Episode 268: Abraham Did Kill Isaac - Tzemah Yoreh


Support for this episode of judaism. Unbound comes from the family. Jcc in palo alto california whose vision is to be the architect of the jewish future. The oshman's jcc empowers you to experience jewish paths toward a life of joy purpose and meaning through innovative jewish learning and wellness programs community building and initiatives to develop the next generation of jewish leaders. Learn more at www dot palo alto jcc dot org. This is judaism unbound episode. Two hundred sixty eight. Abraham did kill isaac. Welcome back everyone. I'm dan lee benson. And i'm lex roseburg and as we get towards the conclusion of this series of episodes that we've been doing on the bible although like many of our subject. It's one that will come back to where excited today to be talking to the author of a new book that serves as a great introduction to the way that the bible is studied in the modern academy. But it's so accessible and it so fun to read. There's some classics in this field. That are wonderful books. The bible an earth and david and solomon which are both by israel finkelstein and neil. Usher silberman if anybody's really interested in finding a way into this. Send me an email. Because it's really something that i particularly. Enjoy talking to people about and and helping people find their way into by the way reading. Some of this material and critical bible study has been something that's been discussed by previous guests and judaism down. You would think that people who read about critical bible. Study the idea that the bible was written by numerous as opposed to god or moses that would somehow be damaging to people's faith and maybe for some people it is but for other people whose faith has already been shaken in some of those ideas the opportunity to connect to the bible in a different way and to understand the bible still as a really important and powerful work and having never been introduced. Really to how this book might have come about in a different way. Other than the traditional way that it's been taught can be very liberating for people and very exciting and very invading back into judaism. And that's something that we hope that maybe this series has done a little bit for some of our listeners and some of these books are really amazing opportunities to dive deeper into them. Our guest today. Makia acura is the author of a new book called. Why abraham isaac the first stories of the bible revealed and unlike some of the other books which are more organized chronologically. This one is organized. Almost like an archaeological dig where we're really trying to understand. What was that base. I layer of the bible. And then how. And why was it added onto and we look at that story by story by story. And it's just a new way to present this material. In a way that we found particularly engaging and exciting why abraham murdered isaac will be available as an e book. Starting this coming. Tuesday april eighth. You can get it wherever you get e books and it's not san mateo res- first book on the bible. In fact he has written many of them. You can find them. Listed at a site called modern scriptures. It actually has a different website. It's www dot bible criticism dot com. Where you can see a wide variety of his books which include not only books about the bible. He has also written a series of books on humanist prayer because in addition to having to phd's in bible criticism and instant wisdom literature is also a humanist. Rabbi he hasn't rabbinical ordination from the israeli affiliate of the international institute for a secular humanistic judaism. We've had a number of guests related to the humanistic jewish movement on the podcast over the years and he is now the rabbi of the city congregation of new york which is the humanistic congregation in new york. City san mateo. Welcome to judaism unbounded so great to have you. Thank you very much in this book. You talk a lot about what you call the original bible. Could you tell us a little bit about what that original bible is what you mean by when it when it was written. What is this original bible that you're finding within the bible as we know it what i mean by that is that it's missing the first story from the logically that was written down and then every subsequent story was built upon it So that's what i mean by. The original wide will probably more accurately the original original torah. Tell us a little more about what that means to sort of. Open up a version of the bible that we have which is to say. I don't know the unoriginal early like another version. And what is that like archaeology task. Like where you're sort of a us. Rq because it seems like digging. It's like you're you're looking through layers and the second question who cares. They're a great sentence or two in your book. So one person wrote the bible or twenty five people wrote the bible like so what we have a thing like. What is it. What are the ramifications if multiple people wrote this or if there was an original source or not. I liked the comparison an archaeology. You know it's a productive one. Because i 'cause the way i look at the at the toronto especially is that it's like sediment that cruise i think of layers as opposed to sources posted documents And there's one basic