to ask: I wonder what would have been the reaction of Mr. Boteach for someone having intercourse with her daughter/sister, "You transgressed the prohibition of incest? It's not a problem because we have 612 other Mitzvos to keep you busy!" By this, I just want you to realise that it's not a personal vandetta against the gay community. My reaction would have been the same if a pseudo Rabbi would dare saying that incest is permitted despite the fact the Torah says otherwise. Once you begin compromising with a Torah prohibition, let it be homosexual relations or stealing, by misleading people just because of fame, popularity and money, you end up with no Torah at all. And for all those who says that when you are an homosexual it's because you are born like that, it's not always true, and I know many scientists who disagree with that. NOTHING has been proved on that matter.

114

 Oct 21, 2010 at 06:46 PM cholent Says:

Reply to #109  
Nobody Says:

There was no substance to deal with, that was my point. If you think making vague accusations of "I know what goes on" is "bapei telasa" I really can't help you. There was no truth there, because there was no fact there, just vague innuendo.

I don't see how my response was any more "emotional" than the original. You made vague accusations that cannot be refuted. The only "fact" presented was the view that Shmul Boteach is a Lubavitcher, which I dealt with.

Interesting that you think "motzei shem ra" requires naming a specific individual, and that making large accusations against large groups of individuals is perfectly Kosher. Good luck with that.

Once again you said nothing and just referenced some vague assosiation that you are slightly familiar with.
Look, you are the bona fide talmid chochom here since you don't even refer to him as "rabbi" and you are defending him, and I do.
You win and let's call it a night.
L'chaim

115

 Oct 21, 2010 at 06:48 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #106  
a-simple-jew Says:

Yasher Koach Rabbi Katz for speaking out. Boteach has definitely crossed the line

You took a very good eName for yourself.

Yes, you really ARE a Jew who is simple.

116

 Oct 21, 2010 at 07:30 PM arrogant self-righteous fools Says:

Reply to #112  
Anonymous Says:

I did not misspeak. And if you wish to disagree, stop the name calling and disrespect. I learned for many years, continue to do so, disseminate chiddushei Torah, and have no similarity to the character you attack in your comment.

The Midrash speaks openly about the lifestyle of same gender marriages. While this is not included in the specific prohibition of mishkav zochor, it is nevertheless not permissible. The effeminate patterns that are typical of the gay lifestyle are a choice, while the inclination is certainly less so. I am also educated in the sciences, and I am privy to the claims about the genetic roles in homosexuality. There is much research on this, and the conclusions are unclear. Some studies indicate probable genetic factors, others fail to find significance. I am open to the possibility, but it is by no means "proven".

However, in your anonymity, you have pronounced me a fool. What a shame that way too many Rabbonim, Roshei Yeshivos, Rebbes, and Gedolim with whom I interact regularly don't know the real me.

Stick to commenting on a subject. Don't get personal. You embarrass yourself.

Yes, you do misspeak, and basically admit it yourself. "nevertheless not permissible" is not the same as deserving of stoning or spitting on, as others here claim who espouse the same philosophy as you do.

You are incorrect that there are still questions as to whether this is a choice or an inclination. Only old books and articles still claim it is simply a lifestyle choice.

It is certainly a shame that the "gedolim" you interact with regularly don't know the real you, and it is interesting that you claim to have so much frequent contact with "Roshei Yeshivos" and "Gedolim" and yet sit here on the internet pontificating about things you clearly have no real knowledge of.

And if your ignorance embarrasses me, I guess I'm embarrassed, but ashamed and embarrassed are not the same. I think I am simply ashamed (okay, maybe embarrassed by the lack of intelligence, and more so, any sensitivity or compassion for suffering, troubled Jews whom you speak about as if they were animals.

Go tell THAT to your "gedolim".

117

 Oct 21, 2010 at 07:32 PM marcia Says:

What pious Jews, judging fellow Jews as if you had the right to judge anyone! What a shandah!!!!

118

 Oct 21, 2010 at 08:04 PM Secular Jew Says:

Reply to #87  
Kanaim Says:

The parents also need to make it clear that this lifestyle is not acceptable. The child's "partner" should be banned from their house. If that means the child never comes to the house again, so be it. Does anyone sit shiva anymore for a child who intermarries? Send the kid an email saying I still love you, but until you stop this behavior, you are not allowed here. All this tolerance leads to absolutely nothing but more trouble.

"“ The parents also need to make it clear that this lifestyle is not acceptable. The child's "partner" should be banned from their house. If that means the child never comes to the house again, so be it."

