Revelation is Crucial for Making Correct Choices

submission-to-God
It is impossible to serve G-d, both in relations with G-d and with one’s fellow man, without submitting to the Revelation of His Will. Those who say they will figure out for themselves, using their limited minds, what G-d wants, instead of seeking His perfect Revelation, err greatly. Likewise, all people who treat their relationship with G-d as something that they do on their own fallible terms instead of on His terms, are bound to fail–nay, they have already failed–and will inevitably be lacking in that relationship.
Put simply, if my boss tells me to do a and I do b, I will be fired regardless of my intentions. Similarly, if my wife tells me that she likes flowers and not chocolates, and I bring her chocolates because that’s what I like, she will be displeased regardless of all my good intentions.
The Torah is endlessly vast and contains guidance in all aspects of life concerning how one should behave in any situation. So when it comes to any question, the only question one should ask oneself–or, in the many cases in which one lacks the sufficient knowledge, one’s rabbi–is: What does G-d say in His timeless Torah, the manual for my life today, concerning how I should act?
But no matter how clever and well-educated one may be (including education in Torah), asking oneself in a G-dless, secular way “what do think” will inevitably lead to selfish, wrong conclusions to a lesser or greater extent, because whenever one chooses to leave the G-d of Truth out of the picture, truth and objectivity are impossible.
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Standing Up to Leftist Hate

rock the podium

Not so long ago, one could debate with a liberal. But nowadays, whenever you disagree with them, they have a ready comeback to shut you up, one that is very difficult to rebut:

You are a hater spreading hate and a bigot spreading bigotry.

The implication is that your opinion stems from some deep-seated unworthy negative emotion and is thus fundamentally illegitimate. And so not even worth debating.

The best response to this is not to pathetically apologize and assure them that you mean well, really. Instead, point out that it is rude of them to cast such aspersions on your character. You refuse to engage with them unless they will debate with civility.

The same applies when one quotes religious sources to justify one’s personal beliefs, such as referencing the fact that according to the eternal, universal laws of Noach transmitted in the Torah, sodomy should be outlawed, and same-sex marriage is not just forbidden but constitutes the nadir of societal degeneracy.

Secularists will interpret one’s words in the most uncharitable fashion and respond:

  1. Your religion differs from the latest social fad, so it is inherently hateful, so shut up. (Of course, they will only tell this to Christians and Jews, but not Muslims.)
  2. Your deeper motivation behind taking your position is hateful, because otherwise why wouldn’t you be out promoting something else religious like not to desecrate Shabbos, intermarriage, or the like? Why oppose the LGBT movement, of all things? You must have an irrational, unworthy, emotional dislike for them and your religion is just a pretext to express your hateful tendencies.
  3. You must be a closet pervert, or else you wouldn’t focus so much on sexual matters.

To respond:

  1. If you think my religion is “hateful”, so be it. But I will not be deterred by your denigration of my faith. Also, this is an argument from popularity, which is fallacious.
  2. I and others discuss matters related to the LGBT agenda because it is a major issue of the day, if not the foremost one. And although those and many other sins are rampant among the Jewish people, there is no political movement actively legitimizing and promoting desecration of Shabbos and the like. Also, the LGBT ideology militates against basic family-oriented sexual morality that is universal and fundamental to civilized society, and therefore in a way speaking out about this is even more pressing than promoting Torah observance in those other areas. Also, there are plenty of rabbis encouraging non-religious Jews to observe Shabbos, but precious few speaking out against the LGBT agenda. On a personal level, I can tell you that I had almost no knowledge of or interest in the LGBT agenda until it was legalized in the USA due to the calamitous Obergefell ruling.
  3. Odd, isn’t it, that if one would return that compliment and cast such aspersions on the motives of LGBT advocates, that accusation would be met with outrage and condemnation, and yet it is viewed as perfectly acceptable to hurl at religious people.

Both the second and third point are also classic examples of ad hominem attacks—dismissing the character of the person making the argument without actually responding to its substance. You would think that these liberals, who all attended college and sing its praises, where they are supposedly schooled in the art of detecting logical fallacies and are therefore armed with reasoning skills vastly superior to those religious plebs who didn’t attend college, would notice these glaring errors. You would be wrong.

