Nov. 16, 2020

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna on Genesis 12:1-3 – “The Promise of Becoming a Great Nation”

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna is Mark’s very special guest on the podcast today. Rabbi Sarna serves as the University Chaplain and Executive Director at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University, and as the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of the United Arab Emirates. He is also the editor of ‘The Koren Shabbat Evening Siddur’, and the ‘Orthodox Forum Series: Toward a Jewish Perspective on Culture’, and is a prolific author. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark is Genesis 12:1-3. Rabbi Sarna begins by sharing his summary of the passage, its significance for him, and his perspective on the uncertainty of Abraham’s journey. He and Mark then engage in an extensive examination of the notions of God’s ambiguous directions, Abraham’s response to these and how it reflects his priorities, and the virtually universal approach to interpreting ambiguities. They also look at the most important passage in the Torah for Evangelical Christians, and the importance of the hospitality message of the Abrahamic Narrative for Muslims including its contributions to the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi. The episode concludes with their discussion of power and influence, Abraham’s role as a dealmaker, and the lessons that Rabbi Sarna has learned about humankind. As the Rabbi states, ‘We are a learning species’, and, indeed, there is so much for us all to learn from this informative, insightful, and joyfully passionate discussion here today. Episode Highlights: · Rabbi Sarna’s summary of the passage and its significance for him · The uncertainty of Abraham’s journey · God’s intentional ambiguity and Abraham’s interpretation · The promise of becoming a great nation · Abraham’s priority of family over land · Interpreting ambiguities · The most important passage in the Torah for Evangelical Christians · The importance of the hospitality message of the Abrahamic Narrative for Muslims · The Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi · Power and influence · Abraham as a dealmaker · The lessons Rabbi Sarna has learned about humankind Quotes: “Abraham is called and he begins his journey.” “The truth is…in one way or another, we’re all on a journey.” “There’s actually no part of what God says to Abraham which is straightforward.” “Very often when we have an instruction from God, actually it’s not clear exactly what He wants.” “God speaks in ambiguous terms and Abram has to make a decision about what it is that God is actually telling him to do.” “It’s the promise of continuity, it’s the promise of a next generation, it’s the promise of becoming a great nation.” “Abram feels like he is coming from a cursed place…change of place, change of luck – that’s what Abram was looking for.” “What you’re seeing here is a negotiation between the ambiguous word of God and Abram’s circumstance.” “The very first Jewish accountant.” “How can we make you feel as you belong?” “The war for hearts and minds is becoming increasingly important in the information age.” “Abram more than any other biblical character is a dealmaker.” “When you are an influencer, you can rely and you can trust the power of others.” “We need each other.” “At our core, we are a learning species.”  Genesis 12:1-3 The LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.”  Links: The Rabbi’s Husband homepage: Mark’s Twitter: The Rabbi’s Husband Newsletter contact:

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