I watched a Dutch Jewish television program about someone who shows his love for the Talmud and tries to translate it and give some interpretations of it. At the end of the program he asks the following question to Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: "Nature is created by G-d, He is the Creator of all nature. If 10% of the Lions - which G-d made this way - show homosexual behavior, then why is it that regarding humans it is taught that it's a abomination or abhorrence?"

Before this the rabbi talked about the room for interpretation and the symbolic approach of a lot of verses. At this point he gives the following answer based on the word: 'toevah': It means something in which you are mistaken, and it's certain that there is a prohibition of homosexuality for heterosexuals. If you are heterosexual from nature it's not allowed to behave in a homosexual way. But if you are really homosexual, the Torah isn't talking about that, but there is a big problem, also in science, which is how does one determine what someone is by nature from birth on? Besides it's not like there is a choice, the normal way is for humans to be heterosexual in order to reproduce, but again one is really homosexual by nature the Torah doesn't prohibit it."

Are there any commentaries and rabbinical discussions on this word toevah in regard to this topic?

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    I don't fully understand the scenario. Animals kill their own babies and some eat other animals that are still alive. Does something's happening in nature change laws given to govern human behavior? – rosends Dec 5 '17 at 11:24
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    Is the second para a writeup of R Nathan Lopes Cardozo comments? – mbloch Dec 5 '17 at 11:42
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    @mbloch That appears to be an exact quotation. Why did you edit it? – Double AA Dec 5 '17 at 19:05
  • @DoubleAA I believe I only edited the english and fixed obvious mistakes - hettosexual doesn't exist to the best of my knowledge and Google (I checked). Do you believe I changed the meaning in any way? That was not my intent – mbloch Dec 5 '17 at 19:07
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    @mbloch no problem at all, I had to translate the words of the Rabbi from dutch to english, and have to acknowledge I didn't looked at my grammar or spelling afterwards; my mistake, thanks for the help with that. – Levi Dec 5 '17 at 20:57

Rabbi Cardozo's starting point is the Talmud, Nedarim 51a:

א"ל בר קפרא לרבי מאי (ויקרא כ, יג) תועבה כל דא"ל רבי דהכין הוא תועבה פרכה בר קפרא א"ל פרשיה את א"ל תיתי דביתכי תירמי לי נטלא אתת רמיא ליה א"ל לר' קום רקוד לי דאימר לך הכי אמר רחמנא תועבה תועה אתה בה

Bar Kappara said to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi at the wedding: What is the meaning of the word to’eva, abomination, used by the Torah to describe homosexual intercourse (see Leviticus 18:22)? Whatever it was that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to bar Kappara in explanation, claiming that this is the meaning of to’eva, bar Kappara refuted it by proving otherwise. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to him: You explain it. Bar Kappara said to him: Let your wife come and pour me a goblet of wine. She came and poured him wine. Bar Kappara then said to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: Arise and dance for me, so that I will tell you the meaning of the word: This is what the Merciful One is saying in the Torah in the word to’eva: You are straying after it [to’e ata bah], i.e., after an atypical mate.

Bar Kappara (who seems from context to be a bit of a joker) suggested that the Hebrew word "to'eva" could mean "to'eh ata ba", you're wandering/straying about it.

(Note that this story is almost an aside about people's interesting personalities, and wasn't used by the Talmud in a legal context ...)

I won't comment on how anyone interpreted anything from there; but that was clearly Rabbi Cardozo's reference.

  • Thanks for this source, I already wondered where he would have gotten his ideas from. – Levi Dec 5 '17 at 20:56

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