Just noticing in all the (usually gay) sex vs. religion threads that got going, that there is no obvious Old Testament prohibition against Lesbian activity. Even Leviticus, which got amazingly detailed on what was OK when if ever, doesn’t seem to have picked up on the question.
Somebody commented that Paul’s remarks in Romans 1 are the only overt reference to Lesbian behavior in the (Christian) Bible.
So, as a question to the experts on Judaism online and the probable basis of several dozen debating posts, I raise the thread’s title as a question.
Sidelight, more for humor value than anything else:
Lesbian comic Kate Clinton once remarked, “I never came right out and told them (IIRC her parents) I was gay. I just told them I’d broken the Tenth Commandment – the part about not coveting your neighbor’s wife.”
Note to David and Gaudere: I thought with the religion/sex mix of the question, and the likelihood it will evolve into a GD, this was the place to post it. But you are welcome to throw it to GQ if that seems more appropriate to you.
I am, by far, no expert in Judaism but it seems to me that if a person holds something as immoral, it wouldn’t make any difference what religion or nationality they are. As for what the Bible does or doesn’t say, again I am far from an expert, but to me it kind of goes by the saying “what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander”. In other words, if it is wrong for 2 men, then it must be just as wrong for 2 women.
During her reign, Queen Victoria was presented with two bills, one criminalizing male homosexual sex, and the second criminalizing lesbian sex. Queen Victoria refused to believe that lesbianism existed, and therefore refused to approve the bill banning lesbian sex. The result was that lesbian sex remained legal in Britain.
Some English law expert will have to explain Victoria’s powers to approve or deny acts of Parliament.
Cheezit, your premise is wrong. On another board (FFF), we had a debate about “universal” moral prohibitions. The only three we could come up with were murder, rape, and incest, and all three have so many caveats that the exceptions swallow the rule.
Poly: Before the SDMB came into existence (when it was still only on AOL), I spent most of my online time at alt.fan.cecil-adams. There I had a long discussion with a lesbian Orthodox Jew. She explained that, as you noted, there are no specific prohibitions for woman/woman relationships, only man/man. Thus, she said she has no problem whatsoever, and neither do most of the other Orthodox Jews she knows (though some definitely do).
She said she and her partner obey all the cleanliness laws (no sex during menstruation and for a certain time thereafter, for example).
I asked her if she thought this was fair – that male homosexuals are forbidden by females are okay. She said that she didn’t think it was fair, but that was what God had said, and He must have had his reasons.
Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination.”
I know of at least one more but I can’t think of it right now. Again I am not looking to start up another one of those famous CollegeStudent vs. the rest of the SDMB that has occured from time to time.
CollegeStudent–in terms of this discussion (and not the one you want to avoid starting up again), that verse could mean one of two things:
1.) If “thou” is assumed to be male (not a bad assumption, really), then God is not making any prohibitions about women lying with anyone–he’s just telling the men not to lie with the men.
2.) If “thou” is directed at everyone, then women are also being commanded not to “lie with mankind, as with womankind”, and are thus commanded to be lesbians. This, of course, not only leaves men with no one to lie with, but also brings the population to a screeching halt.
Methinks you should read the OP a little more closely.
Judaism prohibits lesbian sex by rabbinic interpretation of another biblical verse. (Lev. 18:3?) However, if the women in question are merely occupying themselves until a Jewish Real Man rescues them, it is considered a mitzvah.
If the verse in question is really Leviticus 18:3 that seems like sort of a strained interpretation. That verse seems more of a preface to Leviticus 18 generally, which has various rules, none having anything to do with lesbianism (or a remark concerning the whole of Leviticus or the whole of the Law). In other words, the book of Leviticus seems to be saying here “don’t follow the laws of the Egyptians or the Canaanites, follow these laws”–and then goes on to say exactly what those laws are. Saying “don’t follow those heathen laws; follow these laws you’re now being given–oh, plus some others which we’re not actually going to tell you, but you really ought to know better” seems to sort of defeat the whole purpose of having a nice, detailed code of laws.
Given the topic, I’m surprised no one has brought up the dietary laws…
Check. I wasn’t particularly interested in whether Lesbian Jews, or Unitarian Eskimo transsexuals for that matter, consider themselves as immoral. One hopes they don’t, for their own peace of mind.
In asking this, I’d noted that while St. Paul picks up on Lesbians at one point, the Old Testament is silent on any strictures regarding them. Therefore, Orthodox Judaism, operating from its Bible (=our [Protestant O.T.), must either allow Lesbian sex as acceptable behavior or interpret it as forbidden by an interpretation of something else (second possibility allowing for something that escapes me, but what a good rabbi can do with a Talmud would amaze you! ;))
I suppose there ought to be a caveat that the Lesbian behavior whose morality is in question not be in violation of some other commandment or a vow related to one, as in a wife getting it on with her next door neighbor while her husband’s not home is violating the commitment to have sexual relations only with one’s spouse* that one vows at marriage. (* - questions of polygyny and Levirate siring to one side, where they definitely belong)
The question was phrased a bit controversially in the thread title, but would actually be “Does Judaism see Lesbian activity as immoral?”
It is my understanding that there is no biblical prohibition on lesbian sex.
It is considered to be in the category of things considered “immodest,” and there is a commandment to behave modestly, but this wouldn’t even put lesbianism on the level of wearing wool & linen garments, I think.
Of course, I say this with the disclaimer: I’m not a rabbi, and an actual, ordained Rabbi might have a different answer to this question.