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Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition Paperback – February 24, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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""Wrestling with God and Men"-- as useful for Christians as it is for Jews-- not only brings new and fresh thinking about our current debate over homosexuality but interweaves theology and history with Greenberg's own personal journey in a way that is enlightening, instructive, and inspirational. I heartily recommend this book to Christians who wish to take their Hebrew scriptures seriously and who are willing to examine their own responses to this raging debate."-- The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire
"[Greenberg] effectively portrays the plight of closeted and openly gay Orthodox Jews who struggle daily with their sexual desires and with the knowledge that the Torah and the rabbis forbid homosexuality."--"Publishers Weekly"
""Wrestling with God and Men"--as useful for Christians as it is for Jews--not only brings new and fresh thinking about our current debate over homosexuality but interweaves theology and history with Greenberg's own personal journey in a way that is enlightening, instructive, and inspirational. I heartily recommend this book to Christians who wish to take their Hebrew scriptures seriously and who are willing to examine their own responses to this raging debate."--The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire
""Wrestling with God and Men"as useful for Christians as it is for Jewsnot only brings new and fresh thinking about our current debate over homosexuality but interweaves theology and history with Greenberg's own personal journey in a way that is enlightening, instructive, and inspirational. I heartily recommend this book to Christians who wish to take their Hebrew scriptures seriously and who are willing to examine their own responses to this raging debate."The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire
"[Greenberg] effectively portrays the plight of closeted and openly gay Orthodox Jews who struggle daily with their sexual desires and with the knowledge that the Torah and the rabbis forbid homosexuality.""Publishers Weekly"
Top Customer Reviews
Wrestling with God and Men gives some special insights to texts that I thought I knew well and I think should be accessible even outside of Orthodox or even Jewish circles. However, I think it is of most important for Orthodox Jews to take the time to read this book - no matter what their opinion on homosexuality and Judaism may be, in the same way that they should also view Trembling Before God - the film that preceded/interrupted this book. It is important that we face the challenges that the world provides us, rather than either pretending that they don't exist or that they are someone else's problem.
While Judaism provides us with a way of life, the accretion of bias and discrimination that has built up over the ages does not mean 'this is the way it must be, because it has ALWAYS been like this'. To echo Rabbi Goldstein, if in the last 50-100 years Orthodox Jewry has been able to tackle issues as complex as and central as women's role in our community and faith, then I am confident that with time, we will be able to deal with the broader issue of sexuality, too.
The one thing that I have taken away from this book, is that ultimately it is an incredibly special thing to be able to love another human being and to have them love you to and I cannot believe that God would have it any other way, no matter if that love be for somone of the opposite or same sex.
If you wish to be informed about these issues and better understand how to relate to your fellow human beings - read this book.
Rabbi Greenberg would seem to prefer we believe that he is like "Daniel the Tailor", the champion of the oppressed, who challenged his Rabbis for failing to balance their jurisprudence and values with the biblical concern for justice and fairness. (Greenberg, pg 212). However his holy scholarship suggests that Rabbi Greenberg is more like Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, former chief rabbi of Israel, who invited "Jews everywhere to return to their ancestral land and restore their ancient spirit" (Greenberg, pg 242).
In all likelihood, this book could not have been written in any other age. It needed the living experiences of an openly-gay Rabbinic mind to realize an honest gay perspective and approach to our sacred texts.
If you are considering buying this book, please buy several copies and donate them to your local Hillel, Chabad, Yeshiva and Shul. All people who are "wrestling with god" should read this book!
that little would result from a lot of effort. Think again! This remarkable book is captivating from beginning to end and filled with
innumberable insights that grace virtually every page. Along the way, you may, as I discovered, come away with a whole new appreciation for Orthodox Judaism.
It s one thing to find a helpful book. It s quite another to find one helpful and delightful to read. Here are a couple of sentences worth mulling over: "Gayness is no more an automatic intentional rejection of procreation than is straightness a sworn promise of it." And, "Nature is a text that can say almost anything we want it to say while appearing to have said nothing but what is evident." Both of these statements
are found on the same page. This man can turn a phrase.
After quoting from a letter from a near-suicidal gay Orthodox Jew, (a feature familiar to many pastors and their gay parishioners) Rabbi Greenberg states his purpose for writing the book. "For the sake of this young man and many men and women very much like him, the first goal of this book is to demonstrate that, contrary to the
assumptions of many liberal and traditional Jews, an argument can be made in defense of gay relatioships from within the canon of traditional Jewish textual resources. What this man needs is not permission to have sex with men. That is hardly enough. What he needs is a way to envision a life of love, intimacy, and commitment with a man in the context of a religiously alive Orthodox community. The task of writing on this topic is to make a path that is responsible to these human realities and deeply
commit to God and Torah.Read more ›
Just recently, I heard a prominent New Testment scholar speak in a seminar at a church on the vital, indeed pressing need for Christians to revist the entire question of the claimed biblical condemation of same-sex relationships. His arguments were very much anchored - not on theology - but on mistakes in interpretation of biblical words and phrases, based ultimately on flawed linguistic and (a)cultural misinterpretations. The parallels with Rabbi Greenberg's stuggle struck me; and all the more more so, when I saw the host Baptist church has a seminar WITH Rabbi Greenberg scheduled for November!
We must openly and honestly reconsider religious positions on the topic of homsexuality, and never has the time been more ripe for doing so. This is very appropriate to consider from several viewpoints, and yet another fruitful area for open and honest sharing of insights between Jewish and Christian communities. I believe OUR God - our common, one God - is first and foremost a God of infinite love, and that human love, betweeen two people, goes beyond mere or simple sexual orientation, that it is precious (as all love is) to our God.
Read the book; review the questions; and God bless all who do so with honesty and caring.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting work that comes from a different perspective than many in Orthodox Judaism. This book discusses Steven Greenberg's ten-year journey as an Orthodox Jewish gay rabbi,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I know Rabbi Steven Greenberg personally, having met him at the documentary film,"Trembling Before G-d" release by Sandi (Simcha) Duboski. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mark D. R. Stern
I find this writing somewhat bias as the author seems to be found grasping at straws. He still does make several key points though somewhat sloppily. Read morePublished 12 months ago by R.K. Sprau
Great discussion about some very provocative issues involving orthodox Jewish values and literal interpretations with a kinder and gentler REINTERPRETATION that accepts LGBT Jews... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mark P Behar
A groundbreaking work of significance to Orthodox Judaism. Every Rabbi should read this.Published 21 months ago by Liscard
This is a wonderful book that deals with a very sensitive topic in a scholarly, thoughtful and nuanced way. Read morePublished on September 1, 2013 by Lonely Man of Faith
I believe that this book goes a long way for helping one understand a biblically/theologically sound approach to the debate on homosexuality. Read morePublished on January 1, 2013 by D. M. Schiewer