Asking the Rabbi: I have just seen a survey whose on the LGBT issue that was sent to the residents of Efrat. The survey's questions are totally skewed and one-sided, the picture accompanying it sends a message, and in my opinion, the entire initiative is a Desecration of the Name of G-d.
(Link to the survey (in Hebrew): https://surveys.segmanta.com/7797d2/)
Those with same-sex inclinations are of course not shunned in Efrat, but this survey is another level entirely. What should we do?
The Rabbi's response:
Let me begin by saying that this survey is a grave and serious breach of the point of view of halakha, ethics and Judaism in general.
Below are some of the points relating to the deliberate campaign to infiltrate our community and plant LGBT culture within it against the clear and unequivocal directives of our sacred Torah:
1. Loving each and every Jew, man and woman, is everlasting and eternal, its source derived from the G-dly covenant contained within Israel, a covenant that turns us into a unique nation on earth. Those with same-sex inclinations are to be loved as are all Jews.
2. Arrogance,however, is the source of all bad attibutes, and raising the LGBT flag with pride is the public display of a bad attribute.
3. The homosexual act is a severe and intractable Torah prohibition, and raising the LGBT flag is a public demonstration of flouting the Torah.
4. There are sexual lusts which are not normative. Lust is an urge, and serving Hashem includes standing up to the urges and inclinations which are forbidden by the Torah so as not to transgress its laws.
5. Someone who conquers and controls his inclinations and refrains from committing a transgression is holy and righteous, whether or not he is subject to a specific desire.
6. Even someone who, sadly, does not manage to resist temptation, must be loved, listened to, and strengthened in the observance of what he succeeds in observing, but that must be accomplished without legitimizing any part of his misdeeds whatsoever.
7. Most if not all of the residents of Efrat are G-d-fearing people, who do not publicly wave flags representing the flaunting of a Torah prohibition.
8. From an ethical and moral standpoint, a municipal council with an overwhelming majority of G-d-fearing residents is expected to refrain from displaying a flag that takes pride in committing Torah transgressions, one that superimposed a symbolic gesture of support for this flag. Public servants are expected to be moral themselves and to represent the majority that elected them, even if it is a silent one, and not a small but aggressively loud minority.
9.The rabbis in our area spend many hours night and day in individual sessions and supportive accompaniment of those dealing with same-sex inclinations. We invest much effort in strengthening them in beneficial ways, raise their spirits, believe in them, and give them the tools to serve G-d in the complex reality in which they find themselves.
10. It is imperative to listen to every person, whatever situation he is in, if he is in distress, but there is a difference between listening compassionately and publicly identifying with forbidden acts. Listening is a mitzvah, publicly identifying is an aveira.
The survey itself is skewed, written in a style that clearly wants to advance identifying publicly with flags representing grave sins. This is dishonest and unethical in itself.
Despite that, we must attempt to find a saving grace in that among those promoting the survey there are people who wish to do good and are not intentionally going against t he Torah.
As the Baal Shem Tov taught us, loving kindness, chessed, that is not kept within halakhic parameters, becomes promiscuity. Only halakha and the light of Torah allow our innate kindness to be realized in healthy and positive ways without "offering an alien fire that was not commanded" (as the Torah relates about Aaron's sons).
All of us must express our stand by supporting Torah, sanctity, family, the integrity of our elected public officials, and protest against the attempt to invade our midst with a culture opposed to that of Torah – and against even being proud of that attempt, G-d forbid.
Rabbi Baruch Efratistudied at Merkaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem and serves as a rabbi in Efrat. He is a prolific and much-read writer on Torah issues and heads the "Derech Emunah" (Way of Torah) movement of young Israeli Orthodox rabbis.