Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Options

The way I see it- and this is a very simplistic view, very dumbed-down if you will.
I have two options:

1) I can live a life alone. Try as hard as I can to live a completely Halachik observance. To live watching my friends and family grow and raise their own families, to eat by them for Shabboss and keep my good friends in my life and be best friends with all their children and be that creepy guy that hangs around b/c he was their parents friend and now he's old and creepy. But I will be trying as hard as a can to live as best and openly Halachik life as possible.

2) I can find someone to be with- obviously the ideal. Start my own life with him. Change with world with him. But I'm so scared of that. I'm so scared of that side of me. Of not being Halachik. Of not being able to help people or change the world if everyone looks at me as this person who lives a life against the Torah.

How do I live alone?
How do I live against the Torah?

34 comments:

  1. Lo tov heyos ha'adam l'vado, so the first option you gave doesn't look too good. You shouldn't be afraid, even if you might be living a life on the edge of what is right and what might not be. Every area of the world has someone whose job it is to be metakein that area, and if the people who are supposed to do it don't do it, how will it get done? Sure, it is very frightening, but if you couldn't handle it, you wouldn't be given such an awesome task.

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  2. It's so special that you open up like this. No matter what decision you make, your true friends will love you for who you are. If your life leads you to option a, you will not be that creepy old guy, but the awesome fun uncle who everyone loves because you exude love, compassion, and have such a caring nature. If you're life leads you in option number 2, you should be shalem with your decision. And again your true friends will be there for every step of the way.

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  3. Dude, you know that if you want to live your life with a man, you can still be a Torah abiding Jew. Yes, you won't be following one commandment, but in the grand scheme of things, it's almost like you're not shomer. It's one law out of so many that you choose not to follow. If you want to be with someone, I think you have the right to do so - no one wants to live their life alone.

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  4. Hi!
    I strongly relate to your struggle. I, too, am afraid that I will end up as the perpetual third-wheel to my friends and my family. Further, if my friends are dating now and I am feeling lonely- could you imagine how I would feel then?
    Your second struggle is, for me, even more daunting. Right now I cannot imagine carrying on my life without the prospect of having someone I can share my life. I know it would not be any easy relationship and I have realistic expectations. But, ultimately, I fear that even if I choose ‘B”, I will not find someone with whom I can create and most importantly sustain a relationship.

    Thanks

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  5. sorry, man. that's an awful situation to be in.

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  6. The Halachik response is do what you will b'tsinah, privately.

    "Out" in normative society means off the derech.

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  7. It makes me very sad that anyone has to be put in your position. Is there no third option? Is there no way to reconcile the parts of who you are?

    I hope you find the decision that will lead you to the most happiness.

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  8. For the true nature of man lies not concealed deep within you, but immesurably high above you. Your educators can only be your liberators. Live Dangerously. F.N.

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  9. Your too cool to be creepy... and too Jewish to have a "hubby." But whichever you do choose, just be happy with it and your true friends will stand by you.

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  10. I second FlamingPages - where I grew up there were always old bachelors who would come to shul. They weren't creepy, they were some of the most fun people around. People knew their situation and it wasn't made into an issue.

    What are your thoughts on marrying a woman and having a platonic marriage? I would think that it's better to live with a woman you don't love than to live alone - as long as everyone agrees.

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  11. There are many ssa's unhappily married. Only a small proportion of all marriages are actually fulfilled. Life is a Russian novel.

    Honest gays have a problem lying. They also want what they want, not only social acceptance.

    Romantic gays obsess over love. Horny people obsess over sex.

    Therein, Admiral, lies the rub: obsession is illusion.

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  12. Outside of Bloomsbury, where are platonic marriages found?

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  13. Another Orthodox StrugglerDecember 16, 2009 at 7:47 PM

    couldn't have put it better, but as hard as we try can we realy say to ourselves (talkin about all of us) that we really lived a wholly halachik lifestyle. taking into account all the things we do behind closed doors, who are we fooling! but on the other hand to not live a frum lifestyle at least in public - how cheap we all know we will feel! to have abandoned what is most dear to all of us...

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  14. And, the sad truth is, it's pretty much all or nothing. No frum community will ever be genuinely accepting. So, what do we save, the bathwater or the baby?

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  15. You don't have to follow every verse in the Torah to be a good person. You don't have to be an Orthodox Jew to be a good person, or even a good Jew.

