A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.
Marriage is under assault again in this country, as fewer adults choose to tie the matrimonial knot while the Left continues to lend civil and economic credence to unions of same-sex partners.
According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of married adults in the U.S. has dropped steadily over the past few decades, from 72 percent in 1970 to around 54 percent last year. Part of that decline can be attributed to the delay in getting married, as people spend more time pursuing higher education and establishing themselves in their careers.
Additionally, a large component of this decline stems from the fact that many choose not to marry at all. And those who do are far less likely to remain wedded for the balance of their lives than in past decades.
In a recent CBS News poll, seven in ten Americans said the institution of marriage is weaker now than it was 20 years ago, despite the fact that research shows married people tend to live longer and are generally healthier, wealthier, and happier.
The reasons for this shift are many, including the sense that many of the traditional benefits” of marriage – companionship, financial security, the ability to have and raise children – can be achieved in today’s society without the so-called burdens of a longstanding relationship.
Of course, the question is not merely whether to wed or not to wed. In recent years, the question has increasingly centered on the fundamental definition of marriage as the civil union of a man and a woman.
To date, five states and the District of Columbia have approved gay marriage, while others permit civil unions of same-sex partners. Under pressure from the White House, the military recently repealed its longstanding policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
President Obama advanced the cause even further when he crossed into the judicial realm by announcing the Executive Branch would no longer oppose court challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, a 15-year-old law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages for purposes of taxes, social security and other programs. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the law’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman is “unconstitutional.”
Naturally, the administration’s position, not to mention its timing, came under fierce attack. Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, called the Justice Department’s decision to stop defending the law “the real politicization of the Justice Department,” lamenting that “the personal views of the president (can be made to) override the government’s duty to defend the law of the land.”
While politicians attacked the law largely for political considerations, organizations like the Agudah took exception to Obama’s decision on religious and moral grounds, calling it, among other things, “a provocative step toward undermining our nation’s traditional values and moral fiber.”
While one can certainly appreciate and unequivocally support the aforementioned position regarding same-sex marriage, one wonders why this issue regularly garners so much of our time and energy.
After all, in what sense does such legislation change the current reality? Certainly the absence of such legal backing has not served as much of a deterrent until now.
Further we live in a society that routinely flaunts norms and values wildly inconsistent with our Torah lifestyle. Why have our leaders seen fit to speak out publicly and repeatedly against this particular issue?
I believe the reason has nothing to do with attempting to impose any meaningful change on the status quo. Rather, it is because we maintain that recognizing and affirming same-sex marriage pose a fundamental threat to the very fabric of human society.
According to our tradition, non-Jews as well as Jews have found such anti-family conduct to be on a level of complete abhorrence, comparable to cannibalism.
Ulla said, [there] are thirty commandments [comprised in the seven Noachide precepts] which the sons of Noach took upon themselves, but they [only] observe three of them . They do not draw up a kesubah document for males, they do not weigh flesh of the dead in the market, and they respect the Torah.
[Chulin 92a-b] Obviously, this in no respect implies the nations of the world have historically abstained from homosexual practices. To the contrary, it was a central element of many ancient civilizations. Still, they stopped short of legitimizing their desires in the form of marriage.
By contrast, the fact that in this country same-sex marriage has found recent support in the courts and the executive branch has lent credence to such abhorrent behavior as a valid and legally sanctioned form of conduct, absent of shame or stigma. In the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, writing his dissenting opinion in the case of Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the homosexual agenda is “directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally been attached to (such) conduct.”
The Torah refers to marriage as kiddushin, a sacred, natural bond between man and woman that has the unique potential to bring a distinct sense of purpose and completeness to both partners.
It is for the sake of preserving a strong sense of kiddushin, and all the benefits – physical and spiritual, personal and communal – it engenders, that our leaders have chosen to continuously speak out against same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage is not merely another offensive item in the American cultural landscape. Rather, it threatens the very core of our value system, by which we make sense of our world and our place in it. As such, there can be absolutely no room for compromise in this area.
Let us hope that the ongoing efforts of our leaders and activists will shift same-sex marriage back to the realm of moral opprobrium for years to come.
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff is Head of School at Torah Day School of Atlanta. He can be reached at email@example.com.
About the Author: Rabbi Naphtali Hoff is president of Impactful Coaching and Consulting (ImpactfulCoaching.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?
When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.
The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.
Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.
“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.
We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.
How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?
Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.
The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.
It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]
Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.
Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.
When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.
I can testify from experience, however, that despite such experience and/or training, top-tier leaders often begin their tasks unprepared for the rigors of their new position, particularly when the experience and training focused on instructional leadership (such as classroom observation and curriculum) rather than organizational stewardship and management.
Humility is perhaps the least understood quality a person may possess. Often it is perceived as a form of meekness, a reticence that stems from a lack of self-confidence or an unwillingness to stand up and assert oneself. But that is far from what true humility is.
Throughout the past week we have thanked Hashem for the improbable defeat of the powerful Seleucid forces by a small, untrained band of Jewish fighters. We also celebrated the story’s one open miracle, when the menorah’s lights burned for eight consecutive days following the Temple’s rededication.
The exchange was brief and simple in its content, yet profound in its implications.
One morning this past summer, I davened at a shul in Passaic, New Jersey. Passaic was our new home as of mid-July, following nearly a decade of school leadership in other communities. After tefillah, I opened a conversation with someone who had also just concluded his tenure as a principal out of state. He informed me he had left the field of education entirely and had moved to the tri-state area to go into business with a relative. In the course of our talk, he mentioned that another colleague, also young by comparative standards, was not returning to the school he had helped found out west.
Throughout our nation’s long history we have resided in countless countries and lived under numerous governmental regimes. For the most part, our existence in the diaspora has been difficult at best, intolerable at worst.
Earlier this month the London Games were all the rage. Tens of thousands descended upon Great Britain’s crown jewel to witness the Olympics and cheer for their respective countrymen.
After three-plus years of economic challenge and uncertainty, we remain anxious for positive news, the kind that will finally let us believe the worst is fully behind us. Unfortunately, the outlook for the 2012 global economy remains uninspiring: recession in Europe, anemic growth in the U.S. and a sharp slowdown in China and other emerging-market economies all weigh on economist forecasts.
Asara B’Teves, the 10th of Teves, commemorates the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar that ultimately culminated with the First Temple’s destruction on the 9th of Av the following year.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/in-defense-of-traditional-matrimony/2011/04/13/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: