Sunday, September 11, 2011

One Hundred

This post is dedicated to my boyfriend who has changed my life so much, and makes me a better person every second of every minute of every day. For my one hundredth blog post, I’d like to, for the first time, write about being in a Frum and gay relationship. There’s a lot of work that goes into any relationship, and in my opinion, even more work in a gay relationship, and even more work in a religious and gay relationship.

I want to express some of the difficulty of being a Frum and gay couple. For me, it’s easy to parade around New York City holding his hand, being part of a couple like so many others. But with a Yarmulka on both our heads, it changes how people look at us. There’s the opportunity to make a tremendous Kiddush Hashem, or sanctification of God’s name, by being a happy gay and religious couple, although many more religious people would argue that it is a desecration of God’s name for me to be in a relationship in public. But for most in 2011 New York City people will say “Wow- even religious Jews can be homosexual and happy and in a relationship.” For others, it says- “Wow, homosexuality even exists in the Jewish community, who knew?” For others it says “Ew, gay people, what an abomination”. But for my friends and my community, and for his as well, I hope it says- I’m happy that they’re happy.

But within a religious community there is an added level of discomfort for a gay couple. It was one thing as a single person, but now it is likely that others will feel more uncomfortable because I’m in a relationship. A large percentage of my Orthodox friends have never interacted with a gay couple before, so comfort levels will vary and I acknowledge that. Do I act the way I want to act? Do I inhibit certain behaviors in front of certain friends? More so, it’s one thing for someone to stay in the closet and for me to out- and for both of us to interact, but it’s another thing for me to interact with my boyfriend in front of someone in the closet, and I would hate to cause them discomfort. But it’s my right to be who I am, and my right to be happy with my boyfriend.

As many other blog posts have ended, there’s a balancing act. Sometimes I can be however I want with my boyfriend, and sometimes I’m better off acting less like a couple in front of specific people. My boyfriend and I work to make sure no one is uncomfortable with us, but we also try to keep our own rights and happiness in mind.


  1. Sometimes one has to ask oneself, is G-d and His Torah defining my morality? Or is my morality defining G-d and His Torah? I think you have crossed the line from "what does G-d want from me" to "what do I want from me?" Your definition of "sanctification of G-d's name" is coincidentally exactly what you want it to mean... and against how most, if not all, Torah scholars define it. I believe with all my heart that you are sincere in your attempt to balance G-d and your homosexuality, but unfortunately, over time, you are leaning more and more towards one side.

    1. Live and let live. Let Hashem be the Judge. Yes, be discreet as it is no one's business , gay or straight, to see others being mushy or doing things that should be in the privacy of our homes.
      With so so so many Rabbis saying so so so many different things about Torah meaning and interpretation from everything from eating meat( which we should abstain from as it causes incalculable suffering and in return, makes us sick)to how to live, when all is said and done, love , tolerance, empathy, compassion, health are what means light.

  2. i love your honesty and am so happy to see that you are able to find a balance between who you are and your beliefs. It is everyone's right to be happy with the person they care about most, be it if it is a man or a woman, does not make one bit of a difference. So I commend you for being able to be who you are with your boyfriend in a world (especially a Jewish world) which can be especially harsh at times......

  3. Ely,

    It sounds to me that your Torah is not from Mount Sinai, but is rather from New York City. Just because you have acculturated into NYC's liberal culture regarding homosexuals, doesn't mean that you have successfully balanced Torah and homosexuality.

    The reality is that your blog makes no sense intellectually. And that's ok, because you use your blog to express your emotions, and often emotions are not necessarily logical or consistent.

  4. @Person-who-simply-doesn't-know-what-it-feels-like-to-be-a-gay, orthodox-Jew:

    Ely may not be following the "Torah from Mount Sinai," per se, but you likely do not understand the difficulty of being orthodox and gay. As his blog clearly states, Ely is trying to do the best he can with being gay and orthodox - two seemingly contradictory entities. As such, those of us who are frum ad gay and desire to not ignore either one of those identities, attempt to do the best we can. If that means forming some sort-of bridge between the liberal culture of NYC and the Torah from Mount Sinai, then please let us do it. There really isn't any room for us in this "Torah from Mount Sinai" that you are referring to. Ergo, we attempt to forge our own balance. And wether we do it successfully or not is really up to us - you, sir, are definitely not the judge of our successful or unsuccessful balancing act.

