Rabbi Shmuley Unleashed

Rabbi Shmuley Unleashed


Men Should Learn from Tiger Woods’ Courageous Confession

posted by mkress

Tiger Woods’ statement was a model of repentance and contrition. He admitted he had a problem. He said that words alone would not solve it, that he requires, and is receiving counseling. He admitted that celebrity and money had given him a sense of entitlement and had corrupted him. He said he had behaved selfishly and irresponsibly. He accepted that being a public figure meant private responsibility and that he had to model good behavior for the youth. And he looked the entire time like he meant it. It was that rarest of things, a sincere and unconditional statement of contrition and responsibility from a public figure for cheating on his wife. And more than just talking about changing, he told us what he is doing in order to be a better man.

Compare it to the nauseating drivel of a guy like Mark Sanford, the misguided Governor of South Carolina, who told the media, after he was caught cheating, that his mistress was his soulmate, or to President Clinton, who never admitted that his womanizing was a deep-seated problem that required counseling, and you can begin to appreciate how difficult it was for Tiger Woods to confess that his own philandering stemmed from a problem of his soul.

Noone wants to admit needing help. We don’t want to confess to that level of dependency. If a man cheats on his wife, he usually sees it as an aberration, something he shouldn’t have done and something he’ll work on not repeating. But it’s not a manifestation of an inner brokenness. He doesn’t need any counseling. He just needs to recommit to an ethical life.


In truth, men don’t cheat because they’re liars and thieves. The vast majority of men who are unfaithful would never shoplift or steal a car. Rather, men cheat because, as Tiger Woods accepted, they have a problem. They are broken on the inside – they feel insecure and unimportant – and think that having women desire them will compensate. It’s the age-old lie that conquest, especially of a sexual nature, will bring personal validation. As Woods said, after all the money and fame he had earned he thought that normal rules didn’t apply to him. He was Caesar, which is another way of saying that even after all the fame and money he still was insatiable for more. All the accolades, all the fans, the beautiful wife, the adorable kids, still could not make him feel full. All the money still didn’t make him feel rich. He remained a black hole of endless consumption.

But this man is on the way to real amends, I believe, because he recognizes he has a problem. The Talmud says there are three essential steps to repentance. The first is to admit you have a problem. The second is to confess it verbally and take full responsibility. And the third is to undertake corrective, righteous action that will undo or make better the error.

By that count it’s time for America to admit it has a problem, because there is a little Tiger in all of us, a insatiable thirst that has gripped the American soul and that cannot be quenched, whatever the level of consumption.

I just published a book called “The Blessing of Enough.” It’s the one blessing America doesn’t have. Even after we collapsed our economy through rampant greed we still refuse to admit we had a collective problem. We still cannot not accept that it’s not normal to be the richest country in the world and still feel like we never, ever have enough.

Our Wall Street bankers earn millions. And even after they receive the most putrid press, exposing their avarice and insatiable lust for more and more cash, all funded by tax-payer dollars, they still can’t stop paying themselves billions more in bonuses. This is a sickness that the patient refuses to acknowledge.

The feeling that enough is never enough, the curse of insatiability, was something I tried to impress upon Michael Jackson. I saw him punishing himself constantly. When I asked him if he was proud of Thriller, which had sold approximately 50 millions albums, he told me, Yes, but not really, because he had a post-it note on his mirror in the bathroom that said 100 million. So that was the man whom Michael saw in the mirror, never enough, always having to succeed more.

I believe that if Michael had realized the corrosive effect that fame and money were having on his life – how it had isolated him from friends and family, how it had given him too a sense of entitlement to cross healthy boundaries, and how it had enhanced his fear of becoming obscure and forgotten, a pain he turned to prescription drug medication to numb – he would be alive today. And the fact that Tiger Woods is honest enough to admit that fame and money can be incredibly corrosive means his marriage and his character have a fighting chance of healing, surviving, and flourishing.

Money and fame can be real blessings. With the former you can cure poverty, with the latter you can highlight noble causes. Instead, they are curses in America today. For all our money, we are the most unhappy nation in the world, consuming three quarters of the earth’s anti-depressants. And for all our celebrity’s fame, they can’t seem to stay married or keep themselves out of rehab.

