On redefining a verse

On redefining a verse

I must respond to the December 2 op-ed by June Kozak Lane. It is off the mark for several different reasons.

First of all, if zachar is meant to be a young boy or adolescent instead of a generic male, wouldn’t there be similar usage elsewhere in the Torah or the entire Bible? There is no such use. The plain meaning of the text is that the verse is meant to exclude the same-sex intimacy between men.

Second, if a change of meaning took place during the time of Constantine, wouldn’t there be an opinion in the Talmud from a prior time stating that the prohibition was related to pederasty alone? Yet there is no such opinion. Indeed, we see in the Talmud references to a prohibition of same-sex intimacy between women, with biblical prooftexts for support.

The author is trying to reshape biblical text. It may not be politically correct, but the Torah and later Jewish tradition forbids same-sex intimacies, just as it demands Jews keep kosher, Shabbat, and other laws.