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.

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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.

Orthodox Judaism Opposes Human Rights

The words that we use matter.

When we speak using terms from Torah, our intention is clear. We believe that Torah is the source of our moral values. But once we start using English terms and ideas, we enter a dangerous philosophical minefield. We use words thinking that we’re expressing Torah ideas, but without realizing it, we are employing secular ideas as well.

One prime example is “human rights.” People use this term as if it’s some kind of innate, obvious Truth, yet they fail to explain why it is so. Where oh where do these “human rights” come from and why are “human rights violations” so very terrible? That’s a topic better avoided, especially in polite company.

Moreover, the definition of “human rights,” or just “rights,” changes virtually by the day. One day it’s in to call one thing a right. But then another supposed right comes and supersedes it. No one knows what new supposed right tomorrow will bring, which will turn over society even more.

But it’s almost foolproof. If you want something, anything, in our “rights”-obsessed culture, your best strategy is to call it a right. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous that particular claim of a right may sound, or may have sounded not so long ago. Once you call it a right, most people will feel intimidated. They will not want to be dismissed as insensitive and committing in any way the “sin” of … denying someone a right. And they know very well what the consequences of such disagreement will be. It will be labeled as “hate speech”. Because if you disagree with someone’s claim to be entitled to a certain right, you must, must hate him. You’re a bigoted, mean, selfish monster. You’re … “anti-human”.

But this is playing with our minds. What do people mean when they speak of these rights? When it comes down to it, “human rights” is just code for “morality without faith”. It’s the creed of the new atheist religion, one that they are now using the secular legal system to dogmatically enforce, and with ever-increasing militancy. Just as atheism is axiomatic, so is the concept that morality must be defined in secular terms.

And therefore not only should Orthodox Jews never identify with these values, we must reject them like the plague. Even if we are speaking to someone from a secular background for whom our value system is foreign, we must never use language that implies even a slight endorsement of secular values.

And the same goes for a host of other buzzwords that have become the catch-cries of the holier-than-thou secular moralists: love, peace, tolerance, equality, social justice, rule of law, abuse, racism, multiculturalism, and discrimination.

All these words and ideas, although seemingly noble and true, are meaningless and false. They do not express universal and innate ideas; rather, they express (at least, as used in modern times, in a secular framework) the new secular morality that is so utterly contrary to authentic, G-d-given morality that it is almost diametrically opposed to it. (This is not to say that they don’t each hold some kernel of truth; however, now that G-d has been censored out of the picture, these ideas have degenerated into falsehoods.)

Why are these ideas so empty? Because without Hashem investing humans with inherent value, we are just a bunch of highly developed animals. Do animals have moral compunctions? Should they be expected to think twice before taking the lives of other animals? Of course not; that would be absurd. In fact, if the secularist creation narrative of evolution is taken to its logical conclusion, the principle of “survival of the fittest” implies that on the contrary, killing those who are weaker enables prosperity and progress. (Of course, most atheists today will reject this philosophy, known as social Darwinism, but they will not be able to coherently explain why.)

Of course we should respect and honor all mankind. But not because some Enlightenment philosopher said so. He has no, well, “right” to dictate morality to us. Rather, human beings have value because G-d created mankind in His image (Bereshis 9:6) and therefore all mankind are “precious” (Avos 3:18). Of course murder and stealing are wrong. But they’re wrong because G-d forbade them, not because a “human rights ethics council” decided so.

We must declare proudly: Our morals come from Torah. We believe in the G-d-given sheva Mitzvos, the seven Noahide laws, as our basis for morality, not empty, secular “human rights”.

Chanukah: Victory of Torah Truth

Please, please! Don’t convert light into darkness, and darkness into light. Chanukah is not about “religious freedom” at all. It’s about a very violent insurrection led by what people today would call “fundamentalist” “extremist” theists against the atheist tyranny of the dominant secular culture of the time.

We celebrate because the fact that we won miraculously, along with the other miracles, shows that our G-d is real and all other belief systems, most importantly the Greek culture of hedonism and humanism, are wrong and false.

(If the Maccabees had heard someone advocating the secular concept of “religious freedom”, they would have … not dealt with him kindly. If they would have heard someone going so far as to misrepresent the festival commemorating them as if it stood for this modern-day secular value, they would have been outraged and furious.)

“Religious freedom” is in effect moral relativism, which is morally corrupt, nonsensical, and the very antithesis of everything this festival stands for.

Chanukah is about miracles, which demonstrate the Truth of Hashem. The message of the festival is therefore that He is truly real, and therefore our lives should revolve exclusively around serving and worshiping Him, even if that means sacrifice. It follows that secularism is empty, false, detrimental, and evil, and must be vehemently opposed.

If one examines the various Jewish festivals and considers which is the most relevant to our day and age, I believe the conclusion is clear that it is Chanukah. The challenges and struggles of then are so strikingly similar to those of today that it should send chills running down one’s spine.

Thus, the message of Chanukah for our times is simple but supremely demanding. Secular humanism, along with all its sundry modern political manifestations—liberalism, feminism, etc.—represents the mortal enemy of the Jewish people, and ultimately, with the help of Hashem and with our personal and group sacrifice, we will prevail.

 

 

Thanksgiving

Giving thanks to Hashem for all His blessings and publicly recognizing our dependence on Him is great; in fact, it’s vital. Choosing a day to focus on that and establishing it as a national custom is nice (it sure beats choosing a day to go to the races or the football).

However, giving thanks in liberal parlance, which means refusing to mention Hashem, is heresy, and also nonsensical. It would also certainly be antithetical to the worthy intentions of those who established this holiday.

We Jews should support the former and condemn the latter.