nowadays more and more people in modern western society are identifying themselves as lgbt+. recently I have experience several of my classmates 'come out' as being part of this group (either being gay, or bisexual). over the pass few years many people that have been otherwise halachically observant I know have become much more lenient and accepting of this, with some of them ever becoming very close friends with these people, and some even embracing homosexuality, and have started to take the approach that homosexuality as well as lgbt+ are not a matter of choice, and is instead something people cannot change or help. my question is this: are they in the wrong by being more tolerant of these people despite clear halachic prohibitions over homosexuality, and is it allowed to be close friends with people who are part of the lgbt community?
3Hi Jewboy. You've gotten two answers addressing being friends with sinners/evildoers. Is that what you intended to ask about? It looks like you're asking about being friends with people who identify as gay or lesbian. Obviously, those two groups like most any two groups overlap partially and not entirely. Can you clarify what you are seeking– Double AA ♦May 14 at 2:23
3Let's be clear, being homosexual is not a sin. Homosexual behaviour is sinful. See Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb's shiur on alternative lifestyles. So, there's no default prohibition being friends with someone who is homosexual, and even if they engage in sinful behaviour, it all depends. Many people engage in sinful behaviours and every case needs to be taken on an individual basis. It all depends on the values of the people whose company you keep.– Rabbi KaiiMay 14 at 2:38
1Welcome to MiYodeya Jewboy and thanks for this first question. Great to have you learn with us!– mblochMay 14 at 3:30
3Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Jewboy and thank you for contributing a timely, relevant and meaningful question for our time. Like Rabbi Kaii says, being LGBTQ+, etc, is not a sin in cases where this is how someone was created, ר״ל. Like with all matters related to the commandments (mitzvot), the act is the primary principle. The following linked answer addresses what you are asking. judaism.stackexchange.com/a/134257/7303– Yaacov DeaneMay 14 at 12:48
1You can never compromise on Torah, but what the right way to deal with people is complex. Are these people Jewish or observant? Will they listen to you? Are you just classmates and nothing more, or also friends? Ideally you should run your situation by a Rav for advice.– N.T.May 15 at 3:47
It would seem that aside from the issue of being influenced by your surroundings, the other issue with being friends with them would be “machzik yedei ovrei aveira”. This prohibits one from showing that they are in agreement with someone doing an aveira.
The Mishnah in Shveiis 4:3 states:
חוֹכְרִין נִירִין מִן הַנָּכְרִים בַּשְּׁבִיעִית, אֲבָל לֹא מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. וּמַחֲזִיקִין יְדֵי נָכְרִים בַּשְּׁבִיעִית, אֲבָל לֹא יְדֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְשׁוֹאֲלִין בִּשְׁלוֹמָן, מִפְּנֵי דַרְכֵי שָׁלוֹם:
They may rent newly plowed land from a Gentile in the seventh year, but not from an Israelite. And they may encourage Gentiles during the seventh year, but not Israelites. They may exchange greetings with them because of the ways of peace.
The commentaries all explain it to mean that when passing a non Jew who is working during shemitta you can say “keep it up” but not to a Jew who is working during shemitta when it’s prohibited. The Rambam says:
ושאמר מחזיקין ידי עכו"ם בדבור לא במעשה כגון שיראה אותם עובדין בשביעית ויאמר להם ה' עמכם או כדומה לזה:
The Gemara in Gittin 62A explains that the Mishnah says you can say Shalom to a non Jew is referring to saying it on their holiday. The Gemara continues, and says that even so, you should say it quietly and without a smile. Since it’s only to keep the peace, saying it with additional zest will imply agreement that there’s something to rejoice about.
דְּתַנְיָא לֹא יִכָּנֵס אָדָם לְבֵיתוֹ שֶׁל גּוֹי בְּיוֹם אֵידוֹ וְיִתֵּן לוֹ שָׁלוֹם מְצָאוֹ בַּשּׁוּק נוֹתֵן לוֹ בְּשָׂפָה רָפָה וּבְכוֹבֶד רֹאשׁ
A person may not enter the home of a gentile on his holiday and extend greetings to him, as it appears that he is blessing him in honor of his holiday. If he encounters him in the market, he may greet him in an undertone and in a solemn manner, so that he does not appear to be rejoicing with him
So while being friends with them in general wouldn’t be an issue, if the topic of their choices comes up, you would have to be careful not to insinuate in any way that you agree with what they do.
1You started your answer by mentioning the issue of being influenced by your surroundings; but concluded it with "being friends with them in general wouldn’t be an issue". Why aren't you concerned that due to your friendship with them, you might be influenced by them? May 14 at 12:15
1I understood the question to be in a strictly halachic sense, so although being influenced by your surroundings is an issue, it’s way broader to be applied specifically. Living in America also influences us in adverse ways just by being in such surroundings. That doesn’t prohibit us from living here.– ChatzkelMay 14 at 17:28
Living in a decadent environment, obligates us to be more proactive in setting up barriers between ourselves and those who don't share the same values as us. In our daily lives, we might need to interact with people whose lifestyles we abhor. We should do so civilly, but warily; striving to keep them at arm's length. We do not want to be overly friendly with them, as that leads to the breakdown of the very barriers that we should be trying to create between us and them. Our choice of friends should be those people who will help us grow spiritually, not those who might drag us down spiritually. May 14 at 17:57
As noted in the question, some of the people in your circle have become very close friends with these people; and unfortunately, have now themselves come to embrace homosexuality.
The Mishnah teaches (Avos 1:7):
נִתַּאי הָאַרְבֵּלִי אוֹמֵר הַרְחֵק מִשָּׁכֵן רָע, וְאַל תִּתְחַבֵּר לָרָשָׁע, וְאַל תִּתְיָאֵשׁ מִן הַפֻּרְעָנוּת
Nittai the Arbelite said: Keep a distance from an evil neighbor, Do not become attached to the wicked, and do not abandon faith in [divine] retribution.
This should preclude being friends with people who deviate from the Torah's norms of permitted forms of sexuality.
Being friends with such deviants could be toxic for us, as we're all social creatures, and are easily influenced by the opinions and actions of our friends and those we associate with.
Our choice of friends should be those people who will help us grow spiritually, not those who might drag us down spiritually.
There is an obligation to rebuke a person for doing a sin.
"You shall surely rebuke your fellow, but you shall not bear a sin on his account."
[See Rambam (Sefer Hamitzvos, Assei, 205) "The 205th mitzvah is that we are commanded to admonish a person who is performing a transgression or who is preparing to do so. One must verbally warn him and admonish him..."]
In the case of being friends with homosexuals, have you rebuked them for their sin of homosexual relations? Being friends with them; is the antithesis of rebuke!
הרביעי: המתחבר לרשע, אף על פי שאינו מחניף לו ואינו משבחו, אלא שהוא מקרבו ומתחבר עמו – יש לו עונש; לא די שאינו מוכיחו אלא שמקרבו, ויש לו עונש בזה.
The fourth category of flattery is he who becomes a companion to the wicked. Even though he does not flatter him and does not praise him, but since he is near to him and in his company, he will be punished. Not only does he not rebuke him, but on the contrary, he brings him near to him in companionship, and puts him at a distance from his rebuke, and there is a sin in this.
11. "You're fellow" referring to someone on the same spiritual standing as you but not someone lower. 2. Kitzur shulchan aruch 29:16 one should not give rebuke to someone you suspect will not listen to the rebuke.– DudeMay 14 at 2:07
1The question didn't say that there were homosexual relations going on? May 14 at 14:47
1@IsraelReader the OP was about being friends with someone who is known to be a homosexual. That doesn't mean he's doing anything wrong. It's no different, as stated, than being friends with someone who has a desire to work on Shabbos or speak lashon hara or eat pork. That doesn't mean he actually does any of those things. May 14 at 16:08
1Why should a kleptomaniac hide it? People should be embarrassed by sins, not anything else. If anything he should tell people so that they can help him by not leaving valuable stuff lying around. Should someone with diabetes hide that he has to eat on YK? May 14 at 18:24
2I didn't claim anything. You're the one who claimed that this person is doing something wrong. Maybe if Klal Yisrael had more role models who were known to be gay and didn't sin that would be an inspiration to others to also not sin. May 14 at 21:48