To those who say my stance on LGBT matters is intolerant and hateful, I say that as far as I am concerned, I am simply being true to my religion, and of this I am proud. Moreover, I can quote Torah sources relevant to the issue upon which I base my view. If you think I err in my quotes or you have counter-quotes, I am willing to discuss that. But to dismiss my words out of hand as hateful without any rational debate—this very accusation is intolerant and hateful of religious folks. As an Orthodox Jew, I am fully entitled to delve into Torah sources in order to seek guidance and remain true to my religious tradition—even if that means holding views that (gasp!) don’t conform to the latest wacky intellectual fad, or to secularist values in general.

Accusing an Orthodox Jew of hate merely for holding unpopular views and voicing them unapologetically is blatant anti-religious—in this case, anti-Semitic—persecution. But of course, that itself is the latest social fad—to shame and ostracize all dissenters from the new atheist ideology by branding them as monstrous haters.

Don’t be ashamed of the scoffers whose only “argument” is anti-religious slurs. Speak out proudly in defense of the eternal, universal laws of Noach.

On the Torah Obligation to Influence “Civil Matters”

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Divine Law is Universal

Non-Jews are obligated to follow the Noachide Laws. We are accustomed to hearing about the Noachide Laws as if they were general, abstract principles. Or if we have studied some Talmud, in very technical, theoretical terms.

But this is a mistake.

The Noachide Laws are not some kind of fuzzy symbolic principles meant for a sermon, nor are they recommendations and good advice, or a topic for scholarly pilpul. They are (I know, it sounds obvious) laws.

So just as Jews are obligated to follow Shulchan Aruch, so are non-Jews obligated to follow the Noachide laws. The Noachide laws are their Shulchan Aruch.

Just as Shulchan Aruch is divine and therefore eternal and unchanging, so are the Noachide laws eternal and unchanging.

Moreover, for both Jews and non-Jews, obeying divine law is not a secondary part of life. We are not here on earth to enjoy material pleasures, even most worthy ones like Yiddishe nachas from our family. Our eternal souls were planted in temporal bodies in this lowly world for a brief while in order to perform a mission—to serve Hashem. And our personal fulfilment depends upon this, but there is a difference between Jews and non-Jews:

  • Jews were created in order to serve Hashem by following their laws, as detailed in the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law, and only by so doing do they fulfill their personal mission and attain happiness.
  • Non-Jews were created for the purpose of following the Noachide laws, and only by so doing do they fulfill their personal mission and attain happiness.

Universal Duty to Influence Others to Follow Torah

Part of our mission, both as Jews and non-Jews, is to exert a positive influence on others. This too is not merely good advice, but a halachic obligation.

In particular, Jews are duty-bound to influence fellow Jews under their influence to improve in their Torah observance. This is the mitzvah of tochachah, rebuke, which is an explicit verse: “You shall surely rebuke your fellow [Jew]” [1]. Likewise, “all Jews are responsible for one another” [2]—responsible to encourage fellow Jews to observe Torah.

When is one obligated to exert influence? Whenever and to whomever one can. “To the one who will accept [rebuke] from him”[3] and one should do so repeatedly, even “until 100 times”.[4]

Likewise, non-Jews are obligated to influence fellow non-Jews to follow the Noachide laws. The Rebbe states[5] that this duty is included in the Noachide mitzvah of dinim, the mitzvah to establish and maintain courts of justice. Just as courts are obligated to promote observance of the Noachide laws (see further below), so are individual non-Jews obligated to do so via whatever legitimate means of influence are at their disposal in that time and place.

In particular, Maimonides rules[6] that all the inhabitants of the city of Shechem were in violation of the mitzvah of dinim because “they saw, knew, and didn’t judge” Shechem (the ruler, after whom the city was named) for violating the prohibition of kidnapping. Maimonides holds that when regular citizens sit idly by and allow violation of the Noachide laws to occur, those individual citizens violate the Noachide laws. Even Nachmanides,[7] who holds that the citizens of Shechem were not liable for punishment for this neglect, clearly still maintains that they should have protested to the extent they were able.

Laws Violating the Noachide Laws Are Fundamentally Illegitimate

This brings us to the topic of the approach of Judaism to civil law. Judaism maintains that the concept of a civil law system is not merely a useful secular tool for maintaining civilized society devised by clever mortals. Rather, it is a divine mandate, as per the Noachide mitzvah of dinim, which contains two elements:

  • The duty to set up courts of justice to enforce the other six Noachide laws—“[non-Jews] must set up judges and magistrates in every major city to render judgment concerning these [other] six Commandments, and to admonish the people [regarding their observance].”[8] (In fact, not only is the role of the justice system to enforce the Noachide laws, but it is incumbent upon the judges to actively educate the people on the Noachide laws, even if doing so involves considerable inconvenience and sacrifice.[9])
  • The duty to pass laws to maintain civilized society and peaceful interactions between citizens such as laws of business contracts, road rules, and so on, as long as they conform to Torah-based principles of fairness and decency.[10]

