YnetNews has published another article in a long series of articles on gays in Israel. I am not quite sure why they keep on broadcasting this smut but its really starting to bug me. This one's about OUT magazine publishing pickup lines for Israeli gays, coming after one calling for Jews to accept homosexuality (right after accepting chillul shabbat, of course) and about a website for "religious" gays. These come after the mayor of Tel Aviv pledged to promote gay tourism in Israel.
It sickens me to my stomach to believe that in the land of Sodom and Gomorah, there are calls for more gay tourism, gay "Pride" parades and gay acceptance. Israel is not the United States, it is not Europe, it is not Las Vegas. The Holy Land cannot tolerate this kind of debauchery. The Torah is very explicit: "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: I am the LORD your God. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their statutes... Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination... Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things; for in all these the nations are defiled, which I cast out from before you. And the land was defiled, therefore I did visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land vomited out her inhabitants. Ye therefore shall keep My statutes and Mine ordinances, and shall not do any of these abominations; neither the home-born, nor the stranger that sojourneth among you-- for all these abominations have the men of the land done, that were before you, and the land is defiled-- that the land vomit not you out also, when ye defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. For whosoever shall do any of these abominations, even the souls that do them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep My charge, that ye do not any of these abominable customs, which were done before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 18:2-3,22,24-30). The Canaanites who inhabited the land before the Jews were known for their promiscuity and debauchery. They worshipped their idols by way of sacred prostitution, child sacrifice and orgies, both heterosexual and homosexual. The land could not tolerate such sinful and perverse behaviour and the seven nations of Canaan were vomited out. If we continue to indulge in these evil things, our fate will be, G-d forbid, similar.
Unfortunately, the issue of homosexuality is not dealt with properly, with respect and compassion by the religious community. Sexual orientation should never be a reason to ostracize someone. At the same time, there is a widespread acceptance in both the religious and secular community of the gay activist claim that "gays are just born that way", which is unsupported by any scientific proof. G-d is not cruel enough to create someone in a way that is fundamentally opposed to His Will. Maimonides teaches: "Free will is bestowed on every human being. If one desires to turn towards the good way and be righteous he has the power to do so. If one wishes to turn towards the evil way and be wicked, he is at liberty to do so." (Laws of Repentance 5:1) Consequently this true, free will, described by Maimonides, is decisively all-powerful. Yet, in the laws relating to Moral Disposition and Ethical Conduct, Maimonides admits that: "Every human being is characterized by numerous moral dispositions...exceedingly divergent. One man is choleric, always hot tempered; another sedate, never angry...one is a sensualist whose lusts are never gratified; another is so pure that he does not even long for the few things that our physical nature needs...stingy, generous, cruel, merciful, and so forth." (Laws of Ethical Conduct 1:1) Maimonides adds: "Of all the various dispositions, some belong to one from the beginning of his existence and correspond to his physical constitution." (Ibid:2) True free will comes from choosing to overcome your physical desires and lusts.
Nonetheless, no one should be expected to live their life with unwanted urges or desires. To this, the Torah offers a brilliant solution. The Talmud (Avodah Zorah 3a) teaches that "ain HaKodosh Boruch Hu bo bitranina aim bitraninav" , the Holy One, Blessed be He, does not play tricks on His creations. Says Bar Kapparah (Nedarim 51a), "toeivah", abomination (Lev. 18:22) means "to'eh ata ba", "your have strayed from her." The verse is saying that the person with same-sex desires become lost because of it! The possiblity of teshuva is always open! In fact, there are organizations in Israel and the United States devoted to helping those who want to heal unwanted same-sex attractions like JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homsexuality) or Atzat Nefesh. Change is possible. G-d created sexuality holy and it is forbidden to defile it. The first covenant that G-d made with Avraham was the brit milah which begins with circumcision but continues with sexual morality.
G-d's desire is clear: "You shall be holy, for holy am I, HaShem your God" (Vayikra 19:2). Holiness is a prerequisite to HaShem being our G-d. The choice is ours. Let us strive for holiness.