    As a gay Orthodox Jew you are living inside the conclusion of a reductio ad absurdum. Don't you know that there's nothing wrong with being gay or with being in a gay relationship, sex and all? You must know that. That pasuk and those laws were not created by Almighty God, Master of the Universe who thinks that gay sex is really icky (an abomination!) They were written by mortal men convinced that God shared their prejudices.

    The same author who wrote that gay sex is an abomination didn't think to write that rape isn't allowed. The same author whose moral judgment you submit yourself to condoned slavery and genocide and executing people for the grave crime of working on the Sabbath.

    Grow up and move out. Out of the closet, out of frumkeit. Keep the parts you like,if you must, ditch the ones that are OBVIOUSLY wrong. That's why God (man) invented Reform Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, "traditional" Judaism, egalitarian Judaism, Humanist Judaism, whatever.

    That's my opinion, anyway. ;-)

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  16. I guess I'm gonna be the one to post the insensitive comments. Please bear in mind that I completely understand that all of us have different challeneges in life and no one should be looked down upon because of the challenges they have.

    That being said, if a person claimed that he had an issue, an insatiable emotional desire for incest or beastiality, how would you feel about that person? Hopefully, you wouldn't look down on him, and would understand that he has these incredible challeneges that b"H we don't have. But you would also feel that that's an absolutely disgusting desire, and hopefully this guy can get help. You probably wouldn't read a blog of his or create a tolerance a club for him... because that kind of desire is taboo and disgusting. You would try and get him help.

    What's the difference between homosexuality, beastiality, and incest? According to the Torah... NOTHING! They are all a to'eivah! They are all disgusting. Not the person... but the desire. The only difference is, is that modern society has embraced homosexuality and not the other two. As Torah observing Jews, we have to understand that when Torah values clash with modern values... the modern values are wrong.

    As long as we are more and more tolerant of homosexuality, as long as we keep on removing the taboo, it will create more and more of a problem... not solve it. We have to understand that tolerance is not always the right answer. We have to understand that the Torah is the right answer.

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  17. With all due respect, Anonymous (Dec 17, 2009)I think you have to take a step back before you say such things. Yes, as a thinking Halachic person, which you see to depict yourself as, you are aware that homosexual acts goes against the halacha. No one is denying it. By you defending what you are saying by foreshadowing it to be insensitive does not make it any better. You are being unfair. Yes this is a blog, and the point of it is to promote dialogue, but if you reread what you said you did not accomplish anything. The author of this blog is aware of the halachic parameters of what he struggles with, that is why he is writing the blog. there is no need to rub it in anyones face. Yes there is an increase in acceptance of homosexual individuals in the Orthodox community because it is needed. We don't have an issue with bestiality. It's out of the spectrum of reality. I understand you are just trying o make a point, but you are doing it in very poor taste.

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  18. I know that Jewish Atheists answer comes across as slightly harsh but it is, nonetheless, quite the truth. A perfect and inifite god wouldn't create homosexuals only to demand that they not be intimate just like anyone else. The whole notion that it is somehow a "test" of your commitment/faith is rather nonsensical. Why would god need to test your faith? Are you a toy that he plays with? That's just silly. Of course I know most frum people will say that it is so that you can get more reward in the world to come. Hm. Well I guess you can believe that if you want, but I know that I wouldn't. And just consider for one second - What if! What if there really IS NO afterlife? Then you will have wasted your life being committed to a meaningless faith with no ultimate reward. How sad that would be to lose out on a fulfilling life with a partner just because there is an off chance that some nasty deity will be angry at you. Now I again understand that if there is a hell it would be incredibly unpleasant to be there. But when one looks around and simply sees no evidence that would support there being a hell, making the tough choice to live as though there is one becomes almost impossible. I know that YOU will understand this, but I think some other readers may not, so let me clarify - This is not like a desire to eat a cheeseburger or watch TV on shabbos! This is a person's very LIFE. It is incredibly difficult to think that perhaps everything you were told as a kid ("Hashem is here Hashem is there Hashem is truly everywhere, up up down down etc..." - Uncle Moishy) might have been human invention exactly the same way you are already convinced that every other religion is, but I think that being in your situation can motivate you to really do some checking and research of your own. This does not mean going to Aish.com or listening to millions of kiruv shiurim. You would need to give both sides a fair chance. Again, it's not easy, believe me, I know...but there are many others who have had similar journeys, and are living much happier and more fulfilling lives.