As part of enforcing the Noachide laws, each country and nation is invested with divine authority to appoint lawmakers and judges to pass and enforce laws as safeguards (harchakos) against violation of the core Noachide laws, after considering environmental and cultural circumstances.[11]

It is precisely because Hashem requires the establishment of a civil law system that there is a divine mandate to obey that law in all its details incumbent upon both Jews and non-Jews, as the Talmud rules: “The law of the land is the [Torah] law”.[12]

However, this only applies to religiously neutral laws. If, however, a legal system requires a Jew to violate the Shulchan Aruch, that law is fundamentally illegitimate and the Jew must disobey it.[13]

Likewise, if a legal system requires one to violate one of the Noachide laws (such as, very notably, in the biblical city of Sodom), that law is fundamentally illegitimate and both the Jew and the non-Jew must disobey it.

Thus, a civil law that violates one of the Noachide laws and encourages the people to violate such a law is by definition corrupt and fundamentally illegitimate. Such laws of the land are absolutely not Torah law, neither for Jews nor for non-Jews.

Leadership Role of Jews

But how, as Jews, should we relate to morally corrupt, illegitimate laws of the land (aside from stubbornly refusing to obey them)? Is it our place to get involved with how non-Jews fulfill their mitzvah of dinim?

This is really a broader question: Is it our place as Jews to influence our gentile neighbors to follow the Noachide laws?

Absolutely.

In fact, this mission is crucial to our national purpose. G-d charged us, through the prophet Yeshaya,[14] with being a “light unto the nations.” What do these flowery, oft-quoted words mean? Rabbi David Kimchi, the Radak, explains that Jews reveal this divine light by directly teaching non-Jews the Noahide Laws.

In fact, Rambam rules unequivocally that Hashem explicitly commanded Moshe Rabenu at Mount Sinai to charge the Jewish people with the mission “to compel all the world’s inhabitants to undertake the laws commanded to Noah’s descendants”.[15] Tosafos Yom Tov explains[16] that Rambam means that we are obligated to compel observance of Noachide laws to the extent that as we are able, and so this law applies even during the era of exile, via kefiyas devarim—“verbal coercion”, i.e., persuasion.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe has stated[17] that in past times, spreading the Noachide laws would have brought danger upon the Jewish people and hence they were exempt from this duty. However, in modern times, there is not even a remote concern[18] that promoting the Noachide laws to the non-Jews in our host countries would provoke antisemitism, and therefore this obligation applies in full force. And not only should we influence non-Jews to observe the Noachide laws; we should influence them to spread the Noachide laws themselves,[19] until they build up into a mass Noachide movement.[20]

Thus, as regards the mitzvah of dinim, it follows clearly that according to Rambam’s halachic ruling, to the extent that Jews are able to exert such an influence, they should encourage non-Jews, whenever possible, to reform their legal system to bring it ever more in line with the Noahide laws.

Moreover, if we ought to even influence an individual non-Jew to observe the Noachide laws, all the more so is it imperative to influence non-Jews to reform a law so that it is closer to the requirements of the Noachide laws, for that impacts all the citizens and therefore dramatically elevates the entire society for the better. The same principle would surely apply to the imperative to get involved when possible in order to avert a proposed law that violates the Noachide Laws, G–d forbid.

This principle is based on the concept of communal and societal responsibility taught by our sages:[21] “Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai taught: One can compare this to a group of people sitting on a ship. One of the group takes out a drill and starts drilling a hole in his place. The others protest, but the man retorts, ‘What difference does it make to you if I drill a hole in my place? I am not making a hole in your place!’ They replied to him, ‘Will not the water rise and sink the whole ship?!’”

Likewise, one who stands idly by, ignoring the spiritual drowning of those around him without making any effort to save them, transgresses the prohibition of “Thou shall not stand idly by your brother’s blood”[22]. Moreover, “spiritual death is worse than physical death”.[23]

Current Application

In Australia now, there is a plebiscite, a national postal vote to determine the will of the people on the legalization of same-sex marriage. Such a law, G–d forbid, entails a gross, obscene violation of the Noachide mitzvah of dinim, to the extent that the Medrash testifies according to one opinion[24] that despite all their other sins, all of civilization was utterly annihilated during the generation of the Flood due to the severity of this very sin. Likewise, although the Romans were infamous for their utter brutality and degeneracy, and they violated all the Noachide laws, the Talmud praises them for at least not sinking to the ultimate depravity of legalizing same-sex marriage.[25]

In light of all the above, Jews and non-Jews have a clear and strong moral and halachic duty to vote No and to influence other Jews and non-Jews to do likewise.