  5. As a celibate gay Jew, I find this blog a terrible chillul Hashem, and, as Anonymous 12:43 writes, I agree it makes absolutely no sense intellectually.

    Not sure anyone else will say the truth, lest they be called bigoted homophobes... so this homosexual (me) will do it instead:

    That you publicly write about being in a gay relationship means you are acknowledging to the world you're involved with one of the three cardinal sins of Judaism that we are to give up our lives rather than transgress (gilui arayos, shfichus domim, and avodah zarah). Contrary to popular misunderstanding, the obligation to give up one's life rather than transgress gilui arayos is not limited to actual intercourse, but even "chibuk v'nishuk", or in the modern vernacular, "heavy petting and making out."

    So- even in the highly remote chance that a man's gay relationship is entirely limited to "only" kissing, with no emission of seed or intercourse, he is still transgressing one of the three cardinal sins!

    There is no reconciling being in a gay relationship with Torah Judaism.

    To be nichshol in this taiva but acknowledge it's a terrible sin is a great thing- because there's still a good chance he can do teshuva! But once a person loses the busha and no longer considers it a sin... then it's far harder to do teshuva, because the person has made the sin "kosher."

    I'm not attaching my name because there is no reason I should publicize I have these taivas any more than another guy should publicize his taivas for women. I'm not proud of them, and I work like crazy to overcome them, in the same way that the Torah demands a heterosexual man work like crazy to avoid hirhurim for women.

    In these last weeks of Elul, may Hashem help all of klol-Yisroel to acknowledge our sins are indeed sins, to feel shame over them, to stop committing them, and to then take refuge in Hashem's loving embrace of teshuva.

  6. wow anon 3:47- that was the most beautiful and true thing written on this entire blog. good luck with your struggle.

  7. Anon 3:47,

    Eize hu gibor, hakovesh et yitzro.

    You are a gibbor, and have my utmost respect.

  8. Anon 3:47 - could you please give a citation as to the premise of your argument? Where do you find that ""chibuk v'nishuk", or in the modern vernacular, "heavy petting and making out."" is considered one of the three cardinal sins? The reason I ask, I am curious if this applies to married couples when the woman is in a state of nidah. Having sexual intercourse with such a woman is in violation of the issur of Gilui Ariyos and possible subject to a chyiuv of Kares. If you are correct that chibuk v'nishuk is equated with sexual intercourse does that mean if a husband and wife make out (no actual intercourse) during nidah they are subject to something much larger than not keeping a geder?

  9. I have to say, I also support you anon 3:47. I just do not think that is the correct path for me. As I have explained many times I don't think it's fair for one to have to live a life of celibacy and loneliness, nor do I think that's what God would want. I a big proponent of mental health, and we know man is not meant to spend his days alone.
    However, for you to claim righteousness and attempt to show me your ways and convince me to "stop sinning" sins you have no proof that I'm doing is not your place. You may not believe in an open Orthodox and homosexual lifestyle, but I do. I respect your life and don't make judgments about who you are or what sins you do or do not commit, for that is not my place. I respect your choices and wish you luck- but just wish you could do the same for me.

  10. Not sure why it's not letting me post. Perhaps my new post is too long, so I'll break it down in a few:

    But Ely, how do we know what God wants? Do we know what God wants because of what I think, or because of what you think? As religious Jews, we know "what God wants" through his Torah and through halacha as codified in Shulchan Aruch, even if we don't always like what it says.

    Anon 9:56, I'd be happy to provide a citation for my argument. Thanks for asking, I should have done so in my first post. One that comes to mind is the Chafetz Chaim, whose yahrtzeit is next week. As you well know, he was a posek and tzaddik whose name is universally revered among all segments of Orthodox Jewry, from modern-Orthodox to Litvish/Yeshivish to Chassidish.