America, we have a problem. It’s time for a confession of our own.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s newest book, The Blessing of Enough, has just been published. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley. www.shmuley.com



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Bo G.

posted February 19, 2010 at 2:33 pm


Yes, some obvious points about the nature of remorse.
However, it’s utterly impossible to swallow noble sentiments from you, Rabbi Boteach, on this particular topic. How can we, while your gratuitous inclusion of Michael Jackson makes this an obvious attempt to win yet another round of TV appearances? Especially when you’re denigrating your old friend Jackson while enriching yourself from your betrayal of the man’s privacy and trust.
Jackson has nothing to do with Tiger Woods. Other than they’re both internationally famous black men. Well maybe that’s your point, because any other connection is beyond tenuous.
Or perhaps your dragging Jackson back up is transparent promotion of your book publicizing conversations with him for a purpose he never intended.
What kind of ugliness is it that makes you call your old friend MJ’s concert tour a “corrosive” search for “fame and money?” For God’s sake, this was his JOB. His art! Fifty is a little young to demand his retirement to suit your lofty virtues, don’t you think? Jackson would have been living in the the great outdoors outside London with his children, going into work twice a week leaving them with a nanny. The horror! Must all families look just like yours?
Here’s some advice on remorse for you. The steps: Cease this hypocritical judgmental mudslinging against others to make money. Apologize to Jackson’s children and family. Then donate the proceeds from your betrayal of them to one of their — not your — charities.
Then, perhaps, you may have earned the right to comment on Tiger Woods.



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LJ

posted February 19, 2010 at 3:37 pm


Why do you judge those who don’t repent in the manner that you would like. What is with the Michael Jackson name dropping. Please – leave the guy alone. He had enough with trying to make himself over to please you and you were dropped from his radar of attention. I wonder if you know what unconditional love is. Why in the heck did we, as a nation, need someone to repent on television? This is the question I would ask? Why do we judge people so harshly? Another question – why do you keep bringing Michael Jackson’s name up in things that you write. Let the dear man rest in peace for goodness sake. Michael Jackson completed his life journey he learned what he needed to learn. He gave what he needed to give. Tiger Woods is simply living his life journey.



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vira

posted February 19, 2010 at 4:54 pm


Schmuley,If there is anyone constantly ,agressively and unscrupulesly hunting for money and fame its you. Michael Jackson didnt have to , fame was his middle name. And unlike you he didnt need anyones back to get famous on. Its his amazing talent, his humanitarism, and the kind,loving person he was ,with his pros and cons that made me and millions around the globe adore him. The hate you show against Michael Jackson(and others, especially high achieving celebrities) while using him for your own benefit would be laughable, if it wasnt so hurtful towards his family and his innocent children who are still mourning the loss of their dad. How dare you use the word ethic, and not even know the meaning of it. Not even in death you grant Michael the rest he deserves after you and yours like already made his life a living hell. Tiger Woods must feel uneasy to be praised by you. Its about time you see that YOU have a problem that needs treatment .



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Mary Margaret Cannon

posted February 19, 2010 at 6:48 pm


Rabbi — I thought your article was superb and a message all of America needs to hear — Thank you!



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Bill Kilpatrick

posted February 20, 2010 at 8:53 am


Rabbi Boteach wants to publicly rate Tiger Woods’ apology because it’s material for his own infidelity, a very public romance with the media. He’s “America’s rabbi,” don’t you know it? But can a minister be both counselor and pundit? Isn’t there a built-in conflict of interest that compromises at least one of those roles? I’m tired of all the Olympic judging of a man’s public apology for private behavior, especially from the Dr. Phil of rabbis. Would somebody tell the good rabbi that this endless self-promotion is a more insidious form of adultery, one deserving it’s own apology?



