Dec. 17, 2020

Abigail Pogrebin on Deuteronomy 15:7-10 – “Compassion is a Requirement”

One of America’s most prominent thinkers and leaders, Abigail Pogrebin, joins Mark on the podcast today. Abigail has served as President of Central Synagogue, and her book, My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays; One Wondering Jew, was a finalist for the 2018 National Jewish Book Award. She is currently the host of the ‘Parsha in Progress’ podcast, one of Mark’s favorites, which features a regular Torah discussion between herself and Rabbi Dov Linzer , President of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. The passage she has chosen to discuss today is Deuteronomy 15:7-10. Abigail begins the conversation with her summary of the passage and its significance for her that is rooted in its call for us to respond to those in need. She and Mark explore its relevance, particularly during the current pandemic, and review the notion of duties of the heart, as well as the necessity of doing the right thing and the benefits that will consequently arise. As is tradition, our guest concludes the episode with the lessons she has learned about humankind which also happen to reflect back upon the theme of the chosen passage. Abigail and Mark’s dynamic conversation here today unearths the highly relevant guidance of ‘Moses’ parting gift’, and demonstrates just how powerful the wisdom of the Torah can and should be in all our lives. Episode Highlights:  · Abigail’s summary of the passage and its significance for her · Responding to those in need · A call to us now · Duties of the heart · Doing the right thing and the benefits of it · The lessons about humankind that Abigail has learned Quotes: “When you see someone in trouble, you have to act.” “You have to respond.” “The Jews cry a lot.” “Compassion is not necessarily an emotion, it’s a requirement.” “Something is demanded of us.” “This is pushing us to look beyond our Jewish kinsmen or kinsfolk.” “I think right now, we underestimate the power of encouragement, we underestimate the power of comfort.” “Both the material gifts and the blessings are required…you have to do them both.” “People are so tired of thoughts and prayers.” “Don’t think that this is something beyond you that doesn’t touch you.” “You should do it because it’s the right thing to do.” “You’re going to get richer if you give to the poor.” “Pay it forward.” “Everyone disappoints you.” “Everyone gets their hurdle.”  Deuteronomy 15:7-10 If, however, there is a needy person among you, one of your kinsmen in any of your settlements in the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kinsman. Rather, you must open your hand and lend him sufficient for whatever he needs. Beware lest you harbor the base thought, “The seventh year, the year of remission, is approaching,” so that you are mean to your needy kinsman and give him nothing. He will cry out to the LORD against you, and you will incur guilt. Give to him readily and have no regrets when you do so, for in return the LORD your God will bless you in all your efforts and in all your undertakings. Links: The Rabbi’s Husband homepage: The Rabbi's Husband Mark’s Twitter: Mark Gerson - The Rabbi's Husband (@markgerson) The Rabbi’s Husband Newsletter contact:

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