I have to say that I was nothing short of appalled by Rabbi Appelbaum’s proposal in last week’s Jewish Link (“A Modest Proposal for LGBTQ Jews,” April 22, 2021). I am a sensitive individual who does not go out of her way to be insulting or hurtful to anyone, however, making apologies for the Torah is not what is expected from a person who is shomer Torah u’mitzvot.
While this is a sensitive matter for some, we accept as Jews that we may not understand everything Hashem asks of us or tells us, nonetheless, it is what Hashem says. We do not apologize for Torah. There can be nothing short of the ruination of Torah than to start picking and choosing how sensitive we think God is.
In regard to people who struggle with LGBTQ lifestyles, there seems to be plenty of room to treat the next person with respect, but to apologize for the Torah…woe to us.
Rabbi Appelbaum can offer all the counseling and sensitivity he would like to those who need it, but a rabbi has no place making excuses for Torah and to say, “We do not know why Hashem commanded this…and we acknowledge how much this hurts.” I would imagine it hurts, but by the commandments of the Torah, the lifestyle is wrong. Do not wrap this in recognizing that we are rachamim bnei rachamim, as Rabbi Appelbaum suggests in the beginning of his message.
As a Jew, it is hard for me to hear that we are commanded to kill anyone from Amalek. It goes against every principle that I and other Jews hold dear, but I accept it and don’t apologize for it despite being uncomfortable. And yes, it is not something we need to currently deal with it but in its own right, is offensive.
I truly think that each person has their own choice to make regarding their acceptance, friendship and cordiality to another, but to announce what is basically an apology for the Torah is just blasphemous.Lisa Wadler