Why a Lesbian Relationship is not a Cheeseburger
I have never had a cheeseburger. Not once.
They might taste good. I like cheese, and I like burgers, and it’s possible that they would be good together. I’ve heard people say so, and I’ve even lived in a country (the U.S.) where they are advertised relentlessly. Somehow, despite the influences of Pop Culture and the Secular World- I’ve managed (gasp!) not to eat milk and meat together at all.
So I find it confusing when, every once in a while, in a conversation about the place of lesbians in the orthodox world- someone mentions that there are no communities for frum jews who eat cheeseburgers. No support groups. A decent orthodox Jew has never been seen walking into shul and receiving an Aliyah with a cheeseburger in his hand. As such, they say- gay jews should not expect to be welcomed along with their partners to shul. Certainly, there is no cause for communities to support lesbians, they say.
And if the woman of my dreams was a cheeseburger- they would be right. But women are not fast food. I wonder if these people conceive of their own sexual and romantic relationships as being akin to a meal in McDonalds- a cheap food with dubious nutritional value? If so, I worry about them.
For those who have found themselves in a loving frum relationship, be they queer or straight, I’m sure that relationship is nothing like a cheeseburger. We do not seek it merely to satisfy a fleeting and exclusively physical desire, nor would jewish values allow us to do so. The way in which we are asked to relate to one another as frum people, the values of “v’ahavtah l’reiacha kamocha” (loving your fellow human as you love yourself) , gemilut chassadim (acts of lovingkindness) and “areivut” (mutual responsibility), would make it impossible. What we seek in relationship is to become “Reyyim Ahuvim”, (beloved companions) to one another, supporting each other in a life of Torah and Mitzvot. Kohelet teaches us:
“Two are better than one, as they have a good reward in their labor. For if they fall, one will raise his companion upright, and woe to the one who falls without a companion to raise him up. Also, if two lie together it will be warm for them, and for one- how will it be warm? And if one attacks him, the two will stand against him, and the three-ply string will not easily break. ” (Kohelet IV:9-12)
When I seek community with my fellow frum queer women, it is because I know that we have much to teach each other and celebrate together. Their insights, humor and camaraderie have kept me going, and strengthened me in my commitment to living a frum jewish life. When I come to my orthodox shul with my girlfriend, I am proud to share my life with someone as kind, wise, and caring as she is, and grateful to Hashem (and to our very wonderful friend- who made the shidduch) for helping us to find each other.
Posted by queeryeshivameidel.