Rabbi Shmuley Unleashed

Rabbi Shmuley Unleashed

Rabbi Shmuley’s Live Chat regarding The Michael Jackson Tapes

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was online with readers on Friday, Oct. 2, at 1 p.m. ET to
discuss his book, The Michael Jackson Tapes, which is an account of his
recorded conversations with the pop star as his spiritual advisor that
took place in 2000 and 2001 and explore Jackson’s feelings about fame,
family and relationships. In addition, Boteach will address the latest
news about the leaked L.A. coroner’s autopsy report which states that
Jackson was a “fairly healthy” 50-year-old before he died of an


Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Hi. It’s Rabbi Shmuley. Thank you all for
joining us this afternoon. It’s the eve of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot
and I wish everyone a very joyous holiday. I look forward to your
questions and comments.


Pittsburgh, Pa.: If you had the opportunity to talk to Michael today, what would you say to him?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: I would tell him how said I am that he died
so prematurely, how I believed his death was so avoidable. How tragic
this is for his children who don’t have a father or a mother and for
all the people who loved him. And how important it was for him to
change direction in life so that it did not end up in tragedy.


New York, N.Y.: Rabbi Shmuley: What is your opinion of the
“documentary” produced by Martin Bashir in 2003? Do you feel that
Michael was treated fairly in it?

Also, do you still have a relationship with Uri Geller?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: I told Michael, when Bashir’s people
contacted me in order to reach Michael, that the last thing he needed
was to bring cameras into his life. He needed to get control of his
life, to reorient his existence toward spiritual purpose and a
consecration of his fame to a noble cause. He was famous enough. He
didn’t need this documentary. I lament that he participated when his
life was not ready to be opened to scrutiny.


Pittsburgh, Pa.: What is your response to the autopsy report that
was released to the public yesterday? It stated that Michael was in
relatively good health and that there were no additional drugs found in
his system, which directly contradicts your claims of him being a
prescription drug addict.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Michael himself admitted to an addiction to
prescription drug medication around 1993. As has been widely reported,
he sometimes resorted to painkillers in order to deal with medical
issues. I told him that he had to learn to live with his pain, and make
changes in his life, instead of medicating the pain away. I wanted him
to address its root cause.
We as a society are often guilty of the same. Americans consume three
quarters of the world’s anti-depressants because materialism will never
bring happiness. We have to rediscover spiritual purpose, which is
exactly what I told Michael throughout our friendship.


Pittsburgh, Pa.: On Dateline, you stated that you weren’t sure if
Michael was innocent with regards to the child molestation charges.
After spending two years taping the man–how could you possibly be
unsure? Certianly, something would have tipped you off if he was guilty.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: What I have consistently said is that I never
saw anything that would lead me to conclude that Michael could ever
harm a child.


Harrisburg, Pa.: I don’t want you to break any confidences, but what
do you believe Michael Jackson would have wanted the world to know
about his feelings on spirituality?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: The most beautiful part of this book is
Michael’s depth when it comes to spirituality. He was a devout
Jehovah’s Witness who regularly knocked on people’s doors to persuade
them to believe in G-d, as he describes in the book. Michael believed
that G-d was absolutely essential in people’s live and he and I talked
about religion and spirituality constantly.


Lodi, Calif.: What was the purpose of the book you were going to
write with/for Michael? Was it to be an autobiography or a self-help

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Michael was incredibly wounded and deeply
saddened at the fact that he was turned into a pariah by the media. He
hoped in this book to reach the public in his own voice and demonstrate
his truest and deepest self so that people would know who he really was
rather that what the newspapers said he was.


Anonymous: Was Michael Jackson ever baptized?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Michael sent me to interview his mother
Katherine for the book. It’s one of the most interesting chapters. In
it she describes how Michael was raised as a devout Jehovah’s Witness
from a very early age. She deeply laments that Michael decided to
disfellowship himself from the Church. I lamented the same and
endeavored greatly to reconnect him to the Church which I believe had
kept him humble and grounded.


Eagle Rock, Calif. : Rabbi–Do you think anyone could have saved
Michael? He had a large family and millions who loved him (myself
included), but it doesn’t seem he was really close to anyone. It just
makes me so sad, and wish I could have been in his life.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: What will always puzzle me is why Michael’s
love for his own children, Prince, Paris, and Blanket, was not enough
to keep him alive. He was an exemplary father and loved his children
very deeply. Sadly, he had indeed become isolated from the many others
who loved him.