story and then every subsequent author added their own layer to it until it arrived at the tax that we have and so i can i can choose a chapter To choose okay. i'll let me let me just start. Where i started the book. I mean what why. Abraham isaac story of abraham. So let's start with the a chapter twenty one So abraham travelled word the land of the south in live between tradition tour he lived as a foreigner in guar. So you can ask like. Why did i start here. Well it's because it's the first time i identify a particular writer. Why think is is the first writer and identify him here for variety of reasons that actually many other bible scholars agree with me. It's sheer. I where you see elohim rather than other names for god elohim is used beforehand but it is used by a different author an author. Who's very i call. Electric column the accountants very organized. Very you know you see him in genesis one. So he's a very different kind of office so this is the first time i see a story that uses the name. Elohim is really just a story not like a list. Not an accountant. So abraham travelled toward the land of the south between tradition to or he lived as a foreigner in guar abraham said about sarah his wife. She is my sister of king of sent Sarah this is a story other actually three of them. We're a one of the patriarchs. Abraham in two of them and isaac in another at present their wives as their sisters and the monarch in two of the stories takes their sister or wife An another story almost does and so what is the relationship between those three stories than three stories should have relationships. And so which story comes. First story in genesis twelve Which is the first iteration of the story or this story in genesis. Twenty and so for lotteries. I think it's the story in genesis twenty. That came first and over here. This is hard to really fly. Sea in the english but A female king of garage sent and took sarah the verb to take in biblical hebrew. When a man takes a woman has a has a sexual connotation to it It means that he has sexual relations with a woman. So this is of course very problematic. is a matriarch and chapter. Twenty what she gives birth to isaac so her but what she does at this point. is very critical i to know isaac is like where he comes from. Ed if sarah is having sexual relations with so what else. Did abraham made up the father. So you know this. Is this bears a relationship to chapter twelve in the book of genesis. Where farrow takes sarah to his house at again. Chapter twelve sexual relations is implied In fact highly suggested rushie who is a medieval commentator. Says that pharaoh was sick with the ed could could perform you know i. It's a difficult situation it says but it's a but it's a very critical issue and it's not just a critical issue for me. It was a critical issue for a bunch earlier. Rabbis i it's critical in the context of the tax as well and one thing that if i understand this correctly the original author that you're going to be talking about comes from the north of the the land of israel which in biblical times they were two kingdoms in northern kingdom of israel. And this other judah and one of the scandalous things that would be for us today. Scandalous with the idea. That may be. Isaac was not the son of abraham is that that would mean that. We're not descended from abraham right but in the north they didn't think they were descended from abraham so it was no big deal right. This is just a story. About abraham and he had this son who turned out to be the son of a foreign king. And then later as you're gonna get killed them so okay nice story. It doesn't matter because he's not our ancestor right to an extent you're y- that's right meaning in the it. Seems like the popular the myth that these this original story is dying is that jacob was the ancestor and jacob was the son of isaac. And where does jacob come from. Well you know the answer. I give is fairly glib. I say he comes from beersheva But the place which is louie place and you know that you know it's not telling his prehistory But that's because the story has to start somewhere for for the northern kingdom. The story started with jacob and verse. Three God came to of the american dream of the night instead to behold your dead man because of the woman who you have taken for. She is a man's wife that seems fairly straightforward. Okay he'd had sexual relations with sarah adultery. Obeit you know you did not mean to do that but nonetheless that he deserves. The guy seems fairly unjust. You know. you didn't know what he was doing. But the sensor of but his justin what is not just You know it's a story we don't have to you completely tied do those. Are those notions. We can just hold them in reserve for questions leader. So again you see the take it you know taking sexually. Or otherwise if he had just taken her and not anything. Why would he be liable to killed like she should. She should be okay. If you haven't done anything you should be okay Role that implication that they had sexual relations verse. Four immediately goes ahead and says Now if you had not come near her okay. That's a that's news to us. You know considering how what. It was implied. But you have a contradiction. Meaning there's one there's one version The first versus aren't implying that they