    At the end of Chapter 19 of his classic ספר נדחי ישראל, a chapter discussing when a Jew is obligated to give up his life rather transgress, he writes explicitly (my translation follows):

    "That which we've written one is obligated to give up his life rather than be with the forbidden relations is lav-davka on intercourse alone, but even chibuk v'nishuk with any of the forbidden relations, or a non-Jew, or a niddah."

    He goes on to elaborate.

  11. So yes, to address your specific niddah question, that is absolutely the case.

    "Chibuk v'nishuk" with a niddah, even one's own wife, is a yaharog v'al ya'avor, according to the Chafetz Chaim. He goes on to explain that in our times all unmarried women are in the category of a niddah, since they haven't gone to the mikveh, so it follows that two straight unmarried Jews who are "only" kissing are doing something so serious they should rather give up their lives than transgress. He continues 'til the end of the paragraph (and chapter) that one involved in these things should be overcome with dread and trembling due to the gravity of what he's doing. We're talking about one of the three cardinal sins!

    For those who'd like to learn his words inside, go to this link, top right column on the for the Hebrew, or bottom right for Yiddish ;)

  12. Now, a few years ago I read Steve Greenberg's book Wrestling With God and Men, a grand chillul-Hashem given the absurd "reinterpretations" he proposes to the pasuk in Vayikra, among other things. Anyway, he suggests that in the same way we don't ask straight couples if they keep taharas-hamishpacha, because it's a private matter, similarly we shouldn't ask same-sex-couples what they do, either. It's seems like a nice idea, but doesn't hold up, and this is why:

    At least with a straight couple who may or may not be keeping taharas-hamishpacha, they conceivably are not sinning (we simply don't know). However, with a same-sex-couple, the very relationship itself is forbidden and we know with complete certainty they are sinning, regardless of being spared their personal bedroom details, even if their relationship is entirely limited to "kissing". And that'd be very hard to believe, anyway. But even if it were limited to chibuk v'nishuk, they'd still be transgressing something they should rather give up their life, one of the three cardinal sins, as explained by the Chafetz Chaim.

    These things must be publicized, both for those straight people who don't realize the severity of pre-marriage chibuk v'nishuk "hook ups" and us gays who'd like to delude ourselves that doing other things besides intercourse isn't such a problem, chas v'shalom. No.... chibuk v'nishuk among two men, or a straight man and a niddah, or any of the arayos, is a yaharog v'al ya'avor!

  13. To Anon 5:14 and 8:41, we all do our best and we all have been giving our own nisyonos. And when we fall, and we all fall sometimes (whether in action, the eyes, or the mind), the main thing is acknowledge the fall and try to do teshuva as soon as possible. Once we become desensitized to the sin, it's harder (but never impossible) to do teshuva, because we are no longer sinning in our delusion. When I used to cruise at gay clubs, flirting and dancing with cute guys, I ALWAYS KNEW IT WAS WRONG, and that, I think, was my saving grace to stop going to these places and try to do teshuva. When we are caught up in a sin, to KNOW it's a sin is still something.

    And to Reb Ely, thank you first and foremost for keeping my postings up, even if they're (presumably) painful for you to read. I don't mean to cause you pain, but to stand up for our Torah. We have a struggle many people don't understand. To battle our yetzer day in and day out is the way. To write on a public forum about being in a forbidden relationship is not.

    Be blessed, and may we (and all Hashem's children, gay or straight alike) be matzliach in the lifetime job in this world that is milchemes-hayeitzer.

  14. So as a frum friend of some people who have "come out" recently, I'd like to respond to Anyonymous 3:47. Much like everyone involved in this conversation, I am still coming to terms with homosexuality and Torah. Although my interest in this topic is sparked only by others' homosexuality, I believe my thoughts and research are still valid.

    I think you are making some very valid points. I also think you do a relatively accurate job of portraying traditional Orthodox judaism (or Torah M'sinai, if you will) and Halacha. However I have some comments and questions.

