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The first readers’ comments on Rabbi Shmuley’s second book about Michael Jackson

January 4, 2011

Gigi has just told us that Boteach Schmuley released his new book based on the taped interviews with Michael Jackson. It is called “Honoring Child Spirit: Inspiration and Learning from Our Children” Rabbi Shmuley in Conversation with Michael Jackson’.

This news urged me to browse the internet for some free reading of it as I simply cannot wait to hear Michael’s thoughts. The fact that he speaks about children makes the book all the more important to us as each word Michael said about the matter is absolutely precious for his advocates.

The book is not yet found in the free site http://jetzi-mjvideo.com/ I used for the first Shmuley’s book for which I didn’t want to pay a single penny. However the Amazon has a marvellous discussion thread which once again showed to me what a fantastic read other people’s comments could make if they were factual and sincere. I would be happy and consider the job of Michael’s vindication half-done if Michael’s detractors ever read our posts with the same relish I’ve read these comments with.

The reviews made by readers J. Leone and Nancy Wright are exceptional. My deepest respect goes to these two worthy ladies whose account of the book will be posted here almost in full.

I hope you’ll enjoy Michael’s thoughts the way I enjoyed them and will be able to decide for yourself whether you buy the book or read it free on the Internet. The option of not reading the book is not even considered by me as a possible one – after reading the reviews.

The full version of the discussion is some 10 pages long and is found here: http://www.amazon.com/tag/michael%20jackson/forum/ref=cm_cd_pg_pg1?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx11O5ZOFFEMUQ4&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxYLB2YRH58HVB

The selection I’ve made contains the most valuable and informative comments of all:

Dec. 23, 2010

J.Leone says:

I just received my copy of this book – earlier than the stated release date by Amazon.

Schmuley promised, in his first book about Michael, that there would be a second book about Michael’s view on children, and this is it.

I just finished the long introduction to the book, and Shmuley has some wonderful and insightful things to say about Michael and his conversations with him about children. He acknowledges that not all readers will embrace this book, or even want to read it, because of the allegations against Michael in the past. He pleads that people read the book with an open heart and listen to Michael’s message; in other words, even if you don’t like the messenger, at least listen to the message as it is important.

He and his wife went to see “This Is It”. He said there were “oohs” and “ahhs” about Michael being able to move and sing the way he did at fifty years old. He said people missed Michael’s magic. He said that he didn’t. He missed Michael’s humanity. He missed a friend who had tragically died well before his time. He said Michael never sang a full song to him, or moonwalked for him, etc. He said it “remains a profound irony of my close friendship with Michael that I never really got to know him as Michael Jackson the superstar but only as Michael Jackson the man”.

(Personal note: This is something he touched on in the first book, that the enough people don’t think of Michael Jackson, the man, that died too soon and only think of Michael, The Entertainer.)

Shmuley said after the first book had been released, that people asked him why Michael had chosen him to speak to what was in his heart. He said he felt that there could be several reasons. He said that they both had similar backgrounds in that they both had bad childhoods, that he was a parent who took his children with him everywhere and was committed to his wife and family, etc.

He says that Michael told him that he adamantly believed that the childhood curiosity he held on to was the source of his “limitless professional creativity”.

He said arm-chair analysts have said that Michael was a victim of “arrested development”. The rabbi said he disagreed. He felt that Michael CHOSE not to grow up and there was nothing arrested about it.

He said when Michael wanted to, he “could compete and thrive in the world of adults and usually beat them at their own pastimes.” He said that he had a video of Michael giving a presentation to a group of Wall Street investment bankers about turning Neverland into a water theme park, and that his presentation could have competed with any CEO.

(Note: This is similar to what Lisa Marie has said about Michael. She said he could be as normal as he needed to be, and that she told him that if he showed people who he REALLY was, that the public wouldn’t think she was crazy for marrying him. She said he winked at her and said, “Don’t tell them.”)

Shmuley said that, although Michael would venture into the world of adults, he refused to reside there. He felt compromised. He felt if he allowed himself to grow up fully, he would, in his opinion, have lost his creativity and stopped being innocent and would not have fun. Michael would delve into the adult world, but didn’t want to stay there because he found it “suffocating”.

Shumley says that in his opinion, no matter what the final cause of Michael’s death would be, that there can be no doubt that he died of a broken heart, of deep and lasting pain, and the main causes of that pain were a broken relationship with his father, and the fact that innumerable people believed that he was a predator who preyed upon unsuspecting children. He said that he felt that Michael never healed from the 1993 accusations and that he never fully recovered from the 2003 arrest.

Shmuley said that Michael knew that he did not believe the allegations of child molestation were true, although he still feels it was wrong for Michael to share a bed with children that were not his own. (Note: This is a change from what Shmuley said in his first book. He was a bit more conflicted then.)

He said Michael felt that he had come to know his heart and to know that he would not harm a child. “I still do not believe that Michael Jackson ever did, or could, molest a child. I believe the allegations are false.” He said it was “excruciating for Michael that the area of his life that meant the most to him, the one to which he yearned to contribute most, became the aspect of his life that engendered so much hatred.”

He said Michael felt forever misunderstood by the public; that he was a man of profound contradictions who almost forced people to choose sides. He had the most recognizable face, yet he was enigmatic, reclusive, and mysterious. He said on stage, Michael exuded a boldness and confidence like no other, but in private he was painfully shy and deeply self-conscious.

He said his everyday life was very normal- eating with his kids, addressing business and recording concerns, following the news, etc. – however he was perceived by the public to be strange at best, a freak at worst. He appreciated children more than any other personality, yet his motives for doing so aroused grave suspicions among his detractors. He said that Michael realized how harshly people judged him which led him to become more and more withdrawn and reclusive.

The rabbi then talks about how children grow up too quickly today and do not realize how wonderful it is to have a childhood. He addresses how too many parents do not spend enough time with their children, etc. and that is why he and Michael were working on the children’s project. They wanted to try to bring families back together.

Shmuley said he was not a blind fan who saw no wrong in Michael. He told him that “his plastic surgery was disfiguring him, that he prescription drug habit was killing him, and that his reclusive lifestyle was making his heart shrivel.” He said Michael listened patiently for two years, and then he could listen no more and their relationship began to weaken.

Shmuley says that Michael helped him see through the eyes of a child and opened up a whole new world to him and he saw the value of living life through child-like eyes.

Shmuley said that Michael wanted “his life to become synonymous with a great cause and he wanted to make the world more innocent, playful and alive.” He said Michael hoped to do that by emphasizing lessons from the world’s children. Because of the allegations, he was not able to do this, and that he felt it slowly poisoned Michael’s soul and that it caused him a level of pain so great he destructively chose to escape it through the prescription drug addiction that ultimately consumed him.

(My personal note: Although Shmuley’s comment on Michael’s drug usage will get people upset, Teddy Riley and other close friends, family members, etc. have mentioned his prescription drug addiction. Michael was not the only one on this planet who has fallen into this. I’m sure there are millions of people, all over the world, who truly need the medications to survive the pain from which they suffer everyday. I’ve finally come to accept, as hard as it is for me, that this was an issue for him. However, that is NOT what killed him as the autopsy revealed. I think his physical pain caused him to need pain medications, but his emotional pain played a big part as well. Who wouldn’t want to escape the assault on his soul that the media put him through? I’d probably take something too just to escape it for a few hours myself. No one on this earth suffered the emotional abuse he did most of his life – starting with his father. He was only one lonely human being and we humans can only survive so much trauma).

The introduction ends with the hope that parents will find a way to love each other and not divorce, that there will be no wars, that older and younger generations will reach out to each other to create harmonious families. He says they we all need to rediscover the hopefulness and purity of our youth. He says Michael, however imperfectly, was leading us back there. He said although people may not want to follow him to that place completely, that it doesn’t mean we can’t let him open our eyes just a “wee bit wider”.

Each chapter addresses an aspect of children:

Cherishing, Honor, and Respect;  Childlike Innocence; Creativity and Inspiration; Curiosity; Forgiveness, Friendship, and Loyalty; Giving and Generosity; Gratitude and Thankfulness; Hope and the Divine; Humor, Play, and Laughter; Imagination; Jealousy, Envy, and Admiration; Joy Love and Guidance; Openness and Vulnerability; Security; World Children’s Day and Family Dinners; Coda: Sixteen Childlike Values for Adults, Parents, and Children; Acknowledgements

Last sentence of the Introduction:
“Go ahead. Read on. Your lost childhood awaits.”

I like the book very much so far. Now, reading on to the chapters to see what Michael has to say. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Cherish, Honor and Respect:

Ok, a short chapter that had me crying as it touched me so. NO commentary from the rabbi, just Michael’s answers to his questions.

The rabbi asks him about the “awe” in his life and Michael talks about seeing a beautiful sunset and thanking God for it. He talked about how important clouds are to the earth, but that they didn’t have to be beautiful when we look up – it is God’s little extra touch for us.

He said he thanked God everyday for the blessings of his children and that he sees God through them. He said that children must be shown love and approval. He said too many parents make the mistake of wanting children to become what they want them to be, instead of what is going on them inside and what they are brought to this planet to be. He said too many parents say, “Why don’t you get a real job.” or “You’ll never be successful at that.” etc.

Shmuley asks him if his children know what they want do to and he mentions that Prince has already told him he wants to do films! I thought of Oprah asking the kids what they wanted to do and Prince said – films. He hasn’t wavered. No wonder he seemed put out with Oprah’s laughing at this goal as he has been thinking about it since he was 3 or 4!

Michael talks about his parents’ approval and that they love what he has done in his life. He said he felt he had accomplished what his father had wanted for himself. He said he wished his father had been able to be more affectionate in his approval, but that he would say things like “Good job.” His mother would hug and kiss him. He said his father tries, but it is just so hard for him to be affectionate. This is the part that broke my heart:

“That’s why always I try to be completely affectionate with my children. I look in their eyes every day and say, “I love you,” and they tell me all the time. They go, “My heart misses you.” These are the words they use.”

Childlike Innocence:

Michael talks about how he thought that he was ready to be a father because he read so many books on child psychology, but that it was much more joyous than that. He said he learned as much from them as they learned from him. “You learn about having a good heart and being a good-spirited person. And the way I am, I try and imitate them. People always say, “Act your age.” But I try and act more like children because they are innocent, they are Godlike, they are pure. I try to be as humble and sweet as they are.” He mentions Matthew 18 in the bible where Jesus tells the apostles to come as little children, or you will never enter the kingdom of heaven, so he tried to follow that.

He talks about why he created Neverland and why he is attracted to being Peter Pan. It is because Peter is always young and never had to experience the pains of adulthood. He makes a distinction between being childISH and childLIKe. He aspired to be the latter. He said he experienced adult things as a child, and now he wanted to experience the childhood he never had and that is why he created Neverland. It was a place for him to be free and also a place for children to experience nature. He says people were changed after visiting Neverland, because you could feel the innocence all around them. He said he always played music and kept the “synergy” going there.

He said , “I could walk around and not be spied on and I could become one with nature and climb a tree and do a load of stuff that I never go to do as a child. And I LOVE it. When I am up in that tree and I can be surrounded by this world of branches and leaves and I can hear the trickle of the water below and I am in heaven. I am in the perfect paradise and I feel I could do anything. That’s what I am like when I am around children. I could do anything. There is no limit to what I can do.”

He talks about how important nature is how he doesn’t like cities and always wants to be out in nature. He especially felt there was healing powers in water. (He reveals that he is a bit intimidated by the ocean.) He said that people are drawn to water because of the effect it has on them. He said there is something about our souls that need water.

Shmuley asked him how he has dealt with all the hatred aimed at him in his life. He said that most people would hate back or become less trusting – as we know this happened to Michael after 2003. Michael’s response was this: It is not in me to be like that. I try to be loving, and I try to find love and see love in all things. I love nature, I love the forest. I love the grace, the gentleness, the easiness of how gentle nature is. It is just giving. I love that.”


Creativity and Inspiration:

Shmuley asked him how the birth of his children changed how he looked at his career, his music and his creativity. Michael replied that his children get great priority in his life. He said it was like the work he did after their birth was almost as if it “has to be the highest form of my creative ability because they inspire that in me…they inspire me.”

He talks about Michelangelo, Spielberg and George Lucas and how the most creative people are just like children. He said they play little games or read comic books and that he liked to do this as well.

Michael said the greatest one-word message of all time, is LOVE, and that children teach you how to love.

Michael talks about reading an article about how every cell in our body moves to the rhythm of the music we are listening to. He said they respond differently to oboe, flute, basoon, etc. He said as soon as he hears music he has to move and that it is important to just become the drum, become the violin, etc. He said you should not count when you dance – that is should be spontaneous and come from within. He said that even though it is improvisation on his part, “you still have to put your body through hell to express yourself. You have to be that dedicated.”

    • One intersting thing the rabbi does, is when the word God is printed, he prints it like this G-d. Is there some Jewish reason for not printing the whole word, God?

Curiosity:

Michael talks about his fascination with the universe and how things work. As an example, one time he wanted to know about eyelashes. He researched and found out we have a whole colony of things living in our eyelashes. He liked to examine a leaf, a bug and wonder if it had a heart, did it think, etc. He said there was nothing in which he was not interested.

He said his mother always let them get as many books they wanted and they would read, read, read. He said the more he reads, the more ignorant he feels because there is so much to learn.

He said children are very curious and that is why they tear up things – they want to see how it works. He said adults should encourage them to touch and explore. He said he always tries to encourage Paris and Prince’s curiosity.

He said Prince does some things that are really scary to him. He says that he sits and watches the television and calls out every shot that the cameraman is doing and that the director decides to do. “So he sits there going. “The camera is moving up for a close-up. Now it is moving back. Now it’s going..” He said he had no idea how Prince knew how to do that because it is not something he had been taught. (We have to remember that Prince is only 3 or 4 when these tapes were made – amazing! Of course Michael would have genius children – wouldn’t he?”🙂

He then talks about how he did the same thing with his music and dance when he was little. He told of how his mother was amazed because he would be choreographing and giving his brothers notes on how to move. He also would do all the harmonies for the group. He said that people ask him where does this come from, I go, “Er, it comes form above and it just works through me.” I can’t create it. It has to be a channel. It really does.”

Shmuley asks him if he believes his talent is a divine gift and if he felt grateful to God for it. Michael replied: “It is a divine gift, Shmuley, it is. When the gift of song and the gift of dance come into my head and drop into my lap, like a lady giving birth, I literally get on my knees and I say thank you.”

    • Why do some Jews spell God, “G-d”?
      http://judaism.about.com/od/reformjudaismfaq/f/god_spelling.htmGod’s name is treated with unusual care in Jewish tradition. The divine name, YHWH (spelled with the Hebrew letters yud, hey, vav, hey) is never pronounced. Traditionally, Jews read the word “Adonai” (often translated as “the Lord”) whenever reading God’s holiest name in Torah or in prayer. However, “Adonai” is not God’s name.

Dec. 24, 2010

Nancy Wright says:

I have finished reading the book and agree with everything J. Leone said in her synopsis. Everyone should forget the prejudice against Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, drop the silly nicknames, and buy, buy, buy this book. You will find Michael’s soul in there. Every single thing you need to know about him is there for all the world to see. It is Michael speaking from the depths of his heart and soul from beginning to end. Buy one for yourself. Buy them for friends. Include one in every CARE package you send. Mail them to Washington. Donate them to libraries and schools. I promise you reading it will explain so much about Michael. Even if you think you know all about him and love him to pieces already, reading it will be an enlightening experience.

J.Leone says:

I see no reason to continue the chapter by chapter outlining. Just read the book, ladies it is fantastic! I think the rabbi learned a big lesson from the first one and all the criticism he received about his commentary. Good for him! He has given us just pure Michael.

This is what is said at the end of the book:

Michael pushed me hard to try to establish a World Children’s Day. We went to the UN together, met a group of diplomats to try to make it happen, but it didn’t.

I have, however, taken our joint vision of regular, uninterrupted family time to launch and international family dinner night called Turn Friday Night into Family Night.” Here is the web address: http://www.fridayisfamily.com

…If Shmuley stole money, why isn’t he in jail? If he did what you say, that was a terrible thing to do, however this book can change the world view of Michael Jackson and there is NO PRICE that can be put on that. As you’ve said before, the biggest black mark on Michael’s legacy is the charge of child molestation. Jesus taught us to forgive, and I think Shmuley has redeemed himself with this book. Michael revealed his true self to Shmuley and he has brought Michael’s profound words to us and the world. THIS, to me, is what is important. The rest can fall away.

Nancy Wright says:

Most heartbreaking moment of many in the book: Michael said, “My biggest dream is one day for Prince and Paris to say to somebody, ‘He was the best dad.’ “

J.Leone says:

That last statement is heartbreaking, but Michael’s dream came true. Paris has said it twice – in public- to the world- Michael was the best dad- ever! Michael did good, didn’t he?

Nancy Wright says:

BOTEACH: All the mean-spiritedness that you have felt, have you ever wanted to hate people back?
MICHAEL: No. As a response to very mean journalists who just lie, your response is not “I hate you for what you wrote,” but rather, “I don’t understand why you did this to me and I will leave it like that.” It hurts very much because they think you are made out of some strong kind of substance and that you can rise above it all the time. But you try to find a way to keep your head above it and it is not always like that because it does hurt.
BOTEACH: But you have never wanted to hate back?

MICHAEL: No.

Nancy Wright says:

In Acknowledgments: “Francesco Cascio, Michael’s former manager and close friend, was instrumental in making sure that Michael and I got together regularly to record these sessions for the publication of these books. I thank Frank for more than a decade of continued and living friendship.”

Dec. 25, 2010

J.Leone says:

Actually, after their friendship ended, Michael invited Shmuley and his wife to his 30th Anniversary concert in NYC saying he wanted, needed, him to be there. Sadly, Schmuley declined the invitation.

Also, about the tapes on his relationships. He was sitting there with a tape recorder running, and sometimes with a microphone in his hand. His children were in the room as you can hear them in the background, Frank Cascio was there. Why would Michael share that information if he didn’t want to? I do think he would have probably edited out some of it, but all those tapes were planned and Michael obviously wanted to do it.

I think, as we have learned about Michael, he didn’t like hearing anything negative about his life and the way he was living it. When a friend or family member tried to offer advice he didn’t like, he would choose to withdraw from them. As Lisa Maria said, he would “X you out”.

