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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Clarification

NOTICE: This post does not go in a logical order; please read the whole thing before forming opinions and/or commenting. You may be surprised by what you read.

You, readers, may notice the comments on one of my previous entries. Although I disagree with them, I have chosen to allow their publication because I do not intend to censor politely expressed opinions, however much they differ from mine.

That being said...

Before I go any farther with this blog, I MUST CLARIFY one point regarding my religious life:

I DO NOT BELIEVE THE TORAH WAS WRITTEN WORD FOR WORD BY GOD AND GIVEN TO A LITERAL MOSES ON A LITERAL MOUNT SINAI ALL AT ONCE IN ITS CURRENT FORM.

There. I said it. I'm sorry if you're disappointed. I believe the Torah is divinely inspired; I believe there was and continues to be a moment or state of being called Sinai in which special, unbelievable, miraculous religious experiences happen. I also believe religion is at least in part a man made system and can evolve, and that the evolution of religion is inevitable if Sinai is a potentially continuous state of being, as I believe it to be.

Even if you do believe that the entire system (of whatever religion) was created and written by God (and feel free to do so), in Judaism there is another body of literature, separate from the Written Torah, known as the Oral Torah. This traditional body of literature, compiled about 2000 years ago, allows for homosexual acts via a number of interpretations of the verse prohibiting them.

I am going to get somewhat explicit, if you catch my drift, in a moment. You have been warned.

The Torah's prohibition of homosexuality goes something like "Man, with a man, shall not lie as he lies with a woman." One Talmudic (Oral Torah) drash (explanation) on this verse is that, using a pun, the Hebrew words for "a man" can be translated as "he-she," therefore only prohibiting sex with an androgynous being. Conservative Rabbis today interpret this verse as only prohibiting anal sex. These are only two possible explanations that allow for inclusion of all sexual orientations within Judaism.

Finally, I close with a story by Shmuley Boteach, an Orthodox Rabbi who broke from the Chabad movement because they did not like his acceptance of gay Jews: a story that I encountered this past Shabbat. He says that homosexual couples come to him feeling guilty of two sins: violating the prohibition of homosexuality and not fulfilling the commandment to reproduce.

And he says that when they come to him, he tells them that those are only two out of the 613 commandments, and that fulfilling the other 611 should keep them busy.

For tonight, I will close with that thought.

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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!