BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CONTEMPORARY ORTHODOX RESPONSES TO
Uri C. Cohen
[Version 1-December 18, 2002]
Jewish educators today need to be aware of Torah responses
to homosexuality. We may be called upon to defend the Torah's approach in
class, or -- more significantly -- we may be approached for counseling by a
student involved in a personal struggle. Fortunately, much has been written on
the subject in recent years. In this bibliography of over sixty articles,
about half have appeared only since 2000. Conveniently, most of the articles
are available on the web. (Several appear at the website of JONAH, which
stands for Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality.) Please take the
opportunity to read them and become informed.
While Orthodoxy cannot permit homosexual sex, there is a
range of opinion today on several issues regarding a homosexual person. Is the
halakhic status of a practicing homosexual a mumar lehakh'is (see
below, Rabbis Tendler and Lubitch), an oness (Rabbis Lamm and Bleich),
or a mumar letei'avon (Rabbis Freundel and Finkelman)? Is the very
orientation prohibited (Rabbi Spero), or only acting on it (most writers)? Are
people with homosexual desires still obligated in heterosexual marriage and
procreation (Rabbis Sherlo and Unterman), or are they exempt (Rabbi Rapoport)?
Should we even recognize the existence of a homosexual identity (Rabbis A.
Feldman and Spero), or not (Rabbis Beasley and Freundel)?
There is even a debate regarding how we should relate to
the prohibition. Does the Torah's use of the word "to'evah"
mean it evokes instinctive repugnance (Rabbis Lamm and Goldberg), or not
(Rabbis Hecht, Boteach, and Sherlo)? Should we consider homosexual sex to be a
prohibition comparable to eating non-kosher food, for which the desire is
normal and just acting on it is forbidden (Drs. Wolowelsky and Weinstein, and
Rabbi Boteach), or should we say that homosexual sex is especially immoral
(Rabbis Adlerstein, Schochet, and Tendler)? A teacher might want to have a
class read, as a point/counterpoint, the opposing articles written in 2000 by
Rabbis Boteach and Adlerstein, and ask the class to debate the question.
(Actually, as Rabbi Hecht points out, the rishonim argue about whether
all the arayot are a chok or mishpat. See also Rabbi
Elchanan Samet, "Forbidden Unions (Arayot) -- Vayikra 18,"
which is available at http://www.vbm-torah.org/parsha.60/29aharei.htm)
I've chosen articles that focus on Torah responses to
homosexuality and homosexuals, and omitted those articles that focus on the
social issues, including responses to the movie Trembling Before God
and how the Orthodox community should respond to the perceived threat from
"the gay lobby." I disqualified as non-Orthodox any articles that
claim the prohibition no longer applies. By the same token, I included
articles from non-Orthodox but traditional people who defend the Torah's
prohibition (and I indicated the author's affiliation). I added a bracketed
comment to some articles, and a star on those I thought were the most
important or useful. A glossary of Hebrew terms appears at the end of the
Please email me if you find other articles on the subject.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CONTEMPORARY ORTHODOX
RESPONSES TO HOMOSEXUALITY
*Adlerstein, Rabbi Yitzchok. "Lieberman,
Schlessinger, and Boteach." Cross-Currents, 2:4 (Sept.
2000). Available at http://www.cross-currents.com/Vol.2/ii4.htm
An abbreviated form of this article (minus a quote from Rav Kook)
appeared as "Dawn of the Orthodox Celebs," Jewish
World Review, Sept. 12, 2000. Available at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0900/ortho.celebs.asp
[Rejects Rabbi Boteach's distinction between religious and
moral laws, and says that the word "to'evah"
indicates there's "something particularly nasty about"
*Anonymous. "A Torah Orientation: A Letter By
A Torah-Committed Homosexual." The Jerusalem Letter,
3:1 (June 22, 2000). Available at http://www.jerusalemletter.co.il/archives/Jun22,2000/orientation.htm
[A letter of chizzuk and practical tips to struggle with
one's homosexuality, from one who's been there.]
