Volume 7 Number 20

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Murder vs. Homosexuality (2)
         [Shlomo H. Pick, Aaron Israel]
Salute to Israel Parade (4)
         [Arnold Lustiger, Janice Gelb, Morris Podalak, mechael


From: Shlomo H. Pick <F12013@...>
Date: Thu, 6 May 93 07:57:39 -0400
Subject: Murder vs. Homosexuality

janice gelb wrote in response to the argument:
> > If this analogy sounds a little extreme, I submit that 20 years ago
> > "the gay synagogue" would be viewed as negatively in public perception
> > as "the murderers' synagogue" would be today.
> I find this comparison outrageous: murderers harm others; homosexuals
> harm no one.

I don't quite understand why this comparison is outrageous.  The issue
here is Halakhic - what is more "chamure" i.e. the more serious of the
"crimes".  On this question there is no debate - arayot [Forbidden
sexual relations in Leviticus, chapter 18 - Mod.] is more chamure than
chillul shabbat - and so is murder.  Hence vis-a-vis chillul shabbat,
these two are more chamure and this is expressed in terms of yehareig
ve-al yaavor [one is required to allow oneself to be killed rather than
violate the commandment. - Mod.].  One may perhaps in the comparison of
arayot to murder [ask if] is one more chamure than the other, but as far
as the halacha of yeihareig ve-al ya'avor, there is a gezarat shava that
already links them.  In other words, the oral law has already linked the
two issues, found them equal enough to derive laws from one to the
other. (i will add moreover that anything found in the chapter of arayot
(Leviticus, chapter 18) is considered arayot, and hence Maimonides
always lists Niddah as one of the arayot, and hence also there would
apply yehareig ve-al ya'avor).

It appears one of the major issues here is one's alleigance to the
Halacha.  Whether I like it or not, if the Oral Law or the Written Law
(as determined by Rabbinical tradition) has stated a law or moral
imperitive, then i must bend my will to it whether i like it or not or
whether i even find it outrageous.  That also includes the genocide of
amalek, including children, and it is something we remind ourselves of
at least once a year.

I admit that the above argument was in the narrow confines of what
appears to be chamure or not.  When one deals in halachick issues, one
must take into account all the halachick issues and if neccessary bend
one's own private morality that is usually the product of western
culture and not based on tora true weltaunshauung.  However, should
one's feeling of outrage be translated into halachik concepts and
terminology and found in precedents of the halacha, that would be
another story.

To exemplify a difference between the murderer and arayot (PROBABLY
including homosexuality) i refer to hilchot nesiat kappayim in orach
chayim 128:35 which disqualifies a kohen from blessing the people
(duchaning) as opposed to 128:39 and mishna brura 143 which says that a
kohen who violated one of the arayot can duchen.  Simply put, if a kohen
who is an unrepentent reckless driver who has done manslaughter would go
up to duchen, he is not allowed.  If a kohen who openly stated that he
was gay would duchen, he would be allowed (even if 2 witnesses were to
testify that he was gay).  Now if Ms. Gelb were to base an argument upon
this point, it would be a different matter.


From: <israel@...> (Aaron Israel)
Date: Thu, 6 May 93 10:45:32 EDT
Subject: Murder vs. Homosexuality

In V7#17, Janice Gelb writes "I find this comparison [between the gays
who wish to march & murderers] outrageous.  Murderers harm others;
homosexuals harm no one."

While I have tried to remain out of the Parade discussion (mostly
because I've been way behind and many of my thoughts have already been
stated by others), this comment caught my attention and I felt the need
to respond.  We are told to be much more wary of those who try to lead
us to sin than those who wish to kill us, for those who wish to kill us
only deprive us of life in this world, while those who wish to lead us
away from Torah & Mitzvos kill us in this world as well as in the world
to come.  (I apologize for not being able to attribute this, but it is a
common discussion on Purim & Chanuka, contrasting the Hamans of history
[who tried to kill us whether we were observant or not] & the
Antiochuses of history [who wanted to force us to stop practicing the
Torah].)  While I don't wish to suggest that the gays who are marching
are trying to lead us away from Torah & Mitzvos, I merely wanted to
point out that sinners of all types cannot be said to harm no one.

Aaron (Alter Shaul) Israel     Kol Ha'Machti es harabim ein maspikim b'yado
Highland Park, N.J.            la'asot teshuva.  He who causes the masses to
<israel@...>         sin does not find the means to repent (Avos).