    Firstly, it is pretty clear the Chafetz Chaim's psak making chibuk/nishuk "yaharog v'al yaavor" does not apply to two men or any relationships that are considered "ervah". Though we are machmir by arayos, nobody goes so far to asser a father kissing his daughter or two male friends (heterosexual or otherwise) hugging each other. Reconsider your application of the CC's p'sak and in which cases it applies. I'm not saying the Torah is okay with homosexual activity, but I know the Sefer HaChinuch gives a very strict hagdarah of when the issur begins (basically, at intercourse). Some argue that the Torah gives homosexuals the same rules that apply to heterosexuals with regard to the opposite sex, just adapted to fit those of their same sex. The Torah isn't simply starving everyone from all physical contact with those they are attracted to, it is protecting the institution and reality of marriage via Kiddushin. Also, this argument would contradict the torah-true value that homosexuality is not treated the same as heterosexuality in the Torah. Hence people struggling to reconcile the two. Hence one having a controversial posuk about its relations and the other being rather open. Don't get me wrong, you make a good point that acting upon homosexuality isn't allowed by the Torah... but I think its important to draw the line exactly where the Torah does.

    Secondly, why post on someone's blog and be entirely non-supporting of their endeavors? Meaning, we all see that Ely has clearly struggled to reconcile these issues. I mean this in two ways. Firstly, clearly he has struggled through many questions before finding these answers. Why contribute to that struggle by causing tension on a blog which he clearly uses to communicate his much-happier-than-ever resolutions"? Secondly, don't you think he's considered all the mekoros? He has gone through the same struggle you have, and has decided to interpret things differently. An anonymous comment on his blog won't suddenly change his mind. If you really want to engage him in conversation on this topic, you'd probably do better emailing directly or something... I think you have made an incredible decision to fight your ta'aivos and that you will certainly be rewarded for it. It's definitely not easy. But your series of posts rubs me the wrong way (no pun intended). One could argue, that following my logic, why did I bother replying to you in this manner? Doesn't it violate the same principles for which I just criticized you? Maybe you're right. But I feel strongly against public criticism of people's decisions in this manner....

    At least play friendly in public... That's what most straight frum people do.

  15. Friend, it seems clear that "chibuk v'nishuk" in halacha implies far more than a non-platonic kiss. It's not going on a parent to a child, or two guy friends excitedly greeting each other with a giant bear hug. (In some frum circles it's not uncommon for men to greet each other with a quick kiss on the cheek). That is why I deliberately translated "chibuk v'nishuk" as "heaving petting and making out," which implies a lot more than a simple "hug and kiss".

    The Chafetz Chaim clearly writes that "chibuk v'nishuk" among the arayos is "yaharog v'al ya'avor." To me it would seem obvious that two guys having passionate make out sessions would be included in this "chibuk v'nishuk". Romantic kissing of this nature is a far cry from the platonic quick kiss on the cheek between two male friends.

    Sure, as you bring from Sefer Hachinuch, the technical issur of mishkav zachar in Vayikra is anal penetration. But I'm not sure where you're going. Do you mean to trivialize the severity of anything but(t)? Sorry, I couldn't resist.

    Do you mean to trivialize oral sex or mutual masturbation? (Sorry if I'm being too graphic here for some). These acts both involve being motzee zera l'vatala, something called the most severe sin in the Torah (see Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 151). And again, in the remote chance a male gay relationship involves absolutely no emission of seed, then do we dare trivialize chibuk v'nishuk, in light of what the Chafetz Chaim writes?

    When well-meaning straight people like yourself try to make it seem like other things besides intercourse aren't so bad, it's not doing us any favors. We are entitled to aspire for the same kedusha that everyone else is... without having straight people unknowingly condescend to us through trying to minimize VERY serious aveiros that touch upon one of the three cardinal sins of our faith.

    To address your question of why write non-supportive things on Ely's blog, I think it's a chiyuv gamur to protest chillul-Hashem of this nature.

