Skip to comments.Sorry, Rabbi Riskin and Rabbi Greenberg – Homosexual relations are not permitted by the Torah
Posted on 08/11/2017 5:48:57 PM PDT by SJackson
In an interview (in Hebrew) that was sharply criticized even by some rabbis who generally identify with him, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin opined that the Biblical prohibition on homosexual relations only applies to one who voluntarily chooses homosexuality, but that one who considers himself wired as homosexual and feels that he can only experience intimacy with another man is exempt from the prohibition. Rabbi Riskin applied the Talmudic axiom of ones Rachmana patreh that the Torah does not hold one accountable for an involuntary act as his source for this whopper of a heter (halachic leniency).
Rabbi Riskins position was celebrated by Rabbi Steven Greenberg, who refers to himself as the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi. In a new Times of Israel post entitled Homosexuality and the Human Condition, Rabbi Greenberg quotes Rabbi Riskins words from a 1993 Jerusalem Post article:
How can we deny a human being the expression of his physical and psychic being? If theres a problem with the kettle, blame the manufacturer. Is it not cruel to condemn an individual from doing that which his biological and genetic makeup demand that he do? The traditional Jewish response would be that if indeed the individual is acting out of compulsion, he would not be held culpable for his act.
Other liberal Orthodox rabbis have suggested the same approach as Rabbi Riskin; his idea is not new. But it is fatally flawed and is squarely invalidated by the Talmud itself.
In discussing intimacy under compulsion, the Talmud (Yevamos 53b) states that one who plays an active role in such relations (i.e. the male role) is not deemed to be in a state of Ones (involuntary action) and is thus fully subject to the sexual prohibition at hand. This principle is undisputed and is the codified Halacha. (See Maimonides Hil. Isurei Biah 1:9.)
Hence, Rabbi Riskin and others who invoked ones Rachmana patreh to permit homosexual relations are wholly in error and are contradicted by the Talmud and all halachic codes. This important point needs to be made.
Furthermore, how could Rabbi Riskin and others sincerely believe that this gaping-hole exception exists, in light of the fact that it is totally absent from the Talmud, all subsequent halachic codes and all writings of rabbinic commentators? Such a massive exception would surely have appeared in large print, so to say, in the canonical sources of Jewish Law.
Another liberal Orthodox rabbi this week penned Why This Orthodox Rabbi Marched for Pride in Jerusalem, in which he defended his participation in the Holy Citys Pride Parade. In an attempt to divorce the homosexual act from the Torahs classifying it as a Toeivah, an abomination (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13), this rabbi quoted one of the homiletic interpretations of the Talmud (Nedarim 51a), which explains that the Hebrew word Toeivah signifies toeh atah bah you are going astray with it (the act of homosexual intimacy). It is crystal clear from the Mefarshim (Commentators), and from a reading of the Talmudic passage itself, that the homiletic play on words does not at all replace the Torahs branding of the homosexual act as an abomination, but that it rather comes to provide additional insight.
Several other liberal Orthodox rabbis likewise endorsed and/or marched in the recent gay pride parade; please see here and here. These rabbis are all members of Torat Chayim, the Open Orthodox clergy organization (Facebook page), and most of them are connected to Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT the Open Orthodox rabbinical school), either as members of its Advisory Board, as lecturers at its programs, or as graduates.
The balance between unapologetically standing up for the Torahs position on homosexual acts while at the same time embracing the Torahs mandate of compassion is beautifully captured by Rav Aharon Feldman in his famous letter about homosexuality; please click on the link and read the letter. Please also see Rav Feldmans comprehensive analysis in his article, The Torah View of Homosexuality.
Continuing along its trajectory of attempting to impose the values of secular society onto the values of the Torah, liberal Orthodox/Open Orthodox clergy has sadly blown away a major section of the fence of Halacha by effectively canceling the Torahs prohibition on the homosexual act and the Torahs value statement thereon. Open Orthodox leadership has already lobbied for legalizing gay marriage, and has suggested that sensual gay acts other than intercourse, and marital unions that do not use the word marriage, may be acceptable (in contravention of Halacha and Torah values). This latest development of actually permitting homosexual intercourse was predictably the next major breach.
