Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hillel college organization vilifies those who hold Torah view of sexual orientation

What Would Hillel Say?

14 Sivan 5768, 17 June 08 02:17
by Rabbi Avi Shafran Arutz Sheva

Director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America.


Absurd Reality

“Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life” maintains a presence at more than 500 campuses throughout the United States and Canada and aims to “inspire every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life.”

If that final phrase read “contemporary mores,” a recent Hillel publication entitled “LGBTQ Resource Guide” might make sense. It is intended, after all, in its own words, to make “all Jewish students, of all sexual orientations and gender identities” feel comfortable with their choice of lifestyle. But the term “Jewish life” is simply not sufficiently expansive to include behavior that has been unarguably condemned by Jewish sources throughout the ages.

The publication itself is in equal parts self-righteous and silly. Among its offering of “Selected Jewish Texts Useful for Creating Queer Jewish Ritual” are fun-house mirror versions of Biblical laws and narratives, all imaginatively engineered to erase disapproval of certain behaviors and to imply that great Jewish personages lived in, or emerged from, various closets. Wearing its ignorance brightly on its sleeve, the “Resource Guide” risibly mangles its references. It mistransliterates words (like “v’nigeid” for “v’nigein”) and invents others from whole cloth (“to’arish”). At one point, it identifies Chira, Judah’s father-in-law, as his wife.

Dirty Propaganda

The clumsy attempts at Biblical revisionism are bad enough. Even more disturbing is the propagandists’ next step: demonizing those who dare to uphold authentically Jewish values.

To that end, they refer to “religious conservatives” – presumably those who take Leviticus 18:22 and centuries of oral Jewish tradition seriously – as “purveyors of hate”; and offer up new liturgy, like a refurbished “Al Hanissim” (“On The Miracles”) prayer. The original Al Hanissim is recited on the Jewish holidays of Purim and Chanukah – the latter, as it happens, commemorates the refusal of Jews to capitulate to the mores of the dominant culture. The “LGBTQ Resource Guide” version of the prayer celebrates instead the “dignity and justice” due “lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people.” And it goes on to deride those who “hate us in the name of [G-d]” and “rose up to victimize us, pathologize us, brutalize us, and erase us.”

The prayer-parody then thanks the Creator for having “fought alongside us, vindicated us,” and “[given] us the courage to stand together… the strength… to be who we are and to love whom we love…”

No Apologies

Jews committed to Jewish tradition (the original, not the “new-and-improved” version) do not hate those who violate the Torah out of carnal desire. And they certainly don’t “pathologize” or brutalize them. On the contrary, countless men and women challenged by predispositions to behavior condemned by the Torah have approached Orthodox rabbis and been treated with great concern and assisted in facing up to their special challenges. But no, we do not kowtow to the Zeitgeist, nor are we intimidated by its proponents. We do not apologize for our embrace of Judaism’s eternal truths.

That a major Jewish organization – one pledged, no less, to “inspire” Jewish students “to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life” – has chosen to vilify us, and to glorify what the Torah considers sinful, should deeply disturb all Jews who care about Judaism – and should make us think. [...]

Today, though, it seems that Hillel has changed. By sponsoring and distributing a document that actively celebrates what the Torah considers iniquitous and that demonizes those who stand up for Jewish truths, it has blatantly betrayed its trust.

All Jews who seek to discern G-d’s will from His Torah, not try to impose their own upon it, should let Hillel’s leaders know that the organization has gone too far, that it has insulted the memory and the admonition of the Talmudic sage it claims to revere, the great rabbi whose name it claims as its own.

1 comment :

  1. Once upon a time in a busy metropolitan city there was an Orthodox shul that served the older people who had lived in a neighborhood that was once Jewish but had become run down and crime ridden.

    As the world of real estate ebbs and flows, this down and out area attracted attention for its funky architecture and twisting streets. The old buildings were bought up and restored. Cafes, shops and clubs opened to cater to the new, more affluent residents who were mostly homosexual men.

    Many of the men who moved into the neighborhood were Jewish and quite a few of them had been raised in observant homes and the shul was suddenly full of young men who enjoyed the atmosphere of a traditional Orthodox shul.

    Committing an aveira does not mean that a person should be prevented from doing a mitzvah or should not be encouraged towards observance. Judaism does not require that we be perfect.

    The great thing about an Orthodox shul is that men and women sit separately so no one can tell who came in with whom.

    Homosexual behavior is nothing new. Neither is adultery, intermarriage, incest or bestiality; all of these are mentioned in the Humash.

    As Jews we accept other Jews of all types, just as the spice mixture (ketoret) used in the Holy Temple was a compound of eleven different spices.

    The reading of the ketoret that is part of the Shacharit and Mincha prayers does not deal with the actual process of offering the ketoret, but rather with how it was made, i.e., its ingredients and preparation.

    Now, it may seem strange to recite a recipe as part of the prayer service. Obviously, though, if our Sages made it part of the service it must be special.

    The Arizal wrote that reciting the ketoret with care is very helpful for coming back to live a proper Jewish life, even for one who is stuck in a black hole of sin.

    The ingredient that makes this possible is chelbenah (galbanum), a rather foul smelling gum resin. Nonetheless, it is essential for the ketoret which contained 19% of its total weight!

    Much happens in life that we pray will go away or that we would prefer to deny or ignore. If these things remain chelbenah, they will make our life stink. Everything we do will be tinged by a chelbenah odor.

    Living life with such an approach, denying ignoring or enabling the unpleasant, has very serious drawbacks. In those times when we have to handle chelbenah our discontent pushes us away from Hashem. The opportunities to come closer to Hashem cannot be used to their full potential because of a cloud hanging overhead in our relationship with Hashem.

    There are many times in life to which denial is the wrong response when we are confronted with our own failings. Whether the failure was "just that one time" or has been with us as far back as we can remember, denying it or ignoring it, does not make it go away.

    Someone may have a propensity to shed blood. Wouldn't it be best if he just buried this part of his personality? No. If he does, it will surface in a negative way. He has to work this attribute into the ketoret so that his desire for blood leads him to mitzvot, ie. becoming a shochet. (see Shabbat 156a).

    Preparing the ketoret was not easy. It had to be weighed out, rubbed, soaked and well ground. It required someone to supervise the grinding. On the other hand, it didn't have to be done all at once as long as the spices were kept in proper proportion.

    Instead of trying so hard to change the Jewish religion to conform to what we are in our human failings, we should instead incorporate the best and the worst of ourselves into giving Hashem the joy He created us to give Him, and may we see the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash soon, in our days. Amen

    Adapted from Likutey Halakhot, Pru u'R'vu 3:5
    From Likutey Moharan II, Lesson #23

    Breslov Research Institute.


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