    When a blogger is going to write something on his public blog on such a sensitive topic, it shouldn't be so surprising to you there are going to be passionate dissenters.

    Sorry my posts are rubbing you the wrong way :-/

  16. Correction to my second line:

    *far more than a PLATONIC kiss

  17. Anonymous 3:47,

    Thanks for a kind and thorough response. I understand your concerns and points much better now.
    I do not mean to exhaust this point or argue over small technicalities, but I would just like to try and refine some of your pints. While you are on the right track, it seems you have divided the Halachic categories of physical interaction into "platonic" and "romantic". According to what you are saying one hug or kiss can be "platonic" while another can be "romantic". While this division clearly exists in the world as we perceive it, I'm not sure Halacha follows those lines exactly. Can a single man give a single woman a "platonic" hug? As much as I'd love that... Halacha unequivocally fordbids it, even if there is no sexual attraction whatsoever. It is for these reasons I am inclined to say one man may give another man a kiss or hug, no matter what the emotion behind it is. Similarly, a father may give his child a hug or kiss. This is why I was inclined to read the Chofetz Chaim's "chibuk v'nishuk" going on the general types of "gilui arayos" but NOT the specific ervahs listed in Acharei-Mos. Now, you certainly know better than I what goes on in the homosexual male bedroom. I would imagine that certain behaviors are muttar according to strict halachic parameters. I would agree 100% that any activity involving hotza'as zera l'vatala (some of which you mentioned above... and seem rather creative if you ask me) is completely ASSUR. However, if as I am claiming, chibuk v'nishuk doesn't apply between two men (as there is no issur n'giah whatsoever, and cannot just include things for being "romantic" as opposed to "platonic"), then there are physical acts of expression that may be permitted.

    I have no intention of being condescending by lowering the standards of Halacha for the homosexual community. I simply believe from my research that the Torah is not machshiv any aspect of homosexuality beyond the issur bi'ah. If the Torah doesn't consider it valid (which is therefore what so many people struggle with), it cannot put things like various forms of touching within the standard gedarim/issurim that apply to heterosexuality. There is an obvious lack of literature on these topics directly as nobody wants to discuss these things, let a lone be mattir anything publicly. Plus, I'm not sure the question was ever asked to an midevil or later European posek... who would have the guts to ask?

    Okay... so the technicalities are done.

    I do understand the freedom exercised throughout the blogosphere. I just think you might achieve your goals better using other methods. Ely and most of his readers know what's at stake here. Either way, I commend your interest in defending Shem Shamayim and attempting to prevent chilul Hashem. But in light of your motives, just be careful of your accusations. As Ely said, don't make assumptions about his lifestyle. We don't know what goes on behind doors... and we're chayav to be dan l'kaf zechus, no?. You of all people should know that anything's possible... afterall, how many gay men would believe you if you told them the choices you've made?

    Just to clarify, I've never met or spoken with Ely.

    This has certainly been an enlightening dialogue.

  18. I really do apreciate 3:47.

    Ely, one issue the premise of your discusion is:

    "But for most in 2011 New York City people will say “Wow- even religious Jews can be homosexual and happy and in a relationship.”

    I live in new york city and dont think eve 5% would think that. Most would say "arent jews supposed to be holy"

    Do you really think walking down the street in nyc is being an ohr lagoyim? I am not saying you should stop all i am saying is at least be honest. You are setting our holy people back - but i have no fear, the darkest time is just before the light.

    May the coming year of 5772 bring the true light where ALL people point and shout "ze hashem kivinu lach" and serve him in the way HIS torah states.

    Ps. Is your boyfriend "frum" too?

  19. Friend-

    The S"A discusses certain areas of the woman that a man is not allowed to look it. Those do not include, for example, the pinky finger of a woman. But the S"A adds that if that gives you impure thoughts then you are not allowed to do it. Implying that the other areas are forbidden even if they don't give you such thoughts.

    Halachah does make a distinction between subjective and objective actions in the world of arayos. A male hugging a female is objectively inappropriate and therefore assur whether or not it give you thoughts. A male touching a male is not objectively inappropriate, so therefore males hugging or kissing each other in a platonic way would be muttar. But if it leads to inappropriate thoughts (like sexual attraction to another male), it would be assur for that individual.