And this is precisely why our children are commiting suicide, running away, turning to drugs and alcohol. We should love them for who they are and accept they may not be perfect.

119

 Oct 21, 2010 at 08:36 PM No-Name Says:

I agree with him regarding the idea that if somebody is doing it anyway it doesn't mean that he shouldn't keep the other parts of the Torah. Just like all of us if we violate one sin, even on a consistent basis doesn't mean we should violate the rest. I think that's what he means to put Toeivah in context with other refrences of the word Toievah, meaning that it doesn't mean that that person is out of the rest of the Torah.

120

 Oct 21, 2010 at 09:07 PM Anonymous Says:

marcia.
Torah says that we can judge ones deeds and words. And that is a rightous thing to do. I suppose you need to clean out your heretic manual and toss it in the trash.

121

 Oct 21, 2010 at 09:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #120  
Anonymous Says:

marcia.
Torah says that we can judge ones deeds and words. And that is a rightous thing to do. I suppose you need to clean out your heretic manual and toss it in the trash.

No, it doesn't, you're making that up.

Marcia was absolutely right, and you owe her an apology.

122

 Oct 21, 2010 at 09:52 PM bigwheeel Says:

Poster # 71 (Kanaim); Watch what you ask for. Because I have over 100,000 witnesses (All the posters and readers on VIN) that you just talked (spoke / posted) Niv'l Peh. We'll look up in the Penal Code what your punishment should be. All the (100,000) witnesses will come to Bais Din to testify against you. Nu? What do you think your punishment should be?!

123

 Oct 21, 2010 at 09:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #116  
arrogant self-righteous fools Says:

Yes, you do misspeak, and basically admit it yourself. "nevertheless not permissible" is not the same as deserving of stoning or spitting on, as others here claim who espouse the same philosophy as you do.

You are incorrect that there are still questions as to whether this is a choice or an inclination. Only old books and articles still claim it is simply a lifestyle choice.

It is certainly a shame that the "gedolim" you interact with regularly don't know the real you, and it is interesting that you claim to have so much frequent contact with "Roshei Yeshivos" and "Gedolim" and yet sit here on the internet pontificating about things you clearly have no real knowledge of.

And if your ignorance embarrasses me, I guess I'm embarrassed, but ashamed and embarrassed are not the same. I think I am simply ashamed (okay, maybe embarrassed by the lack of intelligence, and more so, any sensitivity or compassion for suffering, troubled Jews whom you speak about as if they were animals.

Go tell THAT to your "gedolim".

You continue to heap your rage on me claiming things that I neither said nor espouse. I do not, nor ever did degrade gays. I may have opinions about their condition or status, but I have actually advocated for them many times that they should not be victims of discrimination of any kind. I never spoke about them "as if they were animals". Maybe others did, said so in comments, but I did not. I do not pronounce consequences on anybody, not stoning, spitting, or anything else. Your accusation is rejected completely.

I will continue to differ about the "old articles and books". This will not be the forum for that debate. I am clearly aware that there are aspects to gay lifestyle that are rather removed from conscious choice, and I stated so in my earlier comment. I disagree that everything that is typical for the commonly recognized gay lifestyle is genetically determined. I don't believe there is research to support that.

You clearly have an agenda and plenty of anger. I guess by disagreeing with you, I have become the target. For that, the anonymity of the internet is useful. Continue with the name calling.

124

 Oct 21, 2010 at 10:22 PM Mordy Says:

Boteach mentions other sins where the word "toévah" (abomination) is used. What he conveneniently leaves out is that of all the sins where the word "toévah" is used, only homosexual behavior gets the death penalty. Boteach considers homosexuality a religious sin grouping it with those on the first tablet of the Law, but doesn't consider it immoral like adultery and the other sins on the second tablet. Boteach is playing with semantics. Furthermore, he is 100% wrong! Homsexuality is just as immoral as adultery. According to Rav Saadiah Gaon (brought by the Ibn Ezra on Chumash), homosexuality is worse than adultery! That's because at least theoretically, the adulteress could become permissible to her paramour through the death of her husband or her going through a divorce. The partner of a homosexual can NEVER be permitted! Homosexual behavior is consumed under the issur of adultery and therefore is definitely immoral. Boteach, unfortunately, twists the Torah and must be exposed. "America's rabbi" (the title Boteach gives himself (look at his website) has no clothes!

