Two Favorite Texts


         In last week’s episode of my podcast Wrestling and Dreaming (, I shared what I consider to be my favorite traditional Torah commentary. I find it to be astounding. 

         The text is found in the commentary entitled the “Kli Yakar”, a work by Rabbi Shlomo Luntschitz from the end of the sixteenth century. He comments on a series of verses in Parashat Yitro in which God tells Moses to tell the people of Israel that God “brought them from Egypt on eagles wings and brought them to Me”. God then says that if the people observe the commandments and listen to God’s voice, the people of Israel would be a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation”. 

         Rabbi Luntschitz writes that these verses show a progression of the relationship between the people of God. Interpreting the phrase: “a kingdom of priests”, he concludes by saying that God is telling the people that they would eventually be, as it were, “kings over Me”.  

         I find that commentary so powerful and shared my thoughts on what it could possibly mean in the podcast. In brief, I think that it means that human beings determine the extent of God’s involvement in the day-to-day world. It is our responsibility to bring the values that we identify with God into the life of our world. In that way, we have the ultimate power to determine God’s presence in the world. I hope you will listen to the more complete version of my thoughts podcast and I would love to hear your reaction.

         This week’s podcast will be posted on Thursday and in it, I discuss another of my favorite texts.

         This text, a legal discussion from the Talmud, is not as challenging as the comment from the Kli Yakar but it is one of my favorites because I think it subtly raises and issue which all of struggle with in our daily lives. 

         One of my goals in the podcast is to show meaningful traditional Jewish texts can be and these two completely different types of texts are examples of the challenge these texts can provide for us as we seek to live more meaningful lives. 

         I hope you will listen to the podcast and I would love to hear your thoughts. 

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