The choices our nation has made, and the leadership it presently has in the year 2009, can all be traced back, with quite reasonable clarity, to a single person’s decision to succumb to his personal vice twelve years ago almost to the day.

This ought to be a lesson to us all about the moral choices we make. We must never assume that the effects of our actions are limited to ourselves and our private affairs. The choices we make in our personal lives may not impact nations, but rest assured we are not the only ones who pay for the mistakes incubated in our personal frailties.

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Michael J. Broyde was twice ordained by Rabbi Lamm. He is a law professor at Emory University. He has held a variety of rabbinic roles over the years, from director of the Beth Din of America to rabbi of the Young Israel in Atlanta to Rosh Kollel of Atlanta Torah Mitzion.