Thursday, May 8, 2014

Judaism and Psychology: Saving a suicidal gay man - by reconcilling him with his estranged lover?

[update - added Rav Sternbuch's teshuva and Igros Moshe and additional scenarios There are times when religion and psychotherapy conflict. The following seems to be such a case.

A psychotherapist was dealing with a depressed young man who had been contemplating suicide. Many things had gone wrong in his life and he was having trouble coping. However the depression got significantly worse after he broke up with his male lover and the therapist became very concerned that he would actually kill himself. 

The therapist's supervisor suggest that it would be beneficial if the therapist tried to bring about a reconciliation with the lover in joint therapy sessions. Obviously attempting such a reconciliation raises serious halachic questions. Can the therapist be a facilitator for the client's sinful behavior - i.e., is this a problem of livnei ivair or mesaya lidvar aveira? Does the possible saving of his life outweigh other considerations such as his increased likelihood of sinning with his lover if they were reconciled?

The therapist's rabbi in fact poskened that it was prohibited to try and reconcile the client with his former lover. Two reasons were given 1) It is prohibited to facilitate another person's sinning (mesayea lidvar aveira2) One can not cure with prohibited acts (ein merapim b'issurim). Several days later the client in fact committed suicide.

However contrary to the rabbis' psak, I think in fact that attempting reconciliation would be permitted. 

I once asked Rav Sternbuch about the permissibility of therapy with a couple that did not keep taharas mishpacha. He cited the Chazon Ish as the source of a principle that if the discord reduces their sinning that it would be prohibited to provide them with therapy. However he noted that it is not unusual for couples today to commit adultery. Thus in fact there would be no reduction in sinning if there were marital discord and thus he said that therapy was permitted. [see teshuva below]

In this case, it is reasonable to assume that the frequency of homosexual acts would not be reduced by not reconciling them. There was  no reason he would not find other homosexuals to sin with. It was also reasonable that he would die without this therapy - so that would make it pikuach nefesh. The proposed therapy was not to cure the depression by telling him to have homosexual relations - rather the therapy was to reconcile him with his former lover. Thus  this therapy would only increase the likelihood of sinning with his lover- but not necessarily change the actual amount of sin.  Finally therapy would reduce the likelihood of suicide which is  considered murder. It is important to note that Rav Moshe Feinstein [listed below] and other poskim indicate that there is a major difference whether the facilitator to a prohibited relations is doing his facilitation as part of a paid job or whether he does it free.

Some related questions. 1) I was asked by a man who was committing adultery to help reduce his anxiety and guilt feelings. 2) A father and adult daughter feel guilty about their incestual relationship 3) A married woman wants to stop feeling guilty about being a prostitute because she really needs the money. 4) An unmarried couple are having shalom bayis problems which interfere with their sexual relations. 5) A teenager has anxiety about a gender change operations and wants therapy to go through with it. 6) Wife wants husband to join group where spouses are switched periodically 7) Abortion doctor wants help overcoming guilt. 8) Doctor has trouble pulling the plug on "brain dead" patients. 8) can a lawyer help a business deal which violates halacha? 9) can a secretary produce a contract for a business deal that violates halacha?

See also Igros Moshe (E.H. IV 87.1) concerning being a shadchan for non-observant couples Also that no rabbi in America can get a job as rav of a shul if he won't marry non-observant couples. He notes that getting paid his is a heter. I don't see a difference between the rabbi who marries couples who he knows won't keep taharas mishpacha and a therapist who promotes shalom bayis in forbidden relationships.
תשובות והנהגות כרך א סימן תעו

שאלה: יהודי תפוס בבית סוהר האם להשתדל להוציאו משם אף שיעבור בזה על איסור נדה באשתו
שמעתי ממקור מוסמך שביקשו מרבינו החזו"א זצ"ל להשתדל ולפעול עבור אחד שנידון למאסר לזמן ארוך, ושאל האם הוא שומר על טהרת המשפחה, והשיבו לו שלא שומר ונסתלק ולא רצה לעסוק בשחרורו, וראויים הדברים לגאון בישראל כמותו
וכיוצא בו אני נוהג בעזהשי"ת כשמבקשים ממני לסדר שלום בית אצל חפשיים אני נמנע כיון שמסייע בזה לעבור על איסור נדה, וכבר דרשו חז"ל (שבועות מז ב) לא תנאף לא תנאיף לא לסייע לניאוף.

ויש להטעים הדבר שבעצם במ"ע קיימא לן (כתובות פו ב) מכין אותו עד שתצא נפשו, ופירשו המפרשים דלפני שעבר גם על ל"ת כופין עד שתצא נפשו למונעו, (עיין בר"ן חולין קל"ב: דגם בל"ת קודם שעבר מכין אותו עד שתצא נפשו כדי שלא יעבור, וכן פשיטא ליה לרע"א בחידושי כתובות פ"ו. דגם בל"ת אמרינן הך דינא דכופין אותו ומיהו הרמב"ן בשיר השירים ד', י"א כתב דרק במצות עשה כופין דחמיר מל"ת ומכין אותו עד שתצא נפשו, משא"כ בל"ת. וכ"נ בקצוה"ח סי' ג' סק"ב במשובב שם). ואם כן כאן אף שסובל במאסר, הלוא ראוי לו לסבול כן שמונעים אותו בכך לעבור על איסורי כרת דנדה שדינו כעריות
ולפי זה בנידון דידן אף שגזרו עליו מאסר חמש שנים אין אנו מצווין להשתדל לשחררו, ולהיפך טוב שישב שמה ולא יעבור תדיר על איסור כרת ר"ל, ואם היתה השאלה באה לפני בי"ד כשידינו תקיפה, היו כופין אותו בכהאי גוונא אם אינו רוצה לשמוע, שהיו סוגרין אותו בחדר שלא יבוא לידי עבירה.

אמנם השאלה שבנידון שלפנינו הוא בתינוק שנשבה שלא נתגדל על ברכי התורה ודינו כאנוס, ועיין בגרש"ז (סוף הלכות ריבית) שאפילו שומע אחר כך דת ישראל עדיין הוא כאנוס הואיל ונתגדל בין הנכרים, ויש לומר כיון שהוא כאנוס איסורו קיל אף שפוגם, ובהדי כבשי דרחמנא למה לן לייסרו במאסר שנים רבות, וכיון שכן אנו מצווין לשחררו שאין דינו כמומר להכעיס, וראוי לשחררו ולהשפיע עליו לחזור בתשובה, ולא נמנע מלהצילו אף שיעבור בזה איסורים, כיון שאינו אלא בגדר אנוס
אמנם כל זה הוא אם הנידון היה האם להכניסו במאסר כדי להבטיח שלא יכשל באיסור נדה ר"ל, ובזה יש לצדד לכאורה דאם דינו כתינוק שנשבה שאנוס אין עלינו לייסרו במאסר שנים רבות, אבל כאן שנידון שניפעל לשחררו שאז חוזר לביתו הרי דומה כאלו אנו מאכילין אותו בידים איסור נדה ופשיטא שאסור, וגם איסור נדה דינו כעריות ולא שייך בזה אנוס שאפילו באונס יהרג ואל יעבור וז"פ.

ובעיקר הדבר אם מוטל עלינו ליסרו במאסר לכתחילה שלא יכשל באיסור נדה אף שלא ע"י בי"ד ואין ידינו תקיפה יש לתלות במחלוקת הקצוה"ח ונתה"מ בח"מ (סימן ג') אם דין מכין אותו עד שתצא נפשו נאמר רק על בית דין או על כל יחיד, (ועיין יש"ש ב"ק פ"ג סי' ט' דכל אחד מישראל רשאי להכות חבירו ולהפרישו מאיסור עי"ש ובשו"ת חת"ס חו"מ סי' קע"ז) ויש לומר שצריך בית דין שיש בזה גם גדר עונש למונעו וכעין רודף שממיתין אותו שהוא גם בגדר עונש, וכן תלוי אם הא דמכין אותו הוא בגדר עונש וא"כ בשבת אין מכין אותו עד שתצא נפשו שאין עונשין בשבת, עיין מ"ל (פרק כ"ד דשבת) אם מצילין מן העבירה הבא על ערוה בשבת בנפשו של רודף, משום שאין עונשין בשבת ע"ש, אבל לשחררו דומה למאכילו בידים כמ"ש ואסור
ולמעשה אמרתי שיציעו לאשתו שמוכנים לפעול לשחררו אבל רק בתנאי שישמרו התורה כולל איסור נדה, ואף שאין בהבטחתם משקל רב, מ"מ אם יבטיחו באמת ובתמימות נפעל כדי לשחררו, ואולי גם נשפיע עליו בזה לשוב לצור מחצבתו שקל יותר בחוץ, אבל בלי הבטחה מצידם לשמור טהרת המשפחה לא מצאתי מקום להקל. ומיהו בארץ ישראל פעילים גם בבתי סוהר להחזירם לדרך התורה והמצוה, ולהיפך דוקא שמה רבים שבים בתשובה, ודאי שם יש לעשות כרבינו החזו"א זצ"ל לא לשחררו לסייע לו בזה לעבור על איסור נדה.

168 comments:

  1. That which you say in the name of Rav Sternbuch in the name of the Chazon Ish, I need to see this written somewhere. It is a big statement, and hearsay isn't enough. Also from a source I can study it to understand what has been said אותיות מחכימות.

    You say:"The therapy would not cure with issurim - - sexual relations was not the therapy."
    The Gemara rules in a similar case: ימות ואל יספר עמה מאחורי הגדר

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    1. The gemora Sanhedrin 75 is not the same case.

      Rab Judah said in Rab's name: A man once conceived a passion for a certain woman,3 and his heart was consumed by his burning desire [his life being endangered thereby]. When the doctors were consulted, they said, ‘His only cure is that she shall submit.’ Thereupon the Sages said: ‘Let him die rather than that she should yield.’ Then [said the doctors]; ‘let her stand nude before him;’ [they answered] ‘sooner let him die’. ‘Then’, said the doctors, ‘let her converse with him from behind a fence’. ‘Let him die,’ the Sages replied ‘rather than she should converse with him from behind a fence.’ Now R. Jacob b. Idi and R. Samuel b. Nahmani dispute therein. One said that she was a married woman; the other that she was unmarried. Now, this is intelligible on the view, that she was a married woman, but on the latter, that she was unmarried, why such severity? — R. Papa said: Because of the disgrace to her family. R. Aha the son of R. Ika said: That the daughters of Israel may not be immorally dissolute. Then why not marry her? — Marriage would not assuage his passion, even as R. Isaac said: Since the destruction of the Temple, sexual pleasure has been taken [from those who practise it lawfully] and given to sinners, as it is written. Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.4

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    2. No 2 cases are the same.
      I made 2 points and I don't see that you addressed them.

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    3. just added Rav Sternbuch's teshuva

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    4. Thank you. So he(they) are very Machmir. How did you learn a Kula from this? So it's as I said. The discussion is all about healing or helping in a general way which is unrelated to their sin, and yet they are Machmir, and within those instances, Rav Sternbuch tried to find some room for some leniency. But in the case where the aid is directed specifically to helping the person sin 'מאן דכר שמי and it is Pashut that it is Ossur. And all of your related questions are that way as well.

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    5. The rebbi of the Mishna l'Melech, R' Yaakov Culi, who authored the original Meam Loez holds that Sanhedrin 75 is the roadmap for all cases of znus.

      Some of the ideas being advocated here sound to me like undermining the whole concept of yehurag v'al yaavor which the Eybishter assigned to cardinal sin and which it is hard to believe from reading Chazal that so many loopholes abound.

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    6. @Torah Tavlin - please read the teshuvos

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    7. @Katche-lab - are you disagreeing with Rav Sternbuch's heter for marriage counseling of a couple that ignores hilchos nida? or the heter for a Rav to marry a couple he knows will violate the prohibition of nida.

      If you agree with the heterim then please explain why this case is different. They all involve facilitating a relationship with someone who is prohibited which will result in sin.

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    8. I thought I explained. I here clarify.

      A marital relationship is a permitted and even recommended and even commanded relationship. To help such a relationship is in and of itself a good thing. It is like healing a person from illness or saving a limb or even a life. The question discussed in Rav Sternbuch's Tshuva is whether we should give such aid to a sinner, that is, a person who does not live a life of following the Torah. He rules that as such a person has a status that he should be beaten until he agrees to comply with The Torah, he get's no aid what so ever until he complies. By a Tinok Shenishba, he is somewhat more lenient, that if he promises to repent, we may aid him.

      (Here is a Maamar Musgar, so if you don't exactly agree with this reasoning, you may skip it as it doesn't affect my main point which is a strictly Halachic argument whether we have an explanation or not, but I offer this explanation: Hashem created man to serve him, and therefore to give aid to a person, so that he can be a functioning individual, helps to facilitate this purpose. What if a person Ch'V does not use his existence for the purpose of serving Hashem? In such a case he is Noach Shelo Nivra, and to aid him in his functioning serves a negative purpose)

      Rav Sternbuch says that he refrains from giving marriage counseling to couples who don't keep the Halachos. He does not, in this Tshuva, say it is Muttar, as you claim. But even if he would be Mattir, as we find a Heter from Rav Moshe, it is not a Heter in our case, as I'll explain. Rav Moshe's Heter for a Shadchan, which he bring from The Netziv, is based on the logic which I have stated in this and in my previous post. That is that we are not aiding sin, but rather aiding a person whom we believe, from what we have seen in the past, that he will sin. So the question is whether Lifnei Iver applies for such aid, which does not directly aid in the sin, but aids people who are sinners and facilitates sin. For this he says that doing it for Parnosso is a Heter.

      All of this does not apply in the case of your post, and certainly not in any of the related questions you asked. These case are about directly aiding sin. A gay relationship is a sinful relationship. So are all of the other case you mentioned. Even if we are Matir therapy to non-frum couples, which the actual relationship is Mutar, only they are misusing it, we can't be Matir therapy for relationships which are Ossur.

      And certainly not help relieve guilt of sin. I'm surprised that you even suggested such a thing. To relieve guilt, where guilt should be present?

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    9. You say "A gay relationship is a sinful relationship." I'm telling you that this is not necessarily the case. Certainly not when the individuals in the relationship are committed to Torah and mitzvot.