125

 Oct 21, 2010 at 10:44 PM knowitall123 Says:

Dont know if anyone stated this but: Chazal teach us that we can tell the serousness of a Lav by it's punishment. There are therefore Lavim that are more serious than others. Cpital crimes being at the top of the list,there are Lavim that are even worse and those are the ones that carry Meesa and are called a Toava. Any comparison to eating at McDonnalds is comparing a simple Lav with a Lav Sheyaish Bo Misa that is called a Toava and is very far off the mark. Rav Moshe Feinstein says that its very hard to do teshuva for homosexual sex. Inclinations, tayvos, thats one thing but having gay sex (men/men) is to be considered a big deal.

One other very important point is that if someone does an avaira but agrees its wrong then we encourage him to keep all the other mitsvos and try to do teshuvs. ITS a TOTALLY different thing if they guy decides its fine for himself to be doing it, or this is the way he is going to behave indefinately, This is a Mumar Ldavar Echad and he is not to be considered a frum Jew or encouraged at all. If they guy did it once we encourage teshuva and "all the other 613 mitzvos as Shmuely Boteach suggests, but if its his "lifestyle" kick his to the curb.

126

 Oct 21, 2010 at 10:59 PM jewish-person Says:

Hashem sent a malach to destroy sodom and gemorra in this week's parsha...coincidence?

127

 Oct 21, 2010 at 11:03 PM Kanaim Says:

This whole string is pointless. Yje Torah says no, so it's no. The end.

128

 Oct 21, 2010 at 11:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
The_Rat Says:

Sorry, but R' Katz misses the point of the op-ed, or maybe not.

His flag burning parallel shows that he does have insight into the issue. We make flag burning into a bigger issue than it really is. We should ignore it rather than try to pass laws against it.

As far as homosexuality is concerned, indeed, acting upon homosexual impulses violates halacha (differently for men vs. women), however, having the impulses does not. We all have impulses to act counter to halacha (yetzer hara). We also choose to accept others despite their acting on impulses. If one can accept those who indulge in "a “harmless” excursion to the local McDonalds", or those who drive on shabbat, while trying to have them do more within the confines of halacha, one should be able to do the same for a homosexual.

Toeivah does not apply to lesbians, so any argument including that aspect does not hold water as all homosexuals are treated the same way by frum Jews despite the halachic differences.

As for the issue of activism - if the frum community treated homosexuals the same way as shabbat violators or those who eat treif, no activism would be necessary.

R' Katz agrees, hate the sin, love the sinner.

רמב"ם הלכות איסורי ביאה פרק כא ח נשים המסוללות זו בזו--אסור, וממעשה מצריים הוא שהוזהרנו עליו: שנאמר "כמעשה ארץ מצריים . . . לא תעשו" (ויקרא יח,ג); ואמרו חכמים, מה היו עושים-- איש נושא איש, ואישה נושאה אישה, ואישה נישאת לשני אנשים "Toeivah does not apply to lesbians". Yes there are halachic differences & you may even argue that it's not considered "toeivah" since the Torah does not say so explicitly, but please check your resources before you comment.

129

 Oct 22, 2010 at 02:22 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #35  
luchinkup Says:

Me thinks thou doth protest too much...

But seriously, I think you're a repugnant and thoroughly evil being. Unless you advocate for stoning someone who turns on a light on shabbos too, in which case you're just delusional.

I'm sorry to break your bubble. But yes the torah calls for someone turning on a light on shabbos to be stoned, if there were witnesses and "hasrooh".

130

 Oct 22, 2010 at 09:06 AM TannaKamma Says:

Reply to #93  
cholent Says:

Rabbi Shmuli is part os a sect of klal yisroel that dosen't have a leader or leadership at all. Terrible infighting without any direction and little Torah learned other that what a few previous rebbe's taught.
When am haaratzus is rampant and people believe whatever they want and claim that great people said certain things that seem fringe, this article by Rabbi Shmuli is in line with that chassidus and a direct result of all goes in the name of kiruv. As an out of towner, I see what really goes on in these houses.
Hashem yishmor.

You've had a little too much cholent 'Reb Cholent',

SB has been disowned by the 'sect' you deride long ago, nice try to find another lame excuse to bash a significant part of Klal Yisroel, goes to show how reliable your other statements are.

You're not just 'out-of-town', but out of touch with reality.

131

 Oct 23, 2010 at 09:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #72  
Dont Ask Dont Tell Says:

Homosexuality is indeed a disease, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe pointed out - but neither bashing nor Boteach/Reform style acceptance is the answer. A gay couple who openly proclaims pride in their gay lifestyle really has no place in a shul - but for those who are fighting it or living quietly and not flaunting it, the answer is "don't ask don't tell".

On the other hand, the probably apocryphal story about the posek who said that gay suicide is a mitzvah is disgusting. The person who told it is a naval birshus haTorah who has no neemanus, but if it did occur, it is even worse than the vapid nonsense and acceptance of toeva which the touchy feely son and chief money launderer for a California arms dealer advocates in his latest attempt to get attention.

