Female Homosexuality

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JoeyKnothead
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Female Homosexuality

Post #1

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Seems most Jews I know will tell ya, and I believe 'em, that the Torah (and Tanakh?) doesn't condemn female homosexuality. But, it condemns male homosexuality - that, it seems, all Jews admit.

So then, given the highly male-dominated orientation of the Torah, can't we just "jump to the conclusion" that female homosexuality is also forbidden?

It just seems to me, and I'm saying this with love and respect for both Jews and homosexuals, that the Torah presents an argument against any homosexual behavior. I present as evidence the Torah's various comments, as well as the (understood?) notion that ancient folks were not as accepting of such practices (as that relates to arguments of "Jews recorded their thoughts on God").

Of course I present this as one who doesn't think there's a compelling reason to conclude a god has an opinion on such, so I'm really just asking my Jewish friends what their take on the issue may be...
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Re: Female Homosexuality

Post #2

Post by Jrosemary »

JoeyKnothead wrote:Seems most Jews I know will tell ya, and I believe 'em, that the Torah (and Tanakh?) doesn't condemn female homosexuality. But, it condemns male homosexuality - that, it seems, all Jews admit.

So then, given the highly male-dominated orientation of the Torah, can't we just "jump to the conclusion" that female homosexuality is also forbidden?
Not according to the traditional interpretations of the rabbis of old. 'A man lying with another man as he would lie with a woman' is considered a 'toevah'--which is usually translated as an abomination. This is quite specific in referring to two men.

What exactly is being forbidden is much debated in Judaism. Many members of the Conservative Law Committee, for example, think that only penetration between two men is forbidden; so Conservative Judaism allows two men to marry, but theoretically they're not supposed to partake of that one act. (All three of 'my' Conservative rabbis, though, disagree and believe that Jewish law allows for marriage for both two men or two women, without any restrictions.)

At any event, what two women do together has always been regarded as a separate issue in Judaism. There's nothing in the Torah or larger Tanakh that disallows lesbianism. There are some mentions specifically of lesbianism in the Talmud--a rabbinic work that expounds on the laws of the Torah--but the Talmud never refers to lesbianism as a 'toevah' and the rabbis of old never equated lesbianism with male homosexuality. The Talmud frowns on lesbianism, to be sure, but it was never considered problematic in the same way that male homosexuality was.

I can remember waiting for the decision of the Conservative Law Committee--I was praying that whatever decision they came to about gay marriage, it wouldn't be that marriage for two women would be ok but marriage between two men wouldn't--which, for a while, seemed like a possibility. (I think we all need to walk forward together, or all stay where we are.)
JoeyKnothead wrote:It just seems to me, and I'm saying this with love and respect for both Jews and homosexuals, that the Torah presents an argument against any homosexual behavior. I present as evidence the Torah's various comments, as well as the (understood?) notion that ancient folks were not as accepting of such practices (as that relates to arguments of "Jews recorded their thoughts on God").

Of course I present this as one who doesn't think there's a compelling reason to conclude a god has an opinion on such, so I'm really just asking my Jewish friends what their take on the issue may be...
No--again, whatever was a 'toevah' about two men lying with each other (was it penetration? Was it that male homosexuality was associated with the temple worship of foreign gods?) it wasn't considered on the same level as lesbianism.

That's not fair, but a lot of stuff in our traditional teachings isn't really fair as far as treating the sexes equally go. Traditionally, Jewish women don't have the same number of obligations as Jewish men. Jewish women don't have to pray at particular times of day or don prayer shawls or tefillin or help make a minyan. (That's not the case according to the liberal, egalitarian branches of Judaism--that's just the case in the traditional teachings.)

So, there it is. But I agree with 'my' Conservative rabbis, who allow all gay marriage without restriction (as do most rabbis of Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism) O:)

Hope that cleared it up . . .
Last edited by Jrosemary on Wed May 18, 2011 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Female Homosexuality

Post #3

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Jrosemary wrote:
JoeyKnothead wrote:Seems most Jews I know will tell ya, and I believe 'em, that the Torah (and Tanakh?) doesn't condemn female homosexuality. But, it condemns male homosexuality - that, it seems, all Jews admit.

So then, given the highly male-dominated orientation of the Torah, can't we just "jump to the conclusion" that female homosexuality is also forbidden?
Not according to the traditional interpretations of the rabbis of old. 'A man lying with another man as he would lie with a woman' is considered a 'toevah'--which is usually translated as an abomination. This is quite specific in referring to two men.

What exactly is being forbidden is much debated in Judaism. Many members of the Conservative Law Committee, for example, think that only penetration between two men is forbidden; so Conservative Judaism allows two men to marry, but theoretically they're not supposed to partake of that one act. (All three of 'my' Conservative rabbis, though, disagree and believe that Jewish law allows for marriage for both two men or two women, without any restrictions.)

