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Moreover, one must remember that good people sometimes succumb to the temptation of sin in many areas, including this one. We should further sympathetically appreciate how individuals with a homosexual orientation might yield to such temptations, as they have no licit outlet for intimate companionship. In this regard, his or her struggle remains much greater than that of the heterosexual adulterer or philanderer, who commits egregious immoral acts by rejecting permissible outlets for their desires. Our strongest condemnation should be reserved for these sins, which directly threaten the moral fabric of our community.
Finally, we must confront these issues in an open and clear manner. We will never succeed in properly educating our community – which is engaged economically, and to a certain extent, socially and academically with the broader society – without engaging in a frank and public discussion grounded in halacha, despite our natural discomfort with any conversation about these matters. While our multifaceted, holistic approach requires an appreciation for nuances and complexities, it remains, in our mind, the appropriate halachic response.
* * *
We have heard that the revered Rav Aharon Soloveichik, zt”l, when asked his thoughts on homosexuality, replied, “It is terrible. It is almost as great a sin as cheating in business.” Without being able to verify this story, and understanding that Rav Aharon might not have meant this in a technical halachic sense, this anecdote nonetheless highlights what we believe is a misplacement of priorities in the Orthodox world.
The Orthodox community currently faces two incredibly serious problems: heterosexual promiscuity and financial misconduct. We live, alas, in an era of scandals, an era in which chassidic rebbes go to jail for money-laundering and rabbis are arrested for selling organs, while blogs accuse rabbis who are running conversion courts of manipulations and sexual vices with candidates for conversion. These scandals reflect larger trends within our community of widespread betrayal and disloyalty: to the other gender, including spouses; to business associates; to the greater Orthodox community; and, ultimately, to Torah and mitzvot.
Halacha condemns homosexual acts, but the phenomenon of “Orthodox homosexuals” does not represent a major threat to the integrity of our community. Ultimately, we are afraid that disproportionate condemnation of this phenomenon gives unproductive focus to a red herring, leading to inappropriate responses to individual struggles and distracting us from the central problems truly plaguing our community.
About the Author: Rabbi Michael J. Broyde is not a member of the IRF but he is a member of the RCA and a dayan in the Beth Din of America. He was the founding rabbi of the Young Israel in Atlanta and is a law professor at Emory.
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ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.
Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.
The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.
Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.
The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.
Judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than before.
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(Reposted with permission from author’s website) Moderate truth-teller Daniel Pipes (Dream) has further moderated his stance on Islam by actually entertaining the idea of “Moderate Islamism”, with Andrew C. McCarthy- whom I’ve debated about this- giving it some credence. We’ve gone from Naming the Enemy -Nazism, Communism- to Renaming the Enemy – “Islamic Totalitarianism”, “Radical Islam”, “Islamism”, […]
Maimonides: “Your 1 mitzva may tip the scales and bring redemption to the entire world and creation”
Jerusalem has been aware of the importance of China to its growth and security.
In other words, how by any rational playbook can one even begin to explain anti-Semitism?
Entire movements within “orthodoxy” propagate a Judaism of outlandish folklore and Jewish mysticism
Israel – the land and the nation – lost a giant earlier this month with the passing of Justice Menachem Elon, a monumental talmid chacham who served on the Israeli Supreme Court from 1977-1993, and as its deputy president from 1988-93, bringing a deep Torah viewpoint to the highest tiers of the Israeli judiciary.
We know that genuine halachically viable solutions to the agunah problem are hard to come by and might not even be within our grasp. But we also know the agunah problem can be functionally solved in practice, even if not in theory, and the solution is clear and obvious.
This short essay will develop five critical points for responding to the voices within the broader community that seek to accept and legitimize homosexual conduct, an activity that directly contradicts the dictates of halacha.
You may applaud the idea of ordaining women rabbis, or you may recoil in horror at the prospect, but the simple fact remains that women already serve the Orthodox world in clergy-like positions.
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