MORE ON GAYS - Friday, July 3, 1998
Enough gay bashing maybe, but enough orthodox lesbian bashing, never. God forbid any Torah observant Jew should wish a fellow Jew, lesbian or otherwise, would abandon a Torah-observant life. As Lisa Liel correctly states: "one should love people and bring them closer to the Torah."
But what Ms. Liel fails to mention is that homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Jewish Law (see Leviticus 18:22, 19:28 and 20:13, and Deuteronomy 22:5).
We all have our weaknesses, and we should all strive for perfection. That there is a segment of the gay and lesbian community that wish to observe the Sabbath, kashrut [dietary laws], and any other Jewish Law is commendable. However, to publicly make the association between orthodoxy and the gay community is an embarrassment. Maybe comparing it to vegetarian cannibals is not a fair comparison. However, the audacity of posting a support group called "Orthodox Lesbians" can easily be compared to posting a support group called "Orthodox Murderers," "Orthodox Car Thieves," or even "Orthodox Idol Worshipers."
As Ms. Liel from Efrat criticizes others for not discussing the gay issue with their rabbi before they go out gay bashing, I ask Ms. Liel if she has discussed these issues with Rabbi Riskin, the Chief Rabbi of Efrat. I am sure if Rabbi Riskin comes out publicly with a statement permitting gay and lesbian behavior, then maybe there will be justification for the association between orthodoxy and homosexuality.
I am sure that Ms. Chaya Rochel Schwartz's intention was to admonish those who are living a lifestyle prohibited by the Torah, and she is right. Whether or not they can change their desires, they should recognize that the Torah forbids it, and they cannot falsify the word of God. But certainly, whether or not they comply with the law on this count, does not mean that they shouldn't try to do their very best in every other area of the Torah. In all honesty, most everyone has some part of the Torah he or she has extreme difficulty complying with. But one thing has nothing to do with the other, and he or she should keep all of the mitzvot possible, and never let anyone convince them otherwise.
Rabbi (Chareidi) ben David
I would like to respond to both Lisa Liel and "Name Withheld Upon Request". While I do not endorse "gay bashing" (or any other bashing for that matter), nor would I choose sarcasm (as did Chaya Rochel Schwartz), nevertheless I must agree with the latter that the term Orthodox Lesbian is somewhat of a contradiction.
Ms. Liel, I categorically disagree with the myth and lie which is being propagated by the gay agenda. No one is born gay. The evidence for psychological root causes of homosexuality far outweighs the inconclusive biological research. The homosexual/lesbian is emotionally "stuck" and to the extent that he/she is willing to face the emotional conflict, go through the healing process and resolve it, is the extent that he/she can eventually make the transition to heterosexuality and lead a happy, stable and emotionally fulfilling life. Unfortunately, there are few psychotherapists who work with gays wishing to make the transition. Most would have us believe, as Ms. Liel does, that "it's impossible to choose whether one is gay or straight," and that gays should "accept themselves the way G-d made them." And so many of us have been duped by the gay lobby into accepting this line of thinking. Well, God didn't make anyone gay. And who better than an Orthodox Jew should know this?
To "Name withheld" I say, I can sympathize and even empathize with you for being hurt by Ms. Schwartz's words, but you must at the very least recognize that there is some truth in what she says. Yes, a person can be gay and Orthodox. A person can also be an adulterer and Orthodox. But that doesn't make the two terms compatible.
Do I think that men and women who love gay lifestyles should abandon a Torah-observant life? Absolutely not. But I do believe that they should seek a cure for their psychological ills. "Cure" of homosexuality is much like the cure of alcoholism, or a lifetime of unhealthy living habits. One can choose to embark on the path of growth, or one can choose not to do so. The more difficult path is to be honest and admit that homosexuality reflects an emotional disorder.
Why do I say I can sympathize and even empathize? Because I am an Orthodox woman who has lived as a lesbian for over twenty-five years of my life. Now I am in the process of healing and for the first time I feel truly happy and free.
I take exception to all those laymen and psychologists who advise gays to "accept themselves the way they are." They do a great disservice by encouraging one to embrace a false identity.