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Sophie

posted February 20, 2010 at 11:54 am


Robotic, insecure and teary-eyed, Tiger Woods, the world’s most popular athlete, ended on a curious note the 13-minute public-relations address intended to halt his fall from grace.
“Finally,” Woods said Friday morning, “there are many people in this room and there are many people at home who believed in me. Today, I want to ask your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.”
Why?
Nothing else bothered me about Woods’ surreal and staged apology to family, friends, business associates, three pool reporters and a national television audience. If step nine of his recovery from sexual promiscuity consisted of stiffly reading a prisoner-of-war confession into a malfunctioning, single camera while America watched, we should have the decency to hold our laughter and objection.
Believe in him? Why? And why does he need us to?
A Thanksgiving-night driveway fender-bender gave life to a slew of salacious tabloid stories about Woods’ extramarital sex life. An onslaught of money- and fame-hungry kiss-and-tell women sent Woods first into hibernation and then to a rehabilitation clinic.
Speaking for the first time since the controversy eviscerated his choirboy image and caused several of his major corporate partners to sever their ties, Woods took full ownership of the behavior that led to his downfall.
“The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior,” he said. “I was unfaithful. I had affairs. What I did is not acceptable, and I’m the only person to blame. I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. … I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply. …
“I felt I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me,” he continued. “I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to find them. … I don’t get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself.”
Woods opened his re-entry into public life sounding the redemptive chords of personal responsibility.
He thrice paused from his self-flogging to briefly, gracefully and defiantly defend his wife, Elin, of accusations that she assaulted him Thanksgiving night; scold the paparazzi for hounding Elin, his mother and his two children; and deny baseless rumors that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
For the most part, Woods kept the focus on himself. He revealed he’d spent 45 days receiving inpatient therapy guidance for the “issues” he faces. He vowed to continue the charitable work he started with his father 13 years ago. He pledged to improve his sometimes salty on-course demeanor. He admitted he was unsure when he’ll return to the PGA Tour. And he promised to be a better person, a better man, a better Buddhist.
“It’s now up to me to make amends,” Woods said, “and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I’ve made. It’s up to me to start living a life of integrity. … Parents used to point to me as a role model for their kids. I owe all those families a special apology.”
And those families, if it is in their hearts, owe Woods forgiveness.
They should’ve never placed their faith/belief in a golfer, a pitchman for corporations.
Belief is reserved for a higher power. Belief is a God-given gift shared between parent and child. Belief is a sacred treasure given to a spouse and public servants — ministers, elected officials and police officers, firefighters and doctors in times of trouble.
A golfer who justifiably insists on keeping private the details of his self-described immorality binge?
Believe in him?
Why?
I’ve never thought Tiger Woods owed the media or the American public an explanation of his off-course transgressions because I’ve never been tempted to place my faith in Tiger Woods, the man, the husband, the father.
Trust, faith and belief are rewards earned by transparency.
Corporations and their brand-name pitchmen earn loyalty with slogans, jingles, commercials and, apparently, no-questions-asked press conferences. Woods wants our faith, but he doesn’t want to earn it.
He wants us to Just Do It.
When Woods, my favorite athlete of the last decade, exited his address alone, leaving behind his mother and a room filled allegedly with the people closest to him, the entire event felt like a well-choreographed Nike campaign.



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Henrietta22

posted February 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm


Much of what you said about a person having to repent and decide to straighten his life out was what I think most of us would believe Tiger would do, Rabbi S.. As I watched Tiger on TV yesterday, I could see in my imagination Tiger standing in a “stock” in the town’s square with his head and hands hanging out and confessing his terrible sins to the entire town! In 2010 have we actually come back to this spectacle? At least when Mark Sanford stood before the tv camers he answered reporters questions like a man, and spoke from his heart how he felt about his other woman. The President Clinton had dignity in his shortfallings. Michael Jackson was a creator of music and imagination and artists are never pleased to not keep trying to excell for more. I feel that most of the repentence was done for the Corporations that has made him a billionaire.



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Karen

posted February 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm


The only person who is a greater fool than someone who turns to Tiger Woods as a moral reference is a rabbi who opines that one should. Shmuley, you are nothing but a gasbag.



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Your Name

posted February 20, 2010 at 10:08 pm


Tiger is a superb golfer. What he does outside of that arena is his business, and that of his family. It is unfortunate in this country and othes, I’m sure, that famous people, no matter what they are famous for, are expected to be super human, perfect, someone to look up to even outside their speciality. He had women, apparently a lot, a habit that started before his marriage, and continued after it. His outside image was well controled, at least until the accident. Now he had a well scripted apology. Let’s see what happens now.