I think this is what happened between him and Shmuley. He didn’t want to hear any more advice on how to change his life for the better. Michael said on more than one occasion – my life, my decisions. I think because he was so controlled as a child, that he had decided that he would always live his life on his terms – which he did. (Unfortunately, that stubborness led to a lot of problems for himself as we saw with the Chandler and Arvizo cases).

I think what is most important is that Shmuley has brought us Michael’s words, and that has the potential to change people’s perceptions of him for the good. I just cannot kill the messenger on this one.

Shmuley said during interviews for the first book, that most of the profits would be going to children’s charities. I have no idea if he followed through on that. I went to his website and asked if he planned to do the same with this new book. I’ll let everyone know if I get a response.

Nancy Wright says:

After the first book was published fans and non-fans alike got to meet Michael the man in a way they never had before. Maybe it changed some minds about him. This book is so far following the same pattern, but it is even more illuminating about Michael than the first. In this book on page after page you will be saying, “Now I understand.”

The two taken together show without a doubt from his own words just how mentally and emotionally damaged he was by his father and the boys’ early and intense focus on their careers, how he managed to deal with it then, and how he bravely overcame all of that to become the man he turned out to be.

I can’t get into the minds of the downright haters and bigots, but I just can’t see how ordinary people can read this and still believe Michael could harm a child in any way. For that alone the book is priceless. I can guarantee the two books will be used as primary sources by every serious Michael Jackson scholar and writer forever.

Nancy Wright says:

The Rabbi has blown off his anger and explanations and judgments in the first book, which I think was as cathartic for him as the tapes were revealing of Michael. The second book is almost pure Michael, and I do mean pure. It shows exactly what kind of man he was and how he got there. There is no superstar to be found there, but a complex, humble, loving, hurting human being.

J.Leone says:

I’m almost finished with the book and Michael talks about Gavin. The rabbi explains, in an aside, who he is and how Michael was acquitted of all charges.

Michael said that children are the light of God. He said, “I was telling Frank the other day, in my opinion Gavin represents the white light we see before we die, that hope that comes. Don’t be afraid, he’s like an angel. How could he not be sweet and kind in his soul? There is a message there somewhere, the kids have it.”

How could this child have lied and betrayed Michael so? I guess it is as Michael says in the book, that children are corrupted by adults by the way they are raised. I hope Gavin reads this book and sees what Michael said about him, that he will feel under conviction to do the right thing and recant all the horrible accusations he made against Michael. I won’t hold my breath that he will be man enough to do so.

Another interesting thing is that Michael says, is that everything he did was for children – “the greatest of joy”. This reminded me of the song on “Michael”, “Best of Joy”. He said he would always meet the kids that would be in “Heal the World” before he performed backstage so they would be comfortable with him. He said he NEEDED to have those children there because they gave him the energy to perform.

He told the rabbi that he hoped his children would choose to have a career in the arts, but that they would have to be who they wanted to be. He was talking about starting to teach Prince about work and then he was going to work with Paris. He said they would never have to work as hard as he did, and that he would have to be careful in not pushing them too hard about work as he was done by his father and others.

He says he is terrified of dogs because of a bad experience he had, but that he didn’t want his children to be afraid, so he got them a Golden Retriever.

It was hard to read the abusive things Joseph did to him. He talks about how horrible it is to shame a child. He said his father would hit him as hard as he could across the face and leave the imprint of his hand on him and then push him out, crying, in front of the fans. He said adults should never shame a child in front of their friends, as they would never forget it. He also said he could never spank his children because if they cried because he hurt them, he couldn’t take it. He said physical punishment reminded him too much of what he experienced. He said he couldn’t even watch someone hit a child in a movie – that he would have to get up and leave crying and he would be angry.

His thoughts are just amazing and give us a lot to think about. I’ve wondered what he taught his children in those years after he made these tapes in 2001. I hope he was able to do a lot of the things he wanted to in training them to be good people. It seems as if he did, as his kids are terrific!

Dec. 28, 2010

J.Leone says:

Sorry, Aria, you will not take away my joy that this book brought to me. I am not “snowed”. You are the one who is denying yourself joy by being so hard-nosed about this. I feel you are missing the point of the book by your hatred for Shmuley. Shmuley is insignificant to me – Michael’s thoughts and words are not. I treasure them. THAT is what is important to me.

I don’t care how many shekels the rabbi makes from the book. What I care about, is that he has brought Michael’s thoughts and feelings about children to the forefront for all the world to see. If the public reads this book, then they will see the TRUE HEART of Michael Jackson. If the negative perceptions can be changed, then we are well on our way in the vindication of his legacy. I don’t think you can put a value on that. I hope Shmuley sells a million of them.

This whole debate reminds me of the “Michael” controversy. The fans can’t see how their saying the book is trash, just because of Shmuley, puts another black spot on Michael’s name. Everyone should be shouting from the rooftops to buy it. It should be given to friends and relatives – just like I gave everyone in my family a copy of “Michael” for Christmas.

This book has ZERO negative commentary from Shmuley. I don’t care if Shmuley knows “the way the wind is blowing” and changed his tune. At least it shows he can learn from his mistakes and make a change. It is too bad that more in the media can’t seem to follow suit.

J.Leone says:

Yes, when he was younger, he definitely was waiting for marriage, although he did just about everything else. Stephanie Mills talked about them kissing and seeing him in his underwear, but she said they didn’t have sex, but that he was a good kisser and that he was all man. She thought she was going to marry him. She has staunchly defended him and said that he was too good for this world.

J.Leone says:

In the Bashir interview, he said that Tatum invited him over for sex and he went as Mr. Big Stuff. When he got there, she told him to lie down on the bed which he did. She came over to the bed and started to unbutton his shirt and he couldn’t go through with it and Tatum just walked away. Of course he was only sixteen at the time. Sixteen year olds are much more bold when it comes to sex these days, but back then, it was a different time. When Bashir asked him if he was tempted, Michael said “No. I wasn’t ready.”

He said this about Brooke in the rabbi’s book: “we had one encounter when she got real intimate and I chickened out. And I shouldn’t have.”

I guess this is what I was thinking when I said he was conflicted. I think he was tempted on many occasions when he was younger, but because of his JW beliefs, he felt he should wait until marriage.

J.Leone says:

The rabbi said in the forward of the first book that there would be a second one which would be all about Michael’s views on children. There was always a plan to do this book. After all, this was the reason for their original alliance – to try to get an International Children’s Day established, and to encourage families to come together for “Family Night” dinners on Friday evenings.

I have no doubt that these are Michael’s words. If you decide to read it, I don’t think you will have any doubts either.

This book really helped me to understand him and the “whys” of how he lived his life. The way he conducted himself in his life baffled many people, and they thought he was just “wacko jacko”. In actuality, there was a definite and conscious reason for everything he did. His outlook on life is awe inspiring. His thoughts on children, and childhood, were unique and his ideas intriguing.

It is fascinating the way he sees children, his efforts to always be a child in his heart, and his boundless curiosity about everything in life which he viewed through childlike eyes.

He truly felt that if he ever lived totally in an “adult” world, that his creativity would be stifled forever. In the book, he says that everything he accomplished was for children, and that they had saved his life.

Perhaps if the rabbi does TV interviews, they will play part of the tapes like they did the first time. I hope so!

Jan. 1, 2011

J.Leone says:

I finally finished the book. I kept putting it off because I didn’t want it to end. I knew when I read his last words, that it was TRULY his last words to the world. There will not be more. It made me incredibly sad.

The book ended on a very sad note. Michael was talking about that one time he remembered any kindness from his father. It was the time he lifted him and put him on a carousel horse.

SB:: “And you replay that memory a lot in your head?

MJ: “It’s all I have, I can’t think of any other time. No games, no fun, nothing.”

How tragic and devastating to read those last words from him.

J.Leone says:

Jane: I’m so happy you are giving the book a chance. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. It is a gift from Michael to us. You will understand him so much better after reading the book. You will learn the “why’s” of how he chose to live his life. It will bring you clarity as he brings you into his mind and soul. Let me know what you think.

Love to you too!

J. Leone, love to you too! I hope you are not cross with me for reading this and making it available to others. I just want everyone to know what I’ve learned from you. After all it is all there in the OPEN and it is AMAZING.

I don’t know how to thank these ladies for the rare chance to get familiar with the book before reading it!

Here is a link to thank J. Leone and Nancy Wright if anyone wants to (you need to be an Amazon customer).

And here is a link to my post about Shmuley’s FIRST book: https://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/the-michael-jackson-tapes-by-rabbi-shmuley-boteach-to-read-or-not-to-read/

39 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2011 11:31 am

    Boteach is a gold digger. PERIOD. He doesn’t care a thing about Michael, he’s just changing his gears to see if he’ll make more money from Michael’s fans THIS TIME AROUND.

    Like

  2. May 16, 2011 8:52 pm

    I’ve recently found Shmuley Boteach’s interview about Michael and his second book called “Honoring the Child spirit”. His views of Michael have definitely changed and though he is still critical of the slumber parties the overall interview produces a much better impression. Shmuley has probably learned his lesson:

    “Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s newest book, “Honoring the Child Spirit,” recounts his conversations with Michael Jackson.

    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach had more in common with Michael Jackson than you might expect. Sure, one is a religious leader famous for his books, television appearances and statements regarding relationships and “kosher sex;” while the other was arguably the biggest pop icon of all time. But beyond that, both were family men at their core.

    Jackson, who died in 2009, was notoriously protective of his children and extremely devoted to them – the latter being a quality he shared with Boteach.

    The two men met several times toward the end of Jackson’s life to discuss family and the wonder and innocence they called “the child spirit.” The conversations were recorded, and were released on Jan. 11 as a new book, “Honoring the Child Spirit.” The Chronicle caught up with the ever-busy rabbi to talk about Jackson’s legacy.

    The Jewish Chronicle: What was the purpose, for you, of putting this book together?

    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: I was Michael’s rabbi, and I was hoping he’d be able to get his life together. One of the most important things in that process was simply explaining himself. Michael had a lot to say about what parents could learn from children. This book is telling parents the opposite of what they normally hear, which is “Your kids need you, and if you don’t prioritize them, they’ll grow up scarred.” This book says, “You need your kids, and unless you’re around them, you’ll grow old very quickly.”

    JC: Why did you want to keep the format of the book as a question and answer?

    RSB: I felt it captured the authenticity of the message. A lot of people were disparaging of Michael’s message. They’d say he’s odd, he’s not smart or he’s out to lunch. Had I put words in his mouth, they would have continued saying that. In using his own words, people will judge for themselves. I think a lot of what he says is profound.

    JC: Your talks with Michael were pretty extensive. What’s one thing you feel like he taught you?

    RSB: He taught me that you can never be too busy for your children. He had every right to give an excuse: “I love you kids, but I need to fly here for a concert.” He never did that. He used to call me and ask if I’d told my kids I love them. I’d say I did. And he’d ask if I looked them in the eye when I said it. I’d say I didn’t remember, and he’d tell me to go back and do it again.

    JC: Even after Michael was found innocent of charges brought against him, why do you think the public was so skeptical about his love of children?

    RSB: I don’t believe for a moment that Michael was a pedophile, but he did make major mistakes. He confessed to sharing a bed with a child that wasn’t his. I don’t think anything sexual happened; I think Michael saw himself as a big kid, but that doesn’t matter – that was a big no-no. The second reason people remained skeptical is that he was perceived of as strange. If he’s strange, then that bad stuff must be true. That’s why I thought Michael should do books like this.

    JC: The book talks a lot about innocence and wonder. Why do you think those concepts are so foreign to most adults?

    RSB: Everything today is utilitarian; life is about the end result, the goal. We don’t go to college to get knowledge; we go to get a degree so we can get a job. That explains why Americans are so educated and so ignorant. We’re not studying out of a deep thirst to know, but rather a deep thirst to earn. If you see a beautiful mountaintop, and your first thought is whether you can climb it or turn it into a ski resort, then you can’t just stand by and be awed.

    JC: How will Michael Jackson be remembered?

    RSB: Michael’s death was absolutely tragic. But for the public, it was almost redemptive. Since he died, so much of that hatred has disappeared. He’ll be remembered as an artistic genius who inspired a lot of people by his song and dance, but also by the social messages behind his lyrics. Michael was very proud of the fact that his lyrics weren’t “I want to do you, baby,” they were, “Heal the world.” What a waste; what a shame. He’ll be sorely missed.

    http://thejewishchronicle.net/view/full_story/11164026/article-Book-recounts-rabbi

    Like

  3. Patula permalink
    March 30, 2011 2:37 pm

    What many people need to do is read Redemption by Geraldine Hughes so that they will know that 1993 was a scheme deliberately planned by the late Evan Chandler. What Michael should have learned even if he did not have a drug problem and only made that mistake back some 18 years ago is that he neeeded mentoring period. His mother should have worked harder with her son in terms of getting him early on what he needed to have survived life and he would be here now. What I would love to see and have not seen at all is that as a man of color even if he did not have these allegations against him is that so many in the field of black gospel music especially those who looked up to him to have reached out to him period.

    No offense, but I wish that many of those who know God on the other of music would take some of the most brilliant minds and work with them. I read Gospelflava.com and have of these artists never ever thought of reaching out to him and many others but that is their fault for not caring at all.

    Like

  4. Layne permalink
    January 30, 2011 9:04 pm

    I have finished reading this book and it is quite revealing and wonderful. One just
    knows all of it is Michael’s words and feelings and his unique way of seeing the world.

    About the author? I, too, do not particularly care who makes money or how much.
    For way too long it was negative, manipulative, vile people who made money off
    this good man. Michael’s true nature and being needs to be written and shared, whether by the rabbi, a close friend, manager or bodyguards.

    So, my humble suggestion is that anyone who wants to learn the truth from Michael’s own statements, read them in this book and share where you can. If the money part is just too big an issue, I’m sure at some point the book will be edited to be only
    Michael’s words. They are important and full of love.

    Like

  5. Suzy permalink
    January 30, 2011 8:48 pm

    Thanks, Youtoobrutus!

    I skimmed through it today and it looks like a good book. Very little commentary from the rabbi, just the conversations which is great.

    Like

  6. lcpledwards permalink
    January 30, 2011 8:33 pm

    @Youtoobrutus
    Thank you for that link!

    Like

  7. January 29, 2011 1:36 pm

    Book recounts rabbi’s talks with fallen pop icon Michael Jackson
    by Justin Jacobs
    The Jewish Chronicle

    http://www.thejewishchronicle.net/view/full_story/11164026/article-Book-recounts-rabbi%E2%80%99s-talks-with-fallen-pop-icon-Michael-Jackson-?instance=home_news_1st_left

    Like

  8. gigi permalink
    January 27, 2011 3:52 am

    Helena, here’s the link to Shmuley’s 2nd book http://www.mediafire.com/?rt393315br3rhcc
    I just downloaded it myself and getting ready to read thru the pdf.

    Like

  9. Alison permalink
    January 20, 2011 11:03 pm

    i just ordered this book.

    Like

  10. nan permalink
    January 20, 2011 8:58 pm

    i remember right after mj died rabbi had an article on belief.net that Michael had done some tapes regarding his feelings on how children should be treated etc.
    so i did resent it when all of a sudden Michael became his whole book and he was hedging on whether or not he believed the allegations..
    i think the rabbi was afraid to say he thought michael was innocent, for fear of a backlash, ..the media was always so tough on mj and that was who he had to go to promote the book.
    i read the version without the rabbi commentary and it was very enlightening.
    i think i will actually pay for this one if its as good as everybody says it is.
    maybe i will even send one to oprah LOL.

    Like

  11. ares permalink
    January 20, 2011 12:32 pm

    I really don’t understand how these people keep doing these comments about MJ’s kids, keep insisting on MJ’s not being their father etc.And i really don’t understand how somebody hasn’t told them to just shut up and that is none of theiR business. But i guess insulting MJ, questioning everything around him has became something totally mechanic that people don’t even notice any more when they cross the lines. It’s MJ so the lines don’t exist for him right? I think i know why they want do believe that those kids are not his, even though MJ raised them, and that just demostrate how sinister their mind is.

    Like

  12. Anna permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:50 am

    The Rabbi is still kind of a hypocrite in some ways. I guess he didn’t read the rebuttal to the TMZ piece. I do think he handled it well though when Joy kept saying “he paid the family off”. I’m glad that he tried to defend Michael about that even though Joy wasn’t listening. Joy is annoying and all these talk show hosts and commentators that don’t like Michael or hate him even are going to cater to Murray’s defense when the case goes to trial. Not only that but bring up irrelevant and distorted facts from the past. We all see it coming from a mile away don’t we?

    Like

  13. lcpledwards permalink
    January 20, 2011 2:09 am

    @ Gigi
    Thanks for that link! I was able to download it and watch it, and I found the transcript here for anyone here who has trouble downloading it!

    The WORST part is when Behar tries to use the TMZ anesthesia story as “proof” that MJ was a bad parent (which shows that TMZ is more influential than we thought!), and then went straight into the molestation allegations (without providing any salient facts, of course!). Rabbi Boteach did his best to stand up for him regarding the allegations, but its easy to tell that he isn’t as knowledgeable as we are!🙂

    Behar couldn’t come up with any substantive reason to believe he was guilty, so she had to resort to the usual excuses: “He paid off that first family!“, “A grown man sleeps in the same bed as an unrelated child is guilty!“, and my personal favorite “Where there’s smoke,there’s fire!” Rabbi Boteach was quick to make the distinction between smoke and fire, which was very good on his part.

    Another thing that bothers me is when Rabbi Boteach implied that MJ was a bad father for not having the mothers around (Debbie Rowe and the Blanket’s surrogate). I can’t understand how anyone can say that MJ is a bad or selfish father for not having the mothers around, when there is an EPIDEMIC of absettee fathers all over the country! Men who are literally sperm donors, who “hit it and quit it”, who refuse to “buy the cow because of the calf”, who don’t pay child support (cough, cough, Jermaine, cough, cough…..), etc. How many men can have their daughters call them “the best dad you could ever imagine” at their memorial?