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  19. In response to anonymous "insensitive":
    All I really have to say is no. You don't know. So don't comment. I just can't believe you would be as close-minded to say homosexuality is in the same category with bestiality and incest. Those things are illegal, those things are also worked on and can be cured in therapy and the like. Homosexuality is not, reparative therapy is disproved over and over again in psychological studies.
    And frankly, if you have an issue with me and the challenge Hashem gave me and just want to criticize then why the hell are you reading my blog? And why post anonymously? If you think you have something to say or can "help" me, then contact me and man up. Don't hide behind a blog post.

    This is the first time I've gotten passionate or angry at someone who posted here. That's all I have to say.

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  20. I'm a "new" anonymous, and to respond to "insensitive anonymous:"

    There are other things "wrong" with bestiality and incest besides the Torah's halachic prohibition.

    Bestiality involves sexual intercourse with a being that does not have the capability to consent to that kind of activity. Whether or not the animal can remember or care about it is up for discussion, and besides the point. That kind of relationship with an animal can never be "consensual" in the way humans understand "consensual" to be, and that sense can potentially be harmful.

    Incest can potentially be harmful in two ways, either between an adult and a minor, which is abusive in a number of ways, or between two consenting adults, but is likelier to result in genetic issues, which is harmful to the potential child. Either way, incest has the possibility (and probability) of being harmful.

    Homosexual relationships between two adult men or women (1) can be completely consensual and (2) hurt no one or nothing else in the process. Whether it is considered "unhealthy" or not, which it shouldn't be, is a different story, and homosexual acts, by definition, can never result in the production of another human life. No one is hurt by two people in a loving homosexual relationship, and two people who might otherwise live alone and unhappy are made "whole" by being in a loving homosexual relationship.

    So again, whether the Torah chooses to differentiate between these acts in this manner, there are other clear moral issues with bestiality and incest that do not apply to homosexuality, and as a 100% heterosexual person I say that equating them is insulting and unfair.

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  21. If I can offer any words of comfort, it is that the name Israel means struggling with God. We are not meant to submit, we are not meant to cower, we are meant to struggle. When I stand before God, I know he loves me. I know in my heart that I am worthy of his love. And I'm not shomer shabbos. I can't keep everything, but there's a reason we say avenu before malkenu. He's our father who loves us long before he is our king who judges us.

    I hope with all my heart that you find the man who makes you happy. I hope with all my heart that you live a long and wonderful life as a husband and father and a wonderful member of the community.

    And I know, with all my heart, I know that after 120, when you go to Shamayim, David Hamalech himself will stand by you. All of our forefathers who were imperfect will stand by you. And you will not be alone.

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  22. How can you be so sure? Chayvei krisos b'meizid and b'pharhesya are pretty serious things. It's not like we're talking about Moshe Rabbeinu hitting the rock here.

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  23. Anonymous, how am I so sure?

    Because we are supposed to chai ba-hem, live by the commandments. A life of lonliness, emptiness is no life at all. Chavruta o metuta.

    I think comparing our brother in faith, Ely to Moshe Rabbeinu is a bit silly. Moshe was a gadol Hador, the leader and for a "simple" matter, got the ultimate punishment. Ely is asking to live a life, a real life that we take for granted. A life of happiness, of companionship and of love. Is that so much to ask for?

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  24. I wasn't comparing him to Moshe Rabbeinu; you missed my point. I was arguing against _your_ comparison of this admittedly unfortunate and difficult situation to "all of our forefathers who were imperfect" in order to justify actually acting on desires that the Torah perfectly well says not to act upon.

    And, seriously, you're using "v'chai bahem" to try to justify homosexual behavior? Really?

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  25. To give a serious lomdus argument against your "v'chai bahem" contention (even though such an argument is unnecessary):

    1. Being lonely is not considered enough of a reason to fall into "v'chai bahem" - see the Gemara in Sanhedrin where the chachamim would not allow a man who was deathly in love with an eishes ish even SPEAK to her. Please do not try to bring drash statements such as "chavruta o metuta" into halachik issues; these are separate realms, with separate rules.

    2. Any aveira b'pharhesya is yehareig v'al ya'avor, even the ones that would ordinarily fall into the "v'chai bahem" heter.

    So, please stop trying to justify unhalachik actions on halachik grounds. Our esteemed blogger, I presume, knows the real halachik issues involved, and, I presume, will not be fueled by inaccurate rhetoric go against halacha. He is looking for help in "doing the best [he] can," not false justifications to leave his faith behind. You're not helping.

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  26. If our esteemed blogger disagrees with me and wants me to stop posting, he is free to say so. I want to help him find a way to a happy life. I will be happy to discuss the matter privately and not clutter up his blog. I actually sign my name, my contact information is there but frankly, this is between the blogger and me.

