Monday, December 13, 2010

Seeing Old Friends

Please forgive the long lull in posts over the past month.  I have had quite the eventful few weeks which have brought some unexpected challenges into my life, and as such, I couldn't quite find the time or emotional energy to write anything, let alone material for a blog such as this.  I have returned for the moment, and upon the recommendation of a friend of mine, quite the experienced blogger, I shall attempt to post at least once a week from here on out.  And now for some substance!

The wedding of an old Yeshiva friend leaves me receiving my former Chevrusa this upcoming weekend, and with that comes the realization that I must explain to him my current lack of observance in the face of the recent developments in my life.  A dear friend to me, he was the first of my Yeshiva acquaintances to whom I came out.  He was quite predictably accepting, and our friendship has actually grown since.  While he is aware that I no longer observe Shabbos or Kashrus, he has yet to experience me in my new, secular state.  I was the most Charadi among our friend base with peyos and a black hat.  Being that he has moved more in that direction, I fear it may be overwhelming to him, and I have put much thought into how to explain to him clearly how to understand my newly found (perhaps revisited) secularism.  Following is the resultant.

At present, I have quite a chore ahead of me in learning how to realize life as a gay Jew.  Jewish values have been a core of my existence for the bulk of my life, and for many years, those values were Orthodox ones.  Every Orthodox Jew seeks to obtain, grow, and maintain his place in the world to come by doing mitzvos and generally being a mentch.  He is taught to follow halacha to the best of his abilities, make teshuva when he falters, and work to avoid future transgressions.  Since admitting my sexual orientation, I have indeed transgressed the toieva of lo tishkav zachar, I intend to continue committing this transgression, and I have no intention to make teshuva for this action.  (Having fought my sexual urges for nearly twenty-five years, it was only a matter of time before I had a gay sexual encounter, and I am blessed that it happened before I made the mistake of marrying a woman and, God forbid, having children by her that they should suffer the consequences of an affair.)  As such, it would seem from my learning that I have lost my place in olam habah.  Following this reasoning, I have no impetus for following any of the Torah's precepts nor even living a moral life outside yiras hamelech, needing only to avoid legal and social consequences.  This idea is repugnant to me.  I find much intrinsic value in observing some moral code, if only for objective reasons (perhaps I shall further delve into Randian thinking and Objectivism in future postings), as well as in preserving religious and family traditions.  I must come to a new understanding of Judaism within my current circumstances, and until then, observing chukim is a futile endeavor.  Perhaps as I settle into a new outlook, I will reexamine the value of these customs.  Presently, however, I have far more fundamental questions to ponder.  Anything beyond base morality and overarching Jewish values must be tabled until further notice.


  1. Good luck with the future encounter. Hopefully he is open minded and accepting. Let us know how it goes.

  2. SR, its an honor to have you among my readership. First to comment and first to publicly follow! Thanks for your support, and I'll certainly be talking about the experience. Should be an interesting weekend!

  3. It went well overall. There was clearly some tension, especially when I picked him up at the airport without a kippah. He clearly wants me to be Orthodox still, and was subtly pushing that (not in any cruel or unfair way, but things like "you know, I could see you in ten years with a kosher home..." etc.). After I explained to him the difficulty of my struggle in getting to where I am today and the sentiments above, he completely backed off of such statements. He is truly a great friend!