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pagansister

posted February 20, 2010 at 10:26 pm


OOPS! above was mine, pagansister. And the last sentence should be, “Let’s see what happens next. I really don’t think Tiger taught men anything….



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Blessed1

posted February 21, 2010 at 1:36 am


I don’t believe Tiger “taught” anyone anything. Instead, he reminded us all, especially “so-called parents,” that we need to STOP placing these “idols” above God. Tiger is one man, who has to deal with what he did for him; nobody else. He has to get his spirit in line just like the rest of us do. How many people smoke, drink, do drugs, lust, do drugs, have unmarital sex, and the worst of them all; fail to love becuase judgement is the speck in their own eye?! God said NO MAN and surely NO WOMAN would be perfect….NOT ONE!!! Thus, I suggest people save the stones in their pockets for their own judgement day; and make sure your pants aren’t down when Jesus returns. Where will YOU be when he comes? Drunk? Smoking? Fighting? Cheating? Speeding? Having sex? Watching Porn? Speeding? Stealing? Getting High? Abusing Perscription Drugs? Praying? Meditating? or Judging, waiting to cast the first stone?



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Your Name

posted February 21, 2010 at 11:00 am


Yes I agree that Men should learn from Tiger Woods confessions.
I dont idol Tiger Woods. I dont idol nothing from this world.
Some People might .But this is none of My concern. Yes they should
worship Jesus Christ(Lord and Savior). Jesus is who I worship
and thank everyday. So why are some People so agressive?
When they themselves are not Perfect.
Tiger Woods repented on National Television.
If He is sincere or not .I don’t know.
And if He made alot of Money or for others is not of My concern.
If He really ment what He said? He deserves credit.
It is not easy to admit oneselves wrong doing.
It takes a true Man to do this.
We are not perfect and We are sinners.
Lets not be hard on Tiger Woods.
Judge not and Ye shall not be Judged.
Leave the Judgeing to the Holy ones.
God ,Jesus .
All glory belongs to God in the highest.
May God Bless Us.
Sincerely, ARG
Jesus Is Lord



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Your Name

posted February 21, 2010 at 11:30 am


I believe that alot of what Rabbi Shuley wrote is true.
We do use money unwisely/wastefully. But some or mostly
all of Us. The rich more than the poor for sure.
But I belive that they will have to answer for their actions
later. I Am not the one that is going to Judge them and if
Rabbi Shmuley wants to tell it like it is? It is quite alright
with Me. Afterall He is a Rabbi.
This is what they do.
They try to make Us see what We do wrong. To realize.
Nobody is Perfect. Some need to wake up and smell the
coffee. We are sinners and need to repent and put the
new face .Be reborn and stay that way.
Don’t be a hippocrite. If You are? Change.
Do the right. Our creator is at hand (Jesus/God).
This is reality.
Bless You.
Albert. R G.



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interpreter

posted February 21, 2010 at 9:19 pm


Tiger did it because he is a pagan. He needs to get inside a Church house and repent, not just on TV.



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Katie Angel

posted February 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm


So, interpreter, you think that the only way to be moral is to be Christian? What a narrow and judgemental viewpoint – and not in keeping with what Christ said. Please spend some quality time learning how to walk more gently upon this earth.



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Andy

posted February 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm


Tiger does not have an “addiction” or a “disease,” that can be “treated” in therapy. He’s just a male human with unlimited access to willing women and without the self-restraint required to handle that situation well. If we wanted to talk seriously about the morality of that, we’d have to talk about a whole raft of other matters. For instance, as a role model, Woods is influencing people to engage in behaviors that will have disastrous consequences for them, like illegitimacy and disease. He might be able to buy his way out of those consequences. Those he influences cannot.
But if Tiger owes us an apology for that so does every movie or sports star who has or fathers a child out of wedlock. So does every media outlet that glamorizes that behavior. So does every feminist who tells girls that promiscuity empowers them. So does every journalist who hides the personal and societal costs of fatherless children for ideological reasons. And so on. If this apology had to do with sexual morality instead of money, the very people playing the role of the high priests would be playing the role of penitents instead.
Well, but then, perhaps we all would.