At any event, what two women do together has always been regarded as a separate issue in Judaism. There's nothing in the Torah or larger Tanakh that disallows lesbianism. There are some mentions specifically of lesbianism in the Talmud--a rabbinic work that expounds on the laws of the Torah--but the Talmud never refers to lesbianism as a 'toevah' and the rabbis of old never equated lesbianism with male homosexuality. The Talmud frowns on lesbianism, to be sure, but it was never considered problematic in the same way that male homosexuality was.

I can remember waiting for the decision of the Conservative Law Committee--I was praying that whatever decision they came to about gay marriage, it wouldn't be that marriage for two women would be ok but marriage between two men wouldn't--which, for a while, seemed like a possibility. (I think we all need to walk forward together, or all stay where we are.)
JoeyKnothead wrote:It just seems to me, and I'm saying this with love and respect for both Jews and homosexuals, that the Torah presents an argument against any homosexual behavior. I present as evidence the Torah's various comments, as well as the (understood?) notion that ancient folks were not as accepting of such practices (as that relates to arguments of "Jews recorded their thoughts on God").

Of course I present this as one who doesn't think there's a compelling reason to conclude a god has an opinion on such, so I'm really just asking my Jewish friends what their take on the issue may be...
No--again, whatever was a 'toevah' about two men lying with each other (was it penetration? Was it that male homosexuality was associated with the temple worship of foreign gods?) it wasn't considered on the same level as lesbianism.

That's not fair, but a lot of stuff in our traditional teachings isn't really fair as far as treated the sexes equally go. Traditionally, Jewish women don't have the same number of obligations as Jewish men. Jewish women don't have to pray at particular times of day or don prayer shawls or tefillin or help make a minyan. (That's not the case according to the liberal, egalitarian branches of Judaism--that's just the case in the traditional teachings.)

So, there it is. But I agree with 'my' Conservative rabbis, who allow all gay marriage without restriction (as do most rabbis of Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism) O:)

Hope that cleared it up . . .
According to the commentary from Rambam in the 12th century, it is specifically penetration of a specific type. Now, if I remember correctly, the orthodox put lesbianism under the general category of 'sexual immorality'.

It appears even the male to male is not as big a deal except among the ultra-orthodox in Judaism. Heck, I know someone who got themselves a gay male rabbi for their synagogue (they were reform)
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Re: Female Homosexuality

Post #4

Post by Jrosemary »

Goat wrote:
Jrosemary wrote:
JoeyKnothead wrote:Seems most Jews I know will tell ya, and I believe 'em, that the Torah (and Tanakh?) doesn't condemn female homosexuality. But, it condemns male homosexuality - that, it seems, all Jews admit.

So then, given the highly male-dominated orientation of the Torah, can't we just "jump to the conclusion" that female homosexuality is also forbidden?
Not according to the traditional interpretations of the rabbis of old. 'A man lying with another man as he would lie with a woman' is considered a 'toevah'--which is usually translated as an abomination. This is quite specific in referring to two men.

What exactly is being forbidden is much debated in Judaism. Many members of the Conservative Law Committee, for example, think that only penetration between two men is forbidden; so Conservative Judaism allows two men to marry, but theoretically they're not supposed to partake of that one act. (All three of 'my' Conservative rabbis, though, disagree and believe that Jewish law allows for marriage for both two men or two women, without any restrictions.)

At any event, what two women do together has always been regarded as a separate issue in Judaism. There's nothing in the Torah or larger Tanakh that disallows lesbianism. There are some mentions specifically of lesbianism in the Talmud--a rabbinic work that expounds on the laws of the Torah--but the Talmud never refers to lesbianism as a 'toevah' and the rabbis of old never equated lesbianism with male homosexuality. The Talmud frowns on lesbianism, to be sure, but it was never considered problematic in the same way that male homosexuality was.

I can remember waiting for the decision of the Conservative Law Committee--I was praying that whatever decision they came to about gay marriage, it wouldn't be that marriage for two women would be ok but marriage between two men wouldn't--which, for a while, seemed like a possibility. (I think we all need to walk forward together, or all stay where we are.)
JoeyKnothead wrote:It just seems to me, and I'm saying this with love and respect for both Jews and homosexuals, that the Torah presents an argument against any homosexual behavior. I present as evidence the Torah's various comments, as well as the (understood?) notion that ancient folks were not as accepting of such practices (as that relates to arguments of "Jews recorded their thoughts on God").

Of course I present this as one who doesn't think there's a compelling reason to conclude a god has an opinion on such, so I'm really just asking my Jewish friends what their take on the issue may be...
No--again, whatever was a 'toevah' about two men lying with each other (was it penetration? Was it that male homosexuality was associated with the temple worship of foreign gods?) it wasn't considered on the same level as lesbianism.

