When discussing matters related to the ethical or religious foundation of sexual behavior, human beings tend to have severe differences of opinion. While up till the second half of the 20th century a more conservative approach was still prevailing, a radical change took place in the second half of the last century. Well established norms were suddenly challenged and often replaced by radical approaches which demanded more “liberty” and “broadmindedness.” This provoked a major confrontation between the conservatives and those who claimed that they were “modern-minded.”
In our days, the word, tolerance, has become a highly popular word together with such terms as pluralism and democracy. These words are by now so often used that one would hope that most people have a proper understanding of their meanings. This is, however, far from true. In fact, it seems that the more these words appear in our papers, books or in conversations, the less they seem to be comprehended. Often they are used in ways which oppose the very values they stand for.
In a previous essay on Tolerance, attention was drawn to the fact that personal conscience is of prime value and that one should not confuse tolerance with apathy. For this reason, Orthodoxy’s refusal to compromise on its own principles so as to appease the Reform and Conservative movements should only be honored and respected. Even unity cannot always be the final arbiter.
One of the most puzzling laws in Halacha (Jewish Law) is the requirement to observe a second day Yom Tov (festival) in all Jewish Communities outside the land of Israel.
“And the time of threshing shall reach until the vintage and the vintage shall reach the sowing time. You shall eat your bread to satiety and you shall dwell in your land without worry.” (Vayikra 26:5)