We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.
To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.
Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.
Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.
This letter is written to any bochur or yungerman (unmarried or married young man) who experiences Same Sex Attraction (SSA), as well as to parents, roshei yeshiva, rebbeim and friends of such persons.
I hope and pray to the Ribbono Shel Olam that Jews and others who experience SSA will be spared the suffering that I have endured.
By way of background: I am now well into adult life and a father of several children. Before I switched to a major yeshiva in Brooklyn, I attended a yeshiva that is headed by talmidim of Rabbi Aharon Kotler, zt’l. By the time I left yeshiva, I had been married for a year, and my wife and I were already parents.
My yeshiva experience was a source of great happiness for me, contrary to my home life. My mother was an overbearing presence in my life. As one of several children, it is I who became my mother’s right hand man (maid?), and only in my late teens did I actually began to build a close relationship with my father. He died shortly thereafter. I did not cease mourning for him until April 2006
I’ve always been sensitive-natured (as to the needs and feeling of others); I was never athletic, which caused me to be excluded, and even ridiculed, by my peer group. The element of an over engaged mother, an emotionally absent father, a sensitive personality and peer rejection, are ingredients that are the seeds of homosexual behavior in some boys and men.
In my single years I was certain that after I married, the attraction that I had for men would go away. As is the case with many SSA men, the attraction did not diminish but only grew stronger. No one in the therapy world at the time could explain that my body and brain were signaling my need for legitimate male companionship and friendship. After four years of marriage, I gave up the fight with my yetzer hora and started seeking men.
While I never crossed the line into the behavior categorically forbidden by the Torah, the personal loss of kedushas haguf (personal sanctity) is beyond retelling. I was helpless to stop myself. One of the therapists I saw over the years encouraged me to simply accept who “I was” and “live with it.”
Just when my despair was at its lowest, some web-related research led me to Kedusha.com – and finally to JONAH, whose activities and guidance have given me back my life. Through suggested therapy and books, I came to the realization that my homosexual desires were not ends in themselves but symptoms of a man who had lost his masculinity – and in my case, longed for his father. The more I recognized and acknowledged what the symptoms were telling me, the more the behavior decreased.
The pivotal moment came at a Journey into Manhood (JIM) weekend that I attended in early April 2006. The event is sponsored by an organization called People Can Change (PCC), www.peoplecanchange.com. Though it is a non-religious organization, there was over a minyan of Jews at the event, most of them Sabbath observant.
Coming face to face with the fears that drove my earlier behavior empowered my transformation from frightened boy to courageous man. My low self-esteem that had permitted the undesired behaviors in the first place was gradually swept away. I formed lifetime, healthy friendships with men who are also seeking a path to complete recovery.
I was finally able to come to grips with the loss of the father I knew and to realize that, despite his absence, he loved me very much and was proud of the young man I had become before his death.
I learned that touching another man could be done in a way that is healthy, holy and noble. The Torah speaks openly of such touching, as with Dovid and Yehonasan (related in the Book of Samuel). Their friendship is described in Ethics of the Fathers as a pure love, untainted by desire for reward.
The so-called “gay-lobby” and “gay rights” people would have us believe that homosexuality is normal and that there actually is such an entity as a homosexual. One of my rebbeim taught that the source for all language is in the Torah, where no such word exists – even as the behavior is condemned. In the English language the word did not exist until the mid-19th century. The fact is there is no such entity or identity as a “gay?” person. The behaviors are a matter of choice, though sometimes driven by intense desire.
Even in the frum world some believe that there is a genetic basis to the condition. In reality, there is no evidence to that effect. When the American Psychological Association (APA) removed homosexuality from the list of conditions considered worthy of treatment, they did so because of political pressure, not based on research. There are millions of people who have an attraction to members of their own sex, but there is no valid research that shows that they are a biological group in any sense of the term.
The Torah’s ways are pleasant. There is no way that G-d would give a person a biology that is diametrically opposed to the mitzvot G-d bids us to fulfill.
Anyone faced with this condition should not assume that he must live with homosexual longings indefinitely. Marriage is not the cure. The repair comes from within, knowing what the cravings are messaging. Please, L’ma’an HaShem (for G-d’s sake) do not accept what the gay community wants you to believe. Their interest lies in pandering to desires that fit in with a selfish worldview and is certainly not in line with the Torah’s teaching. Possessing a Jewish neshamah requires you to guard the sanctity of your life. There is a way to do so that will liberate one from SSA and actually enable the sufferer to have insight into his innermost needs.
Grateful to have found the holiness within