Rabbi says parents of lesbian should 'sit shiva'
Rabbi Menachem Froman of Tekoa addresses religious lesbian young woman during TV program panel, offers to talk to her parents and advise them to 'sit shiva' for her. Rabbi Benny Lau says in response statement does not reflect halacha
Kobi Nahshoni • Ynet
Rabbi Menachem Froman of the community of Tekoa sparked uproar during a television program when he told a young religious lesbian woman who claimed that her parents do not welcome her and her partner on Shabbat, "I'm willing to talk with your parents. Give me the address, I'll talk and tell them 'parents, come and sit shiva for her, cry (for her)'."
In Judaism, 'shiva' refers to the week-long period of mourning for the seven first-degree relatives of the deceased.
The rabbi went on to say, "You want legitimacy for your world? There's (also) my world. The world of the primitive, of Menachem Froman, who is a proud primitive."
The two appeared in a program titled "Vacuum" to be aired by the Israeli Educational Television. Several segments were already uploaded to the Havruta website, which caters to religious gays.
Rabbi Froman told Ynet that the expression to "sit shiva" implies great suffering and that he did not intend on making a halachic ruling, according to which the parents should grieve. "I wanted to say that I would meet her parents in order to try and console the parents and reconcile the family with words of encouragement and support," he said.
"I may have opted for an expression which doesn't sound good," the rabbi noted, adding that he himself would indeed "sit shiva" in this sense, should his son or daughter declared themselves gay.
According to Rabbi Froman the case amounts to a great human loss since relations between a man and a woman are at the center of life. "Instead of bringing a groom home and giving her parents grandchildren that come from the source of the good, healthy and natural life – instead they need to come to terms with her choice."
He stressed that he fully respects those with "inverse tendencies" who manage to withstand the great trial that he himself was not required to [with]stand, but will not legitimize those who do not overcome their "instincts".
'No halachic stance'
Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau, who is considered one of the leading moderate figures in religious Zionism, slammed Froman for his statements during the television program and said, "This does not come from the Torah, it's not a halachic stance, it's Rabbi Froman's personal viewpoint. It's an extreme position which completely strays from the halachic way. It's a halachic deviation."
Safed chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu also participated in the panel and defined homosexuality as a disease. "There is a solution…it's not part of who you are."
In this context, Rabbi Lau protested against those who do not recognize what he defined as a "dead-end reality" and claimed that the viewpoint according to which sexual orientation can be changed by a declarative statement was "a grave mistake."