  20. Well put Anonymous 3:47. Halacha definitely makes that distinction. It's said that in 19th century Germany, Rav Hirsch allowed shaking hands with a woman- provided there weren't going to be hirhurim, so it really can be subjective. It seems many others hold shaking hands is a complete issur regardless.

    I'm not "out" (not reason I should be ) and it always makes me laugh inside when I avoid shaking hands with women, due to the practice of my community not to shake hands with women. And chalila that I would hug women! Though it wouldn't really do anything for me, that's the halacha. Still, where I DO have my challenge, I must take my own precautions, as anyone must.

    Friend, we all must take our own steps to avoid "hirhurim" and a "kishui". Don't imagine this issue hasn't been addressed in halacha regarding homosexuality. Take for example the monumental series Nitei Gavriel, authored by a contemporary chassidishe posek. In his Hilchos Yichud, Chapter 48 deals with Yichud Zecharim. Now, given the bulk of klal-Yisroel don't have this taivas, there's no outright yichud zecharim issur per se in halacha, but what he writes is nonetheless fascinating: That it's still proper to withhold from a yichud situation with another male in a bathhouse/pool area, that it's proper two guys should not share a room alone in a yeshiva dorm, but there should be at least another. In Halacha Gimmel of this perek, he says that one who was nichshol even one time with another guy, even if he did teshuva, it is proper to be stringent and never again seclude himself with other guys in a yichud situation.

    Pretty incredible, huh? This sefer was published in 2001. It's sure good to know that the same way straight people have all their issurim regarding women, so they don't stumble, a chassidishe posek in Brooklyn has addressed a whole chapter in his Yichud sefer to "my kind," without patronizing us, so that we, too, can aspire for kedusha no less. I love the way he so simply writes that if a man was once nichshol with a man, and even if he did teshuva... yes, that's right. So we were nichshol? Ok, so we did teshuva.... and we take precautions it doesn't happen again!

    If you really think that two men can be in a gay relationship and completely avoid hotza'as zera l'vatala or physical arousal (kishui), well, I guess that just proves how straight you really are. We're still guys, remember? It's playing with fire. Do we dare look at other arayos and start trivializing other forms of sexual play outside of intercourse?

    I do appreciate your constructive feedback at the end of your posting, even if we differ.

  21. Correction to my first line: I meant Anonymous 1:27.... I really was not telling myself well put, but that was probably gathered by what followed. lol

  22. Are only homosexuals considered in these commentaries?
    If lesbians aren't considered why are they not?
    A lesbian relationship is not "normal" either so shouldn't they also be considered as "going against
    G-d's commandments"?
    To be right up front, I am totally in support of lesbian and homosexual relationships. For me, it's the depth of committment between couples that is the most important and whether they try their best to "do good".

  23. lesbian sexual activity is forbidden Rabbinically. for a treatment into the sources on lesbianism, i recommend Rabbi Chaim Rapoport's Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View. For that matter, it's a great read for Torah sources on male homosexuality too.

  24. Anonymous 3:47,

    I think I understand your perspective a bit better. I guess this whole thing is difficult to grasp as a straight male. I'm still not sure what to make of the more recent halachic literature you reference in terms of men who are not decidedly homosexual. Homosexuality is not necessarily black and white. I think its pretty obvious that straight men gain the same hana'ah from the things gay men do and vice versa. It might not feel "right", but neither does sleeping with a relative... and that's still assur. So then, where do we draw the line of what can "lead to improper thoughts" as Anonymous 1:27 suggests? In theory, anything could go wrong or be taken the wrong way. Do gay men have any imperative whatsoever to be shomer negiah from all other men? Probably not... I guess your underlying point is that each man needs to know what's going on in his mind and his body.

