July 6, 2020

Bill Kristol on Deuteronomy 34:10 -- "Moses is the Greatest: Reflections on the Last Line of the Torah"

Bill Kristol, one of the great public intellectuals of the past 40 years, is Mark’s distinguished guest today. Bill is a Harvard graduate who is currently the editor-at-large of ‘The Bulwark’, was a founder of ‘The Weekly Standard’, and is a regular guest on leading political commentary shows. From 1985 to 1993, he served as chief of staff to Education Secretary William Bennett in the Reagan Administration and as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle in the George H. W. Bush administration. Bill has also taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University. The passage he has chosen for today is Deuteronomy 34:10.

In this episode, Bill shares his memories of growing up in an ‘intellectual household’, offers his reasons for selecting today’s passage, and collaborates with Mark for an in-depth analysis of it. The two continue by exploring the Torah’s theme of partnership, the significance of Moses’ greatest act, and the role that human interpretation plays in understanding the Torah. Bill finishes by relating the lessons he has learned about humanity during his lengthy and highly successful career. You are invited to bring your ‘broken self’ closer to these eternal truths through this spirited and inspiring conversation.

Episode Highlights:

Bill’s experience of growing up in a ‘New York City intellectual household’ His reasons for choosing today’s passage Bill and Mark’s analysis of the passage The Torah’s theme of partnership The significance of Moses’ greatest act Human interpretation of the Torah What Bill has learned about mankind


“A great Jewish story must end unfinished.”

“The Bible…does not want Moses treated as more than a man.”

“The Bible’s worried about the human tendency to want to believe prophecy whether it’s well founded or not.”

“You have to govern yourself.”

“Moses is praised for breaking the tablets.”

“The proof that…God was at least very deeply involved in the writing of the Torah is that it’s simply too good to have been written by man alone.”

“God loves the broken…come with the broken parts, and that’s what it means to be a Jew.”

“The Torah…requires human understanding, human interpretation, to understand what has been done, what God’s word really is, or what Moses’ own goal in this really was.”

Deuteronomy 34:10 Never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses—whom the LORD singled out, face to face https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.34?lang=bi&aliyot=0


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