Oh, and an openly mechalel shabbos is okay to come to shul? An adulterer? A person who eats treif?

Who are you (or anyone else, for that matter, "Rov" or not) to deny ANY Jew the right to come to shul?

You seem to be confusing yourself with Gd.

132

 Oct 23, 2010 at 09:30 PM big mouth, small mind Says:

Reply to #77  
Kanaim Says:

I never said he threw them out of his shul. I said they were not allowed to be members. They could still daven there. Using your logic, if an intermarried couple showed up, the shiksa should be allowed to stay and pray ,too. Not in my lifetime I hope.

I don't think you are allowed to hope for a short lifetime.

And I'm not sure that malachim like you are allowed to post on this website, only mortal people, who have no right to deny ANYONE access to a shul.

But on second thought, i guess if you hope this doesn't happen in your lifetime, I'll go along with you.

However, I would galsly fight for the right for ANYONE to come to a shul, so long as they show the proper respect for it and behave appropriately.

After all "Rabbi" Levin was allowed at St. Patrick's Cathedral, wasn't he?

133

 Oct 24, 2010 at 01:25 PM MAMAROCHEL Says:

I was also horrified when "Rabbi" Shmueli was interviewed and he said that he watched the Oscars!! The interviewer remarked that it's heartwarming to meet a Rabbi who is also "normal". I tried to call the radio station many times to tell him that Rachmana Litzlan he seems to have no clue that one who calls himself a Rabbi has the responsibility to be a true Torah emissary, with SHMIRAS Ha,EYNAYIM!!! I am glad that he is off the radio, but unfortunately he is doing much damage to Klal Yisroel!!

134

 Oct 25, 2010 at 02:36 PM rmllrfn Says:

Reply to #127  
Kanaim Says:

This whole string is pointless. Yje Torah says no, so it's no. The end.

Kanaim, everything you wrote is a relief. It's good to know that there are still frum Jews out there with simple Torah sense. The fact that frum people are oppsing you is reason enough to sit on the floor and cry. Bravo for your words. (And for saving me the time since had you not written those words, I would've had to!)

Another terribly sad thing here is the fact that frum Jews give any credence or attention whatsoever to Shmuley Butthead. They may as well listen to any Reverend speak.

135

 Oct 25, 2010 at 10:15 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #134  
rmllrfn Says:

Kanaim, everything you wrote is a relief. It's good to know that there are still frum Jews out there with simple Torah sense. The fact that frum people are oppsing you is reason enough to sit on the floor and cry. Bravo for your words. (And for saving me the time since had you not written those words, I would've had to!)

Another terribly sad thing here is the fact that frum Jews give any credence or attention whatsoever to Shmuley Butthead. They may as well listen to any Reverend speak.

You and kanaim make a perfect pair of morons, and it's good that you can sit and congratulate each other on what righteous bigots and fools you are, but please, don't blame the Torah for your own stupidity, it is extremely disrespectful.

Oh, and the "butthead" joke? REALLY mature!

136

 Oct 25, 2010 at 10:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #133  
MAMAROCHEL Says:

I was also horrified when "Rabbi" Shmueli was interviewed and he said that he watched the Oscars!! The interviewer remarked that it's heartwarming to meet a Rabbi who is also "normal". I tried to call the radio station many times to tell him that Rachmana Litzlan he seems to have no clue that one who calls himself a Rabbi has the responsibility to be a true Torah emissary, with SHMIRAS Ha,EYNAYIM!!! I am glad that he is off the radio, but unfortunately he is doing much damage to Klal Yisroel!!

I'm very sorry, but you don't get to pick who "gets called" a Rabbi.

If you're upset by listening to what he has to say, don't listen. When you get smaicha you can say what you like as a rabbi as well. But unless you have some authority that allows you to revoke his smicha, have a little respect for the position, if not the man.

(if that's too difficult, that means shut up. He is a Rabbi whether or not he agrees with you, and you don't dictate what his "responsibility" as a Rabbi is!)

137

 Apr 18, 2012 at 01:58 PM AMishigas Says:

I look forward to the day the frum community can face up to this problem and create shidduchim taking into account each partner's sexuality.

E.g. Chana has no interest in men is set up with Shmuly who has no interest in women. They get married for companionship and to be mekayem the mitzva of having children and respect and understand each other's aversion to the opposite sex.

This is a much better solution than gays marrying heterosexuals and having dysfunctional marriages with a partner who sincerely craves a normative relationship.

138

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