My Idiot Rabbi Of The Day – Daniel S. Brenner

He’s boycotting Kellogs for dropping Michael Phelps as a model after the swimmer’s recent string of bad behavior in public.

Rabbi Daniel S. Brenner writes:

I love Special K cereal – it was my mom’s preferred brand when I was growing up (dad liked Shredded Wheat) and I continue to eat it and buy it for my kids. Two of them love it. But daddy isn’t buying it anymore.

When I heard this morning that Kellog’s was pulling their endorsement relationship with swimmer Michael Phelps because of a photograph of him smoking marijuana I knew that it was time to find a new favorite cereal. 

I have strong feelings on this issue for a personal reason. One of my close friends from childhood wrestled with a drug addiction and because he purchased drugs, he ended up in Federal prison. Hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars went to imprisoning him – a non-violent and generally productive member of society – not to mention the devoted father to his young son. What he needed, desperately, was treatment. Instead, our society continues to send the message that if you try drugs, even relatively mild drugs, you should be barred from employment and treated as a pariah. This is the very message that Kellog’s is sending today.

Thirteen years ago one of my friends was killed by a drunk driver. She was visiting her mom and went out with a group of her friends from high school. She was in the back seat of a small car when a drunk driver rear ended them. She was in a coma for two days before she died.

When Phelps was arrested for driving drunk Kellog’s did not think that this was reason to not have him as a spokesman?

In the Talmud, there is a fascinating comment by Rabba bar Channa. He states that if someone has had a little bit to drink, then their prayer is acceptable to God. But if someone has become totally drunk, their prayer is an abomination. If you drink and you get behind the wheel, you are risking your life and the lives of others for no reason. This, to me is the modern parallel to Rabba bar Channa’s concern.

Kellog’s should immediately release a statement explaining why drunk driving was acceptable in their eyes and smoking marijuana is a reason for someone to lose their job. Until they explain their position, I encourage everyone to buy other cereals and to let the Kellog’s corporation know that their public message is rotting our sense of responsibility and morality the way that Frosted Flakes is rotting the teeth of our children.

PS. I did an email interview with Rabbi Daniel Brenner here.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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