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Friday, August 28, 2015

Some Music For Elul

Psalms Chapter 27

1 [A Psalm] of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? {N}
The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh, {N}
even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; {N}
though war should rise up against me, even then will I be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: {N}
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, {N}
to behold the graciousness of the LORD, and to visit early in His temple.
5 For He concealeth me in His pavilion in the day of evil; {N}
He hideth me in the covert of His tent; He lifteth me up upon a rock.
6 And now shall my head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me; and I will offer in His tabernacle sacrifices with trumpet-sound; {N}
I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I call with my voice, and be gracious unto me, and answer me.
8 In Thy behalf my heart hath said: 'Seek ye My face'; Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
9 Hide not Thy face from me; put not Thy servant away in anger; {N}
Thou hast been my help; cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10 For though my father and my mother have forsaken me, the LORD will take me up.
11 Teach me Thy way, O LORD; and lead me in an even path, because of them that lie in wait for me.
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine adversaries; for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out violence.
13 If I had not believed to look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!--
14 Wait on the LORD; be strong, and let thy heart take courage; yea, wait thou for the LORD. {P}

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed on "The Abomination Parade"

In my previous post I explained one of the reasons why I think that the so called "Gay Pride" parades are an abomination. Recently I saw that Rabbi Eliezer Melamed wrote about the halachic aspects of the issue. The bottom line is that taking part in these parades changes the sinner's halachic status in a very profound way:
How to Relate to People with Opposite Gender Inclinations (i.e. Same Sex Attraction - CX)

The Torah defined the sin of homosexual intercourse as “to’evah” (an abomination), however, our attitude towards those who transgress this sin should not be more stringent than transgressors of other serious sins, such as desecrating Shabbat which is considered a more serious violation, rather, to a certain extent, we should even be more lenient, seeing as many of those who stumble in this transgression do so because their yetzer (inclination) overpowers them. And although they transgresses the sin of homosexual intercourse, this does not exempt them from all the other commandments of the Torah, and each mitzvah that they fulfill, such as Talmud Torah (Torah study), tzedaka (giving charity) or keeping Shabbat, has supreme, divine value, just as for every other Jew. They are counted in a minyan, and if one is a kohen, he is obligated to perform the Priestly Blessing, and if he reads from the Torah, he helps others fulfill their obligation to hear the Torah reading. And it is a mitzvah for every Jew to love even a person who sins in this matter, and help him according to all the rules of chesed (kindness) and tzedaka (charity) customary towards every Jew.

Therefore, whenever possible, we must try and dissuade the sinners from transgressing in this matter. Nonetheless, we must love even someone who fails to overcome his yetzer, and realize there is great value in every mitzvah he fulfills. Therefore, we should be careful not to distance them from the synagogues, so they can strengthen themselves in Torah and mitzvoth as best as they can. And, as is well-known, the value of Evil is limited, whereas the value of Good is endless. Likewise, the severity of sins is limited, whereas the value of mitzvoth is endless. Therefore, even one who falters in these transgressions, merits life in the World to Come thanks to his mitzvoth and good deeds.

The Abominable Parade

All this is provided that the sin of homosexual intercourse does become a banner raised on high. But when they hold public parades in the city streets in support of such sinful behavior, openly defying family values ​​enshrined in the Torah, and rebel against the values ​​of modesty which are the basis for the existence of a healthy society, they insult the Torah and Jewish tradition, and one who participates in such a parade is considered a “mumar l’hak’is” (one who transgresses out of spite), and all the laws towards him change. There is no obligation to show him kindness, and he cannot be included in a minyan. Indeed, he is still considered a Jew, as our Sages said: “Even though Israel (a Jew) has sinned – they are still called Israel” (Sanhedrin 44a), and the gates of repentance are not locked before him. However, after defiantly removing himself from Jewish tradition, he has distanced himself from Clal Yisrael.

