"I was misquoted."

"That's not what I meant."

"Oh, yeah! Look who's talking."

"My candidate can beat up your candidate" (not a verbatim quote).

Seems that the campaigns have taken the off ramp from the high road; it's back to politics as usual.

The accusation de jour centers on strategy change vis-à-vis the war. The position isn't the sin; it's the hypocrisy of holding a particular opinion relative to previously expressed views that has talk show hosts exasperated. We almost don't care what you do or say, as long as you don't profess to be opposed to what you once did or said.

What is it about hypocrisy that stinks so badly?

Hypocrisy deserves all the bad press it gets. It's the perfect combination of society's most hated vices: fraudulence, deceitfulness and plain old low-down no-goodness. From the playground to the boardroom it is universally loathed.

But sometimes we smear lipstick on it and use it as an excuse: "I'd put on tefilin, but I don't keep kosher, and I certainly don't want to be a hypocrite!"

Much to the chagrin of self justifying non-hypocrites, the gig is up. Hypocrisy is not the sin; sin is the hypocrisy. (Huh?—Hold on I'll explain.)

A Jew is naturally G‑dly; before birth every Jew swears that he will be righteous and never wicked. Even when he protests that he doesn't believe, thinking that somehow that exempts him from obligation; that is being hypocritical, unfaithful to his authentic identity. A Jew is a "believer the descendant of believers"—no matter how much he swears to G‑d that he is an atheist! Our mere existence as a nation attests to G‑d's existence; any attempt to conceal or ignore that is dishonesty.

Regardless of past performance or declared policy positions, doing a mitzvah is never hypocritical. Sinning always is.

Men have the prerogative to change their mind and heart and thus their actions, even if they vowed they never would. Opinions and feelings evolve. This does not necessarily constitute dishonesty or hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is not being authentic to who you are at this moment.

And doing a mitzvah is always true to who you genuinely are. Nothing can be truer.

Blog Moderator's note: For more insight on this topic, see When Doing a Mitzvah is Hypocritical.