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In light of the various “pride events” that took place in Tel Aviv this week, Dutch television channel BNN set out to document the Orthodox Jewish stance on the subject of “alternative lifestyles.” Below is a transcript of the short speech that was given to them by Rabbi Zev Leff, Rav of Moshav Matityahyu at Ohel Wosk:
We do not discount the possibility that people are born with a predilection to homosexuality; it’s a very possible thing. However, people are born with predilections to a lot of different drives and desires, and we as human beings and not animals, have the power to make free choice, and to guide and control our desires and to use them in the proper way, and not use them when they’re improper.
And therefore, just like anyone who is born with natural desires, someone who is born with a desire for something that is forbidden, has a responsibility to control it and to use it properly or to curb that desire and get treatment to be able to deal with it or to direct his desires in more natural ways. And therefore, someone who has those desires has to be dealt with – with compassion. We don’t discriminate against people like that just like we don’t discriminate against anybody who does something that is prohibited; we have compassion on them and we try to guide them to do that which is proper.
And therefore, there are organizations like the organization called Jonah. There are people – we have in our community someone who is very well versed in these areas – Shlomo Zalman Jessel. And we try to correct the situation, give these people help, and as long as they understand that they have a problem, and the problem is able to be corrected, and they want to correct it, then we deal with people like that with tremendous compassion, and tremendous help and aid.
What we have a problem with, is people who consider that which is prohibited an alternative lifestyle, that it’s ok. That would be comparable to someone who says that stealing is an alternative lifestyle, there are some people in this world who do steal and there are some people in this world who don’t steal, and that stealing is as acceptable as not stealing. If stealing is a prohibition, then it’s not an alternative lifestyle – it’s something that’s wrong and it’s something that has to be dealt with and it’s something that a person has to learn how to control and not do – similar to this situation.
Therefore, anyone who has this problem, and recognizes it as a problem, and wants to get aid – we deal with people like that with tremendous compassion, help them tremendously. We have organizations that help people, and we hope that just like everyone – everyone has things that they need to work on and to correct and to channel their energies and desires in the proper way – these people are no different from anyone else. They should not be discriminated against, should not be dealt with different than we deal with any other person.
The only thing that we do discriminate against is people who want to make that which is abnormal normal and want to have it accepted as an alternative lifestyle – that from a Jewish Torah perspective, we have to oppose.
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(Credits: Yehuda Boltshauser / Topshot Images)