Atzat Nefesh. "Homosexual Tendencies: Dear
Frum and Gay…" Available at http://www.atzat-nefesh.org/an/english_site/hs.asp
[A letter of chizzuk from Jerusalem's Atzat Nefesh
Crisis Center & Hotline. The rest of the site, in Hebrew, has
information and encouragement for those "experiencing troubles
with various addictions, homosexuality, sexual obsessions and
Aviner, Rabbi Shlomo. "To'evah Chad Minit."
Be'ahava Uve'emuna, Vayikra 5762 (March 12, 2002). Available
It also appeared in the English edition of Be'ahava
Uve'emuna, entitled "The Homosexual Abomination,"
translated by Raphael Blumberg.
*Beasley, Rabbi Joel. "Why Neither
Homosexuality nor Heterosexuality Exist in Judaism." The
Jewish Spectator, Winter 1998, pp. 26-29. Available at http://www.jonahweb.org/html/library-joelbeasley.phtml
[The Torah identifies people not by their carnal instincts but
by their obligations to God. "God does not ask people to do
anything beyond their capacity. He does at times ask them to go
against their desires..." Self-proclaimed homosexuals
"have not had it easy in a society that does not know how to
distinguish between condemning actions and condemning
Bleich, Rabbi J. David. "AIDS: A Jewish
Perspective." Tradition, 26:3 (Spring 1992), pp. 49-80.
He deals with homosexuality on pp. 49-54.
Bleich, Rabbi J. David. "Homosexuality."
In his Judaism and Healing: Halakhic Perspectives (New York:
Ktav, 1981), pp. 69-73.
*Boteach, Rabbi Shmuel. "Reinterpreting
Homosexuality as Human Sexuality." Oxford-Judaism Mailing
List, June 29, 1993. Available at http://shamash.org/tanach/tanach/commentary/oxford-judaism/homosexuality
Reprinted as "Does Homosexuality Differ from
Heterosexuality?" in his Moses of Oxford (London: Andre
Deutsch, 1994), vol. 1, pp. 24-44.
[This long article is the most sympathetic towards homosexuals, of
all the Orthodox approaches. "If a homosexual comes for advice
it is best to concentrate, sympathetically, on the fact that a
human being may be in distress." Homosexual sex isn't deviant
or against nature. It's the Divine prohibition that makes it
morally objectionable. "Homosexuality is a sin like any other
sin: because someone eats a ham and mayo sandwich does not in any
way impair their ability to participate fully in Jewish life."
Rabbi Boteach's approach is the most liberal and controversial of
those in this bibliography; see next entry.]
*Boteach, Rabbi Shmuley. "Dr. Laura Misguided
on Homosexuality." The Jewish Week (New York), May 26,
2000. Available at http://www.thejewishweek.com/top/editletcontent.php3?artid=609
Reprinted in The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles,
June 16, 2000. Available at http://www.jewishjournal.com/archive/06.16.00/othervoices.06.16.00.html
[In disagreeing with Dr. Laura's opinion that homosexuality is
deviant, he describes homosexual sex as a "religious law"
and not a "moral law." Like Shabbat and Kashrut,
homosexual sex is prohibited not because it violates any ethical
norms but because there's a biblical injunction. Rabbis Adlerstein,
Schochet and Tendler object strongly to this article.]
Boteach, Rabbi Shmuley. "Response to Rabbi
Moshe Tendler." Oxford-Judaism Mailing List, June 6,
2000. Available at http://shamash.org/tanach/tanach/commentary/oxford-judaism/000606
Bulka, Rabbi Reuven P. One Man, One Woman, One
Lifetime: An Argument for Moral Tradition. Lafayette,
Louisiana: Huntington House, 1995.
*Dresner, Rabbi Samuel H. "Homosexuality and
the Order of Creation." Judaism, 40:3 (Summer
1991), pp. 309-321. Reprinted in Kristen E. Kvam, et al, eds. Eve
& Adam: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Readings on Genesis and
Gender (Indiana University Press, 1999). (His affiliation is
[A close reading of parshiot Bereishit and Noach
paints a picture of what God expects of humans: heterosexuality
within the marital bond. Homosexuality violates this natural law.]