That's not fair, but a lot of stuff in our traditional teachings isn't really fair as far as treated the sexes equally go. Traditionally, Jewish women don't have the same number of obligations as Jewish men. Jewish women don't have to pray at particular times of day or don prayer shawls or tefillin or help make a minyan. (That's not the case according to the liberal, egalitarian branches of Judaism--that's just the case in the traditional teachings.)

So, there it is. But I agree with 'my' Conservative rabbis, who allow all gay marriage without restriction (as do most rabbis of Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism) O:)

Hope that cleared it up . . .
According to the commentary from Rambam in the 12th century, it is specifically penetration of a specific type. Now, if I remember correctly, the orthodox put lesbianism under the general category of 'sexual immorality'.

It appears even the male to male is not as big a deal except among the ultra-orthodox in Judaism. Heck, I know someone who got themselves a gay male rabbi for their synagogue (they were reform)
Um, did Maimonides (Rambam) say it was more specific than anal penetration between two men--or is that the specification you meant? (How does it get more specific, I wonder . . .)

I believe Rambam also had a few things to say about lesbians, including that a lesbian shouldn't marry a Kohen. (A Kohen is a member of the hereditary priesthood in Judaism; they're all male.) I suspect that most lesbians agree!

And, yes, all three of the liberal branches of Judaism--Reform, Conservative and Reconstruction--allow not only gay marriage (for both gay guys and lesbians) but also gay rabbis and cantors. (Yay!)

And, in my limited experience of Orthodox Judaism--which is confined mainly to the Modern Orthodox--there is not nearly the horror at homosexuality I once expected. Again, I'm just talking about my limited experience, but Orthodox Jews don't seem to get as bent out of shape about the whole issue as some (many?) conservative or fundamentalist Christians do.

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Re: Female Homosexuality

Post #5

Post by Goat »

Jrosemary wrote: According to the commentary from Rambam in the 12th century, it is specifically penetration of a specific type. Now, if I remember correctly, the orthodox put lesbianism under the general category of 'sexual immorality'.

It appears even the male to male is not as big a deal except among the ultra-orthodox in Judaism. Heck, I know someone who got themselves a gay male rabbi for their synagogue (they were reform)
Um, did Maimonides (Rambam) say it was more specific than anal penetration between two men--or is that the specification you meant? (How does it get more specific, I wonder . . .)
[/quote]

That is the specification I meant. And, I am sure with the proper imagination, someone could make it more specific, but I don't want to know about it.
I believe Rambam also had a few things to say about lesbians, including that a lesbian shouldn't marry a Kohen. (A Kohen is a member of the hereditary priesthood in Judaism; they're all male.) I suspect that most lesbians agree!
I am sure. I can't imagine lesbians wanting a beard.
And, yes, all three of the liberal branches of Judaism--Reform, Conservative and Reconstruction--allow not only gay marriage (for both gay guys and lesbians) but also gay rabbis and cantors. (Yay!)

And, in my limited experience of Orthodox Judaism--which is confined mainly to the Modern Orthodox--there is not nearly the horror at homosexuality I once expected. Again, I'm just talking about my limited experience, but Orthodox Jews don't seem to get as bent out of shape about the whole issue as some (many?) conservative or fundamentalist Christians do.
The ultra orthodox seem to be a little less bending than the majority of the Jews.
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

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Re: Female Homosexuality

Post #6

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I know it seems logical to assume that female homosexuality would be forbidden if the Torah condemns gay sex, but it is not a correct assumption to make. Gay sex is forbidden not just because the Torah says a man shall not lie with another man, but also because there is a commandment not to waste. This commandment is why masturbation is not okay. Female homosexuals would not be breaking this commandment by being in a Lesbian relationship. I have talked to Orthodox Jews who have no problem with Lesbian relationships.


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Re: Female Homosexuality

Post #7

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alex00ander wrote:I know it seems logical to assume that female homosexuality would be forbidden if the Torah condemns gay sex, but it is not a correct assumption to make. Gay sex is forbidden not just because the Torah says a man shall not lie with another man, but also because there is a commandment not to waste. This commandment is why masturbation is not okay. Female homosexuals would not be breaking this commandment by being in a Lesbian relationship. I have talked to Orthodox Jews who have no problem with Lesbian relationships.


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Does the commandment to not "waste" also cover the death of 99% of the sperm that enter a woman's womb? Or a woman's monthly period?

I'm sure that a God that created humans would have also created us according to his own standards/rules.

Did God also create gay animals? (as many different species of animal are more likely to be gay).

It seems that God didn't create us according to the laws he later created...hindsight perhaps? (Hindsight is always 20/20).
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Re: Female Homosexuality

Post #8

Post by alex00ander »

The commandment, not to waste, covers all aspects of life. The death of 99% of sperm is not a waste because it is a necessary occurrence for the creation of life. I am not saying this to condemn homosexuality. I am saying this to show that the Torah and Jewish law does in fact forbid gay sex. Because life is not created from gay sex, all the sperm dies and there is no possibility for creating life in the first place.





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Post #9

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Hello, thread topic?

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