had sexual relations and now merely says they do not have sexual relations so here we have a contradiction and we have to resolve in the one of the ways we resolve. It is by assuming more than one author. So here's the beginning of that happening in this chapter and so here we have a an interesting dream. Dialogue versus of four to six of you mouth did not come near you. Said more Will you kill even a righteous nation. Didn't she tell me she is my sister. She even see herself. Said he is my brother in integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands. I done this thing. God's it to him in the dream. Yes i know that in the integrity of your heart. You have done this. I've also withheld from sinning against me. Therefore i did not allow you to touch her. See again emphasized again and again. They did not have sexual relations three times in the course of that. I did not have sexual relations with this guy. I do not have sex with that woman. Yes but there's another. There's another a very interesting aspect to these verses. And that is that this is a dialogue in a dream. Now if you look at dreams in the enough in the whole the hebrew bible people weren't having dialogues and dreams. That's not something there's one other occurrence of that and that's a really Dialogue that has sold them in in which there's a very very long passage where which delivering really not comparable but Detects is cognizant that it's at odds and says God said to him in the dream it has to remind you that we're in a dream so you're since we may have lost track of the facts for those reasons. I assume that verses four to six were added to this chapter and i assumed that You know we have here a contradiction. We have here Divergent details and we have something that just doesn't occur elsewhere biblical narratives so a scene your occurrence and so for those reasons i would say the versus four to six were actually added by somebody who was very concerned that are not have sexual relations of emails. Which is something very very understandable because the next chapter Has isaac being born and we want to be sure that is experience is through abraham so that brings us to the who cares. I've excited so i get the point. You're making it. I think that it's very very persuasive. I am now. A total adherent of versus four to six a very specific jewish movement of those who will now spouse versus four to six of chapter. Twenty geneticists are new source. You've have recruited me. Now what what. Should i be telling people the ramifications of that are who cares. I think there is a very important meta points to make about this. There's never been one story stories shift and change and we re tell them fits our our cultural generational circumstances and it's a point that you find right in the hebrew bible itself if you look closely enough and then you know it. Loosens like this idea. This is the truth you know. Were you know my reading of the bible is the one that we should you know. Except i look at it through a supplementary. A criminal paradigm stories built upon each other. They're just multiple stories out there in the hebrew bible multiple perspectives and so nobody has monopoly over the story. Why for example with this person who corrected the story to make sure that they emphasize that they never actually had sex first of all. Why did they preserve the story at all. Why did they leave this part of the story where he says he took her. You know why not just kind of race that line and only have the part where they don't have sex like. How do you understand the way that this work happened. I think there was Erasure wasn't part of the part of the bargain. What that means is that There it's crucial people just built on each other and the reason for that is fairly straightforward. It's because detached was regarded as important. You don't you don't you. Don't excise senatorial process that we're very used to in the modern world where we can and reorganized and. I don't think that that was really a part of what was happening a lot in the ancient world maybe to some extent. Maybe when you really disagreed or whatever. But if it's a story that you're bringing out you're preserving and handing it down to the next generation. It's a story respect. So you're not going to tamper with it in that way. You will add you on the margin saladdin. You'll add at the beginning at the end. But you won't actually You won't actually erase. And that's i would say that fundamental key to the way i understand how How the torah and other human by x. developed a follow up on that. I mean i agree with you in many ways. I also want to play devil's advocate cause like by definition if something was in the original bible and erased then. We don't have it so we can't point to it and say Yes a strategy that people used is they sometimes the race stuff because if they raised raised it and so. That's not to say. I think for sure that happened i am. I do think that what you're saying about how something can have cultural cachet so that you can't really race it at a certain point. I think that's true. And i think that there's some complications there and so i guess this brings me to a related question. Which is maybe. I would argue. There's people who are racing right but for those who would say okay. I'm with you. But like