Why Marry? Gay Marriage!

Rabbi Yakov D Cohen

Why marry? According to Kabbalah, the compulsion to rush into a lifelong commitment is an expression of the human soul’s deepest ambitions. The subliminal signals emanating from the soul have caused the logic-defying institution of marriage to be an integral part of the human fabric since the dawn of time. The soul’s desire to connect and commit makes the aspiration for marriage one of our most basic instincts.

What is the soul’s agenda? What does it stand to gain from hooking up with another soul? The Mystics explain that two primary considerations drive the soul’s desire to marry: a desire to be complete and its need to transcend itself.

In the first marriage ever, Adam and Eve were initially created as a single, two-faced body. The single being was split in two — a man and a woman — and then reunited in matrimony. In the world of souls, the partition and reunification of the male and female components of individual souls occurs continually. Everybody is occupied by half a soul, and both body and soul only reach a state of completion when they are reunited with their soul mate/bashert, their long-lost other half.

In June 2011, the New York State Senate approved the legislation voted in favor of the bill of gay marriages. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had pushed for the bill, quickly signed the legislation into law meaning, pending court challenges, same sex couples can begin legally marrying in New York in 30 days. “New York made a powerful statement, not just for the people of New York, but [also for] the people all across this nation. We reached a new level of social justice this evening,” Cuomo said.

If the State wishes to grant legal and/or economic privileges to two individuals who choose to establish a joint household—then I can see the grounds for a legitimate debate: Is homosexuality immoral? And if yes, to what extent do the State have the right to legislate immorality?

The Talmud Chullin 92a “Said Rab Judah: These are the thirty righteous men among the nations of the world by whose virtue the nations of the world continue to exist. Ulla said: These are the thirty commandments ( These are comprised in the seven Noahide precepts ) which the sons of Noah took upon themselves but they observe three of them, namely, (i) they do not draw up a kethubah document for males, ( Although they are suspected of indecent practices and sodomy they do not go to that length of writing a ‘marriage’ deed for the purpose. vcu,f here means a marriage deed; for specific meanings v. Introduction to Kethubah) (ii) They do not weigh flesh of the dead in the market, and (iii) they respect the Torah”.

Jewish law unconditionally prohibits the homosexual act. Just as the heterosexual act is prohibited outside of marriage, regardless of personal desires, attractions or inclinations, so the homosexual act is forbidden.

Or perhaps your question is in regard to how we should react to the homosexual feelings of others? Or how we should react to someone who eats on Yom Kippur? Or someone who longs for the relationship with a man other than her husband? On this, the classic work known as the Tanya provides strong advice: Consider what it means to have such burning passions for forbidden fruit. Consider the day to day fierce and relentless battle demanded to conquer such passions. Consider that a person with such feelings who fails even once in such a battle is sinning. And then ask yourself, “Do I ever fight such a battle on my own ground? What makes me any better than him?”

The Tanya continues to illustrate the many areas in which all of us could improve by waging at least a small battle on our own ground.

On your question concerning community: A Jew belongs within a Jewish community. There are no application forms and no qualification requirements. He’s Jewish—that’s where he belongs. Period. We all have our challenges, our shortcomings, our feelings…and our failures in battle as well…and with all that, we are a community.

But that is not the issue at hand. The issue is marriage. Marriage is, and always was, a religious idea: the idea that a relationship between a man and woman can be sanctioned as a holy union, as a partnership in which G‑d takes part.

Marriage is not a civil institution; it is a religious one. The States intervention in this matter is, in my opinion, a dangerous precedent. This is a decision that should be left to the clergy.