      If it is puzzling to you how that can be, it seems to me that the proper course of action is to seek knowledge of the subject, rather than insist that preconceived notions are "facts".

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    10. I'm sorry that I didn't have the chance to read your posts on this thread, as I did see that you made numerous comments. Maybe you already addressed this, but let me ask you to clarify, because it is indeed puzzling to me, as you figured.

      For 2 men or 2 women to be friends, is obviously Kosher. I thought a Gay relationship is not just that but rather one which consists of some sexual aspect between them. Am I wrong? Please clarify this first.

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    11. Gay is defined in the dictionary as: sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex. This seems to imply that a gay relationship has a homosexual aspect, homosexual behavior being a sin. The title of this post refers to a gay man and his 'LOVER'. I think the word 'lover' means something more than just the way heterosexual people relate to members of their own sex in a chummy friendly way. Please clarify how you could suggest that a gay relationship doesn't involve sin. I am willing to have this discussion with you provided you agree to the following givens:
      1. The guidelines are The Torah Shebiksav & Shebaal Peh, including Shulchan Aruch and other Poskim as is accepted in a Halachic discourse among Frum Talmidei Chachamim.
      2. Being intellectually honest in the discussion, and being Modeh Al Ha'emess.

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    12. Katche-lab wrote:
      And certainly not help relieve guilt of sin. I'm surprised that you even suggested such a thing. To relieve guilt, where guilt should be present?

      Where did I say that his guilt of sin should be relieved?

      "Rav Sternbuch says that he refrains from giving marriage counseling to couples who don't keep the Halachos. He does not, in this Tshuva, say it is Muttar, as you claim. "

      I never claimed that in this teshuva that Rav Sternbuch permitted marriage counselling - I said that he told me that directly. This teshuva contains the basic principles that he used for the psak he gave more directly.

      The analysis I did was based on Rav Sternbuch but it is my extrapolation. He might agree with you that it can not be applied in this case - but then again he continue to say that it is the total amount of sinning that is the question - not the type of sin. He also didn't address the issue of parnossa or the fact that the client can easily find another therapist etc etc.

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    13. Katche-lab, I fully agree with your conditions. However, I will add that even poskim need to be aware of elements of metziut to properly pasken. That's not a condition, but I hope you will agree.

      Dictionaries aren't perfect. Some have thought to use the term "affectional orientation" rather than "sexual orientation", but it's awkward, and not extremely more accurate.

      There is a video on YouTube that I recommend for a fuller understanding of this issue. It is a short talk by a Republican State Senator from Washington who is not gay herself. She speaks about having lost her husband of many years, and how deeply she misses him. And that it isn't the sex she misses, but the bond they shared. The closeness. It's something that friends don't share. I hope I am not violating any blog rules by posting the URL here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tFoawYSov8

      If you were to see two women holding hands, or sitting with their arms around one another, or maybe see one of them brush the hair out of the other's eyes... would they be in violation of anything? Suppose they were to kiss. I mean in the romantic sense. That's not sex, but it's not something that friends do. Obviously, these actions wouldn't be tzniusdik, so let's say you don't see them, but they go on. Suppose two women set up house together and share everything. Finances, possessions, everything that a married couple shares. This isn't something friends do. Not just friends, at any rate. Suppose one of them has a child, possibly from a prior marriage. And suppose both of them act as parents to that child. In every way. Suppose the child calls them Ima and Mommy. Suppose they see one another as soulmates.

      These are all things that everyone would recognize as being hallmarks of a lesbian couple. But suppose they don't have sex. What would you call them? Something in between gay and straight? Suppose they had sex when they first met. When they first got together. But don't any more. There's a phenomenon called "Lesbian Bed Death". There's even an article on it on Wikipedia.

      Now... I can't speak for gay men, though I know frum gay men who are celibate. But for women, generally speaking, and not taking into account exceptions, sex isn't nearly as important as love. Love is the core of a relationship.

      Does any of that help?

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    14. "Where did I say that his guilt of sin should be relieved?"

      You wrote:
      Some related questions. 1) I was asked by a man who was committing adultery to help reduce his anxiety and guilt feelings. 2) A father and adult daughter feel guilty about their incestual relationship 3) A married woman wants to stop feeling guilty about being a prostitute because she really needs the money. 7) Abortion doctor wants help overcoming guilt.

      So I ask how you could consider these issues questions at all? And if you didn't mean that you are actually consider such a possibility, then you are misleading to simple folks like myself. חכמים הזהרו בדבריכם

      "He also didn't address the issue of parnossa or the fact that the client can easily find another therapist etc etc."

      With this I was referring to Rav Moshe's Tshuva.

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    15. These are related in the sense that there is a conflict between halacha and psychology. There was no statement that his suicidal thoughts were the result of guilt or that the involvement of his ex partner was to reduce his guilt.

      This case was brought to illustrate a possible use of Rav Sternbuch's sevora. If it was established that the actual facts of the case were not compatible - then obviously my conclusion would be altered in this case.

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    16. I would like to respond, but I need a bit more information, and my internet filter makes it hard for me to research this, and anyway, since my discussion is with you, you can't be responsible for anyone else's position, besides for your own. So please tell me what is Lesbian Bed Death? And are you referring to people who are completely frigid in the sense that they have no sexual desire to the opposite sex, and also not to their own? Or are you referring to people who are turned on by their own, as I normally understand gay to mean, and as it also seems from your description of people who once had sex but no longer do. Why don't they? Is it because they are controlling themselves for religious reasons, or do they simply have no desire(anymore)?

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    17. Lisa, I am waiting for your clarification so that I can make an intelligent response. I think this is very important, if you are sincerely looking for the truth, because this is a very important issue which touches upon real Torah issues, and the consequences of having a mistake in this are enormous.

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    18. I apologize, Katche-lab. I've been trying to think how to address this subject without crossing lines of propriety.

      The phenomenon of LBD is not uncommon among lesbian couples, even secular or non-Jewish ones, and it's where the frequency of sex declines in lesbian couples the longer the two women are together. Anyone who has addressed the subject has a different theory on why this is.

      I've read that this is really the case for all couples, straight or gay, male or female. From an anthropological perspective, sex is often a means by which people court (outside of the frum world, I mean). Once the courtship is over, it's less necessary. And desire can be satisfied by kissing, or mere closeness.

      All of this ignores the fact that different people have stronger or weaker sex drives. To be attracted to someone physically doesn't always mean that you want to have sex with that person. To be attracted to them emotionally, ditto.

      I don't know if you were able to watch the video that I posted a link to, but the woman speaking in it spoke passionately about how much she loved her husband, and how painfully she misses him. That. That bond is what I'm talking about. It is far beyond simple friendship, but just as it isn't the sex she misses, but the person, the companion, the soulmate, so too is sex not the be-all and end-all of a romantic relationship between members of the same sex.

      I understand that popular culture tends to view this otherwise. But popular culture is oversexed in every way. That has to be taken into account when dealing with this subject, and an understanding formed that things are rarely as extreme as they are portrayed on television.

      If you want to discuss this via email, my address is lisa at starways dot net.

      For full disclosure, because I wasn't aware that I wasn't clear about it, I am in a committed relationship with another woman, and we are raising a child together. But I do not believe that my being gay is any sort of heter for violating halakha.

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    19. @Lisa - "suppose both of them (lesbians) act as parents to that child"

      No, those two lesbians are not "parents" to that child except in the warped imaginations of "gay" perverts. This is another example of the re-writing of language by the homosexual leftist thought-police. The parents of a child are the man and woman who procreated the child.

      Those two lesbians are committing severe child abuse by raising a child in a homosexual household. This would be banned by all civilized countries, except for the power of the homo-fascist mafia.

      Now please explain exactly what is an "orthodyke"?

      http://orthodykes.blogspot.com/

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    20. You are uncivil and lacking in the least bit of derekh eretz. I'm disappointed to see this sort of vitriol and venom permitted here. If you can't control yourself, I'd think that moderation would at least be applied to you by the blog owner.

      I'll answer civil questions.

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    21. Lisa - if you or anyone else feels that I have permitted comments that are inappropriate - please let me know. yadmoshe@gmail.com

      It is clear that emes leyaakov is upset about homosexuals - but so is the Torah. On the other hand I think it is important to have open communication. What would you consider an appropriate response in this case. BTW I will delete any comment that you view as personally offensive

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    22. "Pervert" is a pejorative, and regardless of what one thinks the halakha says, it does not justify the use of that term. "Homo-fascist mafia" is the rhetoric of an irrational person. I shouldn't have to tell you this.

      Would you say to a heterosexual couple who adopted a child that they are not the child's parents? Accusing someone of child abuse for raising a child in a loving frum home... I don't even know why I'm responding to this. He is like a bully picking on a Jewish classmate. "Hey Jew, why don't you pick up that penny? Hey Hebe, do you ever get that nose of yours caught in the door?" And you, I am sorry to say, are like a teacher who, when the Jewish kid complains, expresses surprise that you were offended and offers to take action if you'll explain what was so offensive.

      You have dozens of people commenting on your blog post. If you honestly, b'emet u'v'lev tov, do not see the vast gulf between everyone else here and EmesLeYaacov, I'll simply take my leave.

      I'm terribly disappointed that the only person willing to speak up was MiMedinat HaYam. He deserves praise for that. Everyone else who read what EmesLeYaacov wrote and did not speak up should be ashamed.

      Delete
    23. @Lisa - "I'd think that moderation would at least be applied" -

      You're showing your homo-fascist and heterophobic colors here by trying to suppress freedom of expression for heteros opposing the homosexual agenda.

      No one here is advocating persecution of homosexuals. But the "gays" are shoving their abominations in our faces at every opportunity while demanding that we view your behavior as acceptable, excusable, or normal.

      Delete
    24. LisaMay 12, 2014 at 11:36 PM
      Would you say to a heterosexual couple who adopted a child that they are not the child's parents?

      Yes in fact I would, because that is what halakha says, and you can see this written clearly in the Yalkut Yosef.

      Accusing someone of child abuse for raising a child in a loving frum home...
      I'm sorry but a Lesbian relationship is simply against halakha, as I noted in a previous comment(though it is further below) the Aharonim are very clear on this, see Od Yosef Hai Parashat Shoftim for one example. Thus while the home may be loving, it is not Frum.

      I don't even know why I'm responding to this. He is like a bully picking on a Jewish classmate.
      Again I am sorry that you have to encounter EmesL'Yaakov's typical lack of tact. However if you can get past his rhetoric(I'm sure I'm going to be a gay-rights advocate for saying this) there is some truth to what he is saying. He is a bully and he does use strong, and at times hateful speech. However, beneath that is the very real issue that you are advocating a life style that the Torah forbade as following the practices of Egypt(not hellenistic, again forgive him his ignorance). You do have to expect a certain strong reaction to that. Yes his was over the top, but many yirei shamayim will feel very strongly about a lifestyle being advocated that is clearly against Torah.

      Delete
    25. Lisa I am surprised at your response. After you have maintained a blog for many years giving legitimacy to sexual behavior which is clearly prohibited according to halacha - why would you assume that no one would criticize you?!

      Starting from the top you say pervert is pejorative - that is true but it is also used correctly

      Here is the dictionary definition. a person whose sexual behavior is regarded as abnormal and unacceptable.

      I don't understand why you would think that a homosexual or lesbian is not considered as pervert according to the Torah? Or are you saying that it is simply lacking in derech eretz to point this out?

      It is also very offensive to equate anti-Semitism with strong disapproval of homosexuals which is clearly the normative Orthodox halachic position. Do you really believe that the two are equally wrong?

      While I don't approve of Emel LeYaakov's extreme in your face attacks - in this case it is a question of intensity rather than what he condemns. That is why I said I would remove it if it offended you. On the other hand if you don't acknowledge that the halacha condemns homosexuality then there is nothing more to say since it means that we really don't belong to the same religion.

      Again I think most of us do not want to read direct personal attacks on other commentators. On the other hand there is a serious problem of ignoring views which are presented as acceptable - when they clearly are not.



      Delete
    26. "do not see the vast gulf between everyone else here and EmesLeYaacov, I'll simply take my leave."

      You are sadly mistaken about this blog. there are many commentators like emesLeYaakov on this blog, with the full approval of the blog owner.

      go back to posts about divorce issues, where several commentators routinely use the term "Feminazi" or "feminist" in a derogatory way.

      You will discover that it is no coincidence, nor an isolated case, that the blog owner let this comment pass.

      Many times the blog owner expressed his sympathy with people like emes le yaakov, men who withhold gittin for extortion, homophobics, jewish supremacists, what have you...

      Delete
    27. Lisa, You have answered only my first question which was simply to enlighten me of the meaning of a term you used, but you haven't answered the rest of my questions, which deal with the main point upon which I meant to focus.
      I repeat, and I am numbring the wuestions too, in order to clarify and give each one it's importance and the need for an answer.
      1. And are you referring to people who are completely frigid in the sense that they have no sexual desire to the opposite sex, and also not to their own?
      2. Or are you referring to people who are turned on by their own, as I normally understand gay to mean, and as it also seems from your description of people who once had sex but no longer do.
      3. Why don't they?
      4. Is it because they are controlling themselves for religious reasons, or do they simply have no desire(anymore)?

      To be clear, you referred to yourself as gay. What makes you gay? In what way are you different from simple room mates? Is it because you feel very strong love for your friend? That could simply be loving your fellow person - your fellow Jew. I wouldn't call that 'gay'. So what is it about your relationship which makes you consider yourself gay? I believe the answer to this has something to do with sexual feelings and desires. Please give me the clear honest true answer.

      Delete
    28. PatienceMay 13, 2014 at 2:06 AM
      "do not see the vast gulf between everyone else here and EmesLeYaacov, I'll simply take my leave."