Of course, the same principle also applies to elections in general, where every individual Jew and non-Jew can exert some influence and therefore is morally and halachically obligated to do so:[26] Every individual should influence their fellow citizen to use their voting power to vote first and foremost, before all other considerations, for the party whose platform and policies are more in line with the Noachide Laws.

_______________________________________
[1] Vayikra 19:17.

[2] Shavuos 39a.

[3] Yevamos 35b.

[4] Bava Metzia 31a.

[5] Likutei Sichos, Vol. 30, p. 226, fn. 52.

[6] Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, 9:19.

[7] On Bereshis 35:15.

[8] Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 9:14.

[9] Sefer HaSichos 5746, Vol. 3, p. 152. There the Rebbe equates the role of gentile judges to that of the Jewish Sanhedrin, of whom it is written: “They were obligated to go, tie iron garters around their loins, lift their robes above their ankles … and travel throughout the villages of Israel … teaching the people” (Tanna Devei Eliyahu Rabbah ch. 11).

[10] Cf. Hisva’aduyos 5747, Vol. 3, pp. 428-430; 432-434.

[11] Cf. Rashi on Bereshis 34:12:

.וכן לא יעשה לענות הבתולות שהאומות גדרו עצמן מן העריות מפני המבול

[12] Gittin 10b. Hisva’aduyos 5744, Vol. 2, pp. 612-613.

[13] Hisva’aduyos 5744, Vol. 2, pp. 612-613.

[14] 42:6.

[15] Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 8:10.

[16] In his commentary on Avos 3:18. Quoted by the Rebbe in Likutei Sichos, Vol. 26, pp. 133-134; 139-141. Hisva’aduyos 5743, Vol. 2, p. 1577; Hisva’aduyos 5745, Vol. 3, pp. 1979-1980.

[17] Hisva’aduyos 5747, Vol. 2, pp. 615-616. See also Hisva’aduyos 5747, Vol. 2, p. 615; Likutei Sichos, Vol. 26, p. 143; Hisva’aduyos 5745, Vol. 4, pp. 2466-2467.

[18] In the Hebrew, “chashash de’chashash.”

[19] Hisva’aduyos 5744, Vol. 2, p. 620; Hisva’aduyos 5743, Vol. 1, pp. 59-60; Hisva’aduyos 5745, Vol. 3, pp. 1840-1842.

[20] Likutei Sichos, Vol. 26, pp. 143-144.

[21] Vayikra Rabbah 4:6.

[22] Vayikra 19:16. Cf. Hisva’aduyos 5746, Vol. 3, p. 260.

[23] Derech Chaim 5a; Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 3, p. 520; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 1, p. 111. Thus, “One who causes another to sin is worse than one who kills him”—Bamidbar Rabbah 21:4-5.

[24] Vayikra Rabbah 23:9:

.(ג”א ולנקבה) רבי הונא בשם רב יוסף אמר דור המבול לא נימוחו מן העולם עד שכתבו גמומסיות לזכר ולבהמה

[25] Chullin 92b.

 

[26] The Rebbe clearly came out in public for voting in order to influence the government to be more in line with Jewish law in the context of Eretz Yisrael, and the same principle clearly applies in the diaspora, where anti-religious heretics seek to uproot and oppose any vestige of faith in a Higher Force using the club of the civil law, and first and foremost by promoting the evil homosexualist agenda.

See Igros Kodesh, Vol. 11, p. 168:

… Anyone who has a passport in his hand automatically has the ability to vote. By registering for the passport he acknowledges, and not under coercion, the [political] leadership there. If after this he does not participate in the elections, and others see and do likewise, and this is liable to affect the determination of a “major” law or even a minor one, when they [the politicians voted in] vote for the legislation incorrectly, then he shares the blame for the calamity of many.  I have not yet found the person with the “broad shoulders” to be able to take responsibility for such a calamity. … Those who are there, and who take part in whatever manner there [but refuse to vote] … do damage to the many, as mentioned above. Especially after they have tangibly seen over the course of the years that have passed how the vote of one political representative could have prevented a stumbling block to the many that constituted violation of a rabbinic prohibition and even of a biblical prohibition. This will suffice for the understanding. It is self-evident that you have permission to write all that I have written here concerning the elections to the one mentioned above, and you may also add sharpness, because no matter how much you add, it will not do justice to the matter.

