Saturday, March 22, 2008

You Shall be Holy!

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 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.


Yehudi said...

Fantastic post, achi! It needed to be said, and there needs to be alot more sdaid about it. I have attended a Conservative shul for a long time, but have recently switched to Orthodox/Chabad because the Conservative movement has recently allowed men/women who are openly homosexual into the rabbinate. That was the final straw for me. How far will we disregard the commandments of G-d before He drops the hammer? How far do we stray before He executes His Holy Judgement?

Have a great Passover, BK!

Rita Loca said...

We certainly agree on this!!

Deborah said...

Well said! Amen!

Progressive Pinhead said...

I saw your comment on my post on Tibet. What are your feelings about the use of violence by the Tibetan resistance?

Avi said...

I know that this is a loaded question. You're trying to trap me with a flawed comparison between China's brutal occupation of Tibet and Israel in Judea and Samaria.

To be honest, the Tibetans have every right to resist China violently. I have nothing against violence, as long as it is within reason (no suicide bombings, no murdering students) and civilians should not be intentionally killed if there is no military value to it (but if they are killed as collateral damage, such is war). Of course, as a Jew, I have no tolerance for tyranny, especially of the Communist variety.

Progressive Pinhead said...

I would agree with that attacks on civilians absolutely contradict and standard of morality. However, I don't think that it is fair to lump all Tibetans or all Palestinians who use violence together. Civilians have been attacked by both Palestinians and Tibetans, but that cannot be held against groups who use violence against military targets but do not target civilians.

What about non-violent demonstrators. Just like China Israel regularly attacks non-violent demonstrators in the West Bank. If you have no tolerance for tyranny then how can you stand silent when Israel attacks non-violent demonstrators (many of whom are Jews) at Bi'lin on a weekly basis?

Progressive Pinhead said...

Do you think that this was disrespectful to the Jewish faith?

Avi said...

Would you mind sending me a link about Israel's attack on non-violent protesters? I doubt it very much- the Arabs don't understand non-violence.

Quite simply, Israel belongs to the Jews and Tibet to the Tibetans. That is why it I oppose the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the Arab occupation of Judea and Samaria.

I'm not quite sure why John McCain's visit to the Kotel would be offensive. The prophet Isaiah refered to the Temple as "a house of prayer for all nations". As well, when King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, he specifically asked God to heed the prayer of non-Jews who come to the Temple (1-Kings 8:41-43). The article did make one mistake, though. The Kotel is NOT Judaism's holiest site. The holiest site is the Temple Mount, of which the Kotel is the remains of a defensive wall. Jews are forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount by the Islamic wakf.

Progressive Pinhead said...

Yes, of course, here's a few, there are many more if you just do a Google search or look it up on Youtube

Progressive Pinhead said...

What legitimizes Israel as a Jewish state?

Avi said...

Its quite possible. Angry Arabs screaming at Israeli soldiers--- sounds like a recipe for disaster. It is such a shame that we need to build walls in Israel. We wanted out of the ghetto in the 1800s. Jews should not need to live in fear in Israel.

YA, what legitimizes France as a French state or Saudi Arabia as an Arab and Muslim state? It belongs to us by political, religious and historical right.

Progressive Pinhead said...

The last Jewish state in the area was destroyed almost 2,000 years ago. If that is any precedent then you have no right to live in Canada because it was inhabited by a different people 2,000 years ago.

As far as the religious aspect: you know as well as I that Zionism started as a secular imperialistic project. It was initially opposed by religious Jews. Furthermore, the religious argument isn't very persuasive for people who don't believe in the religion that it came from. Imagine if every religion made a claim to a certain piece of land because they all had some religious justification.

Do you really think being screamed at is justification for shooting someone? Its the Palestinians that live in the ghetto. Did you know that the last surviving leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising has said that the Palestinians are the heirs to his struggle? I don't mean to demean the sufferings of Israeli civilians who do live in fear, but what is happening to the Israelis right now is nothing compared to what is happening to the Palestinians.

WomanHonorThyself said...

great work Bar..the PC machine wants us all to believe anything goes..most homoesexuals were molested as children..its a fact ..whether they like it or think of how many thousands are being hurt in this way..its appalling!

Brooke said...

Young activist is an anti-Semitic buffoon. He will try to tell you that Jews are vicious to the poor, defenseless and peaceful Islamists and Israel has no right to exist, as if you will suddenly decide to be secular because he ignores the fact that the UN which he holds so dear sanctioned Israel's statehood.

Unfortunately, the S&G thing happens when secularism takes over the government.

Progressive Pinhead said...

I am not even going to honor that petty, baseless name-calling ith a response other then to challenge you to find one thing I have said to back up anything you just said.

Avi said...

YA, if you believe that the Jews were expelled in 70 CE and then showed up 2000 years later demanding their home back, you are a fool. Jews have maintained a constant presence in Israel and have often times sought to reestablish settlements there. Look up Dona Grazia or read some of the writing of Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi.

Zionism originally was supported by religious Ashkenazim but when it became anti-religious, many regarded the movement with suspicion. Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews (Oriental), however, never had any religious opposition to Zionism. The father of religious Zionism was the Rav Kook, whose yeshiva was attacked a few weeks ago. It was hardly imperialistic. Whose flag were the Jews planting- the anti-semitic Czar's, or maybe that of Poland which they were fleeing? Zionism is a national liberation movement, based on the idea that every people is entitled to self-determination. I see no reason why such a right should not extend to Jews.

Progressive Pinhead said...

