Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bar Noar Club - "the proud community" and deviance

Zomet Institute  "Take all of the leaders of the people and hang them before G-d, in front of the sun" [Bamidbar 25:4].

The Discussion Itself gives Legitimacy

In almost twenty years that I have been writing this column (since 5754, that is, 1994) I think that only one time I wrote about "inverted sexual orientation" within the religious community, and I immediately regretted it. One solitary time I agreed to state my position in a television discussion, and I also regretted this afterwards. My reason is very straightforward: Every public discussion on this and similar issues adds to the legitimacy of the subject matter, even if the opinion that is voiced is very critical and sharply and strongly condemns the situation. Some sins are such that any public discussion about them spurs afflicted people to action, and even entices others to emulate them. This, for example, is thought to be true of suicide. Any report accompanied by a discussion – no matter how tragic and sad – is quite likely to encourage others to follow in its footsteps. This is all the more so true with respect to sins of the evil inclination, where every sinner who tells about his sins is interested and even strongly wants to encourage new people to join the "community of sin." Every act of publicity and raising the subject "against the sun" reduces social pressures and enhances the legitimacy, in the eyes of the perpetrators and those who surround them.

But this time I have decided to speak out, in the wake of the solving (?) of the murder in the Bar Noar Club, which has once again turned the spotlight on this dark corner of our lives. My main point is my outrage at the use of the phrase "the proud community" to describe this phenomenon, in this way making it the object of a sophisticated and friendly value judgment. I therefore come to raise my pen in protest at this flawed "community." These two words, prestigious and festive as they are, community and pride, are being used as an envelope of purity for anomalous behavior that is a dramatic perversion of family and social norms. And the entire phenomenon is a prime example of anti-religion (no matter which one) and anti-Judaism. [...]

I do not call for banishment, casting out, or out-and-out rejection from the religious community of the sinners who are aware of their situation and who seek help. They should be welcomed with bonds of love. I do not propose that we use the word from the Torah, an abomination, which can be seen as offensive and can have the effect of pushing a person away forever. A better word is "stiya" – deviation – but this too is considered as a rejection and no longer maintains its original meaning as being different from the norm (such as a deviation from an original plan for a building). But I do call for the religious – and secular – communications media to completely abandon the word combination "proud community." The proper word to use is "choreg" – a deviation from the norm. And this should not be used with any connotation of forgiveness and acceptance, but rather with the meaning of a deviation which can be treated and which deserves to be pitied.

On the other hand, I call for total rejection and for removal beyond the religious and social boundaries of anybody who shows pride about their fault, those who publicly flaunt their "status" or gather together to show "community pride" and who join active social clubs of this type. Every attempt to show off this way of life is to be considered "enticement and seduction," something that is very harmful and should be punished in a harsh way. Making the deviations public is treated in this week's Torah portion, in the verse quoted above: "Hang them in front of the sun." [...]


  1. Intelligent and impressive. Very, very well said. In fact, among the best I've read on this delicate subject. Thanks for bringing to our attention.

    I thought all they did was gadgets :-)

  2. They do more than gadgets, but I had a shabbos Urn which was certified by them a few years ago.


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