The Rebbe said how one should vote (ibid.):

Obviously, one should vote for the most G–d-fearing parties.

And again, from Igros Kodesh, Vol. 4, pp. 345-346, this time in a letter to Agudas Chassidei Chabad, the Chabad umbrella organization:

I have come to emphasize … the holy duty and privilege, that every one of those who tremble and fear the word of Hashem should take part in the elections. He should do so himself, and he should influence others, to vote for the most G–d-fearing parties, so that not even one vote goes to waste. I hereby give permission and authorization to publicize my opinion with full vigor and full force: Every single male and female among those who fear Hashem and think about His Name should do all in their power to increase the number of voters for the most G–d-fearing parties.

In Igros Kodesh, Vol. 11, p. 279, the Rebbe also stressed the disastrous spiritual effects on the country of simply failing to vote for the most G–d-fearing party:

… Refraining from this [voting for the most G–d-fearing party] automatically augments the strength of the parties who oppose Hashem, His Torah, and its Mitzvos.

Why Orthodox Jews Should Oppose the Homosexualist Agenda

I recently received the following message:

I have a legitimate question. I am an Orthodox Jewish woman married, thank G-d, with kids. I would not support my children being gay, or gay marriage in any Jewish community. However, why do we care what the non-Jews do? They have all sorts of unkosher behavior that we don’t concern ourselves with. I tell my family that LGBT issues are another part of the world we don’t concern ourselves with. It’s not Jewish. Thanks for the answer.

My response:

Divine Mandate to Promote Universal Morality
As Torah-observant Jews, we are charged with the duty to serve as a light unto the nations by teaching and promoting the universal moral code known as the laws of Noah. One of these laws is the principle of living a righteous family life, which includes the prohibition of various sexual sins. Under this code both homosexual acts and legalization of homosexual marriage are forbidden.

Reducing the Chillul Hashem Committed by Non-Religious Jews
Sadly, many of our non-religious Jewish brethren are leading or supporting the evil LGBT movement whose aim is to legitimize, normalize, and promote the wicked, socially destructive sin of homosexual acts, the homosexual lifestyle, and other related perversions. So we have a duty as Jews to speak out against it—in order to repudiate it, so we as religious Jews are not viewed as guilty by association, and in order to rectify or at least lessen the shameful chillul Hashem (desecration of G–d’s name) that those Jews are perpetrating.

Reducing the Chilul Hashem Committed by Religious Jews
Perhaps even more sadly, many of our religious Jewish brethren were and are also partly to blame for the success and ever-growing expansion of this grotesque movement. Modern-day moral wars are fought not with swords or rifles, but at the ballot box. Although the Jewish vote matter little on the federal level, it is truly critical in local elections in areas with sizable Jewish communities. So when Orthodox Jews choose to vote for leftist, Democrat politicians in those elections (notably in New York) and thereby enable those politicians—some of whom are themselves non-religious Jews and some even (to our great disgrace) self-identifying Orthodox Jews (such as ? Weprin and Dov Hikind)—to win, those Orthodox voters are to blame for all the evil laws legitimizing, normalizing, and promoting these immoral laws and ordinances that those politicians go on to sponsor or vote in favor of. We need to educate our fellow Jews to do teshuvah (repent) and never again vote for such politicians but instead vote exclusively for the most conservative candidate running.

Reducing the Negative Influence Upon the Orthodox Community
In the modern era, very few Orthodox Jews, if any, still live in isolated enclaves sheltered from secular society. The powerful, zealously hedonistic messages currently dominating the secular world seep into our consciousness and harm us and our communities. Worse still, many self-identifying Orthodox Jews lack religious education and spiritual sensitivity and are therefore not particular to draw their values from Torah. They succumb to the temptation of partly adopting degenerate values from the dominant secular progressive culture, a value system of noxious poison sugar-coated in deceptive, pretty euphemisms like love, equality, tolerance, and rights. Even those of us who resist adopting those values are tainted by osmosis, as we learn of these trends through our inevitable interaction with the surrounding world (including the world of our fellow non-Orthodox Jews) and we must exert ourselves to present a rational defense of our traditional stance.

