Why Boast Of One’s Challenges?


To be Orthodox means to
appreciate the fact that the mitzvot are of divine origin and the Torah is
the “manual” to life.
Another principle to Orthodoxy is that no human is perfect. We are each born
with our unique evil inclination: for some the temptation is money, for
others drugs, for others it is observing the Sabbath, for still others it is
the illicit sexual relations of any of the varieties listed in the Torah
reading of Yom Kippur afternoon. 

That is why Rabbi Steven Greenberg misses the whole point of an Orthodox Yom
Kippur in his Opinion piece, “New Hope for Gay Orthodox Jews” (Oct. 4)

He rejoices in the “progress” made by gays in the Orthodox
community. But, as he quoted, the Torah lists gay sex in the same section
with incest, adultery and bestiality. By definition, Orthodoxy believes in
the entire Torah being divine — you can’t pick and choose. If you do
reject a commandment because there is something about it you find offensive
or difficult, then you may still be a very nice person but you are no longer

Instead of confronting the challenge, Rabbi
Greenberg makes being gay and “Orthodox” his source of pride. Would he
sit at the Shabbos table with Bernie Madoff proclaiming his proclivity for
theft, or Anthony Wiener showing pride in his sexual exploits? Each person must face his own challenge, not with pride in it
and publicity, but rather with contrition and modesty. That is the true
Orthodox way.

May we each find the inner strength and faith in God to
overcome our unique challenges.