Had the purpose of the parade been to defend human dignity and those tormented by harsh insults for various reasons, including their sexual preferences, it would be understandable. But when the purpose of the parade is to draw attention to a topic that even when done according to the Torah, modesty is fitting, and moreover, openly defy family values ​​enshrined in Judaism and declare that the Torah prohibition is null and void – there is no more appropriate description of such a parade than that of the Torah – “a parade of abomination.”

It would be appropriate for State authorities to prohibit such parades as they violate Jewish tradition, alongside forcefully defending the life and dignity of every individual.

The bottom line is that one who takes part in these parades changes from being considered a mumar lete'avon (one who transgresses out of failing to conquer his desire) to mumar lehach'is (one who sins in order to spite). There is a big difference in how we relate to these two kinds of sinners, as Rabbi Melamed explained above.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Why the Gay Pride in Jerusalem is an Abomination

Yes, the "Gay Pride" parade in Jerusalem, or anywhere else for that matter, is an abomination. It is an abomination on so many levels. I would like to discuss one negative aspect of the parade which I think is rarely, if ever, discussed.

Among the great acts of kindness that God has done for us is that he has built in to the human psyche the feeling of shame. A person with strong moral underpinnings will feel uneasy if he has done something wrong. He will feel shame. Usually this feeling of shame is magnified the more that the misdeed is publicized. This feeling of shame, when harnessed properly, will help the transgressor make amends and return to God. Returing to the Creator will bring him true bliss.

The whole idea of "gay pride" is the antithesis of the positive trait of feeling ashamed mentioned above. How is it that this great trait of shame has been suppressed in some individuals? Who in their right mind is proud to sin? Who is so shameless as to take part in a parade celebrating the transgression of the Torah's commandments? This is is abominable indeed!

This is true anywhere in the world, all the more so in the holy land of Israel, and all the more so in the holy city of Jerusalem, may it be speedily rebuilt. To hold a parade in Jerusalem celebrating behavior that the Torah forbids taking the abomination to new heights, or should I say depths.

Even the righteous sin:

For there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
However, the righteous person regrets his sins and does teshuvah. He does not celebrate them!

May we live to see the fulfillment of the prophecy,

And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep Mine ordinances, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.

Friday, July 31, 2015

History Repeats Itself

Unbelievable:
Six people have been injured in a stabbing attack at Jerusalem's gay pride march, according to police.

Emergency services say that two of the victims are in "serious" condition.

The stabber - who was arrested at the scene - has been identified as Yishai Shlissel, the man who was jailed for 12 years for stabbing three people at the same march in 2005.

Shlissel had only been released from jail a few weeks ago, after serving the majority of his term.

Several thousand participants at the 13th annual Jerusalem Pride Parade were marching along Keren Hayesod Street when the knifeman apparently broke through a police cordon to attack them.

The annual gay pride march through Jerusalem has been the source of heated controversy, due to the city's holy status to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Since the 1990s, gay activist groups have held an annual mega-parade in the largely-secular Tel Aviv. However, in 2002 they began holding a smaller, far more contentious march through Jerusalem, amid bitter opposition from the city's largely traditional and religious residents.

Unlike the Tel Aviv event, the Jerusalem march is usually met with loud counter-protests. In 2005 tensions boiled over when a haredi extremist stabbed three participants before being arrested by police.

In recent years, however, protests have been smaller as some haredi leaders urged their followers to stay away from what they term the "abomination parade" altogether.

The fact that these parades are taking place in the holy city of Jerusalem. against the will of the vast majority of its inhabitants, is infuriating. However, to go and stab people...let's just say that it's not a good idea. In fact, gives the organizers of the march exactly what they want: attention. Ten years ago I prescribed the following with regards to this sad event:
My advice to all Jerusalemites is to stay away from the gay parade. There is no reason to go there and protest against the deviants. That is exactly what the organizers of the provocation desire. Instead, stay at home or go to the synagogue and do what we do best: pray.
It is interesting to note that the area which the march took place in, downtown Jerusalem, is slowly but surely turning ultra-Orthodox.
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