Rejecting Halakhah

Some Jewish thinkers condone homosexuality, despite the condemnation of homosexual sex in Jewish law.

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One Jewish thinker who has developed Nelson’s ideas in a Jewish context is Judith Plaskow, who calls for a new theology of sexuality connected to spirituality:

“If we see sexuality as part of what enables us to reach out beyond ourselves, and thus as a fundamental ingredient in our spirituality, then the issue of homosexuality must be placed in a somewhat different framework from those in which it is most often discussed. The question of the morality of homosexuality becomes one not of halakhah or the right to privacy or freedom of choice, but the affirmation of the value to the individual and society of each of us being able to find that place within ourselves where sexuality and spirituality come together. It is possible that some or many of us for whom the connections between sexuality and deeper sources of personal and spiritual power emerge most richly, or only, with those of the same sex could choose to lead heterosexual lives for the sake of conformity to halakhah or wider social pressures and values. But this choice would then violate the deeper vision offered by the Jewish tradition that sexuality can be a medium for the experience and reunification of God.”

Plaskow maintains that for a homosexual to be involved in a heterosexual relationship out of conformity to halakhic standards would be a transgression. A gay man or woman can find true spirituality, which is the ultimate goal of the Torah, only in a living homosexual relationship. To Plaskow, not only is homosexuality not a sin, it becomes a mitzvah.

The following article is reprinted with permission from Does God Belong in the Bedroom?.

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Rabbi Michael Gold

Rabbi Michael Gold is the rabbi at Temple Beth Torah, Tamarac Jewish Center in Tamarac, Florida. He is the author of four books, and his articles have appeared in Moment, Judaism, Jewish Spectator, B'nai Brith International Jewish Monthly, and numerous other publications. He also served as co-chair of the Rabbinical Assembly's committee on human sexuality.