The Rabbis who were interviewed came across as compassionate but in a halakhic bind, as they truly are; the Torah says what it says and one cannot, as Rabbi Steven Greenberg suggests, simply reinterpret the verses in question. The Rabbis on a whole explained that they felt compassion toward those who were suffering and realized that these people were in pain, but they were not at liberty to change Torah law. I believe this to be a fair approach.
In the comments section, erachat summed up the problem as follows:
The problem lies in the fact that Orthodox Jews don't believe the Torah was written by man.
Here was my response:
I agree. They also, by overwhelming majority, refuse to investigate whether this belief is reasonable in the light of the text itself, even when they admit it's a struggle to reconcile themselves to some of its moral instruction.
If nobody were harmed by the notion that the Torah was written by God, this would be merely a personal choice. However, because there are hundreds or thousands of actual, existing human beings who are being marginalized because of some of the words contained in that book, I'd argue that people have the moral responsibility to investigate whether the book is indeed divine, or whether said divinity falls apart under scrutiny.
If, upon honest investigation, they continue to believe the Torah is the word of God, so be it. But few have the courage to try, and even fewer of those remain convinced that it's God's word.
Chana wrote that the rabbis are in a bind and that is true, but what she is leaving out is that they have the ability to unbind themselves but choose not to exercise it.
How can I be so sure that the rabbis have chosen not to investigate the Torah's origins?
First of all, I grew up Orthodox. I know that certain topics are off-limits, and authorship of the Torah is one of them. Yeshiva students don't go through the process of studying Biblical criticism before coming to a conclusion about the Torah's origins -- they don't even spend an hour with a friend debating both sides of the issue.
Second, I don't believe that a fair-minded perusal of the facts can possibly support the notion that God dictated the Torah word-for-word to Moses. Even without the multiple authors idea behind the Documentary Hypothesis, a plain reading of the text shows that it was written well after Moses's lifetime. (For example, in Gen 14:14, it refers to the city Dan. Dan was named Dan much after Moses's time, though, as recounted in Judges 18. There are many other examples.)
Can anyone tell me I'm wrong? What percentage of rabbis who think they are "in a bind" have honestly investigated whether the binding is of their own making? How many of you, Orthodox readers, can tell me you've honestly considered the question and decided that the Torah was written by God as dictated to Moses?