Recently, Rabbi Louchheim took a moment to draw upon a religious text to explain how Judaism and the support of marriage equality are congruent:
“The Talmud in tractate Baba Metzia 83a tells the story of a wealthy merchant who hired two workers to move an item. In the process, the item is broken. According to biblical law the merchant is to withold wages and takes their garments until they can pay for the damages. The workers go to their rabbi complaining that they need their garments and they can only take care of their families if they are paid. The rabbi instructs the merchant to give back the garments. The merchant asks, “Is that the law?” The rabbi says, “Nevertheless” and quotes the first half of Proverbs 2:20, “So follow b’derech tovim, ‘the way of the good.'” Then the rabbi tells him to pay the workers, to which the merchant again asks, “Is that the law?” The rabbi responds again, “Nevertheless,” and quotes the second half of this verse, Aruchot tzakikim tishmor, “keep/guard the paths of the just.”
Same-sex couples want to be married and have that marriage recognized for the same reasons that heterosexuals want to be married and have their union recognized. Arizona law at this time will not alow for this. We should respond in the same way this rabbi 2000 years ago responded by saying “Nevertheless” and we need to walk the path toward the good and insure that we progress to insure that everyone is treated fairly and justly. Proverbs demands we “walk the path of the good and keep the paths of the just.” Allowing these marriages to be recognized puts us on that correct path.”
Rabbi Louchheim has attended a number of Why Marriage Matters events, including an interfaith event back in May to showcase voices of faith who stand in support of the freedom to marry. During the event, Louchheim issued the following statement:
“There are some who read the Hebrew Scriptures and use it as a weapon to bolster their own opinion about who will and will not be allowed in holy places or be able to partake in holy rituals. On the contrary, the bible … goes to great lengths in describing how it can be possible to allow everyone in and give opportunities to participate. It is through acts of love, charity and kindness that God’s presence is manifest among us. … Gay and lesbians who wish to solemnize their relationship by kiddushim desire to be recognized by all in being able to embody the divine principles of Scripture. When they desire to mark their partnership through ceremony as one of love, as one of faithfulness, as one of kindness and support for another, this is already recognized by God and should be recognized by us.”
Here at Why Marriage Matters Arizona, we hope to wish all members of the Arizona Jewish Community a happy and prosperous New Year. L’Shanah Tova.