LeviticUS? LeviticME.

I know the title of this post makes no sense whatsoever, but this is my blog so deal with it.  I’m guessing the rest of my post will be even more controversial than the title.

One of my biggest issues to date is how so many people choose to hang their hat on the “homosexual abomination” thing. Here’s a bit of a refresher: In Leviticus 18 (that’s sefer Vayikra, perek yud chet for those of you playing along at home and have never learned the “Bible”, but only the “Torah”) the following is said: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” At least once a week I come across some otherwise rational Orthodox Jew (usually on Facebook) who talks about the toevah of homosexuality.  Like it’s the pinnacle of sins. Like THIS is the one we have to wipe out.  THIS is the one we need to prevent our kids from ever knowing about.  THIS is the one we need to force OTHER people not to do. And the question is…why?  is it because it falls into the “toevah” (abomination) realm? Sure, we can act all high and mighty and say that.  I’m not going to go into what’s a toevah and what isn’t because I honestly don’t know enough to discuss this without serious research and honestly I’m not enough of a good Jew to care right now.  I will continue to argue until my last breath that the reason people make such a big deal about this is because it’s something they’re uncomfortable with.

In my opinion the people who argue the most about this issue fall into three major categories:

  1. Mr. Uber Straight who has to prove to the world how straight he is and who would balk at the concept of the Kinsey Scale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinsey_scale) because no thank you- this man WILL never understand how a man can be attracted to another man..that’s just…yuch….disgusting….how can you even….ugh….barf. (The lady doth protest too much methinks?).

2.The naive girl (or boy) who by no fault of her own can’t even begin to understand how it is possible for an orthodox person even to be gay (like physically possible)?  And if they are…well….HOW? And….what about the aveira…? How….?

  1. People who don’t know any gay people personally.  I mean really know.  I mean in a way that stops making gay people “others”.  I can’t tell you how many people I know who have changed their views on homosexuality because they REALLY got to know a gay person.  It’s very difficult to push people into a category of people who you want to be punished (even if it’s by G-d) if you know them and recognize the struggles they go through every day.

Why are so many people able to have the “live and let live” attitude when it comes to people violating shabbos? Eating non-kosher? We don’t go into these people’s kitchens to find out exactly how they’re eating, we don’t ask questions. We let people make this decision for themselves and let them decide how they want to deal with G-d and this matter.  Why can’t it be the same with homosexuality? Why can’t people say “this is between this person and G-d”? It’s because people are uncomfortable with the topic at hand.  No other reason.

Obviously as a parent of a child who identifies as LGBT makes me extremely sensitive to this issue.  If you aren’t a parent of a child who identifies as LGBT maybe pretend you are.  Or a sibling.  Or a child.  Or a friend. Realize that what you think is concern that you are showing for a fellow Jew isn’t actually concern.  If it was, you’d be up at night worrying about how G-d will be punishing all of the sabbath violators, eaters of non-kosher, and people who aren’t honest in business.  What you’re feeling is at best, discomfort.  At worst, homophobia.

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