Charlie Sheen Implosion

Why do we like to watch somebody's tragedy?

Comments (33)

(23) Nancy, August 22, 2016 1:07 PM

Improving ourselves and by extension the world every day

Re: Car accidents. Whenever I am in traffic due to an accident, I always daven that nobody was seriously injured. I started to do this awhile back. Does that improve the world? I wouldn't say that, but I feel as if I have improved myself whenever I daven. Re: Watching ANY celebrity self destruct. Let's call it what it really is: lashan hara. I don't mean to sound like such a big shot. I have A LOT more to learn, believe me!!

(22) Anonymous, March 28, 2011 12:24 AM

Charlie Sheen

I don't wish to watch him self destruct, I feel for him, for him. Did you know he and his twins are JEWISH?

(21) Anonymous, March 26, 2011 5:37 PM

Response to Renee

Thanks, Renee, you at least attempted to use the Tanach to back up Lori's claim, unlike most others who merely say they "think" it's how God judges us (by the way, I don't know why some of my [Grena] replies are listed as Anonymous since I enter my name and info the same each time). However, your argument still fails. There's nothing in the Tanach to support your statement that "Noach was righteous enough for Noach." In the opening verses of Genesis 6, Hashem decides to destroy everyone. All humans were guilty including Noach, but verse 8 records him receiving "grace"--getting lucky and receiving something he didn't merit or deserve (instructions for building the ark and saving his nuclear family). Verse 9 explains that he was without blame among his community. Relative to others, he was the best choice in this never-to-be repeated event (genocide by global flood). Hashem was not under obligation of covenant to save him. If we didn't have the rest of the Torah for a less-ambiguous context, this section would be an argument for God judging us based on others, not based on ourselves or the Torah! Likewise for Avraham, he did nothing to earn Hashem's appearance in 17:1, and he recognized he was receiving "grace" in 18:3. Ditto for the Israelites (an overall wicked bunch as shown in their wilderness journey) in Exodus 3:21 et al. I see nothing in the Tanach to support your claim that Moses was "considered a good man", or that he was held "to a higher standard." In 33:17, he too received grace; he didn't earn it by particular acts or human effort. This message of Grace continues throughout the Christian record for people who fall short of God's Torah. I'm still wondering where this idea of God judging us based on ourselves crept into Judaism.

(20) Rachel, March 24, 2011 11:22 PM

Not me

I don't have any interest in watching anyone implode, and certainly not some marginally-talented celebrity. It's just sad; I change the channel when the news turns to his antics. With bombs falling in Israel, radiation in Japan, 3 wars with U.S. troops, etc, there are many other people more deserving of my concern and prayers than Mr. Sheen.

(19) Michal, March 24, 2011 11:25 AM

people in an accident are not fulfilling mitzvoth

Firstly, I agree with the first writer, Bill Josephs. Why do you say "we".? People are different. Everybody, I think, has its own reason. Most people just want to see what happens, how is the outcome, good or bad? We even can say a prayer for them.

(18) Mati, March 24, 2011 8:16 AM

I have ignore tragedy, not because I was insensitive, but because I hated to look at the pains of others as entertainment. I had often asked myself "why do I do this?" And I have thought of the possibility that perhaps I was angry at those causing a traffic jam because they slowed down to watch. "Perhaps I was self-centered," I thought, "Maybe everyone looks to learn what caused it and what not to do in the future? " Then I decided that, no! Everyone wants the evening news. Regarding traffic accidents, drivers want to be able to report to another, "I was there," like going to Hawaii or something. But perhaps I am really wrong. Perhaps it is the G-d-given trait called curiosity. Without it, we would never seek to learn about ourselves and the world around us. Perhaps then, because we stop to look at the holocausts of others due to curiosity, the trait is part of our yetzer-hara. After all maybe this curiosity is the trait that makes us look at the body parts of the opposite sex as well as our own sex. Perhaps it is this curiosity causes us to watch vagrant movies and listed to lashon hara. Curiosity therefore can be sided with the yetzer hara. But like all of G-d's wisdom, he gave us the yetzer hara to make us, when controlled, better people. After all, we will not "go forth and multiply" if it were not for the yetzer hara. The only conclusion can be, then, is we want to know the "train wreck" because of our yetzer hara. And we need to control this yetzer hara and not stick our minds in the businesses of others except to determine "how to help."

