In the column the previous I commented on Prof. Yoram Yuval's article in the Shabbat supplement of Makor Rishon P. due to this year (XNUMX). You should also see the discussion that developed in the talkbacks below my post.
My response to Prof. Yuval's was published in an abbreviated version in the Shabbat supplement P. Ra'a (together with More comments Interesting that they are definitely all worth reading ). Here are my words printed there:
On deviation, expertise and values
(Response to Prof. Yoram Yuval's article, "They do not deviate", Shabbat supplement P. Akev)
Prof. Yuval Luca's article has a serious mix of values and facts. It makes sense to point out that this distinction was a candle at the feet of his late grandfather mentioned in the article, and it is a pity that he ignores it.
His remarks stand on three pillars: 1. A model for a great relationship and a professional. 2. The psychiatric definition of sexual deviation (inability to love an entire person). Scientific assertions: Homosexuality is not the result of choice but of an organic background, it is very difficult to change and dangerous to try. Already here says in a nutshell: 3. The model proposed by Yuval is incorrect (see articles at noon G) and also irrelevant to the discussion here. 1. The psychiatric definition also does not pertain to discussion. 2. These professional questions are irrelevant to the discussion. I will now detail.
Once I was sitting in a kollel in Bnei Brak and a student approached me and asked if glass was liquid or solid. I told him that in relation to the laws of Shabbat glass is solid, although physicists tend to define it as a liquid for their professional needs. And the parable, if psychiatry defines sexual perversion as the inability to love an entire person - their shame. But why should halacha or morality adopt the professional definition and apply it on the normative level as well? Moreover, definitions are not an empirical finding, so the professional has no advantage over the layman in relation to them. Psychiatrists can and should define their concepts for professional needs, but that has nothing to do with the normative question. Michel Foucault wrote that the psychiatric diagnosis is saturated with value assumptions. Despite being one of the forerunners of postmodernism in my eyes, he was right about it. Well, twice a day even a standing clock indicates the correct time.
The psychiatrist can at most determine the origins of homosexuality. Does it have a genetic, environmental, or other background. He can determine if it can be treated and in what ways, and what the consequences of each treatment are. These are all professional determinations, and assuming that the scientific knowledge exists (and it is certainly not complete in this case, which in my opinion is not emphasized enough in Yuval's words), the expert can give them answers. But the question of whether this is a deviation and how it should be treated is a matter of a normative definition and not of a professional determination (see the above articles).
Two more comments:
A. As a small expert in psychiatry, I doubt the explanation suggested by Yuval for a change in psychiatry's attitude toward homosexuality. In my opinion, this is mainly a change in values and not scientific-factual. A significant part of society today believes that the phenomenon is not morally negative (even the little one agrees with this) and therefore does not see it as a deviation. Psychiatry here is dragged down by social values, and not the other way around. Think of kleptomania. Let us assume for the purpose of the discussion that it has genetic origins and that it cannot be changed (converted). Does this mean that kleptomania is not a deviation? It is forbidden and harmful to steal, so it is reasonable to define kleptomaniac as a pervert. This is despite the fact that even there a tendency to steal does not mean that the person actually steals (as Yuval explained about homosexuality), and even there it cannot be treated and has genetic or organic sources (as I assumed for the purpose of the discussion). The difference between kleptomania and homosexuality is that most psychiatrists today believe that it is permissible and harmless to be homosexual, while theft is forbidden and harmful in their eyes. It is clear to us that these are values and not facts.
B. Yuval writes that "every educated religious man" knows that in an intensive care unit can lie a completely dead person whose heart is beating. I think I'm a pretty educated person (and also quite religious), and I really do not know that. Moreover, even he himself does not know it. It has nothing to do with education (though to religion maybe yes), ostrich because the definition of death and life is normative and not clinical. The doctor can determine, if at all, what functions exist in such a situation, and what is the chance of returning from it to a normal life. But he can not determine whether such a person is alive or dead, and certainly not whether he can donate organs (which in my personal opinion is permissible and even obligatory on him even if he is considered a living person. See articles in the field of Kt). These are all value and not factual questions. Various doctors who refuse to accept this are another indication that a mixture of values and facts appears not only in the laymen.
Prof. Yuval responded to this on the website that added a general response to all of us. A specific response to my remarks (and also to Dr. Azgad Gould) is raised On his site And this is his language:
In honor of Rabbi Dr. Michael Avraham
The Higher Institute of Torah
Yours sincerely, Rabbi Shalom and Bracha,
First, know that the undersigned greatly appreciates you and your work. I am not in the world of Torah to the extent that allows me to appreciate your Torah and halakhic work, but neurobiology and the little philosophy I understand was enough for me to greatly enjoy your book "Science of Freedom", which I think is an original and beautiful work of thought, and a great contribution to the field.
Compared to my enjoyment of your book, it's quite clear from your unsatisfactory response from "they do not deviate" articles. That's why I'm happy about some of the improvements I've made to myself here, in order to try to convince you of the righteousness of my words, and if not to convince, then at least start building a bridge between your mountain and my mountain. Let's start with the things I agree with you:
I agree with you twice (and not twice a day) about Michelle Foucault. Both with regard to postmodernism, which I also believe is empty text, and with regard to its determination on psychiatric diagnostics, in which, unfortunately, he is very right. But I believe, and I am not sure that here you agree with me, that it is impossible otherwise: it is doomed to psychiatric diagnosis, by its very nature, that it will not be able to break away from value assumptions, at least not in the foreseeable future. And so what the philosopher can afford - to separate a sharp separation between values and facts, the psychiatrist can not afford. And in particular he cannot delude himself and the public that there exists - or can exist - such complete separation in his field. I'll get back to that later.
I also agree with your sharp analysis the question of the halakhic status of the man lying in intensive care when his mind has ceased and will not function again, while his heart is beating, and I even learned something new from the things you wrote in chapter headings on the subject in your response. Moreover: I am glad that your final conclusion - that it is obligatory to donate this man's organs - is the same as mine. I hope that you will continue to take advantage of your status and influence among Bnei Torah in order to change the ignorant - and even infidel - attitude of some of the leaders of ultra-Orthodox and national-religious Judaism to the issue.
But what you can do about the distinction between "living" and "dead", you can not, in my opinion, do about the distinction between "perverted" and "not perverted." I will explain my words: First, contrary to what you write, the doctor and more how to determine whether a person is alive or dead. I know this first hand. When I worked in the inpatient department as a specialist doctor, a sad part of my job was to determine, at first light, the deaths of the patients who died during the night. I still remember, to this day, the many faces I covered with a sheet in preparation for the arrival of the domestic worker, who came to take them to the beginning of their last journey.
And yet I recognize that you are right when you say that the halakhic determination of who is “alive” and who is “dead” can be different from the medical determination, and it is not deviant in spite of it. But the implicit conclusion from your response, that the psychiatric definition of deviation and the religious definition (and certainly the socio-religious definition) of deviation are also unrelated, does not in my opinion reflect reality.
Let's take the kleptomania, which you brought up as a test case. Kleptomania is not a deviation. Is a mental disorder. The term deviation is reserved in psychiatry, as in street language, for abnormal, not to say repulsive, behavior in a sexual context. I hope you are not trying to use the mathematical, and value-neutral, definition of deviation from the norm (a.k.a. standard deviation), in order to legitimize the creep of the terrible value attitude of ultra-Orthodox Judaism institutionalized to homosexuality.
Psychiatry deals not only with "behavior" but with subjective phenomena; As you wrote, and I'm glad that here you agree with me, the kleptomaniac does not have to actually steal to be a kleptomaniac, and the homosexual does not have to lie to a male to be gay. But here ends the analogy between the parable and the parable. The kleptomaniac harms and harms others in his behavior, and therefore his behavior is wrong (not deviant), and society is allowed to defend against it. Moreover: if he steals valuables, his mental disorder may not stand up to him in court, and it will be taken into account only at the sentencing arguments stage. I think both you and I agree that homosexuals are not criminals, and if they are not lying to a male - it is not clear to me how they differ from all other Jewish men, who also face the Torah's prohibitions on expressing their sexuality.
I return to the issue of the inability to completely separate values from facts and facts in psychiatry. The Catholic Christian believes with complete faith that the communion bread he received and ate during Mass became in his mouth the true flesh of Messiah. It is a false thought for all intents and purposes, and it deviates from the definition of psychosis because of a social and value norm - hundreds of millions of people believe in it. This is a trivial example, but psychiatry, when it comes to defining, diagnosing and treating subjective phenomena, gropes deeply in the dark about the biological-factual basis for these phenomena.
I would be happy to be able to put my profession on the same pedestals that physics stands on, but it will not happen in my lifetime, and lest never. As you know better from me, a fundamental philosophical question underlying this issue, which I think has no satisfactory answer at present, is the question of psychophysical causality: is it one-way or two-way or does it not apply to the issue at all? My grandfather whom you mentioned dealt, like you, with the question of psychophysical causality, and even believed that there was no and could not be a solution to it (Ignorbimus - we do not know and we will never know). Without pretending and without trying to get into the thick of it here, I actually support the opinion of his student, Prof. Yosef Neumann, who thought that today it has no solution, but tomorrow it is possible (Ignoramus - we do not know, but we may know someday).