Age-Appropriate Education
As for one’s personal family life, and the specific question of when it would be age appropriate to educate one’s children on these matters: It all depends on the child and the extent of his or her exposure to secular culture. But one can surely educate one’s children even from a young age about the basic principle that Torah is not just an ethnocentric, particularistic religion directed exclusively to the Jewish people, but it also contains a universalistic element, which mandates basic universal laws of moral and ethical behavior for all mankind, which, when possible, we should share with non-Jews.

A Weak Statement

Judaism, Not Extremism

JOFA quotes a recent Ynet article and reports: “A girls’ high school in Petah Tikva has announced, a fortnight before school resumes, that skirts must now be floor-length, when knee-length used to be the norm; the parents protest such extremism in a non-ultra-Orthodox establishment.”
 
It’s outrageous but unsurprising that JOFA presents the Ynet–i.e., radically anti-religious–version of the story as absolute fact. This rag’s bias is evident in its failure to post the full text of the letter in which the principal laid out the new rule.
In reality, we’re dealing here not with an inappropriate desire to impose excessive restrictions, but with a measure intended to combat the students’ flagrant violation of the existing dress code.
 
In the words of Holly Kutin Sragow, commenter on JOFA’s post (emphasis added): “From what I’ve been reading about this, it seems the goal was not about competition over skirt lengths but about trying to prevent girls from violating the old dress code of knee-length skirts by wearing short tight skirts, well above the knees. Why do we seem to have less interest in encouraging girls to follow the dress code than we do in calling out what we see as extremism?
 
It is not at all surprising or inconsistent that the secularist Ynet seeks to portray religious Jews in a one-sided, unfavorable light. But JOFA is supposedly Orthodox, so where is there concern for discussing this issue from the standpoint of the school administration and addressing their halacha-based concerns?
Rather, this posts reveals JOFA’s true secularist colors. Although they won’t say so outright, JOFA is not at all concerned about girls violating actual standards of modesty, because if JOFA would have its way, these standards wouldn’t exist altogether.
JOFA’s goal is to promote to the modern secular political ideology of feminism, which is inherently at odds with Judaism. As far as this discussion is concerned, feminism views the very concept of modesty as inherently “oppressive” and dismisses almost all dress codes as “patriarchy”.
 
This is not to suggest that there aren’t some schools and communities where the dress codes are truly excessive even by strict religious standards. However, by taking the side of the anti-religious Ynet, JOFA has made its true intentions clear.

Against Excessive Compassion

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Against Excessive Compassion

Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver

Many well-meaning Jews, including Chasidic Jews, have been sharing this recently released video, which ostensibly argues for “compassion” for those who took part in the Tel Aviv shame parade. With all due respect, although the speaker has some valid points, I believe that the main point in the video is sorely misguided, wrong, and harmful. The lecture also contains a number of other worrisome, flawed, and dangerous ideas.