From: Arnold Lustiger <ALUSTIG@...>
Date: Thu, 6 May 93 11:12:11 -0400
Subject: Salute to Israel Parade

In her post in response to mine, Janice Gelb writes re: the Salute to Israel

>Are you seriously suggesting that the presence of members of a gay
>synagogue marching in a parade (sponsored, let me remind you, not by a
>religious organization but by a Zionist one) are going to inspire
>Jewish onlookers to become homosexual themselves?  Or are going to make
>onlookers believe that Judaism actively promotes homosexuality?

>The desired effect of the parade is for Jewish groups to show their
>support of the State of Israel; not to make any statements implied
>or otherwise, about the acceptance of the Jewish community of the
>views held by any marcher in that parade.

Janice here touched on the key point of the controversy on this subject.
I would therefore like to clarify my strong point of view in favor of
the boycott in light of a superficially unrelated activity that occurred
20 years ago .

In 1972 in Philadelphia the Messianic "Jewish" group gained a strong
ally.  A local Reform rabbi said that belief in Jesus is simply another
manifestation of historical ferment in Judaism, and that there is no
conflict between belief in Jesus and Judaism. In those days, the Jewish
establishment (i.e. federation, board of rabbis) in Philadelphia ignored
the problem of Messianic "Judaism" as insignificant, and did nothing in
response to the group's existence. During this time, the group made alot
of the Reform Rabbi's "endorsement" of their group, and this imagined
legitimacy was used in large measure to help the group grow from a few
dozen to about a thousand and became such a prominent presence on
campus, Soviet Jewry and Israel rallies. In 1978 ,the federation finally
hired a full time staff person to deal with the problem and publicized
the problem in thefederation newspaper, indicating explicitly that the
"establishment" does not recognize Messianic "Jews" as legitimate.
Perhaps not coincidentally, recruitment for the group then slowed.

The years 1972-78 were years of "passive acquiescence": the
establishment did not address the issue and the Messianic group became
increasingly visible at large public Jewish events.  They thereby gained
tacit legitimacy and as a result grew dramatically. As soon as the
establishment dealt head- on with the problem, the group's growth was

I understand that the Messianic "Jews" are *not* allowed to march in the
Israel parade under their own banner, despite the fact that the intent
of the parade is "not to make any statements implied or otherwise, about
the acceptance of the Jewish community of the views held by any marcher
in that parade".  The gay "lifestyle" is no more a legitimate Jewish
option than the Christian lifestyle. Allowing them to march gives them
the legitimacy they crave.

This legitimacy inevitably leads to growth.  No, the presence of members
of a gay synagogue marching in a parade is not going to "inspire" Jewish
onlookers to become homosexual themselves, or make onlookers believe
that Judaism actively promotes homosexuality. It will allow Jewish
onlookers to believe that it is possible to legitimately identify as
Jewish and homosexual, thereby eliminating a present and until recently
effective societal barrier to a fundamentally illegimate lifestyle. The
analogy between murder and homosexuality is not "outrageous" as far as
halacha is concerned: these transgressions are equally as proscribed,
with similar consequences.

Arnie Lustiger

From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Tue, 4 May 93 17:39:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Salute to Israel Parade

In mail.jewish Vol. 7 #14 Digest, Isaac Balbin writes:

>Given the fact that this is the first parade including Gays, Orthodox
>Jews can be expected to fight such and every NEW manifestation of To-evo
>(abomination) with all their might.

I doubt it -- given that even estimates on the low side indicate 
that about 3% of the population are gay.

[Point taken, but I think the point Isaac was making is that this is the
first time they are marching as a Gay Synagogue

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 

From: Morris Podalak <morris@...>
Date: Sun, 2 May 93 03:51:18 -0400
Subject: Re: Salute to Israel Parade

With regard to the Salute to Israel Parade:  I agree that we don't want
to march with an openly gay organization, but I have a question.  Since 
the official orthodox policy has never been ecstatically pro Israel, 
Some might view the boycott as an attempt to get out of participating 
in the parade without being labled anti-Israel.  Reassure me please.
What are the orthodox organizations planning in place of the parade that
will demostrate their support for Israel?
P.S. They are planning SOMETHING aren't they?

From: <KANOVSKY@...> (mechael kanovsky)
Date: Mon, 3 May 93 00:39:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Salute to Israel Parade

I agree with the one who wrote that the reason that we find
homosexuality repulsive is that the torah renders it as such. By the
same token jews who desicrate the sabath those who don't keep scores of
other mitzvot should also not be allowed to march under their own banner
IF the salute to Israel parade was a religious parade. But if we let the
other non/anti religious jews to march I see no problem with homosexuals

mechael kanovsky


End of Volume 7 Issue 20