Los Angeles, Calif.: In the Catholic Church, In the Baptist Church,
in the Mormon Church, and in most Christian organizations I know, when
a person talks privately to his spiritual leader that is consider
sacred and absolutely confidential. A Father/Priest/Minister is
supposed to keep it a secret until his death. Is that different in
Rabbi Boteach’s faith? Why is a spiritual leader exposing to the whole
world tapes of private conversations, giving interviews on TV, and
publishing a book to promote himself using a dead person’s intimacy? Is
that OK?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: There is nothing in this book that breaks any
confidences. These tapes were made not only with Michael’s approval but
at his behest in order that a book be published. This is exactly why
Michael sent me even to his mother for her inclusion in the book, as
you’ll discover in the book. It was his desperate wish to make his
heart known to the public. And indeed, we have already received
thousands of emails from people the world over saying that the book,
and indeed my interviews, have completely altered their perception of
Michael. People never knew just how much he suffered and the loneliness
he experienced. Please read the book and I believe you’ll feel the same.


Springhill, Fla.: Why did Michael think he was ugly?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: What I write in the book is that all of us
living in this culture have somehow been conditioned to believe that we
are not attractive. There is too much self-loathing with regards to
appearance in America. Michael was guilty of it, as are so many of us.
In his case, he referenced the fact that his father made hurtful
comments. But there can be no question that a culture that promotes
external appearance over internal beauty is going to produce a
glorification of youth over wisdom and Michael relates in the book that
he desperately feared growing old.


Knocking on doors: How in the world could Michael knock on anybody’s door unnoticed? Was this as a kid or adult?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: He relates that he would disguise himself.
The adults, he says, would not know whom he was. But the kids always
figured it out. Michael says he was missionizing even after the release
of the Thriller album.


Richmond, Va.: I loved your TV show, I was able to learn something
important about myself everytime I watch the couple on each episode try
to work things out.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Thank you. One of the things through which
Michael and I connected was a broken childhood. My parents divorced
when I was a boy and I have since devoted my life to healing families,
which is what my TV show ‘Shalom in the Home’ is all about. I see this
book about Michael in the same light. It is a deep book of healing and
Michael is incredibly courageous in sharing his pain so that parents
might learn to always prioritize their children.


Ashburn, Va.: You had plenty of time to publish the book before the
2003 arrest. It could have saved his life to get his message out to the
public. Why didn’t you publish this book in 2002? It feels that you are
just another one in a long line of people who exploited Michael Jackson
for your own personal fame and fortune.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: This book could not have been published when
there was zero sympathy for MIchael in the public. It’s entire purpose
was to have people open their hearts to the real Michael Jackson and
judge him more favorably. The 2003 arrest reinforced an already
existing view that Michael was not the person he purported to be. I am
sure we all remember those times.
As far as fame and fortune are concerned, my life’s passion has been
healing families and bringing values to our culture. I have a long
history of doing so and have published 22 books on these subjects over
the past 20 years and a great many have been best-sellers, thank G-d.
So I have not gotten into publishing because of this project.
On this particular book I accepted an extremely modest advance and have
already dedicated a substantial portion thereof to Michael and my
mutual dream of creating a regular national children’s holiday. For me
this comes in the form of a weekly national family dinner night. We
call it ‘Turn Friday Night into Family Night.’ Please go to
and sign up. You will also have noticed that I have utilized every
media opportunity of late to highlight this very important initiative
and will continue to utilize further revenue to that end as well as one
of my passions, support for parochial education so that children can
have values in the classroom at a young age.


Montreal, Canada: First of all Happy Sukot and Hag sameah!

My question is–did Michael ever speak about or believed in true love?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Happy Sukkos to you as well. Yes, Michael was
a real romantic and speaks movingly in the book about his belief in


Anonymous: Who do you believe was the real love of Michael’s life?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: In the book it seems that he adored,
absolutely adored, his mother. And as far as a romantic relationship is
concerned, he speaks very movingly about his affection for Lisa Marie
Presley, his first wife.


Denver, Colo.: Looking back to your time with Michael, is there
anything you would do or say to Michael that may have changed the path
he was heading and possibly have changed the outcome?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: I have thought of this many times since his
death. I wish there were but don’t believe there was. I tried very,
very hard to get Michael to gain control over his life. He first
listened and we made considerable progress. But he began to treat my
counsel, and indeed my loving rebukes, as something annoying. I miss
him greatly and mourn his loss.


Burbank, Calif.: But Rabbi, you write on your Web site that Michael
may have done something criminal or immoral. Can you explain that

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Michael confessed on international TV to
sharing a bed with a child. This is unacceptable and immoral and he
promised me, when I warned him about never being alone with a child,
that he would never do it. When I saw him say this in the Bashir
documentary my heart sank. I have consistently said that I never
witnessed anything that would lead me to believe that Michael could
harm a child.


