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.


yaak said...

I believe there are 4 levels, each worse than the previous level:

1) One with inclinations, but doesn't sin

2) One who privately sins with those inclinations

3) One who comes out

4) One who parades

#1 is a Tzaddik, #2 is a sinner but remains within the community, #3 is a Mumar Letei'avon, #4 is a Mumar LeHach'is

Cosmic X said...

Yaak, is there is a nafka mina between #2 and #3?

yaak said...

As far as coming out, you mean? I believe so. It shows a lack of shame, which you eloquently discussed in a previous post.

Cosmic X said...

Agreed, but it seems we don't have the big nafka mina that we have with #4 where he enters the category of lehach'is. For me this was a big chiddush, in that by participating in the parade he is not included in a minyan. I wonder if there is a nafka mina regarding those who don't sin this particular sin but take part in the parade to support those that do.

With regards to #3 it is fitting to mention the following Rambam:

'It is very praiseworthy for a person who repents to confess in public and to make his sins known to others, revealing the transgressions he committed against his colleagues.

He should tell them: "Though I sinned against so and so, committing the following misdeeds.... Behold, I repent and express my regret." Anyone who, out of pride, conceals his sins and does not reveal them will not achieve complete repentance as [Proverbs 28:13] states: "He who conceals his sins will not succeed."

When does the above apply? In regard to sins between man and man. However, in regard to sins between man and God, it is not necessary to publicize one's [transgressions]. Indeed, revealing them is arrogant. Rather, a person should repent before God, blessed be He, and specifically mention his sins before Him. In public, he should make a general confession. It is to his benefit not to reveal his sins as [Psalms 32:1] states: "Happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."'

yaak said...

By parading, it's more than a lack of shame (#3 above). It's that person's attempt at demonstrating his/her contempt for the Torah in a very public way. This is much worse than just coming out. It goes from the category of Tei'avon to spite.

I'm thinking that perhaps, #5 should be "marriage", which, as per the gemara in Hullin 92a-b, and especially the way the Maharal explains it, is the worst of them all.

Cosmic X said...


Thanks for pointing out that Maharal. He gives a reason for the number 30, which Rashi had difficulty with:

שלשים מצות - לא נתפרשו ומהכא הוא דקא יליף

If I understood the Maharal correctly this kind of marriage is the most serious sin in the realm of forbidden relations. Does America realize the depths into which it has fallen?

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