(17) susannah garbutt, March 24, 2011 3:27 AM

train wreck

Dear Lori It is excruciating watching Charlie Sheen implode - I don't watch now, but he gave an interview some time ago at night outside his house, I think it was and he was clearly ill mentally. It was painful, and I don't know why he insisted on falling apart in front of the media. I don't think any of us would be doing much better than Charlie if we had to live in a fishbowl like the stars do there. I hope the media leave him alone so he can get well and regain his dignity and hopefully find peace of mind. It is tragic when a life becomes a soap opera. Why do I feel this way? Because I spent 34 years falling apart mentally and suffering hugely at the hands of some around me - thankfully not all were cruel, there is an element in society that is cruel and judgemental, but there are many who are merciful, even in the worst of times. I bless them, those who were true friends. I hope Charlie Sheen finds people like those and finds himself along the way. And comes out the other end one day a happier, stronger Charlie Sheen.

(16) roseofcrhts, March 23, 2011 10:09 PM

Yasher Koach

I agree with you. We have to pay more attention to what Hashem wants each of us to accomplish in our lives, and less attention to comparing our successes or failures with others. It feeds our egos to feel more successful in life than others. But we really need to work on becoming humble servants of Hashem, not puffed up separate entities.

(15) Bill Josephs, March 23, 2011 6:22 PM

What U mean "we"?

This is about appeal to the lowest common denominator. I refuse to join that group.

(14) Elana, March 23, 2011 6:01 PM

As always, so true

That was great; we are judged in comparison to ourselves. In reply to Grena; there is a story which I only have the basics of: A person dies and goes to heaven; g-d asks him why he didn't reach his potential in life; "What do you mean" says the person,"You cannot compare me to the likes of moses, he was so great", Says G-d, "I am not comparing you to moses; I am asking why you yourself did not reach your own potential." I don't think the bible compares us to anything; G-d doesn't judge us based on the Torah; Torah is just a blueprint for life; G-d judges each person based on themselves. Like He would expect more from me, and less from a down syndrome person; only because I am to be accomplishing more in my life; so I had better get a move on:)

G.M. Grena, March 24, 2011 10:35 PM

Response to Elana

Elana, you & others are simply saying what you think about God. If God did not reveal an objective standard, then you're merely preaching subjectivism. With all due respect, when you say that "G-d doesn't judge us based on the Torah," you're being arbitrary, hence irrational. God said, "Hear, Israel" not "Imagine whatever seems reasonable to you, Israel" or "Just do your best, Israel."

(13) DAVID FRANKEL, March 23, 2011 5:34 PM

most of people today watch these silley shows because thier lifes are empty they idelois the so called movie stars than G-d its a shame

(12) Anonymous, March 23, 2011 4:23 PM

thoughts on disabilities

Sometimes a person w/ certain challenges in life cannot do all the mitzvot , for instance, the infertile cannot naturally be fruitful and bear children, the deaf cannot hear a shofar, the blind cannot read a scroll, people w/ certain mental health roblems struggle w/anger control, etc. . In the temple days, people with 12 types of disabilities could not serve as cohenim in sanctuary work although they could eat of the offering. When I was young I was spiritually handicapped and couldnt do many mitzvot because, although I am Jewish from birth, I was raised as a 'kidnapped Jew', raised in christianity... thank Gd, when I was an adult , I came to a personal relationship w/ Gd and Torah, as do many Jews raised in the churches. So we see things are not black and white; people each have a journey.We are each a piece of the puzzle. There is a well known rabbi Chazon Ish who STOOD in the presence of a person w/ down syndrome, believing that the man w/ DOWNS , since he could not do all of the mitzvot, had a very high soul and came down to teach the rest of us. There is a teaching from the yerushalaymi talmud that says Gd took 40 days to give Moshe the Torah because it teaches us to be patient w/ slow learners. There is a midrash that says the messiah will be ritually impure, dwelling near the lepers. So the messiah, per midrash, cant be a kohen in the sanctuary but is among those w/ disabilities. Gd help each of us on our journey and may we see our impediments are actually gifts to lead a holy faith filled life.

(11) Rahel, March 23, 2011 4:21 PM

thoughts on disabilities

I think Charlie Sheen is Jewish and although he was not raised with Torah, I pray one of our people helps him. Charlie Sheen appears to be mentally ill. Mental illness is recognized by Judaism as an illness. GM, (the writer above) the Gd we have a covenant revealed Himself as compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, repeatedly forgiving, etc. See Shemot/exodus 34. More than people imagine, He is LOVE .Yes, you are right, we need the oral law to properly interpret Torah. HaShem the loving, forgiving, compassionate One, gave us all gifts and challenges to bring gdliness into our part of the world. . As the writer True said above, we have to be true to our own story, fulfill our own role, as evidenced by the story of Rav Zusia.

Anonymous, March 24, 2011 10:53 PM

Response to Rahel

Rahel, thank you for your comments. I agree with you about "the Gd revealed" to us with all the traits you listed; however, that does not address my original question about the claim that God judges us based on ourselves (or our hypothetical potential). The 2nd set of tablets in Shemot/Exodus 34 contained the same words from the 1st set. On that occasion, God was obviously a conservative, not a liberal. Lori's statement sounded extremely liberal, so that's why I'm challenging it. I think it's spiritually dangerous to rewrite the Torah, or to add something to it unless you have some awesome credentials.

(10) Anonymous, March 23, 2011 3:10 PM


I was arguing with some Yiden about this very thing... I love this view that G*D judges us compared to ourselves...I never thought of the situation this way...but it IS the root of our actions in this situation. I would also like to add that the Chafetz Chaim A"H would have had a field day about this situation, listening to the propaganda surrounding a man, who is so obviously ill, not only injures us but, injures him and his family as well... When we watch his life in the media we are supporting him making a fool of himself, and because of this, he may not ever see the need to recover. In short, he is not able to hit bottom and get better because every news station is pining for interviews with him because of ratings...and as Jews we should not be supporting this stuff. Because in the end, in our ambivalent support in watching this man's downfall, it is his children who will suffer the most.

(9) Victor Sam'an, March 23, 2011 2:26 PM

Mrs. Lori Palatnik lectures in video

Yes! "It is time to look within ourselves." This requires that we be true to ourselves. We may want the whole world to be ours...but! all that we need is to live in a way that pleases The LORD. I will keep reading your gently walking words until I catch the Road that leads to REALITY. My warm regards to you Mrs. Palatnik from Orlando/FL

(8) True, March 22, 2011 3:28 AM

Very True

Unfortunately, in todays day and age, many people deal with their own life situations by comparing their situation to celebrities. In truth, Hashem gives everyone their own portion in life, and their own tests. We need to fulfill the mission Hashem has for us. Their is a story of a great Chassidic Master- Reb Zushe of Anapoli, who said that Hashem will not ask him why he was not Avraham Avinu, Moshe Rabbeinu, Etc... Instead Hashem will ask him why he was not the best Zusha could be. Thank You Lori, what you said is so true!

(7) G.M. Grena, March 22, 2011 3:12 AM

Compared to Ourselves?

I'm surprised by Lori's statement that God judges our performance compared to ourselves (1:44-1:53 & 2:19-2:26). That's something I would expect to hear from a non-Judeo/Christian theist. From a Jewish perspective, I would've expected her to say God judges us based on the Torah (a very high standard). As a Christian, I believe God judges us based on the performance of Jesus, who fulfilled the Torah. I would like to hear her clarify her position. Since she usually doesn't respond to these comments, can anyone cite an example from the Tanach of God judging someone compared to their own potential rather than to a divine standard? Or is it possible Lori got this idea from the Talmud?