  1. The video is not just talking about those with homosexual tendencies; it’s discussing those who took part in the shame parade. The new atheist immoral crusaders. These folks are on a zealous campaign to defile society, defile the Holy Land in general and the Holy City of Jerusalem in particular. They insist on their “right” to crudely shove their grotesque perversion in our faces, insist that it’s “love”, and proclaim that if we dare disagree and point out that it’s not love at all but sin, we’re haters. They are leading an all-out lobbying campaign for brutal Sodom-like laws that further degenerate society and turn all religious people into a persecuted minority. Through their own blatantly and rabidly hostile attitude to Judaism and all faith in a deity that prescribes a moral code, and their campaign to corrupt society with their perverse beliefs and obscene sexual practices, these folks forfeit their right to our compassion.
    In a different category altogether are those who struggle personally with this sinful desire, yet are decent enough to feel shame. They have not joined this evil movement and they recognize its degeneracy. These folks do indeed deserve our unqualified sympathy and compassion.
  2. The speaker falsely equates Shabbos violation with the sin of homosexual relations. This is incorrect, as the two sins are in a completely different category. The former is a special mitzvah for Jews that is not one of the mishpatim, rational laws, while the latter is part of the basic sheva Mitzvos (the Seven Noahide Laws) incumbent upon all mankind. It’s one thing to support “compassion” for those who commit a sin that is not strictly rational, and another thing entirely to support it for a sin that is.
  3. Also, to be consistent, you’d also have to support “compassion” for those who commit other heinous sins such as murder, incest, rape, adultery, bestiality, child sexual abuse, and so on. (There is no logical reason to differentiate between victimless and non-victimless sins and crimes when it comes to compassion.) Yet everyone shies away from such displays of compassion, because they realize that doing so would also have the effect of minimizing the severity of these sins in the eyes of the populace, thus causing these behaviors to become more prevalent and less so, which is why there is no mass campaign to promote compassion for those who commit these crimes and sins (at least, not yet).
  4. The speaker states further that in fact, it’s not the will of Hashem for there to be a death penalty for desecrating Shabbos. This is outrageous; of course it is. Explicit verses aren’t written for nothing. We can’t implement this penalty in practice because we are in galus, due to our many sins—not because such an execution would be inherently wrong. (It is true that our sages view the death penalty as a last resort, and that there are many technicalities by which one can be released from the death penalty, and that the sages seek to find such exemptions when possible. However, that only means that it is desirable to avoid imposing it; it still in no way implies that imposing it is inherently wrong.) Moreover, although Jews are unable to impose the death penalty as we live in exile, non-Jews should do so even now for the crime of homosexual relations (along with adultery, bestiality, and incest) as part of the Noahide laws.
  5. The words “we don’t believe it’s the will of Hashem even though it’s written in Torah; we will put in all our effort to read between the lines and understand the real intention” are very disturbing. This implies that although the Torah states its values very clearly, based on our own independent sense of morality we know that in reality, the opposite is the case, and in fact, it is to take what the Torah says at face value that would be immoral. This is the stuff of Reform.
  6. Now on to the kabalistic talk. The speaker says that those who desire to commit these perverse deeds have a problem with their souls. True. However, this does not mean they lack free choice. Most disturbingly, he then takes this further and declares that expecting these people not to sin and to observe halacha “kills” them and would “destroy their lives”. This is outrageous. People have free choice not sin. Sure, a person can’t change his way of life overnight all at once, but slowly but surely, he can. In contrast, the Rebbe says (see here and here) that those who act in this way ought to be taught that this behavior is unhealthy and self-destructive and that they can and must stop. (Whether one can succeed at “conversion therapy” is a separate issue beyond the scope of this article, and I do not believe that a person can necessarily choose not to feel a forbidden desire; however, they can choose not to dwell on that desire and act on that desire.) On the contrary, the key to happiness is abstaining from sin.
  7. He then develops this approach by misquoting quasi-kabalistic notions that these folks “can’t” keep Torah until Moshiach comes, because only then will the level of “atika stima’a” which is oh so very “ancient” and “impossible for us to understand” be revealed. Which will heal everyone. Yes, when Moshiach will come, all sinners and suffering souls will be healed. But so what? That doesn’t mean we don’t have free choice, nor does it mean we should minimize the severity of their sin, or sit idly by and allow this attack on G–d and civilized society to continue.
    So yes, they deserve compassion. But then again, all sin comes because of a problem in our souls, and yet we have free choice. These people, too, do have free choice. Yes, it may be very difficult for them not to sin. We should sympathize with their unusual struggle and thank Hashem that we were not challenged in this way. But we should not go so far as to exonerate them completely (cf. Tanya ch. 30).
  8. He states that by promising never to bring another Flood, Hashem meant that He would never again punish the sin of homosexual relations. This is ridiculous. All Hashem promised was not to punish by means of a worldwide flood, not that He would not bring devastating punishment (whether for this sin or any other). Every schoolchild knows this explanation. Moreover, the Torah warns us explicitly how the inhabitants of Canaan were banished from the Land—after the Flood—for this very sin, among other violations of proper sexual morality.
  9. He mentions Hashem’s rebuke of Noach, yet he fails to draw the correct lesson—that Noach was remiss in his failing to rebuke the people sufficiently for their severe sins. Yet the video draws the opposite conclusion, that these folks are doomed to sin until Moshiach comes, and they aren’t even able to do otherwise, so we shouldn’t rebuke them.
