To my understanding, Bible says that God does not like homosexual relations. But why? Why did God punish and destroy inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah? They were not Jewish and were not given the laws (like Mosaic laws) to follow, were they? Why were they punished so heavily?

This is different from the previous question by Mr. Spolsky: What is the halachic source for objection to gay (civil) marriage?

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    Jane, welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for bringing your question here! The first part of your question is a duplicate of this one. The "why" part and the specific sub-question about Sodom and Gomorrah are new here, though. I recommend that you rewrite to focus on those. – Isaac Moses Sep 13 '11 at 17:46
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    ... but note that according to our tradition, the defining sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was cruelty, not homosexuality. – Isaac Moses Sep 13 '11 at 17:51
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    Despite its obvious differences between judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8477/5 (not to mention judaism.stackexchange.com/q/7619/5) and judaism.stackexchange.com/q/9042/5 (the latter being closely related to judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8515/5 and judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8646/5) do we really need another question about these oft repeated topics? – Seth J Sep 13 '11 at 18:12
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    I think a better question would be to draw a textual relationship between homosexuality (or even just cruelty) and the fate of S&G (or the fate of the flood generation, for that matter) and ask why the penalty/ies was/were so severe. It would avoid repeating the question about the Jewish view of homosexuality and the question about what/who is/was a Jew. – Seth J Sep 13 '11 at 18:15
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    She could change the question to focus it on the severity of the punishment and leave out entirely the other aspects that are duplicative. – Seth J Sep 13 '11 at 19:19

Judaism believes that while the complete set of commandments was given by Moses to the Jews, there are a few universal laws expected of non-Jews too (known as the Seven Noahide commandments). Genesis Ch. 2 says "therefore a man shall abandon his parents and stick to his wife"; our oral tradition (written down in the Talmud, Sanhedrin 58a ) tells us that means that only people of opposite gender should have sexual relations.

Now the why, and how exactly that gets weighed against other things, is beyond us (see the book of Job); but you'd asked about Sodom, again, Jewish tradition says it wasn't about the sex, it was about a society that had made callousness the law, and used rape to enforce that ban.


The Talmud in Masechet Hullin on page 92a says that homosexual relations was one of thirty commandments from God to the children of Noah. I can't explain WHY he forbade it to them, but this should at least explain why they would be held accountable. The point made by several people above about the specific example of Sodom and Gomorrah stands too.

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    The Gemara says they accepted 30 commandments and upheld 3, one of which was not writing marriage contracts for men. It says nothing about homosexual relations (see Rashi ad loc) or about G-d giving them 30 commandments. – Seth J Feb 1 '12 at 2:15
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    And nobody was calling you out. It was a request for more information. We generally try to be supportive, not needlessly argumentative here. – Seth J Feb 1 '12 at 2:17
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    @SethJ, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… (linked in Menachem's comment to an answer on the related question, judaism.stackexchange.com/a/8481/37). – Alex Feb 1 '12 at 2:17

Part of the reason has to do with the deeper essence of what happens during sex.

The male sperm is not just physical material, it carries with it part of the man's soul. If used for its proper purpose, it brings life, but if not, it brings death to the world. (see more details here)

there are many sources for this, for example the zohar says when Adam separated from his wife after the sin, he had seminal emissions which created all kinds of destructive forces.

Likewise Rashi writes in parashas Noach (Bereishis 6:13): "Every place that one finds sexual immorality androlemusia comes to the world killing both the righteous and the evil."

On a personal level, sexual immorality (such as masturbation) brings tremendous sadness and this is due to these destructive forces which attach to a person who commits these things. The more severe the immorality the more powerful the destructive force and the more sadness "sticks" to the person. This is supported by the much higher suicide rates among gays than straight men. (though one can claim this is due to other factors)

Hence, much of the reason some people don't think it's a big deal is because of ignorance as to what happens during sex.

There are also practical reasons besides this such as the general moral decadence it brings to oneself and society and therefore God calls it an abomination.

  • "practical reasons"?? – Double AA May 1 '14 at 22:22

Homosexual sex is called תועבה‏ by God. The world is generally translated as abomination. The Sage Bar Kappara offers an alternative understanding in Nedarim 51a, having rejected all of Rebbi's attempts at definition; תועה אתה בה‏, you stray in it. Rashi and Rabbeinu Nissim explain that you forsake heterosexuality for it.

Sharing my own thoughts;

God's general template for humanity was one made up of healthy loving families that cultivated growth, kindness, and honesty. That is why sexuality exists. Two people perform this act, in doing so fulfilling their part in this divine ideal by endeavoring to create new lives to raise and set upon the right path.

Homosexuality channels sexual energy into pure vice with no other end than pleasure, and neglects sexuality's purpose in Creation.

  • How does this definition of תועבה fit with other prohibitions given that label, eg. eating shellfish? – Double AA May 1 '14 at 22:21
  • @DoubleAA straying from the permissible thing in favor of the forbidden alternative. – Baby Seal May 1 '14 at 22:39
  • Why is pleasure pure vice? – Double AA May 2 '14 at 0:04
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    @DoubleAA pleasure for pleasure's sake, alongside no greater picture or purpose, is in my mind vice. – Baby Seal May 2 '14 at 0:29
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    @DoubleAA you just sourced them! – Baby Seal May 2 '14 at 5:46

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