Eidensohn, Rabbi David. "Homosexuality and
Sexual Perversion" (August 27, 2002). This is Segment Five of
his online book, Jewish Gender, Marriage and Sexuality.
Available at http://www.sinaicentral.com/kedusho/Lion_Roars_Seg_5_homosexuality.htm
(His website is called www.Kedusho.com
: The Torah Approach on Sexual Matters.)
Eidensohn, Rabbi David. "The Orthodox
Homosexual -- A Halacha Perspective." Available at http://www.sinaicentral.com/kedusho/The%20Orthodox%20Homosexual.htm
Eidensohn, Rabbi David. "Questions and Answers with Rabbi
David Eidensohn." Available at http://www.sinaicentral.com/kedusho/Homos-questions&answe.htm
Feinstein, Rabbi Moshe. "Teshuvah leNikhshal
beMishkav Zakhur." In his Iggerot Moshe, Orach
Chayim vol. 4, #115 (1 Adar I, 5736).
[In this 1976 responsum to someone trying to do teshuvah for
homosexual sex, Rav Moshe zatzal takes the strictest
approach of those in this bibliography. The very desire for
homosexuality is so unnatural, it must be lehakh'is -- a
rebellion against God.]
*Feldman, Rabbi Aharon. "A Letter to a
Homosexual Baal Teshuva." The Jerusalem Letter, 1:5
(March 24, 1998). Available at http://www.jerusalemletter.co.il/archives/March24,1998/homow.htm
This letter, with a slight change, appeared in Jewish Action,
58:3 (Spring 1998), pp. 69-70. Some clarifications appear in Rabbi
Aharon Feldman, "Letters from Homosexual Friends," The
Jerusalem Letter, 3:1 (June 22, 2000). Available at http://www.jerusalemletter.co.il/archives/Jun22,2000/friends.htm
[Not only is this letter of chizzuk sympathetic to the
Orthodox homosexual, but it carries some weight since the author
has since become the rosh yeshivah of Ner Yisrael.
"Judaism looks negatively at homosexual activity, but not at
the homosexual nature... A Jewish homosexual has to make a
commitment to embark on a course where he will ultimately rid
himself of homosexual activity. It is not necessary that he change
his sexual orientation (if this is at all possible), but that he
cease this activity." A Jewish homosexual can live as a
celibate "if he decides that the Jewish people is his 'wife
and children.' It is possible to do this if he throws his every
spare moment into devotion to the welfare of his people." He
concludes: "In your struggle towards reaching the goals of
your life, remember that you are not unique: all of humanity is
engaged in the same struggle. You were just given a different set
of circumstances within which to operate."]
Feldman, Rabbi David M. "Homosexuality and the
Halacha." Sh'ma, May 19, 1972. (His affiliation is
Feldman, Rabbi David M. "Homosexuality and
Jewish Law." Judaism, Fall 1983, pp. 426-429.
Feldman, Rabbi David M. "Interview with Rabbi
David Feldman: Homosexuality." Leora Tanenbaum, interviewer.
In Carol Diament, ed. Jewish Marital Status (Northvale, NJ:
Jason Aronson, 1989), pp. 276-280.
Finkelman, Rabbi Eliezer. "Homosexuality in
Jewish Law." Journal of the Society of Rabbis in Academia,
1:1-2 (June 1991), pp. 37-49.
[Includes analysis of the opinions of Rabbis Spero, Lamm, Freundel,
and Feinstein. This article is hard to find.]
Freudenthal, Gad, ed. AIDS in Jewish Thought and
Law (Hoboken: Ktav, 1998).
[Several of the articles touch on the subject of Jewish attitudes
to homosexuality. See the book's index for the relevant pages.]
*Freundel, Rabbi Barry. "Homosexuality and
Judaism." Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society (RJJ),
volume XI (1986), pp. 70-87. Available at http://www.jonahweb.org/html/library-freundel.phtml
[Arguably the best article on the subject from the 1980s.
"The modern transliteration of homosexual into Hebrew only
proves the point" that halakhah doesn't recognize a homosexual
identity. "Calling him a mumar [letei'avon], if handled
correctly, strengthens the chances for change" and for kiruv.
A section called "Condemnation of Homosexuality -- Why?"
evaluates four approaches in light of the difference in halakhic
severity between male and female homosexual behavior.]
Freundel, Rabbi Barry. "Homosexuality and
Halachic Judaism: An Orthodox View." Moment, June 1993,
pp. 40, 43-45.
[A simplified form of his RJJ article.]
*Goldberg, Rabbi Hillel. "Homosexuality: A
Religious and Political Analysis." Tradition, 27:3
(Spring 1993), pp. 28-35.
[The first half focuses on how Rabbi Yisrael Salanter would view
the subject. "It makes no difference to Rabbi Israel whether
the in-born desire is for adultery, unethical monetary gain,
homosexual sex, or any other violation of the religious norm. The
in-born desire -- call it 'nature' if you will -- must be tutored
and transfixed." "Ultimately, therefore, a person was
responsible for his every violation of the norm, no matter how
profound the desire to violate it. Ultimately. In the meantime, God
measures each violation ... against the magnitude of the subjective
struggle necessary to prevent it." Rabbi Goldberg adds that
this prohibition is both a chok which is beyond reason as
well as a to'evah which inspires repugnance.]
Hecht, Rabbi Benjamin. "Homosexuality: Is
There a Unique Torah Perspective?" Nishma Update, June
1992. Available at http://nishma.org/articles/update/updatejune92-homosexuality.htm
*Hecht, Rabbi Benjamin. "The March for Israel
Parade and Halachic Decision Making." Nishma Update,
June 1993. Available at http://nishma.org/articles/update/updatejune93-march.htm
[The rishonim are not conclusive on whether
homosexuality -- and arayot in general -- are chukkim
or mitzvot sikhliyot. Usually, chukkim focus on the cheftza
and mitzvot sikhliyot focus on the gavra. If
homosexuality is a chok, we can be more open to homosexuals
because the aversion is to the action, not the person. If it's a mitzvah
sikhlit, we would stay away from the person as well. It's also
possible that the dividing line between chukkim and mitzvot
sikhliyot can change with the times.]
*Hecht, Rabbi Benjamin. Untitled. Spark of the
Week - 5754 - #27. Available at http://nishma.org/articles/insight/spark5754-27.htm
[Suggests that "to'evah" is a rejection of
practices of the idolatrous Canaanites.]
Herring, Rabbi Basil. "Homosexuality." In
his Jewish Ethics and Halakhah for our Time (New York: Ktav
and YU Press, 1984), vol. 1, pp. 175-196.
[A review of the classic sources and responsa, complete with a
sourcesheet in English.]
*Kimelman, Prof. Reuven. "Homosexuality and
Family-Centered Judaism." Tikkun, July/August 1994, pp.
53-57. Reprinted in M. Katherine Baird and Robert M. Baird, eds. Homosexuality:
Debating the Issues (Prometheus Books, 1995), pp. 264-271. (His
affiliation is Conservative, I think.)
[The big picture: an eloquent defense of Judaism's emphasis on
marriage and the family -- Judaism's "major contribution to
the civilization of humanity." Both the individual and society
need the family. In that light, homosexuality is just one of
several arayot which must be delegitimized if the family is
to remain central. "The fear is that the legitimation of
loving homosexual relations is the first step to the legitimation
of 'loving' incestuous, pedophiliac, and adulterous relationships.
Such is the slippery slope in today's sexual climate as it was
apparently in antiquity. Accordingly, Rabbi Akiba in Talmud
Sanhedrin (58a) derives the prohibition of incest,
homosexuality, adultery, and bestiality all from different parts of
the same verse, Genesis 2:24."]
