To be Orthodox means to appreciate the fact that the mitzvot are of divine origin and the Torah is the “manual” to life. Another principle to Orthodoxy is that no human is perfect. We are each born with our unique evil inclination: for some the temptation is money, for others drugs, for others it is observing the Sabbath, for still others it is the illicit sexual relations of any of the varieties listed in the Torah reading of Yom Kippur afternoon.
That is why Rabbi Steven Greenberg misses the whole point of an Orthodox Yom Kippur in his Opinion piece, “New Hope for Gay Orthodox Jews” (Oct. 4)
He rejoices in the “progress” made by gays in the Orthodox community. But, as he quoted, the Torah lists gay sex in the same section with incest, adultery and bestiality. By definition, Orthodoxy believes in the entire Torah being divine — you can’t pick and choose. If you do reject a commandment because there is something about it you find offensive or difficult, then you may still be a very nice person but you are no longer Orthodox.
Instead of confronting the challenge, Rabbi Greenberg makes being gay and “Orthodox” his source of pride. Would he sit at the Shabbos table with Bernie Madoff proclaiming his proclivity for theft, or Anthony Wiener showing pride in his sexual exploits? Each person must face his own challenge, not with pride in it and publicity, but rather with contrition and modesty. That is the true Orthodox way.
May we each find the inner strength and faith in God to overcome our unique challenges.