Finally, I want to return from the heights of philosophy to the dark world of religious homosexuals. I wrote my article following the words of your colleague Rabbi Levinstein, who excommunicated these good people and saddened them. At the end of the day the practical question that interests me, and to which I have not found a direct and relevant reference in your response (and I hope such a reference), is whether there is a way to let religious homosexuals live and start families in religious Zionist communities. Once it comes to people who are not lying to a male, this is in my humble opinion a more social question than it is halakhic. Here, in my opinion, you, I, and all our readers should remember the saying of your colleague, Albert Einstein: "It is easier to crack an opaque than to crack a prejudice."
And here is my reaction here to his words:
Dear Prof. Yuval, Hello.
First of all in my honor you enjoyed my numbers and even expressed your appreciation here. It is definitely not easy for me.
Indeed, I did not agree with what you said in the article, although I can not say that I did not enjoy it. As usual, things are well written and in a clear and beautiful way. And yet, as stated, even after the “edge of improvements” (as you put it), I do not agree with them, and I will try to explain here why.
If we agree on Foucault (I mean the second point), then we have come to a first common conclusion that psychiatry is saturated with value assumptions and is largely based on them. It also has a factual dimension of course, but the bottom line almost always involves value and cultural questions.
By the very fact that you agreed that this is the case, I do not see how you claim that the relationship between a rabbi and a psychiatrist is subject to a model of the relationship between a professional and a rabbi. Even if psychiatry does not see it as a deviation, you still agree that it is a value proposition. So why should the rabbi accept this as a professional determination? He can of course decide he gets it, but it is his halakhic decision and it has nothing to do with professional powers. As for the model of a rabbi versus a professional, you have already referred to me in my first response To the article I devoted to the matter At noon m.
You then also added that it is inevitable (that psychiatry will mix values with facts). Although I am not a professional, I would still say that I do not agree with it. Correct me if I am wrong, but psychiatry could have focused on facts (in the broadest sense, i.e. including theories that explain them, as in the natural sciences), and nothing more. For example, she could have been content with regularly what is the origin of homosexuality (for me this also includes wild psychoanalytic speculations as you wish, as long as these are theories that try to explain the phenomenon itself without a value charge), how it develops (ibid.), Where it is prevalent, whether and how This can be changed, and what is the price of any form of change (or "conversion" not on us) such and such. These are questions that deal with facts and their interpretation, and are therefore legitimate scientific and professional questions. It seems to me that all of these questions are not charged with any value charge. On the other hand, the question of whether it is a deviation or not, must be left to society and every person within it to determine.
Of course if you also make the concept of "deviation" my fact, as a deviation from the statistical norm ("neutral mathematical definition", in your language) then psychiatry can determine this professionally, but you have already agreed in your remarks here that this is not the case. On the other hand, you come back here and correct my usefulness in the term deviation, and I think in doing so you are again trying to dictate a psychiatric definition for everyday use. In the common usage in our districts deviation is a strong (innate?) Tendency to criminal action (such as the example of the kleptomania we agreed on, apart from the term “deviation”). One way or another, this is a definition, which is why Rabbi Levinstein and my little self (who is very far from his views on most things) agree that there is no room for taking professional authority over it. What is the concrete content of the concept, and does it include homosexuality, I personally tend to think not (because in my opinion deviation is a tendency to immoral activity, and not a tendency to criminal activity in the religious sense). I think that Rabbi Levinstein's view is yes (because in his opinion a tendency to criminal activity in the religious sense is also a deviation, probably because he identifies halakhah with morality, which I strongly reject and thereby join the late tangle).
Bottom line, I see no reason in the world for the American Psychiatric Association or any other professional association to determine for all of us what should be treated and what should not, and what is a deviation and what should not. This should be left to society, to each person for himself, and of course also to his personal psychiatrist (as opposed to their professional association). That is to say: society will decide if there is something that is harmful to others (kleptomania, pedophilia, etc.), and then it must be treated even if the patient has not expressed a desire for it (in extreme cases enough). In cases where there is no social harm, the person himself will decide whether he needs / wants treatment or not. And of course the psychiatrist he turns to (and not the association) can say he is unwilling to treat this matter because of his own values. In any case, I see no room for collective decisions of a professional association on such issues.
