July 19, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 19, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Highest Form of Love Is Acceptance

Families are challenged each day in many different sizes and shapes. How these challenges are handled depends completely upon the individuals involved. As many of our readers know, we have, on occasion, shared how we have learned to deal with various obstacles that we have faced. It has been our choice to face what life deals us head on, and through patience and love we have worked together to overcome and benefit from situations that at times seemed impossible. In retrospect we amaze ourselves with the decisions we made and how well our coping mechanisms have gotten us through life. It has not always been easy and yet here we are to tell the tale with honesty and pride.

Several weeks ago we spoke of a conversation we overheard at a restaurant in Boca Raton, Florida. At the table directly next to ours, a man who is presumably a rav said some very disparaging remarks about a well-known rav, and then upon completion of that topic his next tirade was on the topic of homosexuality. His tone of voice was loud enough for those close by to hear each word. We mentioned how unfortunate it is that at a time when the world seems to be facing more anti-Semitism than it has for many years, there are Jews who are our own worst enemies.

What we realized was that we had not picked up on this important topic. What would one of us do if our children announced to us that they are gay? Rarely is the issue of homosexuality in the Orthodox community discussed in an understanding forum, and perhaps a better choice of a word to discuss the situation is “challenge” as opposed to “issue.” Frequently discussions take place on how ironic life is in that we must take lessons to drive a car, to learn to skate, to learn to swim, and when it comes to things as vital as marriage and parenting, it is assumed that common sense will get us through what will become two of the greatest challenges of our lives.

We remember when our son Akiva was four years old and entered our room wearing underwear of his mother’s. Nina in particular was quite concerned. Is this normal, she asked? Of course it is, she was assured. We now know through other life experiences that if one of our children divulged to us that they were attracted to the same sex we would have eventually embraced him or her, realizing that homosexuality is not something one chooses. Obviously this has to be a passionately painful realization for a parent. However, as we have discussed in the past, a child is forever and that child deserves the support of his family for his entire life if he finds himself going through this turmoil. We wish to make it very clear that there is so much pain involved in the mind of the child, or brother, or uncle who realizes that his sexual orientation is not the one that is expected of him. Mordechai has had the experience of treating young frum men who are grappling daily with the knowledge that they have a different sexual orientation. They are despondent over the hurt they are imposing upon their families. Their dreams and aspirations for themselves also take a deep dive. They would much prefer to be like everyone else. The choice that we as family members must make is all too clear. We must embrace and respect and help those we love, as painful as it might be for us.

Rav Aharon Lichtenstein has been quoted as saying, “In order to be more decent and sincere with ourselves and our community, we should understand that we can be shocked by homosexuality to the same extent that we are shocked by cheating.” Lichtenstein asked a rhetorical question: “Which is a greater sin—desecration of Shabbat or homosexuality? Is it appropriate and fair to say to our communities that we have no problem with all of the Jewish people’s sins…but that there is only one scapegoat?”

If we accomplish anything in our writings in The Jewish Link, we hope it is that we will teach others to be more respectful of each other. Families must continue to bond and support each other with love and respect.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles