He lost his seat in Congress, his audacious bid to resurrect his career as mayor of New York City, and his high-profile marriage. And he undermined Hillary Clinton’s shot at the presidency in the closing days of the tumultuous 2016 campaign.Upon hearing this, especially now during the "Ten Days of Repentance", I could not help of thinking about the famous Midrash in Kohelet Rabba 7:32, brought down by Rabbeinu Yonah in his book "Shaarei Teshuvah":
On Monday, Anthony D. Weiner, sobbing as the judge spoke, learned the final, personal cost of his seemingly uncontrollable habit of exchanging lewd texts and pictures with women and girls: 21 months in prison.
Our sages tell of a band of robbers who were thrown in prison by the king where they languished for a while till they dug an escape hatch and fled. One of them, though, decided not to escape. And when the jail keeper arrived and turned one way and caught sight of the escape hatch, then the other way and noticed the remaining prisoner, he said to him, “Fool! There’s an escape hatch right before your eyes and you’re not using it?”Way back in 2011 I suggested that Mr. Weiner leverage this scandal to return to who he really is. It is such a shame that he did not take my advice!
However, all is not lost. The gates of repentance are still open. Imagine if Anthony Weiner spends his 21 months in prison immersed in Torah study! Imagine what progress he can make in becoming the Jew he was meant to be!
Let us all learn from Anthony Weiner's tragic fall from grace to clean up our own acts. We all have something that needs fixing. The tunnel leading out of prison is wide open. Will we be wise enough to use it?