I think this picture also clarifies why in my opinion there is definitely and is an escape from introducing value dimensions into psychiatry. To the best of my understanding in this model we avoid this, so in my opinion the psychiatrist can certainly make a distinction between values and facts, just like the physicist or philosopher. Since I'm not an expert, I have no doubt that a mistake can be made in these words, and I would be happy if you would correct me.
The same is true of the status of a person lying in intensive care when his heart is beating and his mind has stopped working. Opponents in my opinion, who in my eyes are wrong and harmful, are not "ignorant," in your words. After all, these are not facts or knowledge of any kind, and therefore I oppose the use of this term with respect to them. In my opinion they are morally wrong and that is why they are harmful. Again, it is very important for me to be careful about distinguishing between values and facts. Precisely for this reason the physician has no added value in relation to this question.
The fact that you mentioned in your remarks here that in practice this statement is handed over to doctors is nothing but a delegation of authority, and nothing more. This is not a professional determination. Do not mix values and facts again. Factually hand over the decision to determine death to doctors (as you described about yourself in your hat as a doctor), but that does not mean it is a factual-professional decision. This is done for convenience and efficiency only, and in fact it is delegating the powers of the legislature to the doctor only to shorten and streamline the process. Determine death, even though it is a value determination). Deciding what functions that person has in such a situation and what his chances are of returning to life is a professional decision. The decision whether in such a situation he is considered dead - is a pure value decision. She has nothing to do with the facts. Contrary to what you wrote, the halakhic decision regarding life and death is not "different from the medical decision." Ostrich that there is no such thing as a "medical decision" regarding life or death. This is a pure value decision (as described above). It is indeed true that a legal decision can be different from a halakhic one, since these two are different normative (rather than factual) categories.
We do fully agree that homosexuals are not criminals. But we certainly do not agree that homosexuals (who practically exercise their tendency) are not criminals. We agree that their actions are not a crime, that is, a moral offense (I mentioned that there are those in the religious camp who think otherwise, I am not one of them), since they do not harm others. But halakhic and Torah are criminals, so from a religious and halakhic point of view they are criminals in the same sense of a murderer or robber (but they are also morally criminal). The degree of guilt is another matter of course. This is where the degree of choice and control they have comes in and the degree of awareness that this is a prohibition (a secular person does not consider this an illegal act of course). Just like a kleptomaniac in front of a regular thief.
It is important for me to note that with regard to the treatment of homosexuals, I am even more liberal than you expected me to be. For me, even those who practically realize the matter are entitled to ordinary human treatment in the community (unless he waves it and preaches to it, which is a sermon for delinquency according to the law). A person who is a criminal in his personal and private sphere is a legitimate member of the community, especially if he is in a situation that is so difficult to deal with. I have written about this extensively in the past, and you are welcome to see for example HERE and also HERE. You wondered why things did not appear in my response in the newspaper, this is because I commented there only on the arguments you raised in your article and not on the substance of the matter. If you see the beginning of my longer response in the column the previous My site, you will find that I have written explicitly that I agree with most of your practical conclusions. Unfortunately the system did not allow me to extend the response in the newspaper. That's why I made "some improvements" in the last two columns here on the site and in the discussion that followed (in talkbacks).
And I will end with a mimara you quoted as “my colleague”, as you put it (I am even embarrassed to mention my name in one fell swoop with such a scientific giant). It is indeed difficult to change or crack a prejudice. But the big question is whether in the Didan case this is indeed a prejudice, or whether it is a different value position (every value position, including yours and of course mine, is a prejudice in a sense). The taboo and social attitude in the religious society towards homosexuality (which in my opinion has nothing to do with the prohibition, since prohibitions on crafts on Shabbat are no less severe and do not receive such treatment) are indeed a prejudice in my opinion (because factual assumptions are made, not just values). But the very view of homosexuality as a prohibition is not a prejudice but a halakhic norm (even if unfortunate in my opinion). The attitude to such norms (as to any norm) of course depends on the beliefs of each of us. I personally have faith in the giver of the Torah, that if he forbade there is probably something problematic about it (which in my poverty I did not get to notice). I bend my mind to his command. But since these are questions of faith, I would not want psychiatry to take positions, and certainly not resolute ones, about them (just as with what happens to communion in the mouths of our Catholic cousins), and here we are again back to the possibility and need to disconnect psychiatry from arrays. And about this our rabbis have already said (ibid., Ibid.): Give to Caesar what to Caesar…
 I must say that together with two of Yoav Sorek's articles, the one published in the same supplement two weeks earlier and the one published on the Shabbat supplement website (p. See), this is the most intelligent and relevant discussion known to me in the press or at all on this subject. In my honor to take part in it.