How to tell whether a rabbi or Jewish layman who advocates for “LGBTQs” is speaking of needing to treat “LGBTQs” with sympathy because he or she is motivated by Torah-based compassion — or by the “progressive” Wokeness of the morally degenerate segments of the non-Jewish world imported into our culture?
The answer is easy as “B.” Just “B.”
Even the most morally pure married Orthodox man may, at some point in his life, observe a woman besides his wife with whom he wishes he could consort, at least once. Maybe more than once and maybe more than one woman. But he never ever would act on that impulse because the Torah commands him to restrain that impulse, much as the Torah compels him to restrain the impulse to eat non-kosher, to steal or rob, or to break Shabbat to watch Aaron Judge pursue baseball history, and so on.
If he — or a woman similarly desirous of intimacy with a man forbidden to her — begs for sympathy, what can we tell them? If seeking pastoral care in private, OK. But, to some degree, his or her therapist or spiritual advisor might tell him or her to “take a ticket and await your turn in line.” The desire is common, but there is no room in Judaism for more than a sympathetic sigh and guidance to righteous behavior for such a man or woman who, although in a committed relationship with someone permitted, yearns also to be intimate with someone forbidden.
“But I am drawn to this married man or woman, and his or her marriage is falling apart anyway. But I am drawn to this non-Jewish man or woman, and he or she has a Jewish grandfather. But my spouse never will find out.” Sorry. We can’t help you. What other response are you expecting?
This is Judaism 101. Actually, it is basic grade school Judaism. It even is in the Aseret haDibrot (the “Ten Utterances,” which Christians call the “Ten Commandments”). There simply is no room to permit the obviously forbidden. But what if he can’t sleep, can’t eat over this unfulfilled passion? The Talmud explains we cannot assist his passion. What if he threatens suicide? We try talking sense to him, but we cannot conceivably entertain the thought of formally permitting adultery, intermarriage, prostitution, or any other forbidden intimacy just because he or she says he will kill himself otherwise. And if he or she does act on the forbidden and afterwards seeks our guidance and sympathy, we guide him or her to repentance.
In the alphabet soup acronym of “LGBTQIA+,” what does the letter “B” stand for? Bisexual — that is, someone who is attracted to permitted people of the opposite gender and also attracted to forbidden people of the same gender. Nu? So what’s the question?
We know the pseudo arguments that the Woke of the Left — including the non-Orthodox “Open Orthodox” rabbinate of women and men — make to advocate for homosexual men and lesbians: “If we don’t stand behind them, they will kill themselves / They were born this way / Etc.” But what conceivable Judaic argument can be made for advocating for bisexuals who, by their own admission and self-definition, are as drawn to permitted relationships as to the forbidden? Like them, heterosexuals are bidden to control desires. No bending the rules to accommodate threats of suicide. Bisexuality is a phenomenon that deserves no conceivable sympathy of any kind.
Yet the petitions, “open letters,” Open Orthodox “rabbinical letters and statements” abound for the “LGBTQ” community. Note the “B.”
When people — especially “Open Orthodox rabbis” who, by self-definition, exist as a group outside normative authentic Orthodoxy — sign a petition for “LGBTQ” people, focus on the “B.”
How can they include the “B”? There is no conceivable Judaic basis to advocate for bisexuals — any more than for heterosexuals yearning for the forbidden — other than a knee-jerk, unthinking parroting of Woke, “progressive,” contra-Judaic and non-Jewish rallying cries. It reflects an unthinking signing on to the non-Jewish world’s Woke lead, not an honestly contemplative wrestling with halakhah (Jewish law, tradition, values, and customs).
Not that Judaism can permit homosexuality or lesbianism either. It never will. But bisexuality is such a non-starter that it is included in the acronym only because we now live in a completely immoral Western society where anything goes and attracts support, money, and defenders. Shamelessly, arrogantly the advocates expect to change 3,300 years of Judaism to accommodate a generation of brazen immorality, to fit in with the virtue signalers and often to save their jobs.
We Jews proudly are a nation tht stands alone (B’midbar/ Bamidbar / Numbers 23:9). Their ways are not our ways. The ways of the “Open Orthodox” woman and men rabbis are not our ways either. Not when they advocate for intermarriage understanding. Not when they themselves marry female Reform rabbis or cantors as spouses. Not when they bring their children to department store Santa Clauses.
The ways of the “progressives” and the Woke and the “Open Orthodox”are not our ways. They merely parrot the Left around them without even pausing to think about the statements they are signing.
It is as simple as “B.”
Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer is Senior Contributing Editor at The American Spectator, adjunct professor of law at two prominent Southern California law schools, Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, Rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California, and has held prominent leadership roles in several national rabbinic and other Jewish organizations including Zionist Organization of America and regional boards of the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation. He was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerked for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and served six years on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His writings have appeared in Newsweek, National Review, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Los Angeles Times, Federalist, Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom, and other major Jewish and Israeli Hebrew media. Other writings are collected at www.rabbidov.com. To attend any or all of Rav Fischer’s weekly 90-minute live Zoom classes on the Weekly Torah Portion, the Biblical Prophets, the Mishnah, Rambam Mishneh Torah, or Advanced Judaic Texts, send an email to: [email protected]