Kobre, Eytan. "Judaism, Nature and
Homosexuality." Forward, February 2, 2001, p. 11.
Available at http://www.forward.com/issues/2001/01.02.02/oped3.html
["The implacable foe with which Judaism's battle is
forever pitched, then, is not so much secularism or even non-belief
as it is 'nature'... For some, that challenge will be the struggle
to control anger and aggressiveness, while for others, it will be
the attempt to rein in arrogance and reach out in acknowledgement
of the other. Yet others' particularly daunting charge will be
combating powerful sensual drives, with their potential to reduce
the unlimited human potential to nothing more than the pursuit of
shallow, momentary fleshy pleasures. This is no less true for the
individual who claims to have been 'born gay' than for anyone
Lamm, Rabbi Norman. "Judaism and the Modern
Attitude to Homosexuality." Encyclopedia Judaica Year Book
1974, pp. 194-205. Reprinted in Menachem Marc Kellner, ed. Contemporary
Jewish Ethics (New York: Sanhedrin Press, 1978), pp. 375-399,
and in Fred Rosner and J. David Bleich, eds. Jewish Bioethics
(Brooklyn: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1979), pp. 197-218. Available
[The first to suggest an approach, based on homosexuality as
pathological, using the metaphor of oness.]
Levin, Rabbi Shlomo. "Bad to be Gay?" New
Moon, December 1991, p. 10.
Lubitch, Rabbi Ronen. "Emdat haYahadut Kelapei
Yachasim Bein Benei Min Echad veKavvim Manchim leYissumah beChinukh."
Mayyim miDalyav (Shenaton Mikhlelet Lifshitz), 5756, pp.
233-251. Available at http://www.lifshiz.macam.ac.il/m/pages/m/m56/m56233.html
[The first Hebrew article to survey the issue of
Orthodoxy and homosexuality. Includes sections on how
responsa recognized the phenomenon through the ages, how
the rabbis viewed the prohibition as rational as opposed
to visceral, and why tolerance makes more sense than
either permissiveness or intolerance.]
Lubitch, Rabbi Ronen. "Selidah, Sovlanut o
Matiranut: Yachas haYahadut leHomoseksualiyut." De'ot,
11 (August 2001), pp. 9-15. Available at http://www.toravoda.org.il/luvitz11.html
(HTML form) or at http://www.toravoda.org.il/luvitz11_pdf.pdf
(Adobe Acrobat form).
[This is a magazine adaptation of his previous
article. New material includes the comment that the
author tried ten years earlier to publish an article on
the subject, but met with resistance from editors with
outdated assumptions. Rabbi Lubitch includes a summary of
Israeli laws passed in the 1990s which granted more and
more rights to homosexuals and gay couples. In addition,
he cites philosopher Michel Foucault that it was only
with modernity that people started viewing homosexual sex
as unnatural and its practitioners as possessing a
different sexual identity. Rabbi Lubitch suggests that
this paradigm shift explains both Rabbi Feinstein's harsh
reaction and liberals' appeal to accept homosexuality as
an alternative lifestyle.]
*Lubitch, Rabbi Ronen. "Sovlanut -- haMaksimum
shehaHalakhah Me'afsheret (Teguvah leTeguvot)." De'ot/Amudim,
12 (December 2001), p. 47. Available at http://www.toravoda.org.il/12.pdf
(a 2.6 Meg file).
[In response to calls for halakhic change "just like pruzbul,"
he explains why it's not possible in this case.]
Naor, Rabbi Bezalel. "Rav Kook on
Homosexuality" (1998). Available at http://www.orot.com/hms.html
with footnotes at http://www.orot.com/hmsfoot.html
[According to Rabbi Naor, Rav Kook implies that the rabbis'
begrudging permission of anal intercourse between husband and wife
is meant to be a sublimation of men's latent homosexual desires.]
Ohr Somayach Institutions. "Judaism's view on
Homosexuality." Ask the Rabbi, #6 (January 15,
*Ostow, Dr. Mortimer. Letter to the Editor. Conservative
Judaism, 40:1 (Fall 1987), pp. 103-106.
[This Emeritus Professor of Pastoral Psychiatry at JTS
(Conservative) uses his clinical experience to argue against those
who think that psychiatry has legitimized homosexuality.]
*Prager, Dennis. "Judaism, Homosexuality and
Civilization." Ultimate Issues, April-June 1990, pp.
1-24. An abridged form of the article which retains the important
parts but omits the footnotes is Dennis Prager, “Judaism's Sexual
Revolution: Why Judaism (and then Christianity) Rejected
Homosexuality,” Crisis 11: 8 (September 1993). The
abridged one is available at http://catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0003.html
(He does not affiliate with any one movement.)
[Prager devotes an entire issue of his journal to this long
article, which includes a contrast with other societies' tolerance
of homosexuality. "[H]omosexuality denies many of Judaism's
most fundamental values. It denies life; it denies God's expressed
desire that men and women cohabit; and it denies the root structure
that Judaism wishes for all mankind, the family... Yet another
reason for Judaism's opposition to homosexuality is homosexuality's
negative effect on women."]
Rapoport, Rabbi Chaim. "Judaism and
Homosexuality" (March 2000). Available at http://www.chiefrabbi.org/resources/docs/jism&homo.html
[Agrees with Rabbi Aharon Feldman that a homosexual should
"marry" the community. Someone incapable of a
heterosexual relationship is exempt from marrying and procreating.]
Samuel, Rabbi Michael. "What Can Traditional
Judaism Say to the Religious Homosexual?" (1999). Available at
(His affiliation is Traditional.)
[Includes a quote from Rabbi Shlomo Goren about which actions are
Schneerson, Rabbi Menachem Mendel (The Lubavitcher
Rebbe). "'Rights' or Ills" (a sichah on Purim 5746).
Excerpted and translated in Sichos in English, vol. 30, pp.
120-130. Available at http://www.jonahweb.org/html/library-rightsorills.phtml
and at http://www.asknoah.org/healthy_relations.html
(the latter includes excerpts from the publisher's preface).
[Homosexual relationships are abnormal and a sickness. "An
important point to stress is that there is no insult intended and
no derogatory attitude is suggested; it is a case of healing a
malady. When a person is ill and someone volunteers to help him get
well, there is no disrespect involved, not at all!... If he claims
that he was born with this nature, this is indeed all the more
reason to reassure him that no disparagement was meant, for it is
no different from the case of one who was born with the tendency to
bang his head against the wall. Do we shame that unfortunate one?!
Nevertheless, everything must be done to remedy the
Schochet, Rabbi Ezra. "The Torah: A Moral
Compass." The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles,
July 14, 2000. Available at
[Argues with Rabbi Boteach, and says the context of arayot
indicates that the homosexual prohibition is a moral law, not just
a religious one.]
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Homoseksualiyut."
In She'elot uTeshuvot OnLine, 29 Tammuz 5761. Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=1058
[Since Moreshet started the Online Responsa project in 2001,
Rav Sherlo has responded to many poignant questions from Orthodox
people struggling with homosexuality. Throughout, he balances
empathy and chizzuk with an insistence on overcoming one's
impulses. You can access these and any later responsa among the
thousands of anonymous questions at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut.asp
by typing keywords into the search box.]
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Homoseksualim." In She'elot
uTeshuvot OnLine, 9 MarCheshvan 5762. Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=2515
[Just as false prophecy and divination are shadows of true
prophecy, so too homosexuality is a shadow of the true sexual
drive. The Torah's punishment for homosexual sex indicates that
it's possible to struggle with this drive. Our unequivocal
condemnation of homosexuality must not bring us to a lack of
caring; rather, we must share in their anguish and help them as
much as we can.]
*Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Homoseksualiyut."
In She'elot uTeshuvot OnLine, 12 MarCheshvan 5762. Available
[Two reasons for the prohibition may be Canaanite custom and
the holiness of marriage and of procreation. However, Rav Sherlo
continues, that's speculation; the main thing is the genuine
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Homoseksualiyut,
Kapparah, veHakamat Mishpakhah." In She'elot uTeshuvot
OnLine, 5 Kislev 5762. Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=2941
[Though it seems as if Rav Sherlo has published many responsa
on homosexuality, he says that actually, most of the ones he's
written have not been made public on the Moreshet site. In this
case, he's not happy with the expression "I've come to terms
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Homoseksualiyut."
In She'elot uTeshuvot OnLine, 14 Kislev 5762. Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=3102
["Every one of us, more than once, is faced with a
situation in which our personal voice contradicts God's word and
what it says in His Torah."]
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Meshikhah leBnot Oto
Min." In She'elot uTeshuvot OnLine, 19 Tevet 5762.
Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=3855
[Many types of struggle are possible -- rejecting the impulse,
studying and intellectually convincing oneself, counseling and
treatment if relevant, struggle on the part of society, etc.]
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Homoseksualizm
veAte'istiyut." In She'elot uTeshuvot OnLine, 22 Shevat
5762. Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=4701
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Onesh Mavvet mehaTorah
al Homoseksualiyut." In She'elot uTeshuvot OnLine, 12
Iyyar 5762. Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=6888
[The Torah isn't saying it's unnatural, but rather that there's
a need to struggle with natural things as well. The Torah fights
nature and shapes it according to ethics and holiness.]
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Ha'im Nitan leDaber al
Nisu'in shel Homoseksual." In She'elot uTeshuvot OnLine,
8 Sivan 5762. Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=2968
[This is a followup to id=2941. The questioner wants to know if
he must tell a potential wife about his homosexual inclination. Rav
Sherlo says he must (as opposed to not telling or not getting
*Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Homoseksualiyut --
ha'im Adam sheHino Homoseksual Yakhol leHitpater miZeh uLehihapekh
laAdam im Netiyah leMin haShoneh." In She'elot uTeshuvot
OnLine, 12 Sivan 5762. Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=8185
[Rav Sherlo says he recognizes that many homosexuals cannot be
"cured." He describes several types of struggle
(sublimation, rejection, internal akeidah), all of which
refuse to accept ourselves as we are.]
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Homoseksualiyut --
Hemshekh." In She'elot uTeshuvot OnLine, 15 Sivan 5762.
Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=8237
["Even if we're talking about something inborn, who says
you can't struggle with something inborn?"]
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Homoseksualiyut -- Od
Hemshekh." In She'elot uTeshuvot OnLine, 16 Sivan 5762.
Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=8284
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Homoseksualiyut
veLesbiyut." In She'elot uTeshuvot OnLine, 25 Av 5762.
Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=11120
[Rav Sherlo says it's true that there is no explicit prohibition
against lesbianism [in the Chumash], but the metahalakhah is clear.
We see from the Garden of Eden story that the main thing is the
heterosexual family. This, Rav Sherlo suggests, is why the Israeli
Rabbinate allows nonreligious Jews to marry halakhically, despite
the possible negative consequences -- because the family structure
is the most important thing. For the community's sake (as opposed
to the individual's), we must maintain the traditional family.]
Sherlo, Rabbi Yuval. "Zugiyut Chad-Minit
Mekudeshet." In She'elot uTeshuvot OnLine, 26 Elul
5762. Available at http://www.moreshet.co.il/shut/shut2.asp?id=12419
[The Torah's prescription that husband and wife "shall
become one flesh" is stronger than a formal prohibition on
Spero, Rabbi Moshe HaLevi. "Homosexuality:
Clinical and Ethical Challenges." Tradition 17:4
(Spring 1979), pp. 53-73. An expanded form of this article appeared
in Proceedings of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists,
6 (1980), pp. 177-199, and in his Judaism and Psychology:
Halakhic Perspectives (New York: Ktav, 1980), pp. 153-167,
Spero, Rabbi Moshe HaLevi. "An Examination of
the Halakhic Status of Homosexuality: Female Homosexual Behavior,
and Homosexuality as Oness." Proceedings of the
Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists, 7 (1983), pp.