Birmingham, U.K.: What do you think the world needs to know most about Michael Jackson?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: When you read this book you will see how how
hard Michael tries to communicate to the world’s parents that you must
love your children unconditionally and that fame and fortune are never
a substitute for love and affection. We should heed his very moving


Platte County, Mo.: How can the public be sure that the comments and
viewpoints expressed in the book as attributed to Michael, are truly
accurate (no dishonest editing)since he is unable to sign off on the
final product? There were parts of Living with Michael Jackson that
were edited in an extremely dishonest and unethical way to portray him

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: We have already given media outlets the
portions of the audio tapes that they have requested and I am sure you
have all listened to the substantial material.
My purpose in this book was always to potray Michael in the most
authentic and favorable light, but without making the mistake, in any
way, of whitewashing some of the errors he himself confesses to that
led to tragedy. Michael wanted his life to serve as an inspirational
message to parents of what to do and not do. He did not want these
tapes or this book to be hagiography. This was an honest book, not an
exercise in PR. I know that some people who love MIchael are troubled
by just how honest he is about his pain, loneliness, and brokenness.
But I find his honestly positively inspiring and redemptive. I find it
surprising and saddening that so many who claim to love him feel that
Michael should have censored himself and come across only as the
perfect King of Pop. But he wished to be known, as he makes absolutely
clear in the book, not as an aloof icon or caricature, but as a man. A
man who reached for things higher, who inspired and electrified. But
who was also was scarred very deeply by being forced into a life of
performance at too young an age.


Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: I thank you all for your time. This Sukkot
(festival of Tabernacles) is the 10th anniversary of the first time
Michael asked me to take him to Synagogue where we danced and prayed
together. He will be much on my mind. He is sorely missed.
G-d bless you all, G-d bless Michael’s children to whom the book is dedicated, and may Michael rest in peace.

Comments read comments(15)
post a comment

posted October 6, 2009 at 1:26 am

Listening to the tapes, it’s obvious that Michael Jackson is being led on by the rabbi. They sound like counseling sessions, that should never have been revealed to the public. The great tragedy of Michael Jackson’s life is that so many of those he trusted turned out to be unscrupulous.

report abuse

Liberty Rodriguez

posted October 6, 2009 at 2:07 am

If indeed it was Michael’s wish for these tapes to be heard and for this book to be published, then I think that the rabbi should provide proof. It is hard to believe that Michael wanted to do this though since he included the name of the rabbi as one of the people he thought wanted to destroy him. In one interview, he was so against Eminem talking bad about other celebrities and believed that fellow artists should not do that. He may have vented about Madonna privately but it was definitely not his intention for his statements about her to be made public. What surely turned the public off about this book is the way the rabbi would analyze Michael and make judgments that are so defaming and so misleading about Michael’s real character. Words like ” he may have done something criminal and immoral” or that “he has a Messiah complex”. I don’t think that those words would have done Michael’s image any good for him to be understood and accepted by the public if that was the real intention of the rabbi. The last thing that he needs to be perceived of all things, is that of perhaps having done something criminal and immoral. You think Michael would have been pleased with those harsh words rabbi? With your own words, it got so obvious that you were molding him into something that he was not instead of just celebrating the person that he was. Now who had the Messiah complex in this relationship? You said that you terminated the friendship but records showed that it was Michael who did.
He just needed a friend he could confide in and you took advantage of that friendship. This is Bashir all over again.

report abuse


posted October 6, 2009 at 11:43 am

MR. Boteach (I will not give him the honor of calling him Rabbi) is just another jackal out to exploit Michael. Isn’t it interesting that he puts this book out AFTER Michael dies and now has no voice in the matter? Shameful.I wish someone had asked Boteach where the signed release form is from Michael for him to give him permission to print his private thoughts and spread them all over the airways. Also, I would have liked to ask him why, of the may hours of tape, he chose the negative quote about Madonna to air? How is that constructive or helpful to express Michael the man to the public? It is quite obvious to me that Boteach is using Michael to further his own agendas. For some reason he wanted to zing Madonna, probably because he does not approve of her lifestyle or the fact she is a high profile advocate of Kabbalah? Who knows, whatever reason he has, it was wrong of him to air that after Madonna gave such a lovely tribute to Michael. Boteach just wanted to hurt her and make her feel foolish for her sweet, stirring speech about Michael. Boteach is crafty,clever and self-serving and that is not what a Rabbi should be. He betrayed Michael’s confidence and exploited him for his own gain. He is a shameful man and he will answer to God one day for his deceipt. I really think Boteach is much worse than Bashir, because Boteach was supposed to be Michael’s friend, Bashir never was. Boteach has no thought to how this book and his accusations that Michael (sic) “could have been immoral, he’s not sure”, will hurt Michael’s children. And to me that is his greatest sin of all. He claims to care about children with this family night thing, but if he truly cared he would have thought of the consequences to Michael’s children, but I believe he never considered them for a moment in his quest for fortune and fame. Michael deserved better and so do his kids. Shame on you Mr. Boteach.

