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The Lonely Path to Trust

By Rav Natan Alexander

Perhaps the most powerful statement I heard during studying for my Smicha (Rabbinical Ordination) were the words of my teacher Ha Rav Shukki Reich,"להיות רב,זה להיות איש בודד To be a Rabbi is to be a lonely man."  I am sure that many of my colleagues including myself when hearing these words thought twice before continuing the program.  He continued to 'inspire' by telling us that if one is not ready to be that lonely man, the person to stand up and do what others are not ready to do, to say what others are not willing to say, then there are many other positions in the community, but don't be a Rabbi!!

Since the creation of Better2gether, I have been on quite a lonely journey, so when I see blogs like the one Adam Kirsh's in Tablet Magazine wrote, discussing the Halachik basis of Better2gether, it inspires me to continue doing what I am doing.

It is true that I am not the only Rabbi out there dealing with issues related to sexuality between couples.  There are Rabbis who are as vocal as me on this issue and other wonderful Rabbis who are helping couples on a more quiet individual level, but what I am sure of is that there are not enough of us doing either of these things.  This is evident due to the countless emails I receive daily from people expressing discomfort in discussing these issues with their Rabbis. It is true that sexuality is not as easy to discuss as the Eruv or which Hechsher of Kashrut we trust.  But if we as Rabbis discuss issues of sexuality more openly than people in our communities that are suffering from issues such as; the rampant viewing of pornography, couples in our communities coming close to divorce or even worse committing adultery due to their sexual frustrations, abuse that is taking place between couples brought on by sexual frustration- they would have an address of someone they can trust.  There are thousands of people offering advice on these issues.  Many of them are unqualified and do not take people's physical and spiritual well-being into consideration.  We as Rabbis who do so, need to stand up and speak about, educate, discuss and tackle these issues!

There is no greater time than now to show our communities that there ARE Rabbis that are trustworthy. Now is the time for us not to be Anashim Bodedim, Lone Individuals, but to be a community of leaders dealing with all issues with approachability, honesty and care for those that trust us.

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