The Death of Gay Marriage

A response to this week's US Supreme Court decision. The Torah is explicit on the attitude to gays.

Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Hirsch

Judaism Aryeh Hirsch
Aryeh Hirsch

Note: This is part II of a two-part article. The link to the first article is below. However, the second part can stand on its own.

The Yesh Atid party recently “came out” with the pronouncement that it would not back a proposed law allowing civil marriages of Israelis who have a declared religion, if the law would not also allow civil marriage between homosexuals. Tzipi Livni, of the party of her own name, quickly seconded her support of such a bill, noting on Army Radio that “gaining state recognition for gay marriage is one of that community’s top goals”.

One can only guess what the rest of their goals are. Based on pronouncements by the likes of Dr. Aubrey de Grey (see my article on this website, “After the Death of Gay Marriage Part I”, April 18, 2013), one can assume that they are out to totally undermine traditional morality and the institution of the family.

In the light of the onslaught of this highly aggressive, media- savvy group, it would be wise to use Torah principles to dissect out the underlying problem with homosexuality, which the Torah describes as a fundamental “error “ and sin(as I describe in part I of this series). To do this, I have to give a summary of the book of Bamidbar (Numbers) as it appears in the teachings of one of our greatest contemporary Jewish thinkers, Rav Matis Weinberg:

Bamidbar starts with a description of the Machane, the encampment of the Jewish people in the desert. Poised to start a week’s long journey to enter the holy land, things go terribly wrong in Chapter 11. First, “and the nation were k’miton’nim” (verse 1). Rav Shimshon R. Hirsch explains that this reflexive verb, miton’nim, means that the Jews were mourning over themselves: they felt that by following the word of the Almighty, the Torah, they were sacrificing too much of themselves, of both their potential and actual being.

Shortly afterward, in verse 10, they ask for meat, saying that they miss the flesh that they ate in Egypt; our Sages comment that the flesh they missed, now that they were following Torah, was the human flesh of the forbidden sexual relationships, the Arayot.

This tells us the psychology of those who are destined to die in the desert of the Diaspora, never to reach the Promised Land. The generation of the desert wanted to be comfortable, both in their approach to Torah, and to physical comforts. The Sages relate that these Jews had run away from Mount Sinai like little children fleeing after the school bell dismisses them for the start of summer vacation; they wanted a fixed dogma within which they could comfortably cut out their own niche. They did not want what they got: an oral Law that pervaded every corner of their lives, provoking their mourning.

The desire for Arayot, says Rav Matis Weinberg, is the key. Arayot is one of the Chukim referred to in Parshat Chukat. Chukim are the Divine underlying principles with which G-d created the world. Like gravity in the physical world, we can never fathom why the Lord created a world in which Chukim are as they are. The Almighty could certainly have created a world in which the “g” of gravity, or Plank’s constant, or the nucleic acids of DNA, would have a different values than those in our Universe. Similarly, Man cannot know the reason why the Lord forbids Arayot- or why pork is forbidden, or the reason for any of the Chukim.

However, we are obligated to draw conclusions from the Chukim. And this Chok, Arayot , touches the deepest principles of the Creation. “Olam Chesed Yibaneh”, the Universe was created through chesed, or mercy (Psalms 89, 3). The Lord planted in Creation the evolutionary drive with which life explosively begets more and more life. It was this principle which pushed Abraham our Father to the idea that there must be a Creator, a Prime Mover of all this life. Furthermore, Abraham noted that all of Creation was related; the modern biological equivalent of his observations would be the amazing amount of DNA shared by living creatures, common cellular structures and functions, etc. He concluded, therefore, that all living creatures are of one kind; this “kindn-ess” led him to show kindness, or mercy, i.e. chesed, to all men, and all that lived.