      SInce you are parroting Lisa I will address this to both. Simply put of course there isn't. While I decry EmesL'Yaakov's lack of tact, I do understand that it is coming from a very visceral reaction to the advocacy of a lifestyle that is anathema to Torah. Any Jew with True Yirat Shamayim, a love of Torah and a belief that Torah is the very word of G-d is going to have a strong emotional reaction to such blatant transgressions of Torah. Especially when they are being put forward as normative.
      However I have learned from my own esteemed Rabbanim that no matter what is going on in one's emotions, one should always act as a benei melekh. To speak with tact and lucidity. However, for all of the Ahavat Yisrael, tact and so forth, make no mistake, Torah(as I have sourced above) says that Lesbianism in all forms is a sin, and therefore is wrong, and I stand firmly upon that.

      go back to posts about divorce issues, where several commentators routinely use the term "Feminazi" or "feminist" in a derogatory way.
      I've been on the receiving end of more than a few of those as well. One simply needs to understand that when a person resorts to insults it is because they lack the intelligence to say anything of true meaning. Personally I'm glad those comments got through, they certainly do nothing to strengthen the position of those uttering said insults.

      You will discover that it is no coincidence, nor an isolated case, that the blog owner let this comment pass.
      Now you see just how over the top a comment has to be in order to not get initially published. I say initially published because you will note that the blog owner offered not once, but twice to remove the comment if it offended Lisa. She could have simply sent him an email requesting it's removal, and it would have been removed.

      Delete
    29. @Patience wrote: You are sadly mistaken about this blog. there are many commentators like emesLeYaakov on this blog, with the full approval of the blog owner.

      go back to posts about divorce issues, where several commentators routinely use the term "Feminazi" or "feminist" in a derogatory way.

      You will discover that it is no coincidence, nor an isolated case, that the blog owner let this comment pass.

      Many times the blog owner expressed his sympathy with people like emes le yaakov, men who withhold gittin for extortion, homophobics, jewish supremacists, what have you...

      ==================
      I agree 100% with Rabbi Tzadok's sensitive and cogent post .

      Bottom line Patience - the long standing disagreement between us has been that you are defending secular values and principles - even when they blatantly contradict Torah values and halacha. And likewise attack Torah based views and actions when they are not accepted in the secular or non-Orthodox world. As I have told you before - if what Torah says irritates you and you can't accept it - then the simple solution is to find another blog that is compatible with your views.

      While I do value your intelligence and human sensitivities - you seem attracted by Torah but at the same time repulsed by it. That conflict is what you need to focus on rather than obsessing about my comments moderation policy.

      Delete
    30. the views published on this blog certainly helped me form a more realistic view of what "true Torah" means to certain people (including, e.g. spousal rape, get extortion, leaving children in the care of a parent who does not care properly for them, because he is frum and the other parent is not, etc).

      So therefore, it is true that I am repulsed by your Torah. And still more by your brother's torah, although I cannot take your brother seriously, after all the rambling comments and posts he published.

      But that does not mean that this is equal to THE torah.

      Delete
    31. @Patience where does your Torah come from and who teaches it in a manner that you accept it - assuming you think you have accepted it?

      Delete
    32. Katche-lab, here are your answers. And I'm answering you only because you seem to have the ability to be civil even if you disagree. If you have any follow up questions, you'll have to email me, because I don't see any reason to continue to hang around in a place where even the blog owner thinks it's justifiable to act like a thug if it's "l'shem shamayim".

      1. And are you referring to people who are completely frigid in the sense that they have no sexual desire to the opposite sex, and also not to their own?

      No. I am not referring to people who are asexual.

      2. Or are you referring to people who are turned on by their own, as I normally understand gay to mean, and as it also seems from your description of people who once had sex but no longer do.

      Yes.

      3. Why don't they?

      For any number of reasons.

      4. Is it because they are controlling themselves for religious reasons, or do they simply have no desire(anymore)?

      See my answer to #3. In some cases, it may be for religious reasons. In some cases it may be because the physical "hunger" has lessened over time. The actual sex act is at the far end of the spectrum of physical and emotional intimacy. Not everyone needs to go all the way to that end.

      To be clear, you referred to yourself as gay. What makes you gay? In what way are you different from simple room mates? Is it because you feel very strong love for your friend? That could simply be loving your fellow person - your fellow Jew. I wouldn't call that 'gay'. So what is it about your relationship which makes you consider yourself gay? I believe the answer to this has something to do with sexual feelings and desires. Please give me the clear honest true answer.

      Forgive me if this is too indelicate, but do you remember your first wet dream? All heterosexual boys have them. You hit puberty, and one night, you're having a particular vivid sexual dream, and you wake up to find that you've ejaculated. Or perhaps you saw an attractive girl and found yourself physically aroused. That kind of thing is a purely physiological reaction. Women have physiological arousal reactions as well, even if they aren't as obvious. I know who I'm attracted to, and it isn't to men.

      So yes, it has to do with sexual attraction. But like I said, you can be sexually attracted to someone without having sex with them.

      When someone tells you they're gay, I suspect that in most cases, they aren't having sex with someone at the time, yes? Because you probably wouldn't be talking with someone while they're having sex. But it doesn't mean that they plan on having sex later, either.

      I know a guy who grew up frum, going to yeshiva, and only felt attraction to other guys. When he was 10, he was at summer camp, and his 17 year old counselor, seeing how he acted (not particularly masculine) asked him if he liked other boys. He said, "Yeah! Yeah, I do, I kind of like this one over there." Ten years old, mind you. He didn't know anything about sex. Never thought about having sex. But the next day, his parents were called in to see the rabbi, who pulled out Igros Moshe and read his teshuva about how there is no natural desire for homosexuality, and how anyone expressing such a desire must be doing so as intentional rebellion against Hashem. And then kicked him out of camp. A ten year old kid.

      There are a lot of gay people who have never had sex. Particularly young ones. Yes, in many cases, it's that they haven't had sex yet. But they're still gay. Because that's who they are attracted to. That's who they fall for. That's who they dream about sharing a life with.

      (continued in next comment, because of length)

      Delete
    33. (continued from previous comment because of length)

      There was a group of young women at Neve Yerushalayim back shortly before the first Gulf War who were gay. They wanted to learn the sources and see what they said about it. They formed an informal group, and one of them thought the name orthodykes (a pun on orthodox) was cute, so they went with it. It wasn't a grand political statement, but merely a play on words. They learned through the mekorot and sent off letters to rabbanim with questions. Virtually all of the rabbanim ignored the letters. Because gay is icky. As if being wired so that you're attracted to members of the same sex rather than the opposite sex is some sort of choice.

      Look, when we started going to our current shul, we referred to each other as roommates, not because that's what we considered ourselves, and not because we thought it would actually "fool" anyone, but because we didn't want to get in people's faces. It gave those who wanted the ability to pretend that we were just roommates. Of course, having a 5 year old girl running up saying, "Ima! Mommy! Look what I did!" kind of made it obvious, but so long as we weren't flying rainbow flags or wearing t-shirts that said "No one knows I'm a lesbian", people understood that we weren't trying to force them to confront things they didn't feel like confronting.

      Our daughter is 14 years old, and b'ezrat Hashem will be graduating from an Orthodox day school in a little over a month. She'll be starting at a local Orthodox high school in the fall. She davens, says brachot, kisses the mezuzah when she goes through a door, and wears only skirts and dresses. She recently won an essay award in a annual contest run by the umbrella organization of Orthodox schools here. Baruch Hashem, I think we've done a pretty good job raising her. Anyone who calls that "child abuse" is an ignoramus.

      Delete
    34. Well, one can share your and your fellow blogger's opinion that spousal rape and get extortion is OK in the eyes of the torah.

      Or one could see that the Torah says that no woman can be obliged to have children (pru u rvu only applies to men, because women put their lives at stake when giving birth, and the Torah will not oblige to risk one's life) and therefore no-one, not even a husband can force sex on a woman. Or you could see that withholding a get for egoistic motives increases the risk of the wife having sex with a different partner and therefore infringes "Lifney Iver al tassim michshol".

      to me, one important premise for religion is that it is not imposed from the outside, but every single person choses to follow it or not. Therefore, I am against all forms of kfira datit, and I would oppose anyone who tries to impose religious norms on other people against their will.

      As far as homosexuality is concerned, I see that there is a contradiction between torah commandments and homosexuality.

      Therefore, I would recommend a young man who is homosexual but was born and raised in a Chareidi community to get a good job training and to look to it that he can live independently of the chareidi community. This way, he will be able to chose whether he wants to keep a torah lifestyle or whether he wants to live according to his sexual inclination.

      I know that abstinence is possible - have been practicing it myself for over 20 years, because I respect the torah commandment that forbids sex outside of marriage - but I also know that this depends on the individual and should not be imposed from outside.

      In no way would I recommend a chareidi young man who is attracted by men rather than women, to get married and it will go away - because this will not only make him unhappy, but also his wife and his children.

      In the same way, I am strongly opposed to parents trying to force their children into a marriage (which happens not so rarely).

      In the same way, I am opposed to any kind of "therapy" that pretends to change the sexual inclination.

      Finally, the stance the someone should rather die or commit suicide than have homosexual relationships strikes me as cruel, and therefore I do not agree to it. Because I believe that every person is free to follow the torah or not, and that no other human being should impose it on them.

      So all parts where the torah speaks of death penalty for this or that aveira - I do not subscribe to, and I am happy that there is currently no possibility of enforcing a death penalty for such reasons.

      Whether Mashiach will restore death penalty when he arrives remains open... But I distrust people who wish to restore it. Or who wave around with "this and that aveira incurs death penalty".

      Eating shrimp is a toeva, just like homosexuality...

      Delete
    35. the views published on this blog certainly helped me form a more realistic view of what "true Torah" means to certain people (including, e.g. spousal rape
      Who here(other than a couple of crack pots that no one should take seriously) ever said that spousal rape was permitted under any circumstances?
      get extortion
      Again who has said that this is permitted? If there are actual halakhic rights that the husband has, then yes he can withhold a get until he gets those, but no one who is taken seriously says that he can simply demand whatever for a Get.
      leaving children in the care of a parent who does not care properly for them, because he is frum and the other parent is not, etc).
      Have you not followed the Schlessinger twins posts on this blog. In case you haven't noticed Michael is frum, while it is quite demonstrable from the pictures that Beth publicly publishes that she is not. However, the fight has been for Beth to have custody because the husband is unable to care for the children.
      So therefore, it is true that I am repulsed by your Torah.
      First how are you so certain that you actually know Rabbi Eidensohn's views? He rarely expresses his own views in fact.

      Overall, whether this is your actual intention or not, you come across as though you are simply looking for a reason to reject Torah.

      Delete
    36. @Lisa - "Anyone who calls that "child abuse" is an ignoramus" -

      Fine, let's avoid any discussions of child abuse for the present discussion.

      Can you please cite ANY authentic, traditional Torah source that allows or condones a Jewish child to be raised by two lesbian women?

      Can you please cite ANY authentic, traditional Torah source that recognizes a lesbian household as a healthy, beneficial environment for a Torah observant Jewish child?

      Can you please cite ANY authentic, traditional Torah source that recognizes two lesbian women as "parents" of a Jewish child?

      (Hopefully the gay-rights apologists here such as Tzadok won't label me a "bully" for asking these honest questions. It really is chutzbah of me to rely on Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT"L when Tzadok so adamantly opposes Rav Feinstein's viewpoints on the "gay" issue.)

      Delete
    37. Many children are raise by two women, like mother and grandmother, or mother and aunt.

      Why should it be forbidden for two friends to raise children together?

      Can you cite me the torah source that says a child should not be raised by two women?

      Delete
    38. @Patience it is bad enough when you have a distorted understanding of Torah but when you compound it by making up lies such as that I see nothing wrong with spousal rape - you have simply gone off the deep end

      Delete
    39. @Patience the rest of your recent comments are not only mistaken but they are lies and slander. If you can't control yourself I will delete future comments

      Delete
    40. I know I said I wouldn't be posting here any more, but this came to me in my email, and I'd be remiss if I didn't give EmesLeYaacov some positive reinforcement for being civil.

      Can you please cite ANY authentic, traditional Torah source that allows or condones putting caramel sauce on chocolate ice cream?

      I ask, because you're asking me to provide sources for doing something that isn't forbidden. As though one requires a heter in the absence of an issur.

      המוציא מחברו עליו הראיה

      See, if you think we aren't allowed to raise a child, you need to find a source that forbids us to. And you need to establish that this is normative halakha, rather than the way it's usually done. And I'm not aware of Torah sources that speak about whether a household is "healthy and beneficial", but I suspect you won't find any that speak to our situation.

      And regardless of whether adoptive parents are considered halakhically to be parents, which they are in some ways and aren't in others, it is appropriate to treat adoptive parents as parents. I can cite Rabbi Efraim Kanarfogel, citing the Rama and the sefer Nachalat Tzvi, for example (link). Or you could try Rav Moshe Sternbach, as cited here). Or possibly Rav Eliezer Melamed here.

      Finally, a word about Rav Moshe Feinstein's teshuva on the subject. At the time he wrote it, he asked a couple of his talmidim to find out information on the subject. They reported back to him that there's no such thing as a homosexual orientation, and he relied on this deliberate misinformation in his teshuva. He can't be faulted. They can.

      In any case, have a good life, all of you. My natural tendency is to be even harsher than Emes LeYaacov. I've learned to control that even when I'm extremely upset. I hope others here will learn similar self-control

      Delete
    41. @Lisa you raise an interesting point. Normally when faced with a situation which raises no halachic problems there is no need to find a heter to engage in the activity.

      The issue of parenting by two lesbians or two homosexual males is clearly in a different category. Having a child live with adoptive parents who are engaged in something which the Torah says is wrong presents problems. How serious it is - is really up to a posek. So the simple question is did you find a posek that has said that there is no problem? Without a posek you can't claim that there are no halachic problems.

      There are many things which are not explicitly stated in Shulchan Aruch or even in the responsa literature. That doesn't mean that the issue is a not an issue for halachic analysis.

      Bottom line - which posek said there is no problem?

      Regarding Rav Moshe Feinstein - what did he ask, what was he told and how do you know that what they told him is the basis of his teshuva? Is there a source who is willing to testify to what you just claimed?

      Not sure that it would have made a difference if he had been told that there was such a thing as homosexual orientation.

      While we are on the subject - when did people start talking about homosexual orientation with strong same sex attraction and without any attraction to the opposite sex?

