As a post- Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur post, the Jewish holidays about starting a clean slate in a new year, a questions that has been plaguing me for a while comes to mind. What does God want from me? As a gay Orthodox Jew- does he want me to be alone for the rest of my life? Does he want me to go through endless hours of therapy that are highly unlikely to succeed?
And bigger than this- as I prayed on Yom Kippur I thought- what does He want from us? As a Jewish nation in the 21st century with technologies beyond people's wildest imaginations and capabilities, sexuality and sexual promiscuity rampant and dominating our cultures worldwide, what does He want from us? Should we shelter ourselves in the depths of Brooklyn and Lakewood and Bnei Brak, or do we encourage ourselves to grow and learn from the world around us, and challenge ourselves to remain faithful to God in a world that whose basic principles seem to go against everything Judaism holds dear?
The Torah, and more specifically- it's laws as decided by the Rabbi's- were decided in a completely different society and culture. PRayers were written for a different population to say. Unfortunately, today, our leaders don't feel close enough to understanding laws to allow law to be brought truly into a modern context or change things that were decided hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. I'm not calling for change of the Torah, or the laws uphelp by the Rabbi's. But I am calling for an understanding- and the room to believe, that not every single thing decided so long ago is relevant today. And of certain people feel strongly that God wants XYZ, while the community has been holding ABC, it's their right to do XYZ. Not just because they want to, but because they feel it's what God meant for the world today. Because every law made by a Rabbi is simply a Rabbi deciding what GOd wants from the world today, and we all listen to the Rabbis. But when it comes down to it- no one has divine inspiration today, no one talks to God, and therefore no one can command something of another as far as their relationship with God and upholding of the Torah.
I stopped in the middle of my Yom Kippur prayers, closed my eyes and said "God, we don't know what to do. We haven't had a divine inspiration in thousands of years, and we, as your nation, are just trying to figure out what you want from us in this world today- the 21st century. Forgive your people for the ways they may have misinterpreted your laws or did not uphold what you intended, we are all just trying our best- and will continue to do so."