June 15, 2020

Amb. Michael Oren on Numbers 32:6 -- "The Quintessential Text for Israel Diaspora Relations" - S1E4


Ambassador Michael Oren is Mark’s very special guest on today’s episode. In addition to serving as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael has also served as a Member of Knesset and as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. He is the author of several of the most important works of history and diplomacy of our generation, has taught at many major universities, and has been named one of the ‘Ten Most Influential Jews in the World’ by The Jerusalem Post. Today, Michael and Mark will be discussing Numbers 32:6, the canonical biblical story of Israel-Diaspora relations.

Beginning with Michael’s analysis of the selected passage and the many layers and lessons within it, they then move on to look at the relevance this passage holds both politically and socially these days, as well as the importance of unity. Michael also shares some lessons he has learned about the Jewish people and mankind in general during his illustrious career. Clearly passionate about today’s topic, Michael and Mark bring this passage to life, explore its modern day equivalents, and demonstrate the truly timeless impact of the Torah.

Episode Highlights:

Michael’s analysis of the selected passage and the many lessons it offers The impact of this passage upon the political reality of the Middle East today Israeli discouragement with American Jews during The Iran Nuclear Deal The modern day equivalent of the compromise reached in Numbers 32 What Michael has learned about the Jewish people and mankind in general

Quotes:

“Chapter 32:6 becomes a primer on relations between Israel and the Diaspora, on the nature of Jewish peoplehood, of the later Talmudic notion of all of Israel is responsible for one another.”

“It’s also one of the first, I’d say, poignant examples of Jewish guilt.”

“Without Jewish unity, there’s a price to be paid.”

“There is an expectation…that the Diaspora will stand by us.”

“Moses wanted a strategic…depth to what would become the Jewish State.”

“We are this immeasurably creative, strong, unified people.”

Numbers 32:6 Moses replied to the Gadites and the Reubenites, “Are your brothers to go to war while you stay here? https://www.sefaria.org/Numbers.32.6?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

Links:

The Rabbi’s Husband homepage: http://therabbishusband.com/

Mark’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/markgerson?lang=en

The Night Archer: https://www.simonandschuster.ca/books/The-Night-Archer/Michael-Oren/9781642935783

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