Anonymous, March 23, 2011 4:12 PM

free will

I think Lori is talking about how every person is judged according to his own circumstances. Part of how we feel the omniesence of G-d is that He can judge every person individually and arrange a web of interconnecting lives which meet at the correct point. Moral correctness is judged according to Torah, that is undisputed, but as Rav Dessler in Strive for Truth, (Michtav M' Eliyahu in Hebrew) discusses, an axiom of the world is free choice and everyone, based on their own experiences and the tools G-d has alloted them, has their own starting point and ability to grow into a godly person by making the correct choices. My choices however, are not the same as my neighbours, I am judged according to what I can achieve within the framework of the Torah.

Anonymous, March 25, 2011 12:25 AM

Response to Anonymous

Anonymous, I believe Lori has an excellent command of English, & if she really meant that God judges us according to "our circumstances", she would've said that instead of TWICE saying "ourselves". How we handle our circumstances is vastly different from the set of circumstances God ordains for us. But even if you're correct & I'm wrong, I would still want to know her basis for making that claim, since I don't see examples of that in the Tanach either. What you quoted from Rav Dessler harmonizes with Christianity (e.g., the Parable of the Talents & the Judgment Seat of Christ), not with orthodox Judaism as spelled out in the Tanach.

Larry, March 23, 2011 4:26 PM

in naswer to Grena

There is no divine standard in the Torah. There are 10 principles and a rule about love. How well each fulfills a standard is not all there is to it.. Each person is different. Also factored into judgement are circumstances, background, intention, genetics, nurture, influence, results, mercy, how much one deed weighs against another, God's long term plan and who knows how much else. There is no Jesus in the Torah or concept of Human Sacrifice to jump around judgement and cleanse the world of sin if you only believe. That is a Roman concept put into Christianity hundreds of years after Jesus. The Hebrew word mistranslated as sacrifice actually means "to bring one closer". It's more of a BBQ. The blood is sacred and is not to be eaten. The blood , which is the life, goes on the altar or today soaked and salted out so that the meat can be eaten.

Anonymous, March 25, 2011 12:10 AM

Response to Larry

Larry, I reject your claim that the Torah lacks a divine standard. It not only contains one, Hashem expects us to live by it. This is the basis for our belief in an absolute moral standard by which we can rationally & judiciously accuse Hitler of atrocities. If the Torah is not an objective, God-ordained standard, then all we have is relativism. I understand what you mean about each person being different & subject to different circumstances, but the Torah is non-negotiable (Deuteronomy 4:2 & 12:32). Furthermore, I reject your indirect claim that the post-Moses prophets were unrelated to the Torah given to Moses. The Torah defines sin. According to the Prophets, Hashem transfers our sins to the Messiah. Your statement is logically equivalent to saying that the garden of Eden isn't mentioned in the Sabbath commandment because it was a Babylonian concept put into the Torah centuries after Moses.

david frankel, March 23, 2011 5:37 PM

fine if you believe G-d judges you based on jesus thats youre problem we as jews dont beleve in this nonsence thank you

Anonymous, March 24, 2011 11:21 PM

Response to David Frankel

David, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I'm merely attempting to discover the basis for Lori's claim, which doesn't seem to fit the Isaiah 53 & Zechariah 3 prophecies that Hashem will transfer our sins to the Messiah. Since Jesus (or the New Testament writers) claimed to fulfill the Tanach, you're indirectly saying the Tanach is nonsense, which is disrespectful.

anna, March 28, 2011 2:52 AM

uh, no

uh, no. he's not saying the tanach is nonsense. he's saying that the new testament writer's claims of fulfilling tanach (and their interpretation of those passages tanach) are nonsense. (aka, you chose to take his phrase "this nonsense" and somehow make it be about tanach when it's clear from the first half of his statement that he's referring to believing that G-d judges you based on jesus)

Renée, March 24, 2011 6:55 PM

To actually answer your question

Here is an example from the Torah of G-d judging a person according to his own potential: When we first meet Noach we are told that he was a righteous man "in his generation". Why the phrase "in his generation"? Why not just say he was a righteous man? The reason is that Noach was considered righteous only in comparison to the overwhelming evil around him. Compared to someone like Abraham he wasn't really so righteous. After all, when G-d told Noach that he was going to destroy the whole earth Noach built a boat for him and his family and the *animals* but made no effort to save the other people. Contrastingly, when G-d told Abraham he was planning to destroy a couple cities Abraham pleaded and argued with him to relent. Noach was no Avraham...but maybe he didnt' have the potential to be. Noach was righteous enough for Noach. If Moses, for instance, had behaved as Noach he wouldn't have been considered a good man at all because he wouldn't have come near to fulfilling his potential. (That's also from the Torah--that G-d held Moses to a higher standard. Why? Because each person is judged according to his own potential.) Hope that helps.

(6) SusanE, March 21, 2011 6:49 PM

Loved the progam Two and a Half Men.

I watched some of the Sheen interviews on TV because I want to know if the program will resume. I didn't know he was so agitated about the cancellation of his show. There is nothing new about watching a uber wealthy celebrity fall down a deep hole of addiction. I don't find that newsworthy or very interesting. Have wondered if the agitated man I saw was for real or if he was doing a really good job of acting when he granted those interviews..... . He's a multi-million dollar loose cannon if he is for real. I had forgotten he was Martin Sheen's son. All the money in the world and all the entitlements in the world don't make men happy or complete. I hope he can justify his actions and become happy and complete. He seems to be smart and quick. He did it before and had many good productive years.

(5) Don, March 21, 2011 6:16 PM

About Charlie Sheen..

I certanly wouldn't look down on him. He is a world wide movie star. If he desires his voice will come in half of the homes around the world. Abouth his manic depresion or drug addiction i haven't looked really into that issues. I once draw a blue Davids Star on a large piece of paper. It took me 1/2 of an hour to start. I draw it in 10 seconds. And I was told.. What will you do now? But the star was beautifull. That's Charlie Sheens every sceene on tape. And it usually lasts for much longer than 10 seconds. Dare to judge now. Shalom! Don

(4) Don, March 21, 2011 6:00 PM


It always confusses me when i see what you describe. To be hones i heard exactly what you described last week. When we watched a documentary about a tragedy, suffering and self imposed entrapment in that conditions of a group of people i heared exactly what you described. I said i feel sadnes when watching that documentary. And my school mate said it fills him with hope becouse he is better off than some people. It actually happend last week. And that person was 40 something. It really shocked me. It would kinda make me reallly sad few years ago. I have probally accepted that everyone shapes his own destiny. Hopefully with a little help from above. It was folowed few hours after by discussion why certan countries in close proximity are well.. less "fortunate". I liked the comment that everyone is right where it should be (speaking about developement and money). Haha... To be honest I never saw a jew indulging on others misfortune. There is too much emphaty, self indulgence, proudnes and egocentrisity in each and every one i know. They just want to give 179% out there and cant understand someone that givel less than 127%. It's actually true for many. :P

(3) Blaine, March 21, 2011 4:55 AM

Great point

I completely agree with Mrs. Poalatnik. Charlie Sheen is having a manic episode. His comedic incoherency however could be used as a tool to teach others about bipolar disorder, and there really isn't a whole lot of information about bipolar disorder out there. Psychiatric professionals should be coming out and educating young adults about the seriousness of the disease.

(2) lisa, March 21, 2011 3:04 AM

Life is not a competition....

To rubberneck is just human nature.....and I think most of us who tune into Aish don't follow "trainwrecks" like Charlie Sheen..... l choose to look away from people like that & instead tune into you, "Lori Almost Live" & other Aish personalities!! So thank you for being part of my life......we all have enough in our lives to have to peer into someone else's!!!

(1) shorty, March 20, 2011 5:39 PM

didn't keep track at all!

I had heard of Charlie Sheen's tragic downfall, but i am proud to say, i did not watch a single video or news item on his story. Addiction is a major health issue, and making light of someone's tragic decent into drug additction doesn't do the mental health/addiction field any good.


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