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1101/18/joy.01.html

    Like

  14. January 20, 2011 12:59 am

    I believe this is the transcript of the show last night that ol’ Schmuley was on. I have a mac so I wasn’t able to read this windows file. Behar is another one who doesn’t know the meaning of the words ‘NOT GUILTY’

    Joy Behar Show 1/18/11 – Is Michael A Good Father? http://www.megaupload.com/?d=E9GUD4L4

    Like

  15. January 19, 2011 5:00 am

    Alright, heads up everyone. Shmuley has NOT learned a single thing. Seems he was on the Joy Behar show (she’s another one ugh). I’ll have more details on this tomorrow, you might even hear about it before then. Anyway, the man speaks out of both sides of his mouth. And he can’t keep MJ’s name out of it while he’s hustling himself to any tv network program, and stupid tabloid newspaper that gives him a platform to spout off his idiotic gibberish.

    Like

  16. January 12, 2011 8:28 pm

    “remember when we talked about doing a post on MJ’s vitiligo and lupus, and how the lupus affected his ability to heal from plastic surgery? (or something to that effect?)
    Well, Seven did a similar post a few months ago: http://www.mj-777.com/?p=3348

    David, we will need to look into that too. Only these preliminary hearings made me so busy that now I don’t know when. I am still not finished with Murray’s business and hope to post several more pieces.

    Like

  17. lcpledwards permalink
    January 12, 2011 4:52 am

    Helena & Lynette:

    This is off topic, but remember when we talked about doing a post on MJ’s vitiligo and lupus, and how the lupus affected his ability to heal from plastic surgery? (or something to that effect?)

    Well, Seven did a similar post a few months ago: http://www.mj-777.com/?p=3348

    Like

  18. January 6, 2011 11:52 pm

    If there is a shift I could pin point it to 3 things:
    1. Paris at the memorial – The media was expecting the children to be odd, or have less than flattering recollections of their dad. I know Diane Dimond did.
    2. Evan Chandler’s suicide – I think for the most part the media pretended this didn’t happen.
    3. The FBI report – The media made a lot of noise, but in the end the report lacked teeth.

    Like

  19. MJFan07 permalink
    January 6, 2011 4:25 pm

    This guy is a scum. At one point in the book he says he thinks Michael had a sexual attraction towards Jordie Chandler. He wasn’t even there! Didn’t even know MJ at the time! He had no basis on which to say that other than to make a provocative comment. I totally lost respect. Michael had fired him because he had stolen money from the Heal the World organization. Since then he basically went around trushing Michael. Shame on him.After that comment I lost all respect for the man and will never believe a word he says.

    Like

  20. January 6, 2011 11:44 am

    Very, very interesting.

    I got into a rather heated back-and-forth with Boteach about a year ago (he did an online chat which was badly publicized, and I was one of only several people who showed up for the 20-minute session—that made it difficult for him to dodge my questions!), and it was clear to me then that he had already started to backtrack on some of the statements he’d made in articles written prior to Michael’s death—almost to the point of denying that the articles even existed under his byline, and then declining to respond when presented with links to said articles.

    I have to assume that he has been going through a period of guilt and/or shame on top of what is clearly a desire to get more media attention and make more money. There is still a real person here who must have, on some level at least, truly cared about Michael at some point—and most likely still does.

    Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be giving Boteach a single nickle, but I’ll take what I can get when it comes to getting positive source materials out there. I was JUST saying in a conversation yesterday that there has been a noticeable shift in the publishing industry’s attitude toward Michael Jackson in the past year (I can’t even go back to June ’09; I think it’s more recent than that) in that books that would never have been considered viable before—books that paint MJ in a positive light—are now the only books that anyone will pick up.

    No one would have touched this book three years ago, that’s for sure. This is a positive shift, and like I said, I’ll take what I can get. 18 months ago, this is NOT how I would have predicted things would turn out. I envisioned tomes of fabricated, thoroughly eviscerating content, but that has not come to pass. Not because of changing ethics in publishing, of course, but because the marketplace and consumers have dictated what becomes a salable product.

    (I will read it online, yes. Thank you for this post—it sounds like a fantastic read!)

    Like

  21. Suzy permalink
    January 6, 2011 8:27 am

    Carm,

    Another thing–my personal belief is that he had to sensationalize his book in order to get anyone to publish it. Remember how Aphrodite Jones couldn’t get her book published because it was pro-Jackson. I also believe that was the case with Ian Halperin, when he claimed that MJ was gay.(At least he was adamant that MJ was not a child molester–whew…)

    I’m pretty sure this is the case when it comes to books about Michael! Publishers just won’t touch a book that is 100% fair and respectful to Michael. It’s the sad truth.

    Like

  22. Jaqueline permalink
    January 5, 2011 10:08 pm

    Poor Michael… He must have suffered a lot because of those horrible alegations and the fact that he knew that many people thought the worst about him, due to the evil, dirty, brainwasher media. And I think he was very strong… As I remember, everytime I saw him on the news in 2005 he was smiling, although it was a sad smile, and He used to wave to the fans… He wanted to be strong…
    But God always knew he was innocent and God was by his side. I’m happy knowing that he is with God now.

    Like

  23. Carm permalink
    January 5, 2011 8:50 pm

    Schmuley knew all along that Michael was not a predator or a criminal even though he did not give that impression in his first book. (I haven’t read it–Did he actually say that Michael should be buried as far away from children as possible?) I guess he misread the market and thought such disrespecful comments would be well received by a cynical public. I think he learned a valuable lesson. Another thing–my personal belief is that he had to sensationalize his book in order to get anyone to publish it. Remember how Aphrodite Jones couldn’t get her book published because it was pro-Jackson. I also believe that was the case with Ian Halperin, when he claimed that MJ was gay.(At least he was adamant that MJ was not a child molester–whew…) The fact that Schmuley’s second book could be published really is cause for celebration.

    Like

  24. kate permalink
    January 5, 2011 8:50 pm

    Ooops, I just realized it was a commenter and not you. My mistake.

    Like

  25. kate permalink
    January 5, 2011 8:48 pm

    Thanks for writing this article. I’m really curious about the book now. One quick comment, the reason that he writes the word “God” as “G-d” is because many Jewish people and some Christians believe that God’s name is to sacred to be spelled out or spoken.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton

    Like

  26. January 5, 2011 8:37 pm

    “I remember an article he wrote after Michael’s death and in that he made it clear he didn’t believe Michael was guilty in 2003. He said he knew the Arvizo family and they were kind of shady (not sure if he used exactly this term, but it was something along this line). About the 1993 case he took a “LMP position” and said something like “I wasn’t there so I cannot possibly know”.

    Suzy, yes, Shmuley did say both. However it seems to me that Shmuley behaves like a weather vane – he turns together with the wind. I looked up my previous post about him ( https://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/the-michael-jackson-tapes-by-rabbi-shmuley-boteach-to-read-or-not-to-read/) and this is what he said within a span of three months:

    Boteach: …let’s face it, Michael may have — I don’t know — but may have been guilty of very serious, serious crimes. I want people to understand that even if it were true and I have no idea if it is or it isn’t, that this was a tortured, tortured soul, who from the earliest age did not know love because he felt that he had to perform to earn love. He lived in permanent insecurity. He was one of the most tortured souls I ever came across.

    AND THREE MONTHS LATER after receiving angry responses he spoke in a more moderate way:

    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.

    I hope his ability to turn with the wind did not let him down with the new book and he sensed the change in the public opinion which is indeed taking place.

    Like

  27. January 5, 2011 8:23 pm

    “This NEW TREND will sooner or later reach others too. I wonder, as I wrote before, if there will any scapegoat (s) at the end of the road? And if yes, who they would be?”

    Louise, it seems that at the end of the road people will be disgusted most by the worst Michael’s haters – Diane Dimond, Maureen Orth and the like. They did the dirtiest work in his harassment and were deriving great pleasure from what they were doing, so eventually people will try to distance themselves from odious figures like them. At least I hope they will.

    Like

  28. January 5, 2011 6:56 pm

    “I myself don’t fully trust Shmuley’s motives.”

    Anna, I am not even trying to look into his motives. They simply do not matter to me. If you or anyone thinks that he is doing it for money I suggest reading the book online (when Jetzi has it). In fact this is what I am going to do myself.

    Like

  29. January 5, 2011 6:50 pm

    “I seriously doubt though whether there has been a change of heart in Shmuley. The book is for sale. That means money. However, the value of the book will be in revealing more of the true nature of Michael to those who do not know it.”

    Deborah, seriously, I don’t care whether Shmuley is revealing the truth for money or for the “idea” of it. What matters to me is that the truth IS being revealed. If more people learn of Michael’s innocence through his book, so much the better.

    As to Shmuley I will still be on my guard towards him – people rarely change that dramatically and that quickly, though sometimes they do. Some people turn out better than one thinks them to be and seeing it happen is one of the greatest pleasures life can give. Really.

    Like

  30. January 5, 2011 6:34 pm

    “It shows that a NEW TREND is forming now – to show Michael as a human being, … a victim of a set-up and a great parent he really was.”

    Totaly agree with you, VMJ. This NEW TREND will sooner or later reach others too. I wonder, as I wrote before, if there will any scapegoat (s) at the end of the road? And if yes, who they would be?

    Like

  31. January 5, 2011 5:51 pm

    “But from Shmulley, a man of God. Now he is trying to make money from a man that not long ago said that he believed that was a ped-le. Suddenly now that isn’t the case anymore? Oh, the hypocrisy !! And these people used to criticize Michael?”

    Ares, these people are hypocrites and should be taken for what they are. They’ve sensed it is time to change their tune and are now jumping on the bandwagon (if I use the word correctly).

    But what is top important is not THEM – we know their worth – what’s top important is that the wind is changing. It is the sign we’ve all been waiting, hoping and praying for. It shows that a NEW TREND is forming now – to show Michael as a human being, not a p-le, a victim of a set-up and a great parent he really was.

    I won’t even mind if it becomes profitable to clear Michael up of all the allegations – let them make their money, I don’t care. It is only the result which I am interested in and if the result is Michael’s vindication, so be it.

    Like

  32. Suzy permalink
    January 5, 2011 4:18 pm

    I didn’t read the rabbi’s first book but I remember an article he wrote after Michael’s death and in that he made it clear he didn’t believe Michael was guilty in 2003. He said he knew the Arvizo family and they were kind of shady (not sure if he used exactly this term, but it was something along this line). About the 1993 case he took a “LMP position” and said something like “I wasn’t there so I cannot possibly know”.

    Like

  33. January 5, 2011 4:01 pm

    “Like Rabbi Shmuley believes?”

    Teva, from the reviews I gather that Shmuley is now singing a different tune. If this is so I’ll be only happy about it.

    Like

  34. Anna permalink
    January 5, 2011 4:46 am

    @Deborah Ffrench

    I agree. I myself don’t fully trust Shmuley’s motives. Perhaps he has convinced himself that this is a noble gesture. It’s hard to believe that though based on some of the commentary from the first book that I only read parts of online. However, I think you’re right, some good could maybe come out of it. I know some good came out of the first book, despite the negative commentary on the Rabbi’s part. So though I don’t trust the man or even support alot of what he says, I’m going to hope for the best regarding the outcome this book has on it’s readers.

    Like

  35. Deborah Ffrench permalink
    January 5, 2011 3:29 am

    Extremely interesting VMJ. I seriously doubt though whether there has been a change of heart in Shmuley. The book is for sale. That means money.

    However, the value of the book will be in revealing more of the true nature of Michael to those who do not know it.

    Like

  36. ares permalink
    January 5, 2011 1:14 am

    Oh,my God. Seeing people like Shmulley and Paretty change their tone now that MJ has died, just makes me want to vomit. Ok, i can gulp Paretti’s shift of tone. After all he is an impudent man without a trace of morality, a scum basically, from whom you can expect everything. But from Shmulley, a man of God. Now he is trying to make money from a man that not long ago said that he belived that was a ped-le. Suddently now that isn’t the case anymore? Oh, the hypocrisy !! And these people used to criticize Michael?

    Like

  37. morinen permalink
    January 5, 2011 12:29 am

    Wow, thank you for this great and very useful summary! I just wondered about this book today and this thread is everything I need. I was hesitant about buying, because I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of “let’s save the children” topic, and knowing Shmuley’s preaching talents I was afraid it would be just that. But it looks like the book is much deeper and more about Michael himself. Definitely buying.

    Like

  38. January 4, 2011 10:56 pm

    “The main causes of that pain were …….., and the fact that innumerable people believed that he was a predator who preyed upon unsuspecting children.”

    Like Rabbi Shmuley believes?

    Like

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