    There is a BIG difference between being "physical" and being "sexual", though as you've made very clear the acts that express them can be very close. Only hotza'as zera and actual intercourse unequivocally cross the line of physicality into the realm sexuality. Everything else depends on the individual, and people who know there is pure "sexuality" underlying their actions need to stay far far away from anything, as it is "playing with fire" and relates to your comment of the Chafetz Chaim. You are suggesting that your knowledge of the Gay world implies that any "boyfriend" situation is VERY inappropriate and necessarily leads to issurim, if not of the highest degree, then at least the types of "fluid" issurim that stem from being inappropriate with arayos (S"A from Anon 1:27).

    Just to settle things, do we agree on the final paragraph of what I wrote?

  25. Right, a gay person needs set his own boundaries. For example, I don't reject hugs from guy friends... but I when I go to the mikveh on erev-Shabbos I try to pick the time I'm confident it is most likely to be empty. For me to be in the mikveh room with unclothed men would be entirely inappropriate and contrary to the reason I'm in the mikveh in the first place. For you straight guys out there to get where I'm coming from, imagine unclothing in a room together with good looking young women, and showering next to them before entering a small pool area where more of them might be present. Right, not so appropriate.

    Yes, we agree on that paragraph: "Any boyfriend situation is VERY inappropriate and necessarily leads to issurim..." Well put, you get me, couldn't have said it better myself.

    I've appreciated the discussion.

  26. @anon 3:47 don't be so righteous as to think your words and comments cause me pain and strife. I am totally happy and comfortable and strong with who I am, how I live my life and what I believe in. Even if you don't.

  27. And no one has the right to make assumptions about what goes on behind closed doors. In a relationship or not.

  28. You think I'm righteous in my mind assuming my words cause you pain? And do you imagine that what I've written was done smugly or self-righteously? It was with a very heavy heart of sadness in trying to protest a chillul-Hashem... tinged with serious regret for my own past and continued personal failings in this area.

    There's no revelry.

    Your blog leaves me mystified: On Yom Kippur several of the Al Chets deal with gilui-arayos, directly or otherwise. The Yom Kippur mincha laining is the arayos. The very bris between Hakadosh Baruch Hu and klal-Yisroel is placed on our private area because the Covenant is dependent on not using it for sin..... I simply don't get how you try to bridge the arayos with Judaism.

    Even though I don't get your blog, and agree with another commentor that intellectually it makes no sense, it has taught me one thing: Us human beings can convince ourselves of anything. To imagine in your mind that publicly holding hands with your boyfriend -while wearing kippot- is a kiddush Hashem might just be the most twisted, inverted thing I've ever heard. What an upside down world we live in.

    I appreciate your feedback and will try to work on myself to avoid making assumptions.

  29. Intellectually it makes no sense for a person to be Frum and gay. and yet, I am. So I slap my chest knowing that if I had a choice, I would be straight, but I don't and therefore I do the best I can to be happy.

  30. GULP, well, at least we have that in common. I wish I could be straight too. Ely, if I've crossed a line into meanspiritedness, I am sorry and hope you can forgive me.

  31. Could one just not hold by the Chafets Chaim on this issue?

  32. Anon 9:10
    Care to elaborate?

  33. I'm an Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian (sort of the Anglican equivalent of being an Orthodox Jew) and I'm gay and in a long-term relationship of 22 years with my partner.

    Our respective faiths are somewhat different, but I can totally relate to what you wrote. Both my partner and I are religiously observant, all the way down to the home altar, the observance of morning, noon and evening prayer, a fairly strict observance of Sabbath (which for us is on Sunday, which precludes doing most kinds of work and certainly precludes things like going to the store, shopping, etc.), liturgical candles, etc. In fact, our friends, Christian and Jewish alike, have commented that our religious observances are some of the strictest they've seen!

    I really relate to your comments about trying to find a balance between religious observance, faithfulness to one's own beliefs, identity as a couple and how we present ourselves to the outside world. Something which has helped me is the statement from Job: ""Behold, the Lord is mighty, and doesn't despise anyone. He is mighty in strength of understanding."

    Just wanted to share that with you, and I know very much where you're coming from. Good blog post!


It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews