“A hallmark of Judaism is disputation,” writes David Gibson, and it shows—Joe Lieberman is in a pitched battle with his home state coreligionists over health care reform. Rabbis from across Connecticut, in tones both dulcet and shrill, are lobbying the senator to drop his opposition to anything that sounds remotely public, while he contends that his decisions are based on the greater good. But is he reading his Torah correctly?
“Because he invokes his Jewish identity and Jewish values so frequently, we, as a community, should speak to what he is saying,” one rabbi tells Gibson, writing on Politics Daily. Lieberman maintains he is following the tradition of tikkun olam, “repairing the world”—and his Jewish opponents think he’s doing just the opposite. Then again, his opposition might have nothing to do with spirited Talmudic debate. “Lieberman isn't actually all that smart,” one commentator writes, but that fact is obscured by his piousness.