      Delete
    42. Lisa, I understand your preference to communicate and perhaps debate through email as opposed to this forum, but I prefer this forum because I feel it keeps the distance that I need to keep. I am a Satmarer Choosid and if you would see what I look like, you wouldn't believe that I can speak a single word of English. I am somewhat more open minded than your average Satmerer, but I still am devoutly Chassidish and it would be a lack of Tznius, by my Chassidishe standards, for us to be emailing to one another. Even in this forum, to have a dialogue with a woman, I am only allowing myself because I feel obligated Al Pi Hatorah to clarify my position to you. You probably noticed that in the beginning I did not address you by your name. It is because I don't address women on a first name basis, but I bent that too, because I thought you were not answering because you were slighted, and again, I felt that the Toeles of getting my position across to you outweighed. But to email to each other crosses a line that I am not willing to cross. So I figure that if you would decide that it isn't important enough for you to be willing to continue in this forum, then chances are I won't successfully get my point across anyway.

      From what you write, it seems that you never did get an answer from Rabbonim to the questions you asked. Maybe if you would have been given the clarification, you might not have chosen the lifestyle that you are living now. At this point, there is a tremendous barrier obstructing you from understanding the position I wish to present. The Torah Hakdosha says Ki Hashochad Ye'aver etc. That when a person has a vested interested, it blinds them from seeing the truth. Consider this. I'm sure you know that nobody is infallible, including yourself. You have built an argument which justifies your approach to this subject, and therefore, your way of life. But you might possibly be wrong. What would happen if I would present an argument based on The Torah, such an argument which is clearly true, and can't be denied by someone with honesty and integrity. An argument which says that what you are doing is sinful and that you are obligated to stop and change your ways. Would you be able to see the truth? I'm afraid that you have far too much at stake. I think that even if the truth would be glaring right in front of you with the greatest unequivocal clarity, you would not be able to see it. Ki Hashochad Ye'aver.

      UNLESS, you continue to be a searcher, and are a person with Mesiras Nefesh for The Torah and for the Emess, and that is more important to you than your entire family life as it is now. Are you that? You haven't yet heard from me what I have to present, so at this point you could believe that I don't have anything to say which would require you to change. But just answer this 'hypothetical' question: If I prove that you may not, Al Pi Hatorah, live the way you are living, would you be able to see my proof, and admit to it? It is for this reason that I started with a requirement of being Modeh Al Haemess. I was asking for a bigger thing than you thought. You could throw this question back at me. Not that there is anything questionable about my lifestyle, even by your standards, but about my belief system. Yes you can, but that would not help you for the question which is being presented to you, and since it is your lifestyle which is so controversial, it is something you need to consider. If you will tell me that in fact the truth is more valuable to you than anything else, then although I will have a hard time believing it, because most people aren't that way, yet I will hope that it is so and I will IY"H proceed with presenting what I have to say.

      Delete
    43. Which possek says that it is forbidden for two non-related women to live in the same household? Who holds that it is forbidden to them to raise children? How do orphanages work? there you have a bunch of women raising a bunch of children. Is this a halachic problem? since when? Do you have a source stating that the carers of an orphanage should not be exclusively men or women?

      Delete
    44. While we are on the subject - when did people start talking about homosexual orientation with strong same sex attraction and without any attraction to the opposite sex?
      Kinsey- 1948. Only 10% of males and 2% of females are exclusively homosexual in orientation.

      Delete
    45. Lisa May 13, 2014 at 6:14 PM
      I ask, because you're asking me to provide sources for doing something that isn't forbidden. As though one requires a heter in the absence of an issur.

      But there is an Issur. The Ben Ish Hai lays it out quite clearly in his sefer Od Yosef Hai. He says there that women should have no dealings with Lesbian women and we should keep our female children away from them as well. I'm sorry but there is an issur. You can't simply ignore the sources that you don't like.
      While I wish the young lady you have raised all of the best, and while I am sure that you raised her with love and affection, unfortunately you did not raise her in an atmosphere of Torah. In the end the poor girl is going to find herself in a position of choosing Torah or continuing a relationship with the two women that raised her.
      See, if you think we aren't allowed to raise a child, you need to find a source that forbids us to. And you need to establish that this is normative halakha, rather than the way it's usually done.
      So when the Ben Ish Hai says that we should advertise that women who engage in Lesbianism are sinners and that we should instruct women and girls to distance themselves from them, how exactly do you see there a possibility to take in a girl as an adoptive daughter? If you were to raise a boy, I could see there being some form of halakhic argument in your favor, but for raising a daughter, I just don't see it.
      As far as it being normative halakha the Ben Ish Hai did not simply make this up out of whole cloth. He wrote with understanding of and a basis upon the Aharonim both Sephardi and Ashkenazi.

      Delete
    46. For the specific Od Yosef Hai see here numbers 23 and 24:
      file:///C:/Users/Michael/Downloads/Od%20Yosef%20Chai.pdf

      Delete
    47. Part 1
      Lisa,I understand your preference to communicate and perhaps debate through email as opposed to this forum, but I prefer this forum because I feel it keeps the distance that I need to keep. I am a Satmarer Choosid and if you would see what I look like, you wouldn't believe that I can speak a single word of English. I am somewhat more open minded than your average Satmerer, but I still am devoutly Chassidish and it would be a lack of Tznius, by my Chassidishe standards, for us to be emailing to one another. Even in this forum, to have a dialogue with a woman, I am only allowing myself because I feel obligated Al Pi Hatorah to clarify my position to you. You probably noticed that in the beginning I did not address you by your name. It is because I don't address women on a first name basis, but I bent that too, because I thought you were not answering because you were slighted, and again, I felt that the Toeles of getting my position across to you outweighed. But to email to each other crosses a line that I am not willing to cross. So I figure that if you would decide that it isn't important enough for you to be willing to continue in this forum, then chances are I won't successfully get my point across anyway.

      Delete
    48. Part 2
      Lisa, From what you write, it seems that you never did get an answer from Rabbonim to the questions you asked. Maybe if you would have been given the clarification, you might not have chosen the lifestyle that you are living now. At this point, there is a tremendous barrier obstructing you from understanding the position I wish to present. The Torah Hakdosha says Ki Hashochad Ye'aver etc. That when a person has a vested interested, it blinds them from seeing the truth. Consider this. I'm sure you know that nobody is infallible, including yourself. You have built an argument which justifies your approach to this subject, and therefore, your way of life. But you might possibly be wrong. What would happen if I would present an argument based on The Torah, such an argument which is clearly true, and can't be denied by someone with honesty and integrity. An argument which says that what you are doing is sinful and that you are obligated to stop and change your ways. Would you be able to see the truth? I'm afraid that you have far too much at stake. I think that even if the truth would be glaring right in front of you with the greatest unequivocal clarity, you would not be able to see it. Ki Hashochad Ye'aver.

      UNLESS, you continue to be a searcher, and are a person with Mesiras Nefesh for The Torah and for the Emess, and that is more important to you than your entire family life as it is now. Are you that? You haven't yet heard from me what I have to present, so at this point you could believe that I don't have anything to say which would require you to change. But just answer this 'hypothetical' question: If I prove that you may not, Al Pi Hatorah, live the way you are living, would you be able to see my proof, and admit to it? It is for this reason that I started with a requirement of being Modeh Al Haemess. I was asking for a bigger thing than you thought. You could throw this question back at me. Not that there is anything questionable about my lifestyle, even by your standards, but about my belief system. Yes you can, but that would not help you for the question which is being presented to you, and since it is your lifestyle which is so controversial, it is something you need to consider. If you will tell me that in fact the truth is more valuable to you than anything else, then although I will have a hard time believing it, because most people aren't that way, yet I will hope that it is so and I will IY"H proceed with presenting what I have to say.

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  2. Problem: Married people are more likely to have relations than non-married people. In a world where people are utterly free with their passions, one cannot rely on anyone to show up for supper, but married people or those with especially close relations may be relied upon to be together very often. Furthermore, the sin is not just the final act but many preparatory acts. If we assume, as I do, that one madly in love with another spends a lot of time with that person more than if relations were based on erratic and temporary relations, the bringing the gay man to his lover would likely greatly increase the amount of sin he would do. Furthermore, not only does the unity with his true love increase the amount of sinning, but the passion is greatly increased which surely leads to more intense and more frequent sins. If we factor in the fear of HIV with gays, and if we know that two people have had long semi-marital relations, it is possible that neither had HIV. Therefore there is nothing to limit the sins. But to be with another person who may have HIV is altogether different and may result in less sinning.

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    1. I don't know where to start here. I am honestly crying reading this. The idea that respected rabbanim could pasken on the basis of decades-old stereotypes (the HIV comment) or that a severely depressed individual would seek out sex with someone else because of discord in his relationship makes me despair for our generation.

      A person who would have sex with another person because of discord in a relationship would not be severely depressed over the failure of that relationship.

      And with the greatest of respect, I can't imagine where the rav got the idea that married people are more likely to have relations than unmarried people. I would urge anyone operating under such a mistaken assumption to check psychological journals for studies on the issue.

      Finally, a gay man in Israel who is not religious would almost certainly not go to see a frum therapist. It is likely that the patient in question was frum himself, in which case he should never have been evaluated according to the sexual mores of the secular/gentile gay community. By doing so, both the therapist and his rav are culpable in his death.

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  3. The flaw in your reasoning is that the lack of therapy actually did reduce the frequency of the forbidden relations.
    Also, this may be comparable to the Gemara's case of the man who would die were he not to speak with a forbidden woman (Sanhedrin 75).

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    1. while it did reduce the frequency of this particular forbidden relationship that doesn't mean that it reduced his involvment in this aveira.

      The case of Sanhedrin (75) is not clearly relevant to this. Who was comparable to the therapist in that gemora? Doesn't say that the man who was love sick asked his posek whether it was ok. It doesn't say that the girl volunteered to say the man's life by submitting to him.

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    2. The point I was trying to delicately make is that being that when dead he will not commit the aveira & being that his death was a forseeable consequence of witholding therapy, actually giving the therapy & facilitating the sin would not be comparable to your case where they won't die as a result of not being mesader kidushin.

      With regard to the Gemara in Sanhedrin I would think that the Sages would be comparable to the therapist of our story. According to you they should have been obligated to do what they can to facilitate the conversation between the sick man & the girl.

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  4. You make some reasonable assumptions in the last paragraph, but reality doesn't always match what is reasonable.

    I'm constantly being shocked in my life to learn how my reasonable assumptions are flat out wrong.

    How do we know what the reason is for why the men "broke up"? Is there not a small possibility that it was that one or both was struggling to do T'shuva? I'm not sure I'd want to risk my Olam Ha'Ba by trying to reconcile the men.

    Think about it. One of them may kill himself if I sit and do nothing; yet the only way to help him seems to be by facilitating a reconciliation. Yet, what if the other man, by distancing himself from the suicidal one, is on his way to doing T'shuva -- and I interfere -- I could very well be faulted for facilitating a homosexual relationship.

    And if I do nothing, will I be faulted? Will I be accused of standing on my brother's blood? I don't think so. The Torah specifically describes the ones guilty of homosexuality as "D'may'hem Bam", literally "their blood in them." Can it not be understood as "on them" in contradistinction to "on me?"

    Consider this: causing others to sin is worse than doing the sin. If the prohibition against Gi'luy A'ryos is in the category of Ya'haroj V'lo Ya'avor, how much more so the prohibition against causing others to engage in Gi'luy A'ryos is in the category of Ya'ha'roj V'lo Ya'avor.

    So even if the possibility that the T'shuva process has begun is one in a thousand, that's still too high for me to risk my connection with Hashem.

    The case is not comparable to the married couple's case, because there the two people have a possibility of being permitted to each other. Hashem is Merciful -- perhaps the woman will eventually keep the Laws of Nida. In this case, however, the two men are at least apart, which is an absolute step in the right direction.

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    1. "Consider this: causing others to sin is worse than doing the sin. If the prohibition against Gi'luy A'ryos is in the category of Ya'haroj V'lo Ya'avor, how much more so the prohibition against causing others to engage in Gi'luy A'ryos is in the category of Ya'ha'roj V'lo Ya'avor."

      This is not categorically true. See the Rama in Yore Deah 157:1 that לפני עור (even of the שלש עבירות חמורות) is not יהרג ואל יעבור (his source is the Ran and Nimukei Yosef). So if Reuven tells Shimon, give me that idol so that I can serve it, or I will kill you, Shimon may give him the idol.

      Now I agree with you that in our case, the therapist may not try to reconcile the homosexual couple, because the Rema's ruling is not applicable here. Nevertheless, I wanted to point out that your statement cannot be accepted without qualification, because it contradicts the Rema.

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  5. I once asked Rav Sternbuch about the permissibility of therapy with a couple that did not keep taharas mishpacha. He cited the Chazon Ish as the source of a principle that if the discord reduces their sinning that it would be prohibited to provide them with therapy. However he noted that it is not unusual for couples today to commit adultery. Thus in fact there would be no reduction in sinning if there were marital discord and thus he said that therapy was permitted.
    ======================
    Interesting - would a case by case analysis be required to determine the likelihood of "reduction in sinning" and how would we weight the sins (e.g. he will have relations with a pnuyah who goes to minkeh)
    KT
    Joel Rich

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    1. Yes a case by case analysis should be done. Weighing the alternative sins is a big problem but not impossible. See the discussion in Beis Shmuel regarding the choice between relations when his wife is a nida vs zera l'vatalah

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    2. Is there a specific citation for that Beis Shmuel?
      KT
      Joel Rich

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    3. Beis Shmuel (E.H. 23:1): It is prohibited to waste seed – The Chelkas Mechokek cites the Sefer Chassidim that if a man is afraid he will transgress having sex with another man’s wife or with a niddah, G d forbid!, it is better that he waste his semen. However he should fast 40 days during the summer or sit in the cold during the winter. This that the Zohar says here that the production of semen for nothing is more severe than other sins – this is not precisely true.
      Chelkas Mechokak (E.H. 23.1): It is prohibited to waste seed – The Sefer Chassidim writes that if a man is afraid he will transgress having sex with another man’s wife or with a niddah, G d forbid!, it is better that he waste his seed. Nonetheless he should fast 40 days during the summer or sit in the cold during the winter.
      Sefer Chasidim (#176): There was an incident with a person who asked about a person who lust became overwhelming. He was afraid that he would have sex with a married woman or with his wife who was a nidah or some other prohibited relationship – could he waste his semen in order that he should sin? The reply given was that at that time it was best to waste his semen. If it was impossible that it was best to waste his semen rather than sin with a women. However he does require atonement. In the winter he should sit in the snow, while in the summer he should fast for forty days.

