Sept. 17, 2020

Rabbi David Wolpe on 1 Kings 19:11-13 – “The Thin Voice of Silence” - S1E52


Mark is absolutely delighted to welcome his great friend, Rabbi David Wolpe, to the podcast today. Perhaps the greatest Torah commentator in the world, David is the Max Webb Senior Rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, and he has been named the ‘Most Influential Rabbi in America’ by Newsweek, and one of the ’50 Most Influential Jews in the World’ by The Jerusalem Post. Over ten years of his sermons can be found on the Sinai Temple website, and together they form an anthology of how the deepest Torah understanding manifests in the Torah being a guidebook for living better, happier, and more meaningful lives. The passage he has chosen to discuss today is 1 Kings 19:11-13.

David begins by sharing his summary of the passage, the meaning it holds for him, and the lessons he finds within it. Together, he and Mark explore what makes the Torah so wonderful, the nature of prayer, and God’s subtle presence in our lives and the ways in which we can hear Him. They also discuss the evidence and power of ‘Elijah moments’ in our lives, including David’s particularly touching example, and their conversation concludes, as do all our episodes, with our guest sharing the lessons he has learned about mankind. As Mark states, David engages in a magnificent and instructive conversation here today as he shares his own insights and wisdom regarding the Torah, and just how pertinent its lessons are in our lives today.

Episode Highlights:

  • David’s summary of the passage and why it’s meaningful for him
  • The lessons he finds in the passage
  • What makes the Torah so wonderful
  • The nature of prayer
  • God’s subtle presence in our lives and how to hear Him
  • ‘Elijah moments’ in our lives
  • The lessons that David has learned about mankind

Quotes:

“You’re not allowed to go off on a mountain and criticize people. You have to go back, and you have to be involved and you have to be there.”

“God operates from within you.”

“That’s the God that I understand who gives us the chance to hear, but also the chance to ignore.”

“I feel that this could be in some ways the sort of paradigmatic example of what the Torah tells us about how God works…in our own day.”

“If God is not ignorable, then there is no merit in paying attention to God.”

“The whole virtue of living a good life is the living of it.”

‘”Sometimes the ‘doing’ of it tells you what you need to hear.”

“Imagine how one’s life would be transformed if you actually woke up in the morning and said, ‘I could have ten Elijah moments today’.”

“It’s a very counter narrative to what we see going on around us.”

“You don’t change the people on the other side by yelling at them. You change the people on the other side by accepting them, understanding them, and talking to them, and trying to get them to understand your own point of view.”

“If you pray properly, you’re pulling yourself closer to God.”

“Returning to the tradition and something solid and something stable over and over again is intended in part to act almost as…tuning the instrument.”

1 Kings 19:11-13 “Come out,” He called, “and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And lo, the LORD passed by. There was a great and mighty wind, splitting mountains and shattering rocks by the power of the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind—an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake—fire; but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire—a soft murmuring sound. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his mantle about his face and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice addressed him: “Why are you here, Elijah?” https://www.sefaria.org/I_Kings.19.11-13?lang=bi

Links:

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

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

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