99-122. Reprinted in his Handbook of Psychotherapy and Jewish
Ethics (Jerusalem: Feldheim, 1986), pp. 149-172.
Steinberg, Dr. Avraham. "Miniut,"
subsections "Mishkav Zakhur" and "Lesbiyut." In
his Entziklopediah Hilkhatit Refu'it (Jerusalem: Machon
Schlesinger, 1994), vol. 4, pp. 71-80.
Tendler, Rabbi Moshe Dovid. "Treife Sex"
(Letter to the Editor). The Jewish Week, June 2, 2000, pp.
[This is a response to Rabbi Boteach. Following Rabbi Feinstein
(his father-in-law), Rabbi Tendler views gay sex as "a
willful, voluntary perversion."]
Unterman, Rabbi Alan. "Judaism and
Homosexuality: Some Orthodox Perspectives." Jewish
Quarterly 40:3 (Autumn 1993, #151), pp. 5-9. Reprinted in
Jonathan Magonet, ed. Jewish Explorations of Sexuality
(Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1995).
[Concludes: "I have no doubt that God loves gays as He loves
straight people. I would like to believe that Orthodox Jews, for
all their hangups, can practise imitatio dei and make
traditional Jewish space less claustrophobic for gays..."]
**Wolowelsky, Dr. Joel B. and Weinstein, Dr.
Bernard L. "Initial Religious Counseling for a Male Orthodox
Adolescent Homosexual." Tradition, 29:2 (Winter 1995),
pp. 49-55. They clarified a few points in a letter to the editor,
in Tradition, 29:4 (Summer 1995), pp. 93-94. The article and
clarifications are available at http://www.lookstein.org/articles/counseling.htm
and at http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/english/ethic/homosexual-1.htm
The Hebrew translation of the article appeared in Assia,
15:3-4 (#59-60, Iyyar 5757), pp. 108-115, and is available at http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/toshba/ishut/ishutm7.htm
[Focusing on counseling strategies, they suggest reassuring the
adolescent homosexual that's he's not crazy. Even though "to'evah"
means the act is improper, the impulse is still normal. The main
thing -- and the hallmark of human dignity, according to Rabbi
Soloveitchik -- is to withdraw from acting on that impulse. "Halakha
rejects the current proposition that sexual fulfillment is the summum
bonum of life, arguing that a halakhically ethical life often
denies the heterosexual as well as the homosexual the possibility
of total sexual fulfillment." "No matter what is said,
the adolescent must have continual and convincing reassurance that
he still remains a person worthy of love and understanding."]
Wurzburger, Rabbi Walter. "Preferences are Not
Practices." Judaism, Fall 1983, p. 425.
Akeidah -- binding for a sacrifice (what
Abraham did to Isaac).
Arayot -- the list of people with whom one may not have sexual
Cheftza -- the object or action of a mitzvah.
Chizzuk -- encouragement, inspiration.
Dati-leumi -- nationalist-religious, Israel's very rough
equivalent of modern Orthodox.
Chok (plural chukkim) -- a commandment without a known
Gavra -- the person doing a mitzvah.
Kiruv -- outreach.
Mishpat -- a commandment with a known logical reason.
Mitzvah sikhlit -- a commandment with a known logical reason.
Mumar lehakh'is -- a sinner because of rebellion against God.
Mumar letei'avon -- a sinner because of desire.
Oness -- a sinner because of coercion or duress.
Parshiot -- Torah portions.
Pruzbul -- rabbinic document to avoid the annulment of debts in
the Shemitah (Sabbatical) year.
Rishonim -- Medieval rabbinic authorities.
Rosh yeshivah -- Head of a yeshiva.
Teshuvah -- repentance.
To'evah -- abomination (used in Vayikra 18:22 and 20:13
regarding male homosexual intercourse).
Zatzal -- may the memory of the righteous be a blessing.