Monday, May 27, 2013

Shomer Negiyah for those with same-sex attraction? “No Touching!” by Ben Schneider

5/26/13- Full integration of queer people into observant Jewish life will require unique restrictions as well as unique leniencies. The presence of one without the other doesn’t seem to align with Jewish thought. In every area where Jews set ourselves apart, privilege comes with restriction. Shabbat is reserved for princely rest, but controlled with a long list of prohibited activities. Observing kashrut while traveling is costly and sometimes difficult, but rewards those who do with community wherever they may find themselves. Heterosexual sex has the potential for holiness, but only if the biological restrictions of niddah are followed.

The idea of fighting for unique leniencies for queer people (loosening restrictions on same-sex sexual contact) without also fighting for special restrictions also opens up queer people to the criticism that we’re just ignoring or denying certain parts of halacha. I can’t think of what I’m doing in that way, and if the most satisfying answer that can be given for the parts of halacha that conflict with a queer identity is to ignore them, then I don’t understand how anyone can claim that it is now possible to live as observant and actively queer. I don’t want to ignore halacha; I want to figure out how halacha applies to this category of people who aren’t addressed in the Hebrew Bible: men who are predominantly attracted to men and women who are predominantly attracted to women.   
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AndIfNotNowWhen? blog

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you should ask why Rabbis have spent so much time issuing restrictions, controls, limitations, and prohibitions? Who are they really serving? I don't think Ha-Shem cares a bit about a lot of this. Torah is supposed to be sweet, not bitter. One of the wisest lessons to learn is to not limit other people, to see them as less than whole beings, to deprive them of their given powers, but that is exactly what centuries of rabbis have been doing. If you really want to devote your life to spirituality, you have to go much deeper in thought than remembering a list of prohibitions. Who does it really bring you closer to? I wonder, very much. If you ask me, I would have to say, the rabbis, and only the rabbis, period. Try thinking of yourself as an Israelite, not a Jew.



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