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  27. It's not between the blogger and you if it's posted on a forum. What you're doing is providing completely invalid halachik arguments that seek to justify prohibited activities on a PUBLIC forum which is NOT intended for that purpose. Take your own advice and contact HIM directly.

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  28. Everyone can talk to each other. I'm happy to hear what everyone has to say. Dungeonwriter has contacted me privately, and I appreciate everyone's support and opinions.

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  29. Glad you got my email, hope you'll write back! I could use your help.

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  30. Call me Ishmael.

    I don’t know your whole life story. All I can speak of is my own experience. But it feels remarkably similar to yours, so I am going to spout what I know. I went to modern orthodox day schools in the NY area my whole life, and my father is a rabbi.

    Here’s what I have to say on your dilemma. Ignore Jewish Atheist and ignore Anonymous/Insensitive. Though they think they are trying to help in their own way, I cannot imagine either of them is actually that helpful. Your struggle is not about morality, as Jewish Atheist suggests. Nor is it bestiality, as Insensitive suggest. You are struggling with halacha versus potential life happiness.

    Here is my assumption. You will continue to struggle but not indefinitely. I doubt you will seek out an orthodox gay JDate equivalent, but you will not be alone forever. You will find someone, possibly when you least expect it. You will be happy with him. You will never fully be at ease with halacha in your lifetime. (I don’t know. Maybe halachic standards will change in a few generations like married women covering their hair.) It will probably be hard to get along in New York. Maybe you’ll move to Israel or a more liberal Jewish area.

    This is my assumption for you because it is what I see for myself. I never consciously decide to go against halacha, but I have a partner. If someone starts a halachic argument with me, I know exactly which Chumash, which Rambam, which shutim to pull out to prove to them that I’ve done my research and they need to shut up. My partner and I have been together for over a year. We have plans to start a life after college. I keep shabbos, kosher, negia, stzniut. I wash before bread and bench after. When school is in session, I have three weekly chavrutot. I am orthodox, and I have a same-sex partner. I never asked for it, and I never really expected it. I had imagined it, though.

    You will not settle on option #1 or #2. One of them will simply happen. (I assume #2.) Until it does, you will be wondering and hurting and lonely. This is not a decision you will make by thinking really hard about your options. Only time can determine.

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  31. i don’t know if you are going to read this since you have like 500 responses, but here is my two sense. It’s human nature to want to be with someone. Your feelings are very conflicted, with good understanding. But don’t you also think god wants you to be happy? Don’t you think you have a right to be happy? It’s impossible, not almost impossible, just strictly impossible to keep all the laws god put before us. Not even the greatest rabbi’s were/are able to do that. As you get older things might change: you might stay “frum” or you meet someone and realize it is too hard to remain so restricted.
    You could very well be scared, because you are entering unchartered territory. But that feeling of being scared and uncertainty you should embrace, because there is nothing wrong with what you feel. You have every right to love and spend the rest of your life with another man and DO AS YOU PLEASE, regardless of what rabbi xyz says. Of course they are going to say you can’t have relations with another man, because they don’t know what it feels like to be deprived of love, sex, and a person’s touch. But if the tables were turned, lets see what would happen.
    I can only imagine what you are going through as a frum gay Jew, but I know how it feels to be deprived of real love. I know how it feels to be in a Jewish environment where your opinion, choices, and sexuality are deeply scrutinized. And when your values aren’t accepted you’re told you’re wrong.
    Our community, especially the gay Jewish community, as you know is very small. You have every right to feel what you feel and love who you want love. Rabbis’ are people too, they have feelings too, and they make mistakes too. So what gives them the right to tell you how to live your life?
    I’m sure my little post won’t influence you that much, but I hope down the road it will be of comfort to know you’re not alone and that its more than ok to act on what you feel. God chose US to be gay. And it doesn’t make a different who it is between, because love is love.
    xoxo

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  32. Ah, of course, love > G-d. I had forgotten that little tidbit of American wisdom.

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  33. Rlly anon 12:12??? That's what you've gotten from everything i've written about my struggle?
    If the answer were that simple and that easy for me I would've given up religion years ago. But clearly it's not, which is the whole reason i struggle. but thanks for your two cents.

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  34. FG, I wasn't responding to you; I was resppnding to Anon 9:26. I should've been more specific, and sorry for the confusion. That is 100% NOT what I understand from your story. I was just retorting against Anon 9:26's idiotic stance on how (our) religion works.

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