Prominent Israeli Orthodox Rabbi Makes an Accommodation for LBGTQ+ Community

2014 Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade (Photo: Ted Eytan/Wikimedia Commons)

Israeli Orthodox Rabbi Benny Lau has released a guide for the “religious LGBTQ+ community,” in the hope of advising this group who he claims is sorely in need of such instruction.

Claiming that “it seeks to pave a possible way of life within the reality of Life” (JPost, 10/11/20), Rabbi Lau points to the level of “ideal Torah” vs. “the reality of the world as it is,” (Ibid) which, to many, could easily be perceived as a convenient accommodation for what the Torah clearly labels as sin, outlined in Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”

Lau’s four-part document begins by “encouraging homosexuals to come out,” viewing it as a positive step. Part two acknowledges the heterosexual family as being the ideal per the Torah, but also admits that “the world is not ideal and relationships need to fit each individual person.” (Ibid) He further states that “the need for a relationship with a person with a homosexual orientation is no different from the needs of all human beings.”

Rabbi Lau believes that judgment by others should be avoided and offers the idea of support groups as a way to glean more understanding of the subject. Additionally, Lau does not see conversion therapy as an option parents should choose for children who are grappling with such issues.

Part three deals with Lau’s claim that “no acceptable solution has been found for the questions concerning same sex marriage in religious communities.” (Ibid) One of his solutions is an alternate marriage ceremony to the accepted heterosexual one. The adoption of children is also seen by him as not being prohibited according to Jewish law.

Finally, he states that these individuals should be active participants and full partakers of the Jewish community. In fact, he admonishes their inclusion as being necessary since, “no man or woman voluntarily chooses this tendency.” (Ibid)

Among all of Rabbi Lau’s offered guidance and claims, perhaps, the most tenuous one of those listed above is his confident statement that “no man or woman voluntarily chooses this tendency.” The reason this claim is so troubling is because if one does not voluntarily choose such a tendency, then the alternative is that it has been thrust upon them without choice. It is essentially something which they are unable to reject or deny and, consequently, beyond their control.

For Bible believers who view God as the just and righteous judge, the condemnation of homosexual indiscretion would be anything but merciful. It would amount to being castigated for having been diagnosed with an illness over which you have no control, and, yet, this is what proponents of the homosexual community would have us believe. The accepted secular viewpoint has advanced the notion that individuals are born this way and are unable or unwilling to adopt a heterosexual lifestyle, thus surrendering to what, for them, is normal and valid.

So in coming back to why this is problematic from a scriptural point of view, it is important to understand God’s perspective on sin which is mentioned as early as the period just after creation when God takes notice of Cain’s attitude towards his brother Abel and asks the question of Cain, “Why are you angry and why has your face fallen? If you do well will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” (Gen. 4: 6,7)

In verse 7 lies the real answer for the conundrum of sin. It is God’s own proclamation that every human being must rule over the sin that is crouching at their door. In essence, He is saying that there is, indeed, a choice. Sin is powerful, lying in wait, preparing to attack and destroy, but no matter how powerful that sin may be, we are told to rule over it, meaning that we can do so. Therein is the choice.

Pure Torah teaching makes no accommodation for sin nor is there any justification for its proclivity or tendency. Sin here is described as not doing well and actually set to destroy you (its desire is contrary to you).

Oddly enough, this is totally in opposition to what Rabbi Lau states, “In any case, we must not harm people who were created and live within their inclination.” (Ibid) It is extremely troubling that the nephew of the former chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and first cousin of the present chief rabbi, David Lau would be misguiding Jews whose most revered text, the five books of Moses, known as the Torah specifically addresses mankind’s sin inclination as something which must be controlled by us.

More than ever, during these days of spiritual confusion, it would be wise to heed the words of the prophet Isaiah who said, “For the leaders of this people cause them to err, they that are led of them are destroyed.” (Isa. 9:16)

While it’s the year 2020, Malachi 3:6 reminds us, “I am the Lord. I change not.” That would include His standards, His definition of sin and His confident admonishment that we have the ability to rule over it! Now that’s a positive message for a fallen creation!