Editor's note: Rabbi Glick responds to the following article, published last week.
Yasher koach! I can’t give you approval any more than I could give myself approval for the occasional lapse into lashon hara or the many other aveirot I sometimes engage in. But I can and certainly will give you acceptance, respect and understanding.
I have many friends and acquaintances who are not shomer Shabbat, shomer taharat hamishpacha, or shomer anything, at least not on purpose. I have many other very religious friends—some are Chasidim—who certainly are probably guilty of many aveirot. In short, all of my friends and acquaintances are imperfect—as are all human beings. We are told “there is no person who is completely righteous and never sins.” No one!! And none of us has a right to judge others, though we are frequently guilty of doing it. Welcome to the world! The worst part of that is that sinners (i.e., all of us) shudder that some others may know about our sins. What a crazy world this is. We shudder that others may know things about us that we would be horribly embarrassed about. And some things in particular—like homosexuality—are generally considered particularly horrible.
I am very happy that your parents and family, I believe, are accepting and respectful. It is also great that you found a friend who is wonderful. It is greatly regrettable that the Orthodox community in general, and Orthodox shuls in particular, are mum about the issue—like it doesn’t exist, or “not in my backyard.”
To some extent, that was me many years ago. Not disrespectful, but not accepting. I often spoke in my shtiebel about the issue—about not accepting people who choose homosexuality. But over the years, I saw many young men who were terribly upset about being gay and was never able to help them. After doing much research, I realized that virtually no people choose to be homosexual—they just are, in the same way that heterosexual people don’t choose to be heterosexual—they just are. As Jews, we have an obligation to be rachmanim, and accept and be very respectful toward people who are different from us—indeed, different from most people.
I have the greatest respect for you. How many of the rest of us would admit to be doing things that we can’t help, that the overwhelming majority see as terrible and disgusting? You proudly proclaim that you are Orthodox—and happen to be LGBT. I understand you, respect you and would love to get to know you and to have you join my wife and me for a Shabbat meal. You can call us at 201-385-4373. If you would rather not, that’s fine as well. I wish you good luck and look forward to the day where Orthodox people and Orthodox shuls are respectful of you and the many others like you in the same way that many (though not by any means all) Orthodox people are respectful of people who don’t keep Shabbat.
To everyone—for a wonderful discussion and principles regarding homosexuals in the Orthodox community, see statementofprinciplesnya.blogspot.com.
By Rabbi Mordechai Glick
Rabbi Dr Mordechai Glick, is a clinical psychologist who for many years was the president of Nefesh, the International Network of Orthodox Jewish Mental Health Professionals. He was a widely acclaimed speaker and taught psychology at Champlain College in Montreal where his most popular course was the Psychology of Sexual Behavior. He had a private practice in which he specialized in marital therapy and phobias. He was also the Rav of Congregation Ahavat Yisrael.