i'm not so sure about this original bible i can agree with you that there are different sources happening in this text of genesis twenty. But i'm not sure that one of them is say the original so much as it's part of a source which people you know. They have names for these j. e. n. p. And like they would say yes this points to there being multiple sources that are sort of in conversation with each other and that there's like a redacting putting together at some stage etc but they would argue. It doesn't necessarily point to an original bible from which the others flowed so. I don't really know where. I'm situated in that debate. But i'm curious how you would articulate your case that no this specifically does point to any original bible and not to multiple different traditions in different places or times that were put together. So you're absolutely right that that That's a weak point in any argument. The argument from silence is hard to make. What if something is raised. I will never know that it was a race like we won't know when you make that kind of argument where you have to proceed is through aggregate at each level if you find a story. That's being told the story that is coherent at each stage. It seems more likely. I think that it's more likely that dynamic of erasure was limited. The test of a model in any scientific endeavor is how much it explains. How much new insight you can gain into it. And so i submit that my paradigm might be wrong And i will fully willing to admit that. But i will also argue that. It provides a lot of interesting new insights but how the tax work. And that's why i think it has a that validity to itch meaning. This is just a particular example about the about the of isaac. But let's go to genesis twenty two so we're at the murder scene So while you you may ask. There wasn't a murder and in genesis. Twenty two Before abraham brings down his nice the angel of god calls it from heaven and says do not murder him and then isaac is replaced by ram I mean that's how the story is. A story is told but there is plenty of evidence that somebody was trying to cover up the scene of the crime the most suggestive Um without any biblical criticism at all is verse. Nineteen in a genesis twenty two and that is so abraham returned to his young man and they rose up and went together to their chevaux. What's the problem here is. It's not there something happened to him. Okay you can say that. That's an emission. Okay yeah young. Abraham the stories about abraham on is it so he went but that's really an inadequate answer considering that in previous versus the emphasize that they went together twice in verse six eight and so this is actually very suggestive to Goal mutassim which are elaborations of the of the story of the biblical tax that isaac was actually sacrificed There's a whole book about it. by By sholom spiegel called the last trial and he talks about this tradition of Where isaac was sacked vice So this idea was present in the minds of early rabbis. Interpreting tax and in liturgy in prayers have references to the ashes of isaac. Why do you have registry ashes of isaac. There was no burning The ran was merged so again it was very a people allude to the murder. And then say oh. The murderer didn't happen. You know First of all we have the motive. The motive i think is a abraham abraham sought. That's a flashback. To denison twenty. That seems like that is. It may have been on female sun the early rabbis interpreting tax Were worried about that. Possibility and Had isaac not exactly like abraham because people say if isaac look at abraham so So they address that possibility very early on that is it was abraham son and not someone else's son nelson but they're also has to be god's not why does god ask abraham to do it. Why did you know so you know. The classic testing abraham. but that's a cop out. I would say is a wide is dot test. Abraham wires abraham. Why did abraham warranty is kind of horrible casts. Bit where you're he's many branches face a child again. We have to go back to genesis twenty and we see that did not trust in god. Trust in god is very important to this. I miss i author to this first version of the torah. abraham didn't trust dot because he presented his wife's as his sister he didn't trust god protection and so keep created this horrible scene where of Took sierra into his house and trusting in god is the most important thing for this particular story line. And at now since abraham do not trust in god in genesis twenty he is demanded god demands of him much higher level of of trust of obedience And that's that's why. God commands abraham zach faces. I'm curious about understanding this original bible little more first of all. I just want to reassure the readers that if they read your book they will find that. There's additional linguistic and evidence that you find in the story of the sacrifice of isaac that it really happened that the murderer really happened so just a note on that particular story we can really play it all out but can you talk to us a little bit more about what are some of that author of the original. But what if what are some of the other worldviews that are may be different from the torah as we know it. And maybe some of the other elements that fall into the story like for example. When i was a kid. And i've talked about this that i read richardo at friedman's book who wrote the bible when it came out in nineteen eighty-seven and that was life changing for me. The most exciting thing for me. I remember to this day was the discovery that moses and aaron weren't really brothers that mercer was the northern the leader of the north and and the lineage of the northern priest and erin was the lineage of the southern priests and they only became brothers much later when the north and south merged together and had to create a story to put them together. Other people could hear that and say so. The whole thing is b. s. I heard and i was like oh. This is the coolest thing i've ever heard. So could you talk some about so. I know moses is a very important character in the north. Can you talk a little bit. About who the moses of the north is compared to the most of the south and other things that you think are important. Yeah so. I think it's a as opposed to pretty much every other story in torah. The original bible is a human centered story. God appears in the story. Wes is less of a character in the story. And it's manifest. Particularly with moses moses in a is a is a like Really the hero of the story. He does the plagues by himself. He takes the israelites. Egypt's himself he brings the israelites into the land himself. This by himself was very minimal. Help from god. And he's presented as a as a as a magician if you look at the the bible as it is that is not the way moses presented muslims presented as the stuttered and somebody who is not an effective leader and that the reason for that is to elevate god in the story of the that's the primary reason God in story of the exodus to make god zero and we can find it. Most in the Passover gotta where when retell the story in the traditional gotta moses appears only one time and so you see that trend trying to elevate god and minimize human heroes. That one that starts in hebrew bible ends up you know ends later human characters more black and white heroes in this version of the story. You find much more nuance characterization. In later versions for me. As a humanist i find this version of story inspiring is humans were were the main actors god appeared but you'll humans were the main actors even in the ancient stories. I wanna talk a little more about something. You've hinted at a couple of times. But that. I that i think should be really explicit. You you talked about mid rashes you talked about sort of later takes the come after the bible and sort of either you could terminate filling gaps. Or you could terminate adding on details. Whatever it is and you also mentioned in the same sentence or very near to that that in the bible itself. That's being done. That matters a lot from my perspective. Because the second you accept that as truthful if you do i do like all of a sudden the status of torah of bible of like it's kind of an equalizing maneuver right. It means that the original thing already is kind of fan fiction and the later stuff is also fan fiction so like the idea that that the older stuff must of necessity be elevated above the later stuff kind. I mean maybe it doesn't totally collapse. There's other arguments you could make for. Why you give that sort of precedents. But i think it becomes more complicated and i'm thinking about funny enough. I've become a star wars guy in recent years. And i say that on purpose because it's only been in recent years i did not grow up with a deep connection to the original three star wars movies. I had seen them and they were fine but like i. I wasn't that interested in them to be totally honest. The seventh and eighth star wars movies for me. Not the ninth. The seventh and eighth star wars movies for me were huge and and they. They made me connect in a way that the originals maybe in quotes. Maybe not in quote the originals. The original bible the original stars. They made me connects to this story in a way that those did not and like. I know that you know this. You're you're intentionally triggering me here. yes yes. Dan is very much an originals star. Wars person you know. This is a generational religious debate. So what's also true though. Is that in connecting to the seventh and eighth movies. I've gone and watched the originals gained a deeper relationship ship to them and understood them more. Now i'm also leaving out the ninth movie. Which i think is heinous and terrible for all sorts of reasons and from my perspective. This goes back to what i said before. I don't i just don't treat it as canon as like as if as if it's in the central texas i've just decided that from my star wars. There are eight movies. And then there's the mandalorian which is which is a tv version of it. That goes in its own direction so i was gonna ask where to the prequels fit into this. The i don't hate the prequels to the extent that some people do. But i don't think that they're like i don't spend that much time on them but so all that is to say we do this now like this is not just some ancient rhetorical conversation about a bunch of texts that end of the day like who cares this could have major ramifications for how we understand ourselves today and what licenses we have going to set like. I have decided. They're eight star wars movies in my cannon. I feel like actually allowed to make