Below read along with Susannah Heschel as she deconstructs Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky not through the morals of Christianity but through the anti-Christian morals of the rabbis’ Talmud. Extramarital intercourse now becomes onanism and reporting on the facts of what happened between Clinton and Lewinsky is transformed into murder by way of character assassination — a sin which can never be forgiven! Doesn’t that sound just like Francis? Heschel’s deranged mind then equates Bill Clinton to King David of the Old Testament and insinuates that Clinton should be exalted as King David (Clinton unlike David never asked forgiveness for what he had done.) Susannah Heschel then goes after Talmudic Jews who condemned Clinton for his actions stating that he has been good for Israel — we need to back him. She concludes condemning Christianity — its values of love and charity — and praises Talmudic Judaism’s “hairsplitting” stating that, “without it (hairsplitting) there can be no justice, and without justice there can be no viable society.”
The contents of Susannah Heschel’s email to the White House (Linda Commodore, Ruby Shamir, Sidney Blumenthal & Jonathan E. Smith)
“He who publicly shames his neighbor is as though he shed blood.”
Talmud Baba Mezia 58b
Americans have been discussing the moral issues of the Starr Report in terms of the values of Christianity. From the perspective of Judaism, however, the terms of the discussion change. Unfortunately, even very few Jews are aware that Judaism teaches a different set of moral principles. According to classical Jewish law, President Clinton did not commit adultery; adultery is defined as a married man having intercourse with a married woman, and Monica Lewinsky is single. At worst, President Clinton is guilty of the common sin of onanism, a sin that probably afflicts the consciences of most Jewish men at one time or another.
While most of our moral debate focuses on the actions of President Clinton, the worst sin from the perspective of Jewish law is the public humiliation of President Clinton, undertaken by Kenneth W. Starr with the cooperation of the House Judiciary Committee. According to the Talmud, humiliating a human being in public is tantamount to murder, and, like murder, is a sin that can never be forgiven. Repentance is not possible for Mr. Starr, because it must be preceded by reparation. Neither murder nor the destruction of a person's reputation can ever be restored, so the sinner can never receive forgiveness. Seen in Talmudic perspective, the Starr Report, with its salacious and often irrelevant sexual details from Monica Lewinsky's testimony, constitutes assassination. For the members of the US Congress to make public a Report that humiliates the President, his wife, and his daughter makes them partners in this assassination.
From the perspective of Jewish history, we have to ask how Jews can condemn President Clinton's behavior as immoral, when we exalt King David? King David had Batsheva's husband, Uriah, murdered. While David was condemned and punished, he was never thrown off the throne of Israel. On the contrary, he is exalted in our Jewish memory as the unifier of Israel, the builder of Jerusalem, the author of our psalms, the ancestor of the messiah. His wicked deed of murder was placed in perspective and the entirety.of his life was judged, without condemning him on the basis of one sin, as outrageous as it was. If President Clinton should be asked to resign his office, then King David ought to be wiped from our memory. Also troubling is the rush by some Jewish leaders, such as Senate Joseph Lieberman and Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, to condemn President Clinton, when they uttered not a peep concerning Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's admitted confession to adultery. When was Netanyahu ever condemned as unfit to hold office because of his affairs?
Jews like to say that President Clinton has been one of the best friends Israel and the Jewish people have had in the presidency; what kind of integrity do we have, if we abandon our friend when powerful people are trying to assassinate him?
Finally, members of Congress, including Representative Gephardt, have condemned President Clinton's efforts at self-defense as legal ''hairsplitting," as if that were beneath contempt. The term itself derives from age-old Christian polemics that Judaism is a legalistic system that fails to understand religious values of love and charity. Yet unlike Christianity, Judaism rests on a system of law that demands and exalts hairsplitting, due process, and minute precision in its judicial decision-making.
Just as we expect minute precision from our physicians and scientists, why not expect it from our religions? There is no shame in hairsplitting, despite the mockery and contempt in which it has been held for centuries by Christians. Exactitude is the most important feature of Jewish law, and without it there can be no justice, and without justice there can be no viable society.
This country's population contains a majority of Christians, but the often very different values and principles of other citizens- among them, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists - must also be heard. Christianity is but one of many systems of religious values, not the only one.
Prof. Susannah Heschel, Department of Religion Dartmouth College, 27 January 1999
The apple didn’t fall very far away from the Hasidic tree.
(click to enlarge)
source: Clinton Presidential Libraries, “2006-0319-F - Monica Lewinsky [Segment 1],” Clinton Digital Library, pp 123-4.