July 6, 2020

Yossi Klein Halevi on Genesis 37:18-36 -- "How Joseph Overcomes Betrayal, and Arises from the Pit"

Joining Mark on today’s episode is his very close friend of almost 20 years, Yossi Klein Halevi. Truly one of the most thoughtful men in Israel, Yossi epitomizes what it means to live and chronicle the examined Jewish and Zionist life. He is the author of countless articles and 4 books focusing on growing up as a Jewish extremist, his spiritual quest to achieve peace with Muslim and Christians in Jerusalem, a history of the political journey of the paratroopers who liberated Jerusalem in 1967, and a collection of letters to his Palestinian neighbors. Yossi has chosen Genesis 37:18-36 to discuss with Mark today.

Their conversation begins with a look at Yossi’s years as a militant young Jew, and the factors that ultimately led to his break from right wing politics. He also shares his reasons for selecting today’s passage, the relevance he finds in the story, and his joint analysis of it with Mark. Yossi concludes by offering examples of faith which he witnesses today, and the lessons he has learned regarding humanity. Prepare yourself for a conversation which clearly demonstrates the warm friendship these two remarkable individuals share, and which offers a level of insight which only two great students of the Torah, humanity, and life in general can offer.

Episode Highlights:

Yossi’s years as a militant young Jew His break from right wing politics Yossi’s reasons for selecting today’s passage The relevance he finds in this story Yossi and Mark’s analysis of the passage The examples of faith which Yossi witnesses today Yossi’s two lessons he has about mankind


“It took me a very long time to understand that what I once thought of as my best qualities were actually the qualities that were my biggest impediments to spiritual growth.”

“I came to appreciate, as an outsider joining Israeli society, that left and right were each partially right, but also deeply wrong in assuming that all truth was on their side.”

“I don’t know of another figure, certainly in biblical literature, and maybe in all literature, that makes such a long and complicated and painful and, ultimately, triumphant spiritual journey.”

“I am seeking my brothers.”

“I carried the name of a Jew who was murdered in an act of betrayal by humanity with a father who had lived in the pit, and so this really became in some way my lens through which I experienced the continuity of 4000 years of Jewish history.”

“What a great blessing that is, to be able to look at the seemingly chaotic details of one’s life and see a pattern.”

“I know how much I love my children, can you imagine how much God loves me?”

Genesis 37:18-36 They saw him from afar, and before he came close to them they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer! Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we can say, ‘A savage beast devoured him.’ We shall see what comes of his dreams!" https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.37.18-20?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en


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Yossi's Amazon Book Page: https://www.amazon.com/Yossi-Klein-Halevi/e/B001IXOA04

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