that decision. Because i don't think that the star wars movies are from god. I don't think that they are like. I'm clearly taking this analogue to farm like i have the right to make my cannon soda. You you have the right to say that there are no seventy nine if you think so. I think that's that's important. Like how could we think about this. Not as some ancient trivial conversation. That doesn't really matter but actually is deeply relevant today. Yeah no absolutely. I lake your analogy to start. He's a lot. And like dan. At probably generational i you know by lake the first star wars i i i must confess. I probably only watched one of the sequels. Because i was so put off by. I'm sorry that's okay. That actually strengthens the point right. Yeah so yeah. I think it's a world of of choice you know. There's not one version of the story that that's right. There's not one version of the story. That's in the bible. That's the right version of the story. There are multiple versions of the story in the hebrew bible in multiple versions of that story and after postal expansions and every one of those stories is one which you as an individual with choice can accept or reject as the story. You like you valorize you. You connect to that. Dynamic is applicable to all to all facets of our you know cultural Artifacts we accepted went we reject and then like it. I liked analogy to star wars. Yeah so can you talk a little bit about the some of the differences of opinion. Let's say within the world of biblical scholarship. Because i think a lot of us who know anything about the because scholarship have been introduced to it via this idea called the documentary hypothesis which is a few hundred years old. I think of their basic idea. Is that there. Were these four independent or quasi independent sources that are each their own document and so there would not be a way to say. There was a quote original bible at at the most you might say they were two original versions which we know of as the east source from the north and the j. sorts from the south and at a later point when they came together it was kind of like the bring in pop culture references peanut butter cup commercials. Where your chocolate fell in my peanut butter and it turns out that it's better together and we merged them together was and we have a bible. You know people come along later and they add some other stuff to it very differently about the what we know. Have basically as the source being the original bible. The oldest went from the north. And then so. Can you talk a little bit about a y. You think that versus the documentary about this is in be. What does that mean again like lexus. So what question like does it make a difference in terms of how we understand the later versions of the bible. I grew up with It as a in the beginning of my graduate school career. Many years ago hebrew university. I grew up with two competing influences. One was my adviser Israel can all who is a proponent of the way i re tax in the other was a barrel schwartz. Who's one of the best advocates of the documentary. Hype boxes But my differences of opinion. really You know are surely fundamental. I do use the same names or the resources on fundamentally it has like. I advocate an increase. It appeared on the chretien stories build on each other in the documentary. Hypothesis advocates Story is being mashed together. Like like i for many reasons. don't buy that happened. Wanted them has to do with editorial process. I don't believe it is a good. You know the way our scholars conceivable mashing sex together as notorial process that really was occurring in the ancient world And you know. And that's a matter for debate. I feel that i play you. Know uncover more through this period. I'm than through the documentary costs and right but again. I'm talking in probabilities and unpacking in extent. Not talking in troops. I don't think that my way of looking at it is the truth and not particularly attached to not you know like religiously to do hypothesis to the documentary sort of supplementary boxes which are not the only ones out there. There's a european fragmentary hypothesis as well. It just An automated that way And i would say that You know that that's probably a big difference between me and documentary Scholar hypoxia That i you know having countered in the united states. But can i ask you one question about how it might matter first of all if i'm understanding this correctly you're saying it. It's it doesn't seem like a most likely scenario to have to independent books in front of you and then to be basically writing a third where you're taking time from this from this it makes more sense to have one and then you're kind of adding to it. That's a kind of more normal way to edit something. So that that's how an editorial invasiveness that i don't think was a was a practice of ancient scribes that you have to do with my old biases every coming from a religious background I i admit that but But i do feel that if that's not a bad bias to have covered to these tax because people writing there were also people religious from a historical standpoint. I'm just curious whether you think about like. I think about if you under the documentary hypothesis where you imagine that both kingdoms northern kingdom and the southern kingdom spent