One of the obvious differences between man and animal is that man can curb his desires while animals cannot. Put food in front of an animal, and it will eat it. Nothing to think about. It cannot resist.
But man thinks. Is this food going to be good for me? Is it healthy? Does it have too much fat? No matter how desirable the food looks, he may decide not to eat it. In fact, the more intelligent a person is, the more discerning he will be.
A happily-married man finds himself attracted to another woman. Two options face him:
1) He reigns in his desire, walks by, and returns to his wife, resuming their happy marriage;
2) He gives in to his desire and takes up with this new woman, either leaving his wife or not.
If he chooses option 2, how should his decision be viewed? As unfortunate or fortunate? As a happy occurrence or an unhappy one? And what should the man himself think? If he winds up liking the second woman more than his wife, perhaps he’ll be happy. But should he be proud of what he did?
Human beings have desires. Nobody can deny that. Many even have dark innate desires. Fortunately, most of us hold these desires in check. People just cannot go around doing whatever they’d like.
A person may like his friend’s Lamborghini. He desires it, but before taking it, he thinks: There are laws forbidding taking something that isn’t his, and there are consequences if he breaks them. If he gives in to his desire, would we praise him? Certainly nobody would be proud of him.
Homosexuality exists. It is even mentioned in the Torah. But the Torah bans homosexual behavior as an “abomination.” Last month, New York hosted a pride parade. Almost a million people came out to celebrate. But what were they celebrating? What were they so proud of? What great feat did they perform? What accomplishment did they display that would make us proud of them?
They gave in to their innate desires. They didn’t hold back. Is that something to be proud of? I can see compassion, but – sorry – I don’t see pride.