Opinion by Jeffrey Weiss, Special to CNN
(CNN) -- A day before the start of the Jewish High Holy Days, New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner was out asking voters to judge him favorably in Tuesday's election.
He ran into a bit of unwelcome moral judgment, as well.
One of the city's best-known Jewish politicians got into a heated religious argument at the Weiss Kosher Bakery in an Orthodox neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The argument -- replayed and reported on cable news -- raised questions about how the Jewish tradition deals with transgression, judgment, repentance and rebuke.
Those are all prime concerns for the days around Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Repentance, which begins Friday night.
Weiner, of course, is the former congressman forced to resign after being caught in a scandal not covered by the rabbinic sages: digital infidelity.
After a year of relatively private life, he decided to run for mayor of New York City, only to see his campaign slowed by revelations that his graphic sexting continued long after he’d said he’d stopped.
But his campaign, incredibly, didn't stop.
READ MORE: Weiner: Hate media? Love me
I’ll say only this in Weiner’s support: He has enough chutzpah for an army. (Leo Rosten’s famous definition: Chutzpah is the attribute possessed by a man who, having killed his parents, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan.)
So the day before Rosh Hashana, Weiner wanders into a bakery in Brooklyn. The first three minutes of the campaign stop, recorded on video by a blogger, is merely and painfully surreal.
Weiner is trying to do the normal candidate glad-hand thing and none of the customers initiate a conversation or even make eye contact. They look at him, look away.
I would bet many of them were thinking “A shanda fur die goyim.”
The Yiddish translates literally as “a scandal for the non-Jews.” In the days and places where Jews were attacked for no reason, the worst sin was a transgression by a Jew that became widely known and gave anti-Semites an excuse to tar the entire Jewish community.
That’s still a live concept for the Orthodox. How did Weiner expect to be received in that bakery?
As the candidate leaves, one man in the shop can no longer hold his tongue: “You’re a real scumbag, Anthony Weiner.”
Weiner keeps walking, but responds: “Very nice in front of kids. Very nice. That’s a charming guy right there.”
And then the critic, later identified as Saul Kessler commits an error of his own, saying that Weiner “married an Arab.” Actually, Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, was born in Michigan. Her father was from India, her mother from Pakistan. Sure, she’s Muslim. But most of the world’s Muslims aren’t Arabs.
READ MORE: Is Huma Abedin blaming herself?
Kessler and Weiner have a heated exchange, but Abedin’s ethnic heritage doesn’t come up. Weiner challenges the man’s right to judge him. Kessler tells Weiner that he’s a bad example and should stay out of the public eye.
“What rabbi taught you that you’re my judge,” Weiner demands. “You know who judges me? Not you. You don’t get to judge me because you have shown no sign you are superior to me. And you are not my God.”
Is Weiner right in saying that only God can judge him?
From a religious standpoint there’s a long Jewish tradition calling for those who transgress religious norms to be judged and rebuked by others in the community. (The Christian concept of “judge not lest ye be judged” has nothing to do with Judaism.)