some time independently creating a work of literature and then later perhaps when the northern kingdom was destroyed and the refugees came. They merged together these two pieces of literature. Then that gives you a sense that the southern kingdom of judah had a more vibrant cultural life earlier on than if you were to imagine that the north came along with their already extent document into this kind of backwater and they were the great scholars in these northern kind of hillbilly tapes. Where there and then they kind of wanted to add some stuff to it to help the merger so that kind of suggests that i would suggest to me that the south was a less impressive cultural place until later on in history is that is that is that does that is that where some of the implications lie. the north. the north is definitely. Just factually was the stronger. And more dominant kingdom you can tell you this is evident in biblical tax. If you look for which gives the the taxes the predominantly told from the southern perspective and southern perspective is. But you can just look at it. Factually through archeological remains through and you know population sizes in the north end towards alliances with other kingdoms and geria- the kingdom. You know there were times when i would say northern kingdom was like a middling kingdom whereas in south they're they're back fodder and you and you can have that perception that the south actually had more cultural you know. Just by the extent of what they hebrew bible And preserves but you know there's probably plenty of stuff that the northerners wrote that we don't have any record of you know in the judean evermore History to him and that You know i in literature and so they preserved stuff I just think we just have to have a lot of humility when it comes to what we actually know we know very very little of about the both the biblical works We can make a lot of assumptions. We can offer theories conjectures spent. What we know is not a lie especially about the northern kingdom. We know we the little you have so few tax from the northern kingdom. We have some tax In the book of the books of genesis exodus in numbers than we have a couple of northern profits and we have some material about elisa alicia in the book of kings. We're beyond that now. You know we just don't have You know the the north we know so little about it and this idea that that this is the way it was in the in ancient world is i think One that is one of hubris. Meaning we don't know what happened. We don't know how these people we you know we have to have a degree of humility about it and that You know the corollary of that is just giving value to to the present. It's just as fantastic. Jake it's just as as important true so as we get close to the close. I would just love to hear a little bit more if you'd like to share about your personal story and i'm curious how you came to this or what's it like to come from a religious background to academic bible scholarship. And then now. You're a rabbi in the humanist movement and i'm wondering if that's no accident you know it certainly for me also somebody who grew up religious and found the goal scholarship. I was already on my way out as where i think. A lot of Some of the folks that we've had on this podcast like shula m- dean abby stein also talk about reading who are at the bible as part of their journey out of orthodoxy and i'm just wondering if if that was true of you as well and now that you are humanistic. Rabbi how does some of this work that you do an act in your academic work. How does it influence the way in. Which you're humanist rabbi and i'm also curious about like how maybe the kind of work if there were if there are many many more humanist rabbis like you you know what made human this judaism become to the extent that it was really plugged into a lot of these issues. So i'm academic brat meeting. Both my parents are professors of jewish studies. And my background is Is like a strong second wave. Feminists background my mother was the first woman to give a phd in rabbinic sakib university. And so i really. I grew up with tax jewish taxes my bread and butter. But one thing my parents didn't ever do was theology. I was never told you know. God told us to do this. So we're doing it Usually it was. This is the way we do it in our family. And i was saying i came to my doubts through the biblical tax. I have been I've been very very attracted to the biblical tax from a very young age. I've been. I participated in international bible. As and i was really when i was in. You sheva when i was doing Matriculating from school in israel i went to nikita yeshiva. Very right wing nancy. She and the way. I was taught by. Will they really offended me because there are only specific answers. They're only these These answers to these questions. You can't have any other answers so dancers bit world you are allowed or the ones that far ship. The commentators Sade and not others And so that offended me. And i went in to deliberately went to school in israel where it was living that really was known to be the place of heresy hebrew university as opposed to Bar ilan university or elsewhere where he can study bible some of the more religious perspective. Because i wanted to be challenged. I and i would say that when i came in through