Its time to say to Open Orthodoxy, toeh atah bah you have gone astray and should seek to return. Torah values must be derived from the Torah and not from secular society; Torah observance must come from an objective commitment to the halachic codes and their traditional interpretation rather than from creative suggestions that contradict Halacha; Torah life must be one of surrender to the Will of God and not to the will of man.
The lengths that some people will go through to lie to themselves and others so they can continue sodomizing each other.
I read the whole Torah carefully, and gay male sex is definitely and specifically prohibited.
Otoh, lesbian sex is not mentioned.
In other words, another clergyman defending his own predilections. How will the Jewish race ever “increase and multiply and fill the earth” if they follow this gay Pied Piper?
“Is it not cruel to condemn an individual from doing that which his biological and genetic makeup demand that he do?”
A murderer might argue the same thing. The Torah is an instruction manual, e.g., Ten Commandments, not Ten Suggestions. I would expect that any exceptions to something so emphatically and repeatedly forbidden would have been made clear in the text, not suddenly discovered some 4000 years later.
Bump for Later.
The logic on adultery should be exactly the same. This rabbi seems to say that if you choose to fool around even though you are not attracted to anyone outside your marriage, that is a sin - but if you really really want to have sex with a person you are not married to, then it’s okay.
it truly is amazing how some men cannot keep their urges under control, and cannot help putting his penis up where the feces comes out, and then state how normal they are!!!
Truly sick some people are.
Is Shlomo a Homo?
When I read that I thought Jeff Dahmer. Yes, that argument for homosexuality as an inate human impulse would apply to a number of impulses. Including murder.
Rabbi Steven Greenberg, who refers to himself as the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi.
Rabbi Steven Greenberg, who refers to himself as the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi.
That's true, there's no direct prohibition so it's less controversial. There are Rabbinic concerns. Particularly regarding long term relationships which interfere with procreation.
Just to be clear, not the author but the Rabbis he's criticizing. Yes, that logic would seem to legitimize any human behaivior stemming from a human "impulse". Which effectively delegitimizes not just the Torah, but most moral decisions and much of western legal systems.
Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 specifically apply here:
"There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death."
I am an Evangelical Zionist but make this personal observation: There’s as many homosexuals in Judaism today as there are ants at a typical church picnic
Today’s left has dismissed the idea that there is virtue in resisting superficial impulses. As I see it, they are missing one of the fundamental core concepts in the Bible/Torah. It’s not terribly important spiritually if you are a vegetarian Jew who abstains from pork. Similarly, it’s not morally significant if you have no sex drive and avoid adultery. Neither form of restraint asks anything of the individual; both people are still putting themselves first.
A “cafeteria Christian”, or the same type of pick-and-choose Jew, one who follows scripture only when it’s what they want anyways, is doing what they would do with no religious guidance at all. Whatever spiritual beliefs they have are not affecting their lives. In the real world, we are all asked (commanded) to do many things, and for each of us that includes hard choices where divine guidance conflicts with our individual desires. The specifics vary among individuals, but all of us have urges that go against what we are told by the law and the prophets.
I know someone very well who has stolen extremely expensive items and exceptionally cheap items many in his past. He gets a kick out of pocketing that “free” candy bar or the flash drive with sensitive proprietary information. He says it’s a daily struggle not to take things that are not being watched, but as far as I know he’s successfully gone several years without even one theft. That’s an accomplishment for him, while for me it would mean nothing. “Do not steal” - he follows that because he now understands that it is a commandment, and that matters.
Whether the issue is stealing, anger, lust, homosexuality, or something else, it is good for us to allow God’s word to guide our lives, especially when that leads to a different path than we would choose on our own. Who would have guessed that God would know best?
I’m not Jewish, but it seems even clearer for them that sex between men is prohibited. Christians that want to make up their own morality simply fit those parts of the Old Testament into “the law” that Jesus changed.
Riskin’s always been a lefty. I think he’s an “animal righter,” too.
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