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An adherence to observable facts – and elimination of the tension between halacha and reality – was literally lifesaving: Maimonides extended -century Lithuanian sage, the Hazon Ish, explains that Maimonides was simply allowing halacha to reflect the fact that scientific discoveries, as well as human bodies, had evolved. But to what degree and in what manner would LGBTQ Jews be obligated to follow them?
As elusive as this explanation may be, it nonetheless affirms that certain things in the human makeup may indeed change – and that our moral vision of halacha must keep up. Does the specific proscription of Leviticus have a special status that must remain?
For gay students to survive in such an environment, they must not give any hint to their orientation, which in the hot-house of yeshiva life soon becomes a radical form of self-denial.
When this tension cannot be sustained, their rabbis, parents, charlatans and quack “healers” often prescribe “conversion therapies” that not only don’t “cure,” but actually damage both the body and soul.
This leads to a meta-halachic point, which distinguishes Judaism from Christianity.
newlywed women often came to me for halachic, or Jewish legal, advice.Clearly, no hint of wrongdoing is to be ascribed to her; she is completely innocent.Maimonides makes it clear that one is considered innocent in a rape even when she dismisses rescuers as she is being attacked, for the “yeitzer” (“the [evil] impulse” – that is, sexual desire) has overwhelmed her” (Laws of Sanhedrin 20:3). For heterosexual Orthodox Jews, we temporarily sublimate that desire – and accept that it is best expressed only within the confines of a heterosexual marriage. Homosexuality, viewed through halachic eyes, is fundamentally different.Just as these renegades eat shellfish, we might say, so too the men sleep with other men.
This is not a real solution, but it has been the unspoken modus operandi for as long as I can remember.
that I would be ordaining a gay Orthodox rabbinical student who was denied the opportunity to receive smicha from his own Orthodox yeshiva.