the gates of university took to it like my mother's melt it was really just this makes sense to me but I came to you. Know i i will say i came to doubt through the tax. They started you know. I think it was after my army experience. I started doting national narratives. It was just like. I looked at the tax Wildly seeing this. I don't believe it. Like i you know. I don't accept. This is offensive to my values. I don't i. I don't buy into it and that attitude of don't say propelled me to ultimately to rewrite liturgy for myself on that. It's a very personal project. I've been doing it for seventeen years. And ultimately i came to the humanist rabbit through rewriting liturgy like i. You know that's been my big projects still is still constant emory writing miles tour which is the most classical of the songs hanukkah because i read the lyrics recently. And then i was like. I don't think i really and you know. I am married to somebody who's russia dr and and You know so comes from very different angles than i do. And so. I sing while sewer every night. And i'm like my knowledge of hebrew is sufficient to know that i completely go buy into that and so so finally like i've been thinking about dr had several worded attempts but finally on my fourth verse. I'm rewriting most sewer rewriting telling a new story is like That's that thread next. Would i do with liturgy and with bible to tell. I like to tell a story that means something to me and is attentive to the way things were or the way i am. I love the personal narrative that you're bringing in and i think maybe the last question this can sort of extend that you've talked a little bit about your rabbi ing and you've talked a little bit a lot a bit about your academic work in your approach to bible. I spend a lot of time wrestling with that duality. Like i wish that it wasn't so much of a duality. I actually would like in both directions for those people to be learning more from each other and interacting more with each other. I i would like people. In those scholarly debates about documentary supplementary fragmentary thin mints surrey like i would like them to learn more and interact more with. I don't know the on the ground quote unquote in jewish communities. Not because i think they need to like change their scholarship to meet them. But because i think it would be it would build some really beautiful work and the other direction. I would like people in jewish life. The rabbis cantors the jewish educators. The the jews and the pews that everyone to be interacting on more sophisticated deep way with bible and i think part of that is of necessity interacting with biblical scholarship. So i i'd love to hear from you from your own personal lens. Where you're like straddling in the one foot here. One foot their sense these two realms how might we approach the moving forward. How could we either breakdown this duality or look at it in a new way. So yeah you're right. I live in that duality on a on a daily basis. I mean I constantly this is part of the process of writing. This book was tried to like you know as a deeply personal process of trying to get rid of the jargon language that i use academic all those all those terms that people don't you know don't know they see their minds freezes up Tried to avoid that a lot in this book. you know. it's i would like to break that down. I don't i i'm not. I'm not an academic at this point in my soul. Because i don't i don't buy this ivory tower approach to knowledge You know the. I want what i learned to be meaningful to others. I want what. I you know the knowledge. I've spent so many years crewing painfully to have some relevance to the reader society which is part of a big reason. Why i am a rabbi. Want my knowledge to have ucs in the world. I mean i would say that. We know breaking that down. We'll be good. Academics finding more be more public intellectuals and and rabbis woah really needs to up their game. A little in you know understanding the biblical tax. My gig as a professor was Was in rabbinical school. You know and it was really you know. It's very important for me to rabbis. No ways of approaching attacks. And i would say and then the twain shall meet meaning and then you have much more productive conversations. Productive conversations is going to be the last phrase of this productive conversation. Thank you so much for joining us. It's been a fantastic conversation. My pleasure laxmi pleasure dan. This was absolutely fantastic. I enjoy yourself greatly and thank you so much to all of you out there for listening. We hope you've enjoyed this conversation. And we hope you'll tune in again in the future especially to some of our remaining episodes in this unit of episode looking at tora looking at bible it has been so fun so far it's going to keep being fund and if you wanna be in touch with us if you want to send us notes questions thoughts whatever you have please please do. We really appreciate it and you can do so via any of the following avenues i. There's our facebook page duties unbound. There's also twitter and instagram. All of those are just at judaism unbound for our handles. there is our website. Judaism unbound dot com email addresses. Dan judaism unbound dot com or lexus. Judaism unbound dot com. 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