Sex & Love

Eliot Spitzer’s Hooker Scandal Has Biblical Echoes

With Eliot Spitzer out as New York's Governor and David Paterson now being portrayed as the sole righteous man in Sodom, America is busy getting to know a new character: Ashley Alexandra “Kristen” Dupre, the high-end call girl who Spitzer … Read More

By / March 14, 2008

With Eliot Spitzer out as New York's Governor and David Paterson now being portrayed as the sole righteous man in Sodom, America is busy getting to know a new character: Ashley Alexandra “Kristen” Dupre, the high-end call girl who Spitzer was caught employing. Seriously, if this press doesn’t boost her fledgling music career nothing will.

This week’s Spitzer news came as a pretty big shock. But over at Jspot, Rabbi Jill Jacobs is making an interesting point: Haven’t we heard this story before?

We’re not just talking boy meets girl, boy gets elected to public office, boy gets caught with a stripper narratives here. Rather, we’re talking about women getting to know men of status in the biblical sense, donning disguises and “playing the harlot” in order to make personal gains. Rabbi Jacobs puts it best: “A young woman, with no parents in the picture, conceals her identity and sleeps with a powerful man in the hopes of moving up in the world, or at least of saving herself from ruin. Must be almost Purim."

The more you think about it, the more familiar and less modern the story becomes: Tamar, veiled and waiting for Judah on the side of the road in order to produce offspring, Yael luring the Canaanite general into her tent so that she could give him milk and stab him in the brain, even Ruth, who got all dolled up and uncovered Boaz’s “feet” so that she and her mom-in-law wouldn’t starve to death. A nice, girl next door type from New Jersey named Ashley becoming the vixen temptress Kristen in order to make ends meet is not that far off from these types of tales.

Rabbi Jacobs wonders what this says in terms of gender roles and society. Do modern women really feel that they need to play the harlot in order to get what they want?