Nov. 30, 2020

Rabbi Joshua Davidson on Genesis 18 and Genesis 22 – “Abraham: Our Complicated Father” - S1E103

Mark is delighted to welcome Rabbi Joshua Davidson to the podcast today. A graduate of Princeton, and, like Mark’s wife, a graduate of Hebrew Union College as well, Rabbi Davidson is currently the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, having previously served as senior rabbi of Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester in Chappaqua, New York. He is involved in numerous social justice issues and organizations, and, in 2009, was honored for his interfaith efforts by the Westchester Jewish Council and the AJC. On today’s episode, Rabbi Davidson has chosen to discuss Genesis 18 and Genesis 22 and the relationship between them. Throughout the episode, the Rabbi offers both his summary of these passages as well as his perspective on their various lessons and interpretations. Touching upon such notions as God’s love of a good argument, what God and Abraham teach each other, and the differences between the public and private aspects of both righteousness and the lives of public figures, he and Mark highlight the dual elements of Abraham’s personality and what we can learn from it. As you listen in, you will quickly discover that the analysis of these two seminal passages of the Torah here today, by these two insightful seekers of biblical truth, truly brings to life ‘both their depth and their relevance to our present struggles, challenges, and opportunities’. Episode Highlights: · Rabbi Davidson’s summary of the passages, how they relate, and their significance for him · God’s love of a good argument · Abraham stepping out of comfort to argue with God · What God and Abraham are teaching each other · Privately righteous and publically righteous people · Public figures and their private lives · Some different interpretations of the Akedah · The multiple potential lessons from it · The dual elements of Abraham’s personality · The lessons that Rabbi Davidson has learned about humankind  Quotes: “Even though Abraham is a junior partner in the project of teaching humanity, Abraham is still a partner.”  “This is the greatest act of hutzpah in human history.” “Of course, there were 10 righteous people.” “The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is our admonishment against this sense that what’s happening within our city, within our country, doesn’t have anything to do with us.” “The difference in his behaviors in the two passages is extraordinary.” “No passage in the Bible’s been studied more than this one…it’s a terrifying passage.” “You’ve got to take care of your own family, too.” “We ground our leadership in our relationships with those closest to us.” “Abraham may, in fact, be testing God.” “I think the writers of the Bible placed it in the Torah as a polemic against child sacrifice.” “The Bible has always been countercultural.” “We project onto God what we believe to be right and what we believe to be wrong.” “There are fundamentalists who use religious tradition to commit heinous crimes.” “The private mess and the public hero, and the complicated father we have.” “Our public figures and our patriarchs – these are not perfect people.” “The Bible was either written by God or an anti-Semite because no people would write their own history this way.” “People will always try to do the right thing.” “They don’t know that they’ve got that strength until they find themselves in that position.”  

Genesis 18 - 

Genesis 22 -  Links: The Rabbi’s Husband homepage: Mark’s Twitter: The Rabbi’s Husband Newsletter contact:

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