Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Toughest Part

So I haven't written in a while. Not that I haven't had anything to say, I just haven't been able to put it into words.

I have discovered what is for me the toughest part about being gay and observant. It's not the attitude of Orthodox Rabbis. It's not the social stigma. Nor is it the verses in Leviticus. Yes, all of those things bother me, but the toughest part for me is not having a halachic framework to follow. After I say to myself: "I'm not going to marry a woman, and I'm not going to remain celibate," where do I go from there? I have come to terms with the fact that I will enter into a homosexual relationship, but what are the rules, boundaries, and limits of this relationship?

Do I try to translate bits and pieces of "heterosexual" halacha to homosexual situations, such as yichud (prohibition of being alone in the room with someone of the opposite sex), kol isha (hearing a woman's voice), or shomer negia (not touching at all until marriage)? Such a notion is absurd! Imagine not being able to being able to shake hands in shul or be alone with a male friend...

So I'm left to make my own rules. But what are they based on? My personal judgment, i.e. exactly what the Torah lambasts as faulty and subjective. The Torah is so special because it gives us objective, G-d-given laws. Left to our own judgment to decide right from wrong, how often would we "bend" our own rules? After all, we made them up, so we can change them. While this may sound liberating, as a gay observant Jew, it is incredibly frustrating. Is what I am doing right in G-d's eyes? Would G-d be okay with me adopting a more permissive stance? And perhaps G-d's not okay with what I'm doing at all. If it's all wrong, why implement limits at all? I recognize that this last question represents an extreme all-or-nothing viewpoint that I outright reject. Nevertheless, it's one of the many questions that plague me.

I have no answers, only thoughts.