A couple of months ago, CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis), which is the organization of the rabbis of Reform Judaism, in a majority vote, passed a resolution "that the relationship of a Jewish, same gender couple is worthy of affirmation through appropriate Jewish ritual".  In my December 1997 column "Who is a Rabbi?" I posed the question: "can a rabbi declare the Jewish law obsolete?"  In view of the CCAR resolution, the present column brings up that question again.

The Torah, in Leviticus 18:6-23 and 20:10-21, lists a variety of prohibited sexual relations.  Many of them are incestuous relationships, as between a brother and a sister or between a mother and her son.  Others include adultery,  bestiality and homosexuality.  All these prohibitions are clear and unconditional.  Sex between a father and his daughter
is sinful even if both are consenting adults.  Sex between a woman and an animal is perverse even if the woman can prove that her genes are to blame and she cannot control it.  Sex between a man and his stepmother is prohibited even if  they kept it within their privacy.  Morality and immorality in Judaism (and possibly in other religions as well) are not legal issues and, therefore, they do not depend on the existence of human witnesses.

On homosexual act the Torah says: "A man who lies with a man in the way as one lies with a woman, they have both done an abomination..." (Lev. 20:13).

In Genesis 1:28 we are commanded to "be fruitful and multiply" and later, in 2:24, the concept of marriage is introduced: "Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh".  A Jewish wedding is called Kidushin because it is founded on the sanctity of the marriage between a man and a woman.

The description of homosexual act as an abomination is not a Torah interpretation.  It is its simple text. A vote by rabbis, democratic as it may be, cannot change the Torah and cannot sanctify an abomination.

Judah Ari-Gur

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