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The Joys of Trans Jewish Soul: FB Response to Trump's attacks on us

hey i think now might be the time to share this torah


this past summer at Svara Queer Talmud Camp 2018 - Walker Creek Ranch, me and 100+ other queer jews learned

that our tradition allows a sick person to eat on Yom Kippur

because taking care of your body and your life is a mitzvah greater than any other ritual

this is true even if 100 experts say "This person does not need to eat to be healthy/safe"

because if you *know* that you need to eat to be healthy or safe or alive

then there is NO OTHER EXPERTISE that exists

except our own expertise over ourselves

we get this learning from proverbs, chapter 14, which says

"lev yode'a marat naphsho"

"a heart knows its own bitterness"

[better than anyone else]

[above all other expertise]

[and should use that knowledge to take care of itself, because that's what god truly desires]


this is to a large extent the teaching of this talmud we learned over 5 days this summer

but, b"h, our torah is a living torah

and proverbs 14 continues on

and in the latter half of the same verse, it says that not only does a heart know its own bitterness, but

"b'simhato, lo yi't'arav zar"

"a stranger cannot swirl in its joy"

as in, not only is the bitterness of our heart subject to our own expertise

and no one else's

but the joy of our heart is subject to our own expertise

and no one else's


today, the trump administration is pretending to be the expert on the joy of my heart

today, the trump administration is looking at my heart, my fey, soft, gorgeous, holy girl heart

and telling me that actually, they know my joy better than i do

better than torah does

better than god

they are saying my heart is a boy's heart, that my joy is wrong and that i should make myself unhealthy and unsafe against my own knowing, and faith

if only they knew

that even if 100 experts told me i was a boy

even if an entire colonial gender system erased my people's soft, complex queerness

torah says:

i am a girl

a holy, holy, holy girl

with the OBLIGATION from my tradition to revel in the joy of that

even in the face of 100 "experts"

so, especially, in the face

of a small, angry, vindictive, man


rabbi Benay has always taught us that judaism is a conversation

and that each generation takes that conversation one step farther than the last

to keep our living torah vibrantly alive

so that it can continue to grow with us, for us, and for hashem

the rabbis of the talmud took a torah that said that "if you don't fast on yom kippur, you will be cut off from your people and god"

and looked at the neshama of our tradition and knew that, truly, holiness resided elsewhere

and ruled that we were experts over our own bitterness

maybe it was rabbi yohanan, or another soft, trans rabbi, 2000 years ago

but I'm sure that as they were rereading their radical torah, *they saw* the next verse in proverbs

knew what they were doing

they, and hashem, looked 2000 years in the future, and saw us, our need, this moment

and then took their torah as far as they could

and through their trust and bravery in each human being's self-knowing

we, in 2018, can call on that bravery, and say that

we are not only experts on our own bitterness

but our joy, too

your boy soul is a boy soul

your girl soul is a girl soul

your human soul is a human soul

revel in it, delight it in

just as god commanded

they cannot swirl in its joy

so they try to strip it from you

don't ever, ever

let them do that

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