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  6. Fascinating question. I agree with you... but I am not a Posek. I wonder how other Poskim would deal with this. I think this might be a great subject for 'Avodah'. There are a lot of knowledge people on that list.

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  7. Isnt the generally accepted halacha that one can be a shadchan for a couple that will not keep taharat hamishpacha? Same for chuppa vekiddushin. (But note rav kook's advice to rabbonim to make a mistake in chuppa vekiddushin on kibbutzim (at that time almost all were socialist) cause he assumed adultery)

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    1. the issue of being a shadchan is sometimes addressed by saying that it should be done only for money.

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  8. I see the earlier debate got to you. Kol haKavod for keeping up the quest to get beyond the pashut halacha for the sake of deeper Torah truths...

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    1. the earlier debate did not "get to me". Please stop with your instant replays and simplistic summaries of a complex issue

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  9. Is this a real case, or was it invented for the sake of argument?

    I think the psychotherapist acted against the standarts of his profession when he asked the rabbi what to do (and did what the rabbi told him).

    The maximum a therapist could do, if he cannot reconcile the best treatment for his patient with his conscience, is to refer him to another therapist where this problem won't arise, in a timely manner.

    This therapist should be sued for malpractice...

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    1. Whoa! That opens a whole another discussion. How honest is it for a Jew to take a job in a profession whose standards he is not loyal to. Is there Gnai'vas Ha'da'as involved?

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    2. There's no professional problem with STOPPING psychotherapeutic treatment, as far as I know. Pls enlighten if you've heard of any.

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    3. Is that truly the case? Can a therapist be professional and still say "I need a vacation" and walk away when he has a regular ongoing relationship with a client, and that client is having a crisis with life and death consequences?

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    4. We need to distinguish between ethical and professional standards.

      Your example is of course extreme. Avoiding professional responsibilities for the sake of a vacation is in most books totally non-professional.

      I was addressing the malpractice question. A surgeon can't stop his surgery for matters of conscience. Nor should an engineer, a pilot, nor a clerk in a bank. For all those professions are essentially deed oriented. When you need to invest your soul into something, however, which psychotherapy in essence is about, there's room to say "hey, now that I've discovered this, I just no longer have it in me to attend to this client".

      A Psychiatrist may be different.

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    5. 100% agree with "Patience". I am a frum, mental health clinician, and have worked with clients who are struggling with major life/death issues as it deals with their diagnoses. I have helped clients and their families in situations which I certainly didn't approve of, because I was helping them make decisions that were right and SAFE for the client. This therapist should have his license suspended, if not permanently revoked. We have a code of ethics he did not follow. I am incensed by what happened here. I would not blame the family if they brought charges against this "therapist". He and his "Rav" have blood on their hands.

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    6. Rebecca,

      Are you saying that your status as a "frum clinician" means that you don't need to follow the Halacha, because of your superior "code of ethics" - and that if you do, you have "blood on your hands"?

      Nebach, Nebach

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    7. Chaim, רפא ירפא. Consider that a מומחה might know more about a subject than a halakhic authority. A posek can only pasken according to the information he has. And if he has bad information, or if he substitutes assumptions for actual information, his psak will be flawed.

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    8. Lisa,

      I agree 100% with everything you say - but can't see anything relevant to my post. For a frum Jew everything is a Halachic question - definitely the question which is the subject of this post. I am not commenting on whether the Rav's Psak was Halachically correct or not. If it was, then the therapist is forbidden to go ahead with the therapy, and incurs no guilt whatsoever over the death of the patient. The fact that the "code of ethics" might require a different approach is unfortunate, but immaterial to a God-fearing Jew who knows that the רצון השם is all-important.

      If, on the other hand, Halacha - Hashem - dictates that the patient is to be treated, and the doctor is negligent, then THAT is why he has blood on his hands - not because of any "code of ethics".From her words, it seems that Rebecca is not incensed because of the violation of Halacha, but because of the violation of the code of ethics. This is a non-Torah attitude.

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    9. Agree 100% with Chaim. There is no obligation to cure at any cost - including violating halacha. A doctor's medical knowledge provides facts but halacha still determines the validity of the different options.

      So Lisa are you arguing within a halacha framework?

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    10. Chaim,
      please do not "nebach" me. It is condescending. and if you see me as having a non-Torah attitude, so be it.
      I would be sued and possibly brought up on charges in I handled the situation the same way as this "therapist" in Israel. Professionally, there is an obligation to cure at any cost. Ask the frum doctors who have to break shabbat/yontif because there is a pekuach nefesh issue. This client was SUICIDAL- it doesn't get more life-or-death than that.
      And judge me all you want. Doing what I do, I have actually saved people from harming themselves, perhaps even dying. I follow Halacha. I will answer to Hashem, not you.

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    11. I believe I am arguing within a halakhic framework. It's a complicated issue, and I don't think a frum therapist has any business engaging in therapy with a patient they can't handle ethically.

      If halakha said that antibiotics were assur, I'd say the same thing about physicians. The Torah authorizes experts/professionals to make certain determinations, and halakhic authorities must accept those.

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    12. @Rebecca - I understand your upset - but at the same time you are not acknowledging that whether you follow professional standards is also a halachic question. Pikuach nefesh is not a blank check. Again halacha makes the determination. Doctors breaking Shabbos for pikuach nefesh is also a clear halachic issue.

      Chaim was responding to your apparent assumption that halacha automatically had to give way before professional standards. Is that assumption correct?

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    14. Daas Torah- I know you are a fellow clinician- I read your bio. I was wondering if you have ever worked with clients who have gotten poor or inappropriate treatment, either from clinicians/lay people who didn't know better, or who tried the self-help route?
      We routinely talk to our client's Rabbeim/pastors/clergy to provide some psycho-education around the severe mental issues we treat at my program. Most of the clergy are open and happy to give a heter/dispensation to follow religious law to an extent, given how sick our clients are, and how their lives are truly unlivable. They are also happy to learn how they can best support the client.
      My husband has a friend with schizoaffective disorder. He went to one well-respected Rav, who told to "daven harder" and that his issues would resolve. I hit the roof when I found out. He was hospitalized a few weeks later after he nearly killed himself. I sent him to a different Rav, who gave him pretty clear guidelines as to what to do for the sake of his mental and physical health. This Rav is also quite well-respected, and has an understanding of MH issues.
      I am very sensitive to what happens when clients are given "advice" or guidance from those who do not understand the gravity of the situation.
      Sorry to ramble.

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    15. Chaim, my feelings have not been hurt. And I never exclaimed that professional ethics bother me more than halakha. Are you sure you aren't confusing me with someone else?

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    16. I think he's referring to me.
      For the record, my feelings are not hurt!

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    17. Sorry - I wrote Lisa instead of Rebecca!

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    18. Rebecca I understand and agree with most of what you have written - and yesI have had such clients and I have heard inproper advice/psak from rabbis. But there is a difference between incompentent adivce or therapy or psak and a situation where the facts are clear and you will generally get agreement from the rabbis and/ or therapist what has to be done.

      You are giving the impression that you view pikuach nefesh or professional standards as always justifying an action even if it is against halacha.

      If that is not so - please simply state it.

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    19. Rebecca,

      I had no intention of hurting your feelings. Nobody likes feeling pitied.

      But - when you call yourself "frum" and then exclaim that the professional code of ethics bothers you more than Halacha - and are indeed "incensed" by someone who might have a different view - then there is great confusion in your worldview. This blog is for exchanging ideas, and that is what I did. Remember that you yourself have no problem with being judgemental when it comes to criticising a doctor for violating his religious principles because they oppose the hierarchy of your own value system.

      Good Shabbos

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    20. @Chaim - the idea of ethics outside the Torah is an interesting one.
      The question is, does a good Posek simply go through seforim and make a decision, or does his Ruach Kodesh, which has ahavas habriut guide him to seek Tseddek and Mishpat. This is a rhetorical question, since we cannot really get into the mind of a Posek.

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    21. Hi Chaim and Daas Torah,
      Firstly, my feelings aren't hurt at all! No worries.
      In my opinion, pikuach nefesh trumps halacha. Disagree with me, that's fine.
      My issue is that someone died as a result of negligence. if the client was in a suicidal state, the therapist should have had him admitted to a psych facility, as he was at imminent risk of harming himself. Tabling the situation for a later time, so he could ask a Rav for guidance does not seem like an appropriate response, when there was an intent to kill himself. I certainly hope that this therapist and Rav have some close supervision and debriefing about what happened.
      Yes, I believe that you have to be strict with pikuach nefesh, and if that means going against halacha, than you save that person's life. You can speak with your supervisor about these concerns before taking a job, or even leave if you feel that there is to much of an ethical dilemma at play. Have ongoing supervision. Heck, change jobs if you feel that halacha contradicts your code of ethics.
      I am disappointed that someone died. I feel that the therapist had a serious lapse in judgment. I feel that the therapist could have done more to save his patient. My value system includes not letting people with severe mental illnesses die due to improper treatment. That is my value system, as is halacha. But if someone's life is on the line, I try to save it.
      If I'm being judgmental, then I guess I'm judgmental. And I'm sorry that that's how I'm presenting myself. I try very hard to give people the benefit of the doubt, and try to imagine what I would do if I were faced with the same situation.

      shabbat shalom.

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    22. "You are giving the impression that you view pikuach nefesh or professional standards as always justifying an action even if it is against halacha."

      If you think that professional standarts are against halacha - and they seem to be in this case, at least the way you read halacha - then you should withdraw from the profession. But you should not make clients suffer because of your conscience objections.

      So you might advertise that a frum jew should not become a mental health professional.

      You might not advertise that a frum jew who is a mental health professional should act against professional standarts. That's really clearcut.

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    23. My issue is that someone died as a result of negligence.
      Now you are making leaps that aren't in the article. It doesn't say someone died. It doesn't tell us what happened at all.

      First let us deal with the halakhic issue. Pikuach Nefesh is most certainly NOT a blank check to go over whatever halakha whenever. Halakha does very much play a role. But I'm going to set that aside for now.

      You make a big deal about professional ethics. How about simple professional competence? The supervisors suggestion to reconcile the man with his lover as a solution to his suicidal feelings is inept at best. Here are the reasons why:
      1) Any reconciliaiton would take time and involve greater emotional stress thus possibly pushing the person over the proverbial edge.
      2) There is the distinct possibility that the reconciliation wouldn't work and the person would commit suicide.
      3) This is the most important one, it goes against ALL modern research on suicide and self harm, which has shown that the causality is non-linear.

      Never mind how simply absurd it is to place the possibility of someone taking their life upon the fickle feelings of another, you have a supervisor that is basing his advice on theories that have been discredited for 20yrs. In truth the Rabbi gave a better answer, one that is far more likely to result in the young man being able to overcome his suicidal feelings.

      I am disappointed that someone died. I feel that the therapist had a serious lapse in judgment. I feel that the therapist could have done more to save his patient. My value system includes not letting people with severe mental illnesses die due to improper treatment.
      Again where does it say that someone died? The therapist had a lapse in judgement? How is that? He sought the council of his supervisor who gave him stupendously bad advice that quite literally goes against all of the best research on the subject of suicide and self-harm, and the advice of his Rabbi who gave him a halakhic opinion.
      Improper treatment would have been to attempt the reconciliation. Aside from the halakhic issues, that would have been a really bad choice. If we take the best two theories as to why people commit suicide, anger and despair and play the various scenarios through them.
      1) Anger- Boy wants to hurt his (ex)lover. So once reconciled he is possibly more likely to commit suicide. Further since a large percentage of actual suicides were attempts that were intended to be interrupted(i.e. cries for help, or emotional manipulation via "see you are driving me to kill myself by your actions), he is far more likely to attempt suicide once the relationship is restored and it hits any normal relational bumps. These attempts could go horribly wrong and result in a real suicide.
      2) Despair- There is the very real possibility that the reconciliation wouldn't work, and thus suicide is much more likely. Further even if it were to work, people typically break up for good reason, and so their relationship isn't that likely to last. Which would result in the young man being in danger of suicide again.

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    24. If you think that professional standarts are against halacha - and they seem to be in this case, at least the way you read halacha - then you should withdraw from the profession.

      No. Professional standards state that if one cannot morally give the patient the treatment he desires you can refer the client to another therapist.

      Psychologists run into ethical dilemmas all the time which may require them to withdraw from treating a client. It doesn't mean that someone needs to withdraw from the profession, they simply need to know when to withdraw from treatment.

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    25. Rebecca,

      Thank you for your reply. The reason why many would be confused by your statement that "pikuach nefesh trumps halacha" is that since the very phrase "pikuach nefesh" comes from the Talmud (Yoma 84b and elsewhere) and is used by Torah-observant Jews to refer to the Halachic obligation to save lives, there can by definition never be a clash between pikuach nefesh and Halacha in which one would have to trump the other, since Halacha will tell us whether the obligation of pikuach nefesh exists at all. You are open about the fact that to you, there are values more important than Halacha - not Torah values, but those of your own moral compass. A more intellectually honest way to portray your opinion would have been to write "saving lives is more important than Halacha".

      It's amazing how only a few weeks ago I was wondering - on this blog - when people would start corrupting the word "frum" as they have done with "orthodox". You are the first example. Frum people believe that Hashem gave us the Torah, and that His values are more important than any other system. If you don't believe that, then you are not "frum", and describing yourself as such is disingenuous - at least as of 2014.

      There is a point which we do have in common - we are both very upset that somebody died. Be that as it may, saving lives does not trump all violations of Halacha according to Hashem - the same Hashem who is the source of all the "good bits" of the Torah, which you like.

      Your admission that you follow the Torah only as and when it tallies with your own beliefs is an important one, and will be instructive to those reading your opinions on this and other matters.

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  10. Interesting dilemma - of course interesting doesn't mean pleasant.

    Can a person violate a psak halacha in order to save a life?

    And if the calculus is the balance of aveiros, then I mentioned a year or so a go, about a psak in a Shul in Mexico. The Rav was Chief Rabbi of a large congregation, who would drive to shul on shabbat for events like Barmitzvahs, but not on a regular shabbat with no such events. He suggested changing the Barmitzvah to a sunday, to prevent mass violation of shabbat. He asked poskim , who said you cannot change a small minhag of Barmtizvah, so they kept it on Shabbat. This to me is the height of unreason. Barmitzvah is not even a Torah based ceremony, nor is the celebration . He becomes bar-mitzvah when reaching that age. It is a Kafkaeque situation when you celebrate becoming bar-mitzvah b publicly violating Shabbat en masse. If this psak can be considered "rational" then there is no weighing up of sins, it is just about keeping minhagim at any cost.

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    1. MiMedinat HaYamMay 9, 2014 at 2:39 AM

      this sounds ridiculous. I know the Mexican jewish community, and cant forsee such a case (and almost all shuls are orthodox; not necessarily all members, but they insist the shul , and the rov, be orthodox.)

      the igrot moshe does have a case of a mohel that asked RMF about pushing off a brit to sunday because of chillul Shabbat, and rav moshe wisely answered if you push off to sunday, you teach the conservatives and reforms, to push all brissim , from any day of the week, to sunday, since they'll prefer it for larger crowd, etc. (that was an unnamed shul in unnamed town, etc.)

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  11. If there is such a Chazon Ish, maybe it's as follows:

    First let's understand the Shaalo of whether or not it is permitted to give therapy to a couple who don't keep Taharas Hamishpocho. Is it also a Shaalo whether a doctor may heal a sinner? Or do we say the actual healing is not helping him sin, it is merely helping him function, and then he has Bechira to sin or not. The same thing is with giving therapy to a non Frum couple.
    UNLESS -
    Their discord is somehow connected to the issue of their not keeping the Halachos, and the therapy process is actually enforcing that very fact and bringing them to be comfortable about their sinning in order to make Shalom between them.

    But that there should be a Cheshbon that it's okay to help build a sinful gay relationship because it will make them sin less in other areas or in general, I think there is no such Cheshbon Al Pi Torah.

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    1. just added Rav Sternbuch's teshuva to the post

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    2. Thank you. I responded above.

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  12. The story above is actually a good example of why a religious therapist is a bad therapist - from the point of view of science and the patient.

    Can you imagine a firefighter who is strictly Orthodox, and will not go to to a fire without asking his Rov for psak? What if a house where gays (or even secular families who do not go to mikve) is chas v'shalom on fire? Would it also be better to not show up at the fire, since saving their lives would lead them to sin more?

    IN the case of Mikve, Rambam writes that D'oraita a mikve does not need rainwater, ie drawn water would be sufificient. That means it is entirely possible that many secular people are keeping d'oraita taharas mishpacha anyway, if they have a bath tube for example.

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    1. With the DISCLAIMER that commenting on one of Eddie's points should not imply an sort of agreement with anything else he writes -

      Even if we would be 100% sure that women nowadays are נדות and not זבות (and of course we are not), and even if we would be 100% sure that their baths are a kosher מקוה (and of course we are not), secular people would NOT be keeping טהרת משפחה מן התורה unless the following 3 conditions were always met:
      (1) The couple always refrains from relations until after 7 day from the onset of the period;
      (2) The woman always has a bath after the 7 days but before relations;
      (3) The woman submerges herself completely in the bath, all at once, so that no part of her body, or even one hair, is out of the water, even a drop.

      It is clear to any בר דעת that a non-observant couple - uninterested in, and most probably unaware of, the Halachos of נדה - would not be keeping these conditions, and hence they can be assumed to be in definite violation of the laws of טהרת משפחה.

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    2. @ Chaim "hence they can be assumed to be in definite violation of the laws of טהרת משפחה"
      You can assume what you like, the Judge of all the world will make the Judgement not what some guy assumes on the internet.

      Since I am doing pharmaceutical research, I will give another example. Can a frum doctor prescribe life saving drugs to someone who is a sinner? Would that doctor ask his Rov before he prescribes to questionable patients? And what if the patient is "frum" but from another stream, e.g. the type that some call Amalek, or chayev skilah?
      Since there are not many Hareidi doctors, then this question is perhaps moot. Even the Gedolim usually have "Amalek" doctors (MO or Tzionim).

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    3. @eddie your case is totally different. You are asking whether a sinner's life can be saved not whether he can be helped to sin.

      The closes I can find to your view is the question whether a person who attempts suicide on Shabbos can be given medical treatement on Shabbos to save his life

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    4. You are quite right, I missed a step out in the argument. Action that may save the life / prevent suicide of a sinner, e.g. aids drug or anti-depressant. In the case you cite, let's say the administration of anti-depressant might help, would that be allowed?
      SImilarly, - give AIDS drugs to homosexuals. This is from a medical standpoint different from a halachic one. Perhaps the miracle of being functionally cured from a terrible disease could ignite some Yiras shomoyim?

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  13. just thinking how Hashem would respond - see Tomer Devorah I Who is a G-d like You?
    This refers to the Holy One, Blessed is He, as a King Who is insulted, Who
    bears insult in a manner that is above human understanding. For behold,
    without doubt, there is nothing hidden from His supervision. Furthermore,
    there is no moment when man is not nourished and does not exist by virtue
    of the divine power which flows down upon him. It follows that no man ever
    sinned against G-d without the divine effluence pouring into him at that very
    moment enabling him to exist and to move his limbs. Despite the fact that
    man uses that power for sin, it is not withheld from him in any way. But the
    Holy One, Blessed is He, bears this insult and continues to empower him to 2
    move his limbs even though he uses the power in that moment for sin and
    perversity offending the Holy One, Blessed is He, who, nonetheless, suffers
    it.
    Nor must you say that He cannot withhold that good, G-d forefend, for it lies
    in His power in the moment it takes to say the word ‘moment’ to wither the
    sinner’s hand and foot, as he did to Jeroboam (I Melachim 13:4). And yet,
    eventhough it lies in His power to stop this divine flow and He might have
    said: ‘If you sin against Me do so with your own strength, not with Mine’, He
    does not on this account, withhold His goodness from man, bearing the
    insult, pouring out His power and bestowing of His goodness. This is to be
    insulted and bear the insult, beyond words. This is why the ministering
    angels refer to the Holy One, Blessed is He, as ‘the patient [Humiliated] King.
    (Pirke Hechalot 25).’ And this is the meaning of the prophet’s words: “Who is
    a G-d like you?” He means: ‘You are the good and merciful G-d, with the
    power to avenge and claim Your debt, yet You are patient and bear insult
    until man repents.’ Behold this is a virtue man should make his own, namely,
    to be patient and allow himself to be insulted even to this extent and yet not
    refuse to bestow of his goodness to the recipients.

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    1. When I want to know how Hashem would respond to a Halachic question, I look up the Gemara, Rishonim, Shulchan Aruch and Poskim.

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    2. Allan, This a Halacha question, and if the Halacha doesn't allow it, then that's the end of that. The Tomer Devorah is teaching us that we sould be Mevater on our own Kavod, as Hashem does for his Kavod K'vayachol, but not that we me may be Mevater on Hashem's Kavod Ch'V, except where the Halacha says so, like by Sota, where the halacha says that to make Shalom etc.

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  14. By the way: I suppose that no serious association of mental health professionals would accept you if you say straight out that you are homophobic, or that you believe homosexuals deserve a death sentence (albeit only theoretically).

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    1. For what it's worth, taken from
      http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx?item=1
      Copyright American Pyschological Association
      http://www.apa.org/about/contact/copyright/index.aspx

      (Last line below is especially telling.)
      ----------------
      "Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language and socioeconomic status and consider these factors when working with members of such groups."

      "In their work-related activities, psychologists do not engage in unfair discrimination based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status or any basis proscribed by law."

      "Psychologists take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, organizational clients and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable."

      "Psychologists refrain from taking on a professional role when personal, scientific, professional, legal, financial or other interests or relationships could reasonably be expected to (1) impair their objectivity, competence or effectiveness in performing their functions as psychologists or (2) expose the person or organization with whom the professional relationship exists to harm or exploitation."

      "Unless otherwise covered by contract, psychologists make reasonable efforts to plan for facilitating services in the event that psychological services are interrupted by factors such as the psychologist's illness, death, unavailability, relocation or retirement or by the client's/patient's relocation or financial limitations."

      "10.10 Terminating Therapy
      (a) Psychologists terminate therapy when it becomes reasonably clear that the client/patient no longer needs the service, is not likely to benefit, or is being harmed by continued service.
      (b) Psychologists may terminate therapy when threatened or otherwise endangered by the client/patient or another person with whom the client/patient has a relationship.
      (c) Except where precluded by the actions of clients/patients or third-party payors, prior to termination psychologists provide pretermination counseling and suggest alternative service providers as appropriate."

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    2. what is your point? This has nothing to do with homophobia.

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    3. The Bostoner Rebbe zt'l told me it is okay to make a shidduch with non-observant Jews who we may presume will not keep taharas hamishpacha. This may or may not be relevant to the question about therapy with a non-observant couple.


      ben dov
      1honestlyfrum.blogspot.com

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    4. My point is that the therapist referred to in the original post ignored his supervisor's suggestion, a suggestion you seem to imply in the post might have prevented a suicide. The therapist essentially terminated the called for therapy. This would seem to be right and wrong according to Halacha. "Right" because the therapist was following a P'sak from his Rav; "wrong" because the therapist seemed to violate professional ethics by unilaterally terminating a promising avenue of "therapy."

      Presumably, the client was paying money to the therapist in order to receive the most professional therapy possible -- and he didn't get it. Thus the therapist was misleading the client, and also stealing from him.

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    5. IN the days I was close to Lubavitch, one Rav told me that the Rebbe said it is preferable for non observant Jews to marry Jews rather than non Jews, despite there being no issur of niddah with non Jews. That is a "meta-halachic" question. There is also the issue of someone coming round to do teshuva. The problem here is that it seems the idea of "moridim v'lo maalim" is still prominent, although the Hazon Ish said it does not apply today. BUt it also reveals something else.
      More than one Haredi Rav has openly said to me that MO is reform. Not only MO, but even "Agudah". B'H there are very few professionals who have this attitude, but it is possible some BT Doctor might have joined this sinnas Hinnam ideology. So maybe a frum doctor would consider MO patients as ovdei Avodah zarah, or reform. Or even secular Jews, and prescribe them the wrong drugs. It is the logical conclusion of this discussion.

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    6. He "openly said" it - to you!!!

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    7. It is sort of am haaratzus to say there is no issur niddah with goyim. The Rambam explains how the Torah creates a chiyuv karess out of nowhere as if she has niddah with the sole purpose of punishing the boel aramis.

      And according to the Geonim it is simple why a Jewish niddah is vastly preferable to an Aramis. There is a scale of what it takes to make someone permitted to you and giyur is much harder to achieve than getting a woman to dip in the mikva.

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  15. There is a Machlokes among the Rishonim as to whether the Mitzva of פדיון שבויים applies to a מומר אוכל נבילות לתאבון. Although the Shulchan Aruch (Yore Deah 251:1) rules that it does not, the Sefer Ahavas Tzedaka (עמוד ריב) notes that both the Vilna Gaon and the Chafetz Chaim (in Ahavas Chesed) disagree, and rule that the Mitzva does apply. And when we are dealing with a likely תינוק שנשבה it is cogent to argue that even the Shulchan Aruch would agree that there is a Mitzvah.

    R' Moshe Sternbuch שליט"א seems to be saying that all this is only applicable when the person does not regularly violate any of the שלש עבירות חמורות. But if he does, then taking him out of prison is considered like causing him to violate an איסור which is יהרג ואל יעבור, so there is no היתר of פיקוח נפש to do so.

    This is a big Chiddush. The fact that the Poskim do not differentiate between different איסורים would seem to indicate that they do not view the פדיון as being מכשיל באיסור.

    Another point to ponder is: According to R' Moshe that redeeming a sinner is equivalent to causing him to sin and violates לפני עור, why can one redeem ANY sinner - even one who does NOT violate the שלש עבירות. Why is the redemption not a violation of לפני עור, as it is facilitating future violation of עבירות? Presumably we have to answer that since there is a מצב of פיקוח נפש, which is דוחה most Issurim, there is no problem in being מכשיל the person in an Issur which can itself be נדחה מפני פיקוח נפש.

    But according to this it would come out that whenever the פדיון שבויים is not פיקוח נפש and there is no היתר to do Issurim, one may not redeem a מומר לתאבון according to anyone - why does nobody mention this huge Chiddush?

    Finally, it must be explained how R' Moshe's Psak tallies with the Rema (Yore Deah 157:1) who writes that לפני עור of the שלש עבירות חמורות is not יהרג ואל יעבור.

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    1. There is a discussion of the Steipler concerning a person who was arrested and is likely to commit the crime again as to whether askanim should intervene with the judge to save him from a jail sentence.

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    2. I would be interested to see the source, if possible.

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  16. "Some related questions. 1) I was asked by a man who was committing adultery to help reduce his anxiety and guilt feelings. 2) A father and adult daughter feel guilty about their incestual relationship 3) A married woman wants to stop feeling guilty about being a prostitute because she really needs the money. 4) An unmarried couple are having shalom bayis problems which interfere with their sexual relations. 5) A teenager has anxiety about a gender change operations and wants therapy to go through with it. 6) Wife wants husband to join group where spouses are switched periodically 7) Abortion doctor wants help overcoming guilt. 8) Doctor has trouble pulling the plug on 'brain dead' patients."

    You do realize what's going on. Every Jew at some point has a struggle within them between the Good Inclination and the Bad Inclination. Tza'dik'im are those who have conquered their Bad Inclination. Re'sha'im are those who have conquered their Good Inclination. These people you list, Bei'no'nim, are seeking a therapist in order to subdue their Good Inclination in one area or other . What a world we live in. There's a profession which facilitates a Bei'no'ni becoming a Mu'mar B'Dav'ar E'chad.

    Just to pick one of your cases at random, 5): A teenager, possibly succumbing to his or her Bad Inclination's argument that he, a boy, is a girl, or she, a girl, is a boy (you didn't specify the teenager's gender) is annoyed that his or her Good Inclination is fighting back, and this battle is seemingly described as "anxiety". So the boy or girl goes to a "professional" who supposedly will help the boy (girl) identify the source of his/her "anxiety" and provide him/her with guidance and techniques to overcome the "anxiety", possibly referring the boy/girl to a psychiatrist who can prescribe a drug to eliminate or at least reduce the "anxiety" so that the client will have the willpower to hire a surgeon to mangle their body and fill their veins with drugs that will make the client into a sort of pseudo-hermaphrodite.

    And what a Mumar they will be...! Can you imagine -- keep the positive commandments without time restraints -- or not? What great challenges they will have NOW. Thank you mental health profession.

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    1. >"There's a profession which facilitates a Bei'no'ni becoming a Mu'mar B'Dav'ar E'chad"

      Powerfully put. It's incumbent upon frum mental health practitioners to discern, with the help of their poskim, how to straddle the line been this problem and the mitzvah of רפא ירפא

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  17. What do the Rabbi and the Therapist think after the suicide?

    Would they do it again?

    I suppose it does not happen so often that there is such a rapid course of events, but more generally, there are probably many religious persons with a homosexual inclination who are driven to suicide by the general position against homosexual practices.

    At least, in the general population, suicides of homosexuals went down once the society adopted a more tolerant stance. And I think there are also studies comparing suicide rates due to homosexuality in homophobic societies and in open societies.

    So the problem is not only with this particular therapist and this particular rabbi. Religious society should also check whether they want to drive some of their members into suicide.

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    1. Patience you are making a big assertion without providing any evidence

      take a look at this http://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/10/21/just-what-is-behind-these-suicides/ which indicates you are simply spouting gay rights propaganda

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    2. Unfortunately, that article makes many claims without citing a single source in support. All of its citations are to articles by other bloggers who share a similar bias. I've chased these claims around the net and through psychological and psychiatric journals, and none of the claims cite sources other than vague claims about task forces that never really existed.

      It's fascinating, really. It seems that one person made up a bunch of fake claims, and since then, one agenda-driven blog after another has repeated the same claims.

      Not wanting to get into a he-said-she-said, here are some actual citations:

      Risk Factors for Suicide among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youths, Curtis D. Proctor and Victor K. Groze, Social Work (1994) 39 (5): 504-513

      Risk Factors for Attempted Suicide in Gay and Bisexual Youth Gary Remafedi, James A. Farrow, Robert W. Deisher, PEDIATRICS - American Academy of Pediatrics, Vol. 87 No. 6 June 1, 1991 pp. 869 -875

      Stephen T. Russell and Kara Joyner. Adolescent Sexual Orientation and Suicide Risk: Evidence From a National Study. American Journal of Public Health: August 2001, Vol. 91, No. 8, pp. 1276-1281

      Elevated rates of suicidal behavior in gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. Bagley, Christopher; Tremblay, Pierre, Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, Vol 21(3), 2000, 111-117

      Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin 129 (5): 674–9

      The Social Environment and Suicide Attempts inLesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth", Pediatrics. 127 (5), 2011: 896–903

      I can go on all day. These are actual studies. Unlike the fictional ones cited in the Muehlenberg article.

      So the question is, I suppose, who is "simply spouting propaganda" and who is actually dealing with the reality of the situation?

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    3. @Lisa - patience is claiming that the suicides are the result of a homophobic society. Or to put it another way - if there were no anti-gay feelings that the suicide rate would not be different than the rest of the population.

      1) If this thesis were true - does that mean that an Orthodox Jew has to stop mentioning the Torah view of homosexuality?

      2) Is there evidence that countries that have greater homophobia have greate suicide rates?

      3) has the suicide rate decreased as the acceptance level increases?

      4) is the elevated suicide rate the result of bullying or the result of self doubts and conflicts over being something other than desired.

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    4. Those are all good questions. Regarding the first one, it may be that a frum therapist needs to recuse him or herself from patients dealing with being gay. I'd say in general that Orthodox Jews should be a little more careful in how they mention the Torah view of homosexuality. They need to be sure that they are taking the yehareg v'al yaaseh of mishkav zachor, the lavin of other physical intimacy between men, the differences in halakha between men and women when it comes to homosexual activity into account. They need to consider whether there is a halakhic difference between the assumptions that can be made about gay people who are frum, as opposed to the run-of-the-mill gay person. They need to ask themselves whether hostility towards gay people will tend to increase or decrease violations of halakha.

      Regarding the other three questions, I don't have those answers. But I'm willing to say that I don't have them, rather than make assumptions about them.

      I know a frum kid here in Chicago whose parents tossed him out like a piece of trash when they found out he was gay. I've seen the kind of bullying that goes on against gay people. Whether there are self-doubts or not (and the question of where those self-doubts come from is a relevant one as well), the abusive behavior is unquestionable. The fact that such abuse leads to suicidal ideation and acts is also beyond doubt.

      It's legitimate to question whether all suicides and attempted suicides by gay teens are caused by this abuse. It is not legitimate to doubt whether some or much of it is.

      But going back to your first paragraph, where you use the phrase "if there were no anti-gay feelings". I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that. There is a wide spectrum here. There are people who would beat gay people with baseball bats and spray paint them pink. And there are people who are "orientation-blind", so to speak. Between those extremes, there's a wide space. To give a very personal example, I have a 14 year old daughter. I hope she doesn't turn out to be gay. That sounds awful and hypocritical, maybe, but it's true. Being a frum Jew who is gay is a very difficult derekh, and I've seen far too many people buckle under the pressure and stop being frum. I'll love her and support her if she is, but I hope she isn't. But I make a tremendous effort not to ever let her know that I feel this way, because simply knowing that I feel this way would put pressure on her, and if she is gay, I don't want to do that to her.

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    5. @Lisa the Torah approach to sinning is to create pressure to stop it. I am well aware that there are considerations in modern society - but that doesn't change the reality of tochacha and social pressure to stop sin. The sinner is going to be pressured - even bullied. There is no way that a gay person who is frum is ever going to accepted with that identity - in a Torah society.

      Bottom line - at some point you have to decide whether your identity is a frum Jew or a human being who happens to be Jewish. The two are not fully compatible.

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    6. I don't think it's appropriate to make such assumptions. There are frum gay Jews who are celibate. There are even frum gay couples who are celibate. When you see that a Jew is frum, I think halakha requires you to assume that whether he is gay or not, he is refraining from violating halakha. We don't assume that a frum Jew in America supports premarital sex simply because the vast majority of Americans do. Being frum takes a person out of the כלל.

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    7. It's not about suicide rates in general. In fact, the question is:

      Are there instances where people commit suicide because they have a homosexual inclination, but live in a homophobic environment...

      I suppose that this question can be answered by "yes". I suppose that there are quite several instance also among orthodox jews.

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    8. Patience if someone commits suicide because they are not intelligent or successful does that mean that we have to tell them that they are intelligent and succssful?

      If a person is upset because he/she is violating the Torah do we have to stop telling them that because maybe he will commit suicide?

      There is a reality and that includes halacha. Sometimes people decide that they don't like reality or to live a life of strong conflicts. Sometimes they commit suicide - and therefore what?

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    9. So your answer is basically the same as yehuda levine's.

      A homosexual commits suicide because of the pressure religious society puts on him - so what?

      I suppose the rabbi in your example, who might actually have contributed to a suicide will say the same: so what? Because his answer already contained the so what: ein merapim beissurim - if this means he will commit suicide, let him commit suicide - so what.

      therefore: why does this rabbi's answer bother you?

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    10. Patience you are claiming you know why he committed suicide ie. the nonacceptance of society of his homosexuality. That is conjecture. You might be correct if you say the pressure was what he put on himself because of his guilt for having a homosexual relationship!

      The fact that you can not cure with issurim doesn't mean that you don't care that the person died. That is your own particular bias pr prejudice against religion.

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    11. "Sometimes they commit suicide - and therefore what?"

      This is your answer to your own question: you do not care whether they commit suicide.

      You think the mores are more important than a person's life.

      So what is bothering you about this case?

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    12. Are there instances where people commit suicide because they have a homosexual inclination, but live in a homophobic environment...

      I suppose that this question can be answered by "yes". I suppose that there are quite several instance also among orthodox jews.


      The answer is probably not, and your assumptions made after that are based far more on a pro-gay agenda and propaganda than they are on actual science. Simply because gay people have, across the board, a higher rate of suicide, does not mean that their sexual orientation, or the public response to it is necessarily the cause of suicide. Amongst white males, marine egineers are 1.96 times as likely to commit suicide. Is this because society or religion has something against the folks that design and build ships?

      There is a logical leap that you are making that is not backed up by the science.

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    13. LisaMay 9, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      Not wanting to get into a he-said-she-said, here are some actual citations:


      Honest question, did you actually read those articles and their peer responses or did you just mine them from Wikipedia?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_among_LGBT_youth

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    14. @patience wrote:


      "Sometimes they commit suicide - and therefore what?"

      This is your answer to your own question: you do not care whether they commit suicide.

      You think the mores are more important than a person's life.

      So what is bothering you about this case?

      ===============
      Patience the simple answer is that you have a strong tendency of reading nasty things into other peoples statements.

      I did not say or imply that suicide was of no significance

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  18. Another discussion that would illustrate the vagaries of many a communal rabbi and a rosh yeshiva is the following scenario: a husband was abusive to his wife. His family was disgusting to the wife and felt she deserved to be beaten etc. This poor woman was not given mandated child support and was left penniless. She moved in with a non-religious man who helped support her and her children. With the consent of rabbonim of the first order the children were kidnapped by thugs and taken to the grandparents' house and were never to live with their mother again.

    Years later I related this story to a gadol's wife and she agreed that the husband was correct in kidnapping his kids even if he were to be abusive to his kids and worse. At least he was shomer shabbes. I prodded her and said that he got the kids and was neglectful of them and there needs and in fact married another woman and these kids were treated poorly. She again said that the only important thing was that they were not mechalel shabbes. Years later the kids are messed up but at least some of them are shomer shabbes and she considers this a success. An instance where kidnapping is okay according to halacha.

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  19. That that you say within the name of Rav Sternbuch within the name of the Chazon Ish, i would like to visualize this written somewhere. it's an enormous statement, and hearsay is not enough. additionally from a supply I will study it to grasp what has been same אותיות מחכימות.

    You say:"The medical care wouldn't cure with issurim - - sexual relations wasn't the medical care."

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    1. @pyschologists you should read the post again. I added the teshuva of Rav Sternbuch as well as that of Rav Moshe Feinstein which cites the Netziv.

      Don't understand what your second point is? I said that the suggested therapy did not use issurim. It would have been a problem if the therapist told the client to have prohibited relations to be cured of his depression. The suggested therapy at most facilitated the possibility of prohibited relations with his former partner but did not necessarily increase the level of sinning.

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  20. Did the rabbi in this instance think that his decision was right - even after the suicide?

    You might want to create a blogpost adressing this question:

    A young frum man discovers he is homosexual. Because of the pressure of contradiction between his sexual inclination and his conscience, he becomes suicidal. He goes and asks a rabbi who tells him that under no circumstances should he yield to his homosexual urges. Since this increases the pressure, he commits suicide.

    Was the rabbi right?

    (A certain Yehuda Levine would answer: of course the rabbi was right, a homosexual should commit suicide rather than yield to homosexuality).

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    1. How do you know that the suicide was the result of the pressure of contradiction?

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  21. The "psak" in the headline story, is flawed, and if it was from a Gadol I apologize. Nevertheless, the posek has ignored, or not taken into consideration the risk of the therapist being jailed, fined, or losing his license and hence parnassah.

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    1. don't know how you know that the posek ignored these issues.

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  22. It will take me a while to get to & peruse all these teshuvos but bear in mind the Maharsha writes that when Chazal prescribe solutions supposedly allowing sin for people who cannot control themselves, it does not chas vesholom mean Chazal are condoning znus. It means that while starting to go through the motions of Chazal's prescription like changing into black clothes & traveling to another city, the avaryan will by then be overcome with hirhurei teshuva & have the ability to restrain himself.

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  23. This was described as a case in which "religion and psychotherapy conflict." Certainly it was a case in which religion and bad psychotherapy met with tragic results.

    The story as seen on David Morris's blog was very troubling. I do not think that every suicidal person can be saved "if only..." but if we are to learn the correct lessons from this story, we need to perceive it correctly.

    The discussion here has been focusing on the halachic issues, which are certainly interesting. However, a correct psak depends on the posek correctly apprehending the situation. In this case, perhaps he didn't.

    Consider: The patient had installed a noose in his room so as to be able to commit suicide without impediment if the impulse were to strike. He was a ticking time bomb. A psychiatric emergency.

    However, the therapist did not handle it as such. Instead, he _and his clinical supervisor_ thought that fooling around by "facilitating a meeting" with the ex-lover was a good idea.

    Since it wasn't treated as the emergency it was, the therapist cannot possibly have given an accurate assessment of the meztiut to his rav since he himself didn't appreciate the gravity of the situation. But at least the therapist at least took it to his supervisor. The supervisor appears to have been grossly irresponsible.

    The supervisor should face heavy sanctions, perhaps lose his/her license. The therapist in question needs serious retraining if he formed his professional thinking under such a person.

    As to the halacha, I'm not competent to comment and I'm not saying the rav would have made a different psak. Perhaps he accurately perceived the metziut even though the therapist and supervisor did not and the therapist therefore did give the rav an accurate report. That would be an interesting question to learn the answer to.

    Rav Eidensohn has suggested that the psak in this tragic case was not the only one halachically possible and that even the facilitated meeting (which to me looks to have been the wrong clinical approach in an urgent situation unless it had been in an inpatient facility after the patient was committed) might have been permissible. Whether it would have staved off this suicide we'll never know.

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    1. You raise important issues which I admit I ignored by focusing entirely on the halachic question. I simply wanted to show that assuming the case was accurately described that there are alternative halachic views.

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  24. I humbly posit that this discussion is based on false premises.

    The supervisor’s suggestion that the therapist attempt to reconcile the homosexual client with his former lover seems to be accepted in the comments section here as sound advice.