report abuse


posted October 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm

The right time to publish this Book, after the trials because that´s the right time to help Michael.
But Boteach ( no a Rabbi for me)published this book now, because he hope it is the right time to make most money for Boteach.
Boteach is a SHAME for all jewish people.
Michael break up friendship with Boteach 2005- why ?- Michael don´t tust Boteach longer and he don´t want that Boteach published his words.

report abuse

Your Name

posted October 7, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I am sorry Mr. Bioteach, but I have to agree with the prior comments. I am appalled that you shared Michael’s thoughts with regard to Madonna as I too listened to her speech and was moved to tears by it. Her tribute was clearly from the heart. I too feel sad for his children that you indicated in your book he might have been guilty of criminal activity. Doesn’t that totally defeat the whole puspose of your so called ‘mission’ with Michael to deliberately hurt his children with these statements? Isn’t it true that Michael figured out you were a fraud and stole from his “heal the World’ funds and that is really why he terminated your friendship? When I listened to the tapes all I heard was you putting words in Michael’s mouth. Shame on you Bioteach…you will have to face the music and answer to the higher being one day on this one…………………

report abuse


posted October 8, 2009 at 7:49 pm
VindicateMJNow is a collaborative movement of like minds to share- openly and logically- valid reasons why Michael Jackson (MJ) was incapable of the heinous crimes leveled against him in 1993 and again in 2003. A website is in-the-works and will be launched very soon. You will be notified personally of the unveiling!
Trust us, you will NOT find any other Michael Jackson forum exactly like this one. We may be MJ fans, but we’re NOT fanatics. We’re comfortable talking about the “whole” Michael Jackson, ‘the imperfect human being’, as well as the perfected performer. We clearly understand he may have been viewed as ‘God-like’ but he was not ‘God’. He was human, with all of his insecurities, his joys, his fears, his inhumane strengths, his contradictions, his unconditional love, his good and not-so-good decisions. In other words, he was no different than you or me.
In other words: MJ…smooth… but not a criminal.
This is exactly what we hope we can convince others – on the fence, or otherwise, – to see.
We have no time limit on this movement’s mission. Throughout this process we aim to bring like minds of all walks of life here. With that in mind, we’re tossing out a ‘very long’ welcome mat to those who can provide the most credible explanations of his innocence, specifically sharing of thoughts by the famous- or infamous who knew him best. This would include his friends, his professional colleagues, his staff, his family, the children who knew and adored him, the parents of these same children or anyone who has seen the whites of Michael Jackson’s eyes beyond a fleeting moment in a crowd. And, of course, his adoring supporters, like many of us… who remain convinced of his innocence.
NOTE: Here’s what VindicateMJNow is NOT:
1. A place to spew angry comments about anyone or any ‘thing’ that you believe may have killed him or led to his ultimate demise on June 25, 2009. And, YES, this means blaming the media who went after his ‘strangeness’ with a vengeance. Grieve the loss of him. We all do. Just don’t bring it here. It’s too late to place blame. Let’s spend our energies ‘making-it-right-for-Mike’ by finally implementing what should have been done years ago: alternative, logical, clinical and professional views that help explain personal ‘differences’ between the ‘everyday’ person’s view of ‘normal’ and MJ’s.
2. A place to tell us why you think he was guilty. Don’t even go there. We know all of the reasons you think this. VindicateMJNow is designed to present the other side of this equation- offer a different perspective. We may never change your mind; and that’s OK. Just don’t try to change ours.
3. A place to sell something (not otherwise approved by the forum administrators).
4. A place to argue. Will not be tolerated. Debating in a civil manner, yes. Anything less, no.
5. Unmoderated posts. To ensure appropriate language and process is followed, all posts will be moderated- trust us- this is for your protection, too.

report abuse


posted October 13, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Boteach. Arent you going to answer? these people are making some good points!

report abuse

posted October 14, 2009 at 3:59 pm

you speak to a person to his face so he can defend himself if he has to. You are a coward, selfish, heartless, dirty, a money-grabber and all the other things I cannot write. But God be with you and all the others who were a part of bringing down MJ. Too much pain and suffering, why do you think he used pres drugs? I would like to see how you would have handled a situation like MJ, you would not only take drugs but consider even suicide. You are a nobody only looking to make money over a dead man.

