Shaya Cohen -


In Your Face

“If women could read men’s minds, they would run screaming from the room.”

We all have secret desires and fantasies, but we also have the ability to keep them to ourselves. For as long as there has been human speech, we have recognized that a filter between what we think and what we do or say is essential to the functioning of a civilized society. We do not indulge in every impulse that crosses our minds.

Today’s world, of course, is entirely at odds with this. Every special pronoun is an exercise in not only displaying a person’s sexual desires, but also forcing everyone else to recognize them, and applaud the deviant for their own special interests. We went from “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, to “You WILL recognize and use my pronouns!” Somehow that which is supposed to be private is now unavoidably, endlessly, in your face, and in the public sphere.

That private/public divide is not a new issue. The prophet Balaam praises the Jewish people: “How Goodly Are Your Tents” – the walls that surround a family, that provide privacy and discretion, separating the nuclear unit from society at large. The walls of these tents are what make the Jewish people special. They in turn form the bricks that combine to make a good society.

When Balaam advises his client to send in their women to seduce Jewish men and lead them astray, he was demonstrating that adultery that breaches marriage constitutes idolatry against G-d. But he was also doing much more than that.

In this case, a specific sinning couple decided to engage in the sex act in few of the entire camp, in a fully public display. It was the very antithesis of the “Goodly Tents.” That fornicating couple moved what belongs in the privacy of an intimate relationship, behind the walls of a tent, and they brought it out as a public display.

The achilles heel of the Jewish people is the same thing as that which makes us strong: the exclusive marriage within a tent comprises the essential building block for the national relationship with G-d. If we eliminate the exclusivity of the marriage (by engaging in adultery/idolatry) and eliminate the tent altogether by bringing what is meant to be reserved for intimacy into the public square, then G-d realizes that man is irredeemable, and our society utterly fails.

When we are forced to embrace the pride someone has in their sexual choices, it feels to me as if every bathroom door has been removed, and we are being forced to stand there and cheer people on as they vacate their bowels.

Please, please do not tell me your sexual orientation. I really do not want to know. And whatever you do, do not try to force to me applaud you for the choices you make that are meant to be, and remain, private.

[another @iwe and @susanquinn production]

Comments are welcome!