    Putting aside the Halachic hot-button issues that such a suggestion raises, the supervisor’s suggestion may actually reflect the/her ignorance of what constitutes effective therapy. Without knowing what info this client’s chart contains, I’ll attempt to “sketch” why this is so:

    A. I think it would be reasonable to assume that the client was suffering from depression. Depression caused by breakups with romantic partners is so widespread that any therapist would probably assume depression, even if the client doesn’t explicitly say so. This is especially the case if the client expressed thoughts of suicidal ideation to his therapist before actually going through with the suicide, since the research shows that depression is the #1 reason why people commit suicide.

    B. There are a number of Level I psychotherapeutic EBT’s (Evidence Based Treatments) available for depression, such as; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Problem Solving Treatment, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Reminiscence Therapy, Cognitive Bibliotherapy. The question is: Why did the supervisor specifically choose Interpersonal Psychotherapy, as opposed to cognitive therapies, which are widely accepted as the first line of treatment for depression?

    C. The knee-jerk response to my query would probably be that the therapist probably DID try CBT first but that it failed. This, however, leads to the gist of my argument:

    D. Findings shows that there remains a large gap between clinical practice and what ACTUALLY works. This gap is manifested in many ways: 1) Clinicians do not claim to use EBT’s, 2) Clinicians CLAIM to use EBT’s but fail to actually do so (some papers call this “therapist drift”), 3) Clinicians use weak implementations of EBT’s, but fail to apply Best Practices in implementation. Behavior therapy 44.4 (2013) recently dedicated an entire issue to this phenomenon.

    Of course, there’s the possibility that the therapist had used a solid implementation of EBT, and it still failed to show improvement and was therefore faced with no other choice besides joint therapy. Based on the data, however, the chances of this being true are very slim.

    My point therefore is: Shoddy therapy is what probably precipitated the client’s unfortunate death and NOT the therapist’s refusal to do joint therapy.

    One takeaway lesson would therefore be: A) There’s a crying need for QUALITY therapy, and B) Such therapy would help avoid the pitfalls of having to get involved in unsavory clinical practices.

    To clinicians doubting my assertions: I’ll be happy to BL”N provide sources.

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    Replies
    1. Very important point and one which I ignored by focusing totally on the halachic issue. A related issue which has been raised is why if it is was obvious that he was suicidal he wan't hospitalized - also an excellent question which I ignored when focussing on the halacha.

      Delete
    2. Regarding the issue of hospitalization - in general in Israel and America if the client refuses it is difficult to get involuntary hospitalization in a case such as this. The information provided does not discuss whether the client was asked to voluntarily commit himself.

      Delete
    3. >"Shoddy therapy is what probably precipitated the client’s unfortunate death and NOT the therapist’s refusal to do joint therapy (...) There’s a crying need for QUALITY therapy"

      You're on to something. But let's be clear: Are you defining shoddy therapy as anything but strict EBT, and quality therapy as felicity to strict EBT?

      I personally believe that quality, proactive empathic support by therapists AS WELL AS LAYMEN of others in distress is the key to resolving many social ills. And just having that ratzon, without particular knowledge of EBT's, can be majorly transformative to many relationships.

      But if you have more to share about the power of "quality therapy" I'd be thrilled to hear.

      Delete
    4. I can't speak to Israel, but the US it is highly dependent upon State(and sometimes even county) as to how hard or easy it is to have a client involuntarily hospitalized. In PA, it was fairly easy to have a client involuntarily hospitalized so long as the therapist thought that there was a high likelihood that the client would commit suicide within 30 days.

      Delete
  25. Here's a fascinating related thread developing over at the Emes V'emuna blog:

    Mike S. • a day ago
    Forget the fact that this was a homosexual couple--is it appropriate for a therapist to use his client's depression to manipulate a partner who wants out of a relationship into staying? Isn't the therapist's job to treat his client's depression rather than manipulating everyone else in his client's life to avoid exacerbating symptoms?

    For that matter what is the obligation of the partner with regard to pikuach nefesh in preventing the suicide? Must everyone else do whatever the depressed patient wants to avoid suicide. What about their lives?


    Jake Mike S. • a day ago
    I'm pretty upset that no one else has commented on Mike S. Mike S. is absolutely right, how can this therapist or any therapist even think about bringing the partner in for couples therapy if he did not want to be part of this relationship. I completely disagree with this blog post and Rav Eidensohn this is absolutely the wrong approach a therapist should have taken. It it was pikuach nefesh you send him to the ER or another emergency mental health facility.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. yy my post is primarily about the halacha in a situations where the therapist has concluded that the the ex partner should be involved. I did not verfiy the accuracy of the facts of the case. However it is clear that even if a client says he has contemplated suicide - he would not be committed against his will in either America or Israel. Whether he in fact was told to hospitalize himself was not mentioned in the original report.

      Delete
    2. The patient's words as described on Tzedek-Tzedek were a little more vivid than "has contemplated suicide."

      "'I have hung up a rope with a noose in my room,' "Robert" explained.

      "'If I reach the stage that everything is totally hopeless and I'm ready to kill myself, everything will be ready.'"

      In your professional opinion would that meet the California "5150" standard, the first section of which follows?

      "Danger to self: The person must be an immediate threat to him/herself due to mental disorder. Being a threat to oneself is not limited to being suicidal; this criterion can be met in other ways. For example, the intention to respond to the delusion that there is a computer chip embedded under one's skin by digging it out with a knife meets the criterion."

      Delete
    3. The case appeared on the discussion group of a frum mental health group. I spoke to one of the senior psychologists at that group and he said that this case would not result in forced commitment in either Israel or America.

      Delete
    4. That is a textbook 302 in Pennsylvania. When a person has a plan and is implementing it would be a breach of professional ethics not to fill out a 302 and get him under observation for 72hrs. If he would repeat that while at the hospital, he would be having a nice 20day stay. They wouldn't be able to involuntarily hold him longer than that, but that is how it would work there.

      I know a few psychologists in the LA area I will ask them what the rules in California are.

      Delete
  26. I think a separate post on professional "obligations" versus halachic obligations would be of interest. I speak specifically of attornies who come across having ti advocate against halacha.

    To sumplify matters, take divorce and SSA cases out of the scenarios. Examples would be advocating fir chillul shabat, taking children out if jewish households, acting against a psak of a bet din agreed to by the parties, acting without a heter archaot where it wiuld be clear the client will never get one, etc scenarios.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. and don^t forget the other way round, where rabbis and batey din break local law, especially in the context of gittin - where they are complices in extortion schemes.

      Fortunately, this problem was made public in france now - and most likely will keep the Chief Rabbi ad interim from becoming Chief Rabbi.

      http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/societe/religion/le-grand-rabbin-de-france-par-interim-au-coeur-d-un-scandale-financier_1536349.html

      It was about time that someone treated Get extortion for what it is: extortion, a criminal act.

      Delete
  27. @Lisa, maybe its time that you came out of the closet on this blog.

    Since you seem to identify yourself as an "Orthodyke", perhaps you could explain for the blog readers here exactly what is an "Orthodyke"?

    How can "Orthodykes" claim to be Torah observant Jews while engaging in decrepit Hellenistic sexual abominations?

    Also, can you please explain how homosexuality can be a "Non-Concept" in Halakha?

    http://orthodykes.blogspot.com/
    http://orthodykes.blogspot.com/2006/05/homosexuality-non-concept-in-halakha.html

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Patience -- I purposely wrote to exclude get / divorce issues from the proposal since it introduces other factors. Of course, the halachic conclusions include divorce / get litigation, since the halacha is that get / divorce litigation is a simple momonot ( = financial) case (despite what the get lobby claims.)

      Emes -- i think this remark is uncalled for.

      Delete
    2. That's the thing about the Internet. Nothing ever goes away.

      Delete
    3. You are uncivil and lacking in the least bit of derekh eretz. I'm disappointed to see this sort of vitriol and venom permitted here. If you can't control yourself, I'd think that moderation would at least be applied to you by the blog owner.

      Delete
    4. LisaMay 12, 2014 at 7:23 PM
      That's the thing about the Internet. Nothing ever goes away.


      With all due respect this statement isn't quite true. Sure if you deleted the blog, and if it had been popular enough during it's lifetime it may still be archived somewhere. However, you haven't deleted the blog and it is in your Google profile as your blog.

      While I think that Emes L'Yaakov lacks a certain amount of tact and ahavat yisrael in how he deals with certain issues, I think the point that he is making ultimately stands. If you are an advocate for Lesbian lifestyle, that does weigh on how many will read your comments. It would also explain why you simply mined a wiki article for scholarly articles that you claim support your position.

      I am sorry that you had to experience EmesL'Yaakov's lack of tact. However, you had to expect that someone might click on your name, read your profile and call you on advocating Lesbianism within a supposedly religious framework.

      Delete
    5. Lisa,

      I'm sorry to bother you, but I noticed that you maintain the website orthodykes.org, in which you advocate for some interesting policies. In your FAQ there you have an interesting essay, in which you attempt to define a specific sexual act between women, and subsequently claim that that is all that is forbidden. You go so far as to state,
      Women, however, have an entire range of intimacy available to them which does not fall into the category of forbidden activities. Committed relationships should be no problem halakhically, particularly if the women are commited to Torah observance, in which case it can be assumed that they will be as careful to avoid forbidden acts in their sexual life as they are to avoid forbidden foods.
      I have to ask why did you stop the Rishonim in your analysis? Is it because the Acharonim clearly state that all forms of Lesbian intimacy are forbidden. One source that comes to my head is the Ben Ish Hai's Od Yosef Hai, Parashat Shoftim. There he makes it clear, through various sources both in the Rishonim and most especially the Aharonim that all forms of sexual intimacy between women are forbidden m'd'oraitha and other forms of intimacy are m'd'rabbanan.

      Delete
  28. Here's a good example of the rampant homo-fascism occurring under leftist regimes - in this case the blatant suppression by a lesbian activist of the free speech rights of a heterosexual Orthodox rabbi.

    Not to speak of the probable gezeillah d'oraisah committed against the rabbi by the lesbian.

    Based on Tzadok's comments in previous posts defending "gay" rights laws, will Tzadok attempt to justify the lesbian "victim" here?

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/rabbi-to-pay-nis-60000-for-outing-lesbian/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You really do lack all derekh eretz as well as the basic ability to read don't you?
      In case you didn't see what I wrote above it is halakha to tell women to distance themselves from a lesbian. What that has to do with barring gay people from employment in non-religious arenas I have no idea.
      You would seriously do better to actually ask me my opinion instead of opining as to what it is.
      As it is, you are over genivat daat in putting things out in my name which I never said. Any other aveiras you would like to commit on this blog?

      Delete
    2. The lesbian plaintiff who sued the Orthodox rabbi in the case I linked to allegedly had "her livelihood compromised" by the rabbi's public statements urging women to boycott the lesbian's classes.

      Based on your previous statements, why shouldn't we presume that you would oppose the rabbi's statements urging the public to boycott the lesbian's classes?

      Rabbi Michael TzadokApril 28, 2014 at 11:23 PM
      "No... I am promoting equal opportunity employment. I am opposing discrimination based on race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. I believe such things have no place in the work place, unless it is a stated religious institution, and thus one should not be denied opportunity on account of them."

      Rabbi Michael TzadokMay 1, 2014 at 2:28 PM
      "You wish to strip away a person's right to gainful employment based on real or percieved sexual preference. Where does the Torah say to deny a man gainful employment? Even the Chafetz Chaim that you brought doesn't say that."

      http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2014/04/orthodox-celibate-gay-and-thats-ok.html

      Delete
    3. Based on your previous statements, why shouldn't we presume that you would oppose the rabbi's statements urging the public to boycott the lesbian's classes?
      Do you really see no difference between a person exercising their right to free speech(as much as such exists in Israel) and an employer being able to deny a person employment based on race, creed, or sexual orientation? The two are miles apart. The Rav is acting in accordance with his religious beliefs. Further, you obviously an American citizen, are used to being able to organize whatever sort of boycott you want using whatever language you want so long as it is true and does not cause or incite physical harm(free speech has never been unlimited by the way).
      An employer on the other hand, especially a secular employer in the the US, has no right to discriminate on any grounds other than ability to do the job at hand. Such has Congress and the US Supreme Court said for nearly 140yrs.
      The two issues are as far apart as the East from the West.

      Now since this is an Israeli case, Israel does not grant an inalienable right to all freedom of speech. Any speech, even if it is true, that may cause a person harm whether physically or materially(financially as well) can be prosecuted under Israeli law. The award for such is supposed to be 250,000shek. The Rav was undoubtedly aware of that when he made his protest. That is part of being a Rav in Israel, at times you have to be willing to be fined and even jailed for Torah positions. Especially when secular law and Torah law collide.
      Your accusation
      Here's a good example of the rampant homo-fascism occurring under leftist regimes - in this case the blatant suppression by a lesbian activist of the free speech rights of a heterosexual Orthodox rabbi.
      While it would apply in your country(where the woman would've have had her case dismissed) does not apply in Israel. The rights of the citizens in any nation are determined by the govt of the nation. In Israel the govt, the freely elected govt, has decided that the right of free speech ends where it may cause physical or financial harm to another, even if true.

      Not to speak of the probable gezeillah d'oraisah committed against the rabbi by the lesbian.
      Not probable. Definite gezaeillah. There is no doubt. She went to secular court and not a B"D to have the case adjudicated, even though both options are available in Israel. Thus it is a definite case of Gezeillah...

      Based on your previous statements, why shouldn't we presume that you would oppose the rabbi's statements urging the public to boycott the lesbian's classes?
      Aside from the fact, that on that same thread I gave over this same Ben Ish Hai? Again your reading comprehension problem at play. As well as have said it at least four times in the above thread. The two issues are utterly and completely different.

      Don't try to defend your blatant and purposeful misconstruing of my position. You committed genaivat hadaat. You don't know me well enough as a Rav to know how I would rule on any issue, and, considering that you responded within the above threads where I made said position very clear, you either failed to read them, or deliberately ignored them in a sad attempt at an ad hom intended to cause boshet b'rabim. You claim to be a Torah observant Jew, yet your behavior does not match your claims.

      Delete
    4. ELY

      You know you could have simply been a mentch and said you missed my above postings somehow, even though you commented within the threads. Instead you tried to defend your misdeeds... That is quite sad and unfortunate.

      Delete

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