One aspect of the evolutionary drive to life is found in Breishit (Genesis 2,24): “ Therefore a man is to leave his father and mother, and cling to his wife, that they be as one flesh”. A parental home is comfortable, not threatening; leaving it, one enters a world of endless possibilities, where the final results are not known in advance. But G-d did not want us sharing DNA with those with whom we already share DNA; expanding Creation requires that man seeks a mate in the world outside one’s family, in order to increase the diversity in nature. It’s obvious that consanguineous relations are not successful, leading to all sorts of genetic freaks or humans of lower capabilities. The Chok of Creation says we must not cohabitate with one with whom we are already “comfortable”, but with an outsider.

This leads to the prohibitions of Arayot and  homosexuality . Males socially  are more comfortable with males, and females with females, from an early age- until hormones provide the biologic capability and urge to procreate. Once again, the Chok of Chesed, of life begetting life, says that one is to cling to the different, not to the comfortable- as that does allow for further life. Homosexuality thus frustrates the very principles (Chukim) of Creation.

Interestingly, the Land of Israel, Torah and Arayot are all linked in this Chok that demands diversity instead of the comfortable. The comfort-seeking  miton’nim of the desert demanded a comfortable Torah; they wanted the comforts of Arayot; and they never entered the land of Israel.

Later in Jewish history, King Chizkiyahu (Chezekiah) was attacked by Sancheriv (Senacherib), King of Assyria. The Talmud relates the treachery of Chizkiyahu’s minister Shevna, who tried to hand over Jerusalem to the Assyrian in a comfortable peace arrangement. Shevna, a traitor against the land, was battling against Chezkiyahu, a pillar of Torah; moreover, the Talmud relates (Sanhedrin 26b) that “Shevna sought physical comforts”. Rashi comments: there are those who say that Shevna engaged in homosexual relationships.

In our days, the same camps are facing each other: comfortable Jews are seeking to buy their comfort by selling the Land of Israel to Arab terrorists. It won’t work, of course, but seekers of comfort have always, as we have seen with Shevna, been blind to the dangers of their course of action. Allied with the Leftist peace camp, are others who decry the fairness of Jews conquering the Holy Land, seemingly to the exclusion of Arabs (in reality, goyim are welcome here, as long as they recognize Jewish sovereignty).

The fairness tirade against Chukim is older even than Korach, who also complained against Chukim. Indeed, Death, the oldest Chok of all, is extensively treated in Parshat Chukat, with its Red Heifer and the deaths of Miriam and Aaron. We mourn (on’nim, not miton’nim) death, because, as the Ramban says, we really are meant to be Nitzchi, eternal, and we sense an unfairness in the Chok of death.

Indeed, we will see in Deutoronomy that the man of Netzach(eternity) and Chok, i.e. Moses, will plead with G-d that it is only logical that he live forever and enter the Land. But even Moses dies, because the nation of Israel is not ready to live a Moses-like life of Chok in the Land, nor ready to be led by him, but rather by others.

Finally, the homosexuals are joining the fairness argument against Chok, demanding that it is not fair that Chok excludes them from “and cling to his wife”, from marriage. Just as Bilaam sought to fragment history to his advantage (see “Dunno Much About History” on this website), gays rant that they are just as good at childrearing as heterosexuals.

Gay Orthodox Jews cite how they uphold every other commandment in the Torah -except for the one forbidding homosexuality,”So it isn’t fair to label them as sinners”, in their view.  But their view is wrong; doing one sin classifies a Jew as a Rasha, an evil person. Gay behavior is counter the very foundations of Creation, as we have seen.

Moreover, gays bear guilt in the destruction they wrought in being responsible for creating the AIDS epidemic. The disease may be treatable, but at tremendous cost (liberals only cite economic costs when it suits them, to attack conservatives); moreover, we will always be one viral gene mutation away from another incurable epidemic. Livni and Yesh Atid are playing with fire when they court votes among these enemies of Chok; one can only hope that they wise up before they cause any more damage to traditional morals, marriage and family.