Thursday, June 8, 2017

Is Mere Attraction Wrong?

One hears people saying "According to the Torah there is nothing wrong with a man being attracted to a man as long as he doesn't act on it".

Maybe a different torah but not Toras Moshe [not the Yeshiva - the Bible]. 

There is something very wrong with a man being attracted to another man. There is also something very wrong with a man being attracted to a woman [natural but wrong] other than his wife [that is a tough one..].

Our mandate is קדושים תהיו - Be Holy. Being holy means that our focus is on our soul and not our base inclinations - unless in the context of marriage and at the right time and place. It doesn't mean to repress sexuality. It means to harness it to enhance one's marital bond. Outside of that system it is not holy. Not same sex attraction and not opposite sex attraction. Just about everybody is attracted to others. The question is how we deal with it. 

So for a straight guy it means he guards his eyes from gazing at women and makes sure not to have illicit thoughts. Not that he spends all day thinking about not thinking about women. But that he spends all day busy with material and spiritual pursuits so that he doesn't have the leisure to think about unholy things. If he slips - WE ARE ALL HUMAN. HASHEM UNDERSTANDS THAT BECAUSE HE MADE US. But we may not do any less than our best. 

For those who sadly and unfortuantely aren't straight, it means focusing on other things - in the meantime. There is a hotly contested debate whether reparative therapy helps but there is no reason not to try given that so many claim that it does help and that same sex attraction stems from unresolved emotional issues. If the therapy doesn't help then it is not the end of the world. We got through Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, we can get through this. It is difficult and painful and I can't even begin to imagine what such people go through and I am not cavelierly dismissing their very real intense pain and struggle - but wrong doesn't become right because a guy is attracted to another guy. 

The basic, fundamental question is - Does G-d really say that it is wrong and abominable? Those who believe that G-d revealed Himself to Moshe and gave him the Torah have to accept that it is wrong - despite the pain and difficulty for those inclined towards members of their own gender. Others who deny the Torah - well then there is no basis for morals so then EVERYTHING becomes permitted. That is a scary notion. Pedophilia can be justified if there is no Divine moral truth. If a guy likes it then why not? It causes other people pain? Yes, well he can say it is painful for him NOT to do it so why should he suffer. No G-d - everything has an answer and justification. 

The Nazis thought they were swell people. They were ridding the world of vermin [not to mention "Ehrman". Thank G-d that Bubby, Zeide and my Pop got out of there RIGHT ON TIME!!!] The radical Muslims think they are swell people - they are cleansing the world of the infidels [and they have such sweet gentle ways of doing it. Like, 9/11 just brought out their deeper more compassionate nature].  If there is no just, loving G-d who revealed Himself at Sinai then one can make anything up and perpetrate the greatest evils.  

In my lifetime I have witnesssed a dramatic change in the moral code of Western culture. For example, when I was younger, permarital sex was considered wrong. Today, just about the only American couple that is together for the first time on their wedding night had a chuppah and sheva brachos at their wedding i.e. religious Jews [and maybe some religious Christians and Muslims. Maybe]. What changed? In my youth - people weren't PROUD to be homosexual. They just were and often worked hard to hide it. Today - it is almost a badge of honor. "We're so proud of you Jonny for being gay and coming out of the closet." What is there to be proud of? The world has changed. 

So we get to make a choice: Do we want to live a life faithful to eternal values which allows our soul to connect to the source of life and existence, the source of love and goodness - or do we want to detach ourselves from life and live a soulless existence predicated on a moral system that just came into being in the last few years and will certainly change in the coming years [scary thought].    

I will give my vote - ואתם הדבקים בה' אלוקיכם חיים כולכם היום. Choose life. Not the temporal, filled with disappointement and impurity sort of life which is really death disguised as life - but TRUE, LASTING LIFE.  

[An amusing story - a transgender male dressed as a woman was on a panel with a conservative [small '"c"] religious Jew. At one point the conservative called the transgender "sir". The guy/girl proceeded to put his hand on the other fellows neck and ON NATIONAL TELEVISION threatened to send him home in an ambulance. The man later remarked that a] ambulances don't take people home. And b] the behavior was very unlady like.... I don't know if he [the Jew] realized that the transgender had actually proved his opponents point. You can have all the surgeries in the world but a guy remains a guy and a lady remains a lady. That is why this guy who wanted to be a lady resorted to very male-like behavior when he felt threatened].