report abuse

Carol Missry

posted October 22, 2009 at 12:53 am

“you speak to a person to his face so he can defend himself if he has to. You are a coward, selfish, heartless, dirty, a money-grabber and all the other things I cannot write”

report abuse

Daize Shayne

posted November 1, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Not that I’d really posted, but I noticed you were near me. I’ve still never heard “Crush” on the radio, here in the bay area. Oddly enough, and of course it would be this way…

report abuse


posted November 3, 2009 at 9:29 am

Love does not betray – you have betrayed the trust of a man who trusted you when he was alive – you’ve turned ur back on him and stabbed him now that he can no longer defend himself. May God forgive you.

report abuse


posted November 8, 2009 at 8:18 am

I thought “Beliefnet” is a positive site, yet they choose to post negative stuff, and since when are you the judge of anyone? what is your purpose with debating someone’s life, and can’t you just leave Michael Jackson alone once and for all? Haven’t you split up his life in a million threads by now? ENOUGH ALREADY!!! Have some respect for the sake of anything sacred!
as to you, Mr. Rabbi S., you are PATHETIC….. what kind of a friend…rabbi….counselor are you ??? people come to you in confindence and you break it? so much for your CREDIBILITY of being a so called “confidant”. do you go and trumpet publicly all of your patients’ and friends’ problems ??? SHAME ON YOU! no respect at all for you sir. I wouldn’t come to confide in you about anything even if my life depended on it, I am sorry Michael did it and didn’t see the real you, the judgemental you, the fake friend in you! You are just a fame seeker, that’s all! review your deeds before you consider acting them out, review your values and your soul…you really need help!
All my respects to Michael Jackson’s memory and to his family! and sincerest apologies for all the bad stuff they have to hear from all the “so called “friends” of Michael’s!

report abuse


posted December 13, 2010 at 1:08 am


report abuse


posted April 10, 2012 at 12:35 am

Michael Jackson DID NOT say he shared a bed with a child. LEARN TO SPEAK ENGLISH PEOPLE! Gavin Arvizo said in that interview that Michael slept on the floor so that Gavin could have the bed. Michael afterwards said “what’s wrong with sharing your bed?” EVEN THOUGH they DID NOT share a bed. That just shows how naive Michael was, more than anything. And the fact that Schmuley is telling people that Michael shared his bed with a child shows he is not a true friend. That is NOT what Michael said!

report abuse

Pingback: Michael Jackson, Feeling Ugly, Plastic Surgery And Body Dysmorphic DisorderMichael Jackson Info: Rhythm Of The Tide

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

Public Asks for Political Inspiration, but Responds to Negative Attacks
There are two people running against me in the Republican primary for New Jersey’s Ninth district and recently I had an interesting lesson in politics from both. Call me naïve, but I really thought we could have a primary where people respected each other and treated one another as friends. For t

posted 2:12:46pm Apr. 24, 2012 | read full post »

Would Hilary Rosen Have Criticized Stay-at-Home Dads as Never Having Worked?
It's good that Hilary Rosen apologized for her comments that Ann Romney, who chose to be a stay-at-home mom to raise her five boys, had 'never worked a day in her life.' It took a day for Rosen to finally acknowledge that her comments were unhelpful, but she finally said, "I apologize to Ann Romney

posted 4:22:07pm Apr. 13, 2012 | read full post »

An Ungrateful Karzai Calls American Troops Demons
Hamid Karzai recently called the brave and selfless members of the United States military ‘demons’ who were guilty of perhaps ‘500’ atrocities against the people of the Afghanistan. One would have thought that the American Commander-in-Chief would swiftly denounce this stunning act of ingrat

posted 5:21:39pm Mar. 19, 2012 | read full post »

Jews Must Demand Relationship of Equality with Christians
No Holds Barred: It is high time that our warm allies in the Mormon Church cease the posthumous baptizing of any and all Jews. My much-publicized dispute with Canadian TV host Michael Coren last week taught me valuable lessons about the Jewish community and the new relationship with our Christian

posted 4:39:41pm Feb. 28, 2012 | read full post »

The Michael Coren Christians Who Cowardly Deny Church History
I came on to Michael Coren’s TV show in Canada to simply talk about my new book Kosher Jesus, which has received wide attention throughout the world. I left dazed, having heard from him that Jews refuse to appreciate Christians, depict them negatively, and essentially control Hollywood. Now Cor

posted 4:03:50pm Feb. 24, 2012 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.