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EllieDee

posted February 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm


Tiger represents people who feel entitled. It doesnt take money, nor power to believe you have something coming to you…that you deserve something..that your worth taking or doing something you believe is your due.
If you look closely, even the poor, might be wishing they could do the same. Hence its a part of mans UNGRATEFUL nature, not a part of his social standing



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pagansister

posted February 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm


interpreter, Tiger is a Pagan? …actually he is a Buddhist(did you watch the newscast?). He was raised a Buddhist, the religion of his mother. Dad was apparently a Christian. That belief system has been around a lot longer than Christianity.
But incase he was Pagan…what is the problem with that? That,too, has been around a lot longer than Christianity…as has the Jewish faith. There are many ways to believe in the world…which is fortunate. No ones faith/belief system is superior to anothers.



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Ben Mordecai

posted February 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Estime

posted February 23, 2010 at 3:19 pm


The problem lies with media. It promotes a lifestyle of total excess and no restraint, and our children grow up seeing that as their model. Then, when they follow that path, and do things that embrace that philosophy but conflict with mores or laws, they are punished for that.
It’s hypocritical to bring up children believing there are no consequences for what they do only to punish them later for not having the life wisdom we should have imparted to them to begin with.
Children don’t raise themselves. If they turn out bad it’s time we stop with the public self-humilitation rites and cleaned our own parental, social and media act up.



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Ant EM

posted February 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm


Michael Jackson was surrounded by sycophants who used him for money or a piece of fame (Rabbi Schmuley). None of his “advisors” were qualified psychologists so it really was no surprise that he never received the psychiatric cared that he desperately needed. Tiger immediately saw the need once his house of cards finally collapsed, so he should get credit for that.



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inge

posted February 24, 2010 at 2:56 pm


What is with these women who brag on an affair with a married man?
Have they no shame? Or they just want the 15 minutes of fame no matter who gets hurt.
I will pray for Tiger and his family for peace and love in the relation ship. We must love another as God loves us and should not judge.I’m sure he is going thru his own private sorrow and as ever we do learn from our past mistakes. His words of appology where heard and should be accepted. The media should stop now and let it go, enough is enough.



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Ric@Sin No More

posted February 26, 2010 at 6:23 am


The 7 deadly sins, which we are warned off, are still valid today. Whether rich or poor there is a sin for everyone.
Since Tiger got caught he had to make a choice, others who were caught made a choice to back-up the sin the took action on. If they do it enough they start thinking it’s normal, but there comes a day of reckoning.
Sin is no respecter of race or financial status, in Tigers case at least he knows he allowed it to happen and has stepped forward to confess it.



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JustTheTruth

posted February 28, 2010 at 11:22 pm


“What is with these women who brag on an affair with a married man?”
Inge is absolutely correct.
Chrissy Evert openly committed adultery with Greg Norman and the news media never condemned her misbehavior. In fact, she still retains an image as the “wholesome all American girl” despite her numerous divorces and extramarital affairs.
As for womanizing, nobody ever did it more often or more openly than did Martina Navratilova. In fact, the NY Post used to have a weekly feature of her and her new lovers. No, this is not an exaggeration! She would dump female lovers like yesterday’s news and it was never thought to be any big deal!
I agree that we all need to conduct ourselves well. But let’s not be selective about whom we choose to criticize. Let’s apply a uniform standard to everyone’s behavior.



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bARB

posted March 6, 2010 at 5:21 am


What Tiger did on national TV he had no other choice…..as to his really being repentent, only time will tell…he is a great talent and is obviously trying to make a comeback….he still is a great talent but it has been made very obvious that his character needs lots of work….and if sincere, he can change…..no doubt, if his career and family mean enough to him.



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Meryl333 (twitter)

posted March 7, 2010 at 10:52 pm


I don’t know this Rabbi, and yet, I appreciated his words because they ring true. I’m shocked by the ugliness of the comments. Instead of addressing the content of the blog post, I’m reading a series of hateful, cynical personal attacks. It is often the case that we see things as we are.



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