Jan. 22, 2021

Russ Roberts on Genesis 44 – “Forgiveness and the Unheralded Hero of the Book of Genesis”

Mark is delighted to welcome Russ Roberts, possibly America’s premier popular economist, to the podcast today. A host of his own remarkably successful podcast, ‘EconTalk’, Russ is also a prolific writer in many forms, including rap, on a variety of topics such as economics and liberty. A three-time ‘Teacher of the Year’ at George Mason University, Russ currently teaches at Stanford. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark today is Genesis 44. Russ begins by sharing his summary of this passage and its backstory before joining Mark in an analysis of the use of the word ‘approach’ and their differing interpretations of both Judah’s words and the notion of forgiveness within the passage. They go on to review Judah’s heroic nature, the actual definition of forgiveness, and the advisability of starting new years without bearing grudges/anti-grudges or ‘keeping score’ within marriages. Russ draws the episode to a close by sharing the lessons he has learned about humankind, highlighting the power of being present for others and simply listening to them. Today’s conversation, with its insightful back and forth of differing interpretations, demonstrates the great tradition of debating the Torah and the expansion of ideas that is inherent to this practice, revealing the lessons and guidance so applicable, and so very necessary, for our current times. Episode Highlights:  · Russ’ summary of the passage and its backstory · The use of the word ‘approach’ in the passage · Differing interpretations of Judah’s words to Joseph · Perspectives on Joseph’s forgiveness of his brothers and himself · Judah’s extraordinary qualities · Defining forgiveness · Starting new years by ‘burning them both’ · Bearing grudges and anti-grudges · ‘Keeping score’ in marriages · The lessons that Russ has learned about humankind Quotes:   “Every single time there’s polygamy in the Bible, it’s a catastrophe.” “One of the most dramatic moments in all the Bible.” “It’s ripping his heart open.” “I don’t think he really forgave them.” “He doesn’t do the basics of forgiving.” “I’m not sure Joseph ever forgives himself.” “Maybe he said to himself, ‘I kind of deserve this’.” “Judah…he’s like the forgotten hero of the Book of Genesis.” “It’s quite complicated, the psychology and emotion of this.” “If you give most people the opportunity, they will disappoint you.” “Everyone’s in a battle so be kind.” “We go through life with this ‘Imposter Syndrome’.” “The world’s a lot more complicated than it appears on the outside.” “We look for causation everywhere.” “A lot of what comfort is, is just being there and allowing the other person to be heard.”  

Genesis 44 - https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.44.1-34?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en  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: daniel@therabbishusband.com

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