BK, you know that anti-semitic individuals supported establishing a Jewish state as a way of getting the Jews out of their own countries. You acknowledge this fact on your sidebar. While I'm on the subject of anti-semitics. I challenge everyone here to either find one ant-semitic thing I have ever said or tell all of your friends that I am not anti-semitic.

Relgious Zionists did exist, but they were a distinct minority among the early Zionists. Kook was almost alone in this.

Native Americans still maintain a presence in Canada. Does that mean that you don't have a right to live in Canada?

Just like Christians and Muslims Jews belong to a common religious group, not a common national group.

You still haven't addressed the earlier points that I made either in my previous comment here or on my blog.

Avi said...

A common misperception is that all the Jews were forced into the Diaspora by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E. and then, 1,800 years later, suddenly returned to Palestine demanding their country back. In reality, the Jewish people have maintained ties to their historic homeland for more than 3,700 years.

The Jewish people base their claim to the Land of Israel on at least four premises: 1) the Jewish people settled and developed the land; 2) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people; 3) the territory was captured in defensive wars and 4) God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham.

Even after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the beginning of the exile, Jewish life in the Land of Israel continued and often flourished. Large communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the ninth century. In the 11th century, Jewish communities grew in Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea.

The Crusaders massacred many Jews during the 12th century, but the community rebounded in the next two centuries as large numbers of rabbis and Jewish pilgrims immigrated to Jerusalem and the Galilee. Prominent rabbis established communities in Safed, Jerusalem and elsewhere during the next 300 years. By the early 19th century — years before the birth of the modern Zionist movement — more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout what is today Israel.1 The 78 years of nation-building, beginning in 1870, culminated in the reestablishment of the Jewish State.

Israel's international "birth certificate" was validated by the promise of the Bible; uninterrupted Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward; the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration; the United Nations partition resolution of 1947; Israel's admission to the UN in 1949; the recognition of Israel by most other states; and, most of all, the society created by Israel's people in decades of thriving, dynamic national existence.

But why should Israel require a recognition of its 'right to exist' from you or from anyone? Does anybody question the US's right to exist, or that of Sudan, Saudi Arabia or France?

“Nobody does Israel any service by proclaiming its 'right to exist.'

Israel's right to exist, like that of the United States, Saudi Arabia and 152 other states, is axiomatic and unreserved. Israel's legitimacy is not suspended in midair awaiting acknowledgement....

There is certainly no other state, big or small, young or old, that would consider mere recognition of its 'right to exist' a favor, or a negotiable concession.”

— Abba Eban

Jews are not simply a religious group like Christian or Muslims. There is no Christian nation. There is a Jewish nation as we are a religio-national group. Judaism is entirely based on the Land of Israel and many of the mitzvot are dependant on it. There is no Judaism without Israel. Here are some Torah quotes:

Living in the Land of Israel is equivalent to fulfilling all the commandments of the Torah (Nachmanides on Leviticus 18:25).

See how dear the Land of Israel is before the Holy One Blessed Be He, that most of the commandments are determined there (Batei Midrashot 1).

All troubles befall Israel because they do not seek the Land of Israel (Midrash Tehillim 17).

I don't see your point in claiming that anti-semitics supported a Jewish state. That is a historical fact. At the early stages of Nazi plans, when all Jewish organization were shut down, Zionist organization were still allowed. The Nazis wanted all of the Jews to go to Israel. And now the world wants us out of Israel. It seems to me that the world isn't happy wherever we go. I'm starting to think that they do no like us very much...

I do not think that you are an anti-semite, just extremely naive. Some of your statements are borderline anti-semitic like your 'ZioNazi' Holocaust references (ghettos), your demonization of Israel by comparing it to Apartheid or Chinese dictatorships or your portrayal of Israel as bloodthirsty and requiring Arab blood to satisfy itself. Of course, we also use Christian blood for matzot. But everybody should stop calling you an anti-semite.

Progressive Pinhead said...

I find it interesting that you say their are at least four premises, it makes it sound as if you are unsure of your own case. The four premises that you present are flawed. Settling and developing land gives you the right to be incorporated into the existing political establishment, it does not give you the right to sectarian self-determination. German immigrants to America, for example, had right to be incorporated into America, however they did not have a right to declare their own nation.

As you have said the international communitie's recognition of Israel has nothing to do with its right to exist (I should add here that I don't think that any nation has a right to exist as a sectarian state, but I do not contest Israel's right to exist). Furthermore, the international community had no right to give away other people's sovereignty.

You say that Israel captured it territory in defensive wars, but there is an inherent contradiction in this point. A nation cannot come into existence by defending its existence which has not been established yet.

Religious mandates have no validity in matters not concerning people of that religion.

My point in showing that Zionism had anti-Semitic support was in response to your rejection of Zionism as an imperialistic project because: "Whose flag were the Jews planting- the anti-semitic Czar's, or maybe that of Poland which they were fleeing"

You bring up the issue of Jews in Palestine before the advent of Zionism, but you fail to mention that most of these were anti-Zionists and many asked to be incorporated into the proposed Arab state at the time of Israel's independence. You also fail to mention indigenous Jewish communities in Iran and the Mahgreb which remain opposed to Zionism.

Israel's existence as a Jewish state is artificial and cannot legitimate itself.

You mention 154 nations that have axiomatic independence, does the independence of all the other nation's in the world hinge on some external factor?

If the Arab world has been so hostile to the Jewish people then why have they fled into the midst of Arab nations?

You say that without Israel their is no Judaism, are you suggesting that Judaism did not exist until 1948? At any rate, a commandment for the Jewish people to live in Israel does not bar them from sharing that land with other people of the region.