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Torah QueeriesWeekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible$
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Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720127

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720127.001.0001

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Neither Adding nor Taking Away

Neither Adding nor Taking Away

Parashat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17)

(p.246) Forty-Seven Neither Adding nor Taking Away
Torah Queeries

Gregg Drinkwater

David Shneer

NYU Press

This chapter presents the Parashat Re'eh of Deuteronomy, which forbids Israelites to “add nor take away” any of the precepts of God. Rabbis have been violating this command by applying unfounded prohibitions to same-sex relationships. For instance, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 have been interpreted expansively to ban any kind of sex, sexual relations, or expressions of intimate desire between people of the same sex. However, scholarly interpretations of the text state that it only forbids a particular type of male-male sex. Moreover, although lesbians are not referenced directly in the Torah, most contemporary Orthodox rabbis prohibits women to love other women.

Keywords:   Parashat Re'eh, Deuteronomy, same-sex relationships, male-male sex, lesbians

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