  10. It’s one thing to express a “limud zechus” on sinners in private, fully out of their earshot. However, the ones about whom one expresses this view should not know about it (see here: Careful Love). The public nature of this video means the sinners themselves will come to view it. They will draw the clear conclusion that this man is endorsing their choice or at least greatly minimizing its severity, which will reinforce them in their ways.
  11. He insists that the supporters of the gay agenda are not at fault and should not be judged for their actions. That’s absurd. The existence of a temptation doesn’t in itself exonerate the violator. They have a choice. They know it’s unnatural. They know it’s abnormal. But I wonder, how far does his determination of their innocence and unaccountability go?
    We see that he defends them when they defile the Holy Land with their obscenity parades. Will he and his fellow advocates for limitless compassion still defend them when they successfully lobby to pass laws that:
  • require all private religious schools to adopt a mandatory “sex-ed” curriculum that explains to them the “GLB” lifestyle in graphic detail (as has already been mandated in many public schools), and teaches that homosexual behavior is normal, that having two mommies or two daddies is normal, and that in fact it is disapproval of this behavior that is sinful and “bigoted”?
  • require rabbis to officiate at same-sex “weddings” or else be heavily fined or jailed and ordered to undergo mandatory “sensitivity training” in “re-education camps”?
  • categorize all disapproval of homosexual behavior as criminal “hate speech” and station zealous modern-day yevsektsia members in shuls to inform on baalei korei and have them fined and imprisoned for simply reading out the pesukim in Vayikra?
  • require that all religious literature be sanitized and censored from all disapproval of sexual sin, all in the name of promoting love and tolerance?
    Those who follow the news and listen to the words of these folks themselves know that these fears and many others are very far from exaggerated.
  1. He then goes on to quote a story of a woman who said she destroyed her marriage so that she could live as a lesbian, and he buys her “I found love and now I just live my life together” narrative without a word of critique. Since when do rabbis endorse sexual sin as “love” and the choice to engage in it on a regular basis as bringing “happiness”?! No, one living in sin is not “in love” and cannot be happy. (See here: Inner Harmony through Living Up to One’s Inner Self). Nor is she “minding her own business,” as her sinful public relationship is destructive to society around her.
  2. He states that these desires are inborn when this matter is still hotly debated even among secular researchers.
  3. He raises the purely emotional argument “what if it would be your child.” Since when is something less sinful and wrong because it’s done by a relative? What does that have to do with anything? Also, it would prove nothing if one were to view sexual sin as less severe because a relative engages in it—all it would demonstrate is that family members’ natural love for one another inappropriately causes them to tolerate sins that they should not rationally tolerate.
    (Speaking of kids, there are kids standing in the background and listening. If they understand English, I’d find their listening to such a speech disturbing, even if I’d agree with its content.)
  4. He describes the suffering that these folks experience as somehow justifying their sin. But suffering from challenges and temptations with the yetzer hara is our lot as humans; in fact, this struggle is our very purpose in life, and the struggle is supposed to be very difficult for everyone, as the Alter Rebbe states.: “ולכן אל יפול לב אדם עליו ולא ירע לבבו מאד גם אם יהיה כן כל ימיו במלחמה זו כי אולי לכך נברא וזאת עבודתו לאכפיא לס”א תמיד.” (Tanya ch. 27). The only “end” to this suffering is death or Moshiach.
  5. And who’s to say that simply since their tests are so abnormal, they’re qualitatively more difficult? We can’t possibly know that, as we cannot see into their hearts. It’s just as likely that in many cases, the tests of normal folks are in fact more difficult. Either way,  “according to the camel is the load” (Kesubos 67a), and they are able to choose not to sin no less than anyone with more ordinary challenges (see here: An Unflinching Reckoning).
  6. “People, charedim, they have what to say [about lesbian relationships]. Great, I understand you, it’s written in the Torah. … Charedim, you’re always right. … You’re always justifying yourselves, we always need to bow to you, to tell you you’re right. Yes, you’re a rabbi, for sure, for sure, of course, whatever you say, amen, kiss your hands. –Nonsense. Open your eyes. Reality. … “ Conclusion: Don’t you dare criticize this group.
    Vile. Yes, charedim are right, yes lesbian relationships are wrong and immoral. In doing so, charedim are not being condescending; they’re righteously promoting (albeit nowhere near enough) the Truth that Hashem commanded for all mankind, and all the more so for Jews, who are commanded to be a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Shemos 19:6).
    Although I imagine that the speaker is otherwise a fine Jew, in the case of this video, these are not the words of a “charedi” but of a secularist preaching hate against religious folks, and especially rabbis, for daring to take Torah and halacha seriously, for having the courage to stand up for the perfect, absolute, divine Noahide laws, which comprise the absolute, eternal moral code of our Holy Torah in the face of a fanatic, tyrannical mass popular movement zealously promoting obscenity, degeneracy, and rebellion against Hashem on a historically unprecedented level of depravity. Jews should not protest against it, he says?! Even non-Jews are obligated to protest against this evil movement as part of the Noahide law of dinim (promoting a just and moral legal system); all the more so are Jews so obligated.
  7. I agree with his point that ex-members of this movement have a mission to influence those still stuck in it. Still, that doesn’t mean that all others dare not protest, and must sit by silently as this movement runs amok and increasingly corrupts society with its evil ideology. Those who are silent when they could have protested are guilty of collaborating with this sin.