84 episodes

The Torah (Bible) is the fundamental text of Biblical and Western thought and it is a guidebook for our lives. Mark Gerson, The Rabbi's Husband, will explore the greatest hits of Jewish thought in conversation with some of the most interesting thinkers from varying religious persuasions.

The discussions on this show will reflect the understanding that the Torah and all associated books are intended to guide us through our challenges and in our decisions today. We will strive to understand how Torah passages, Biblical verses and ancient teachings can guide us towards happier, clearer and more meaningful lives today. We will show how the most helpful answers to the pressing contemporary questions are provided in the Biblical stories, characters, laws and commentaries that constitute our ancient heritage.
To submit a question, please email mark@therabbishusband.com

The Rabbi's Husband Mark Gerson

    • Judaism

The Torah (Bible) is the fundamental text of Biblical and Western thought and it is a guidebook for our lives. Mark Gerson, The Rabbi's Husband, will explore the greatest hits of Jewish thought in conversation with some of the most interesting thinkers from varying religious persuasions.

The discussions on this show will reflect the understanding that the Torah and all associated books are intended to guide us through our challenges and in our decisions today. We will strive to understand how Torah passages, Biblical verses and ancient teachings can guide us towards happier, clearer and more meaningful lives today. We will show how the most helpful answers to the pressing contemporary questions are provided in the Biblical stories, characters, laws and commentaries that constitute our ancient heritage.
To submit a question, please email mark@therabbishusband.com

    Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen on Genesis 2:24 – “Creating One Flesh”

    Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen on Genesis 2:24 – “Creating One Flesh”

    Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen is Mark’s very special guest on the podcast today. Currently the Rabbi of Congregation Ohr Torah in North Woodmere, NY, Rabbi Cohen is also an attorney and a Senior Relationship Officer at YACHAD, a thriving global organization dedicated to addressing the needs of all Jewish individuals with disabilities and ensuring their inclusion in every aspect of Jewish life. He has a law degree from Columbia Law School, a Masters degree in Family Therapy from the University of North Texas, and he maintains a small therapy practice in the 5 Towns area. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark today is Genesis 2:24.

    Rabbi Cohen begins the discussion by sharing his summary of the passage, its significance for him, and the interpretation of it, which involves transitioning from a taker to a giver, that he has adopted. He and Mark then engage in a fascinating conversation where they explore alternate interpretations, the ethic this passage communicates, and how it relates to the counseling which the Rabbi offers. They also examine the goal of marriage and to ‘get to Aryeh Levin’, the story behind Rabbi Cohen’s involvement in YACHAD, and the distinction between marriage and partnership. As all guests do, Rabbi Cohen finishes the discussion with the lessons he has learned about humankind. Today’s episode presents a brilliant demonstration of the Torah’s openness to interpretation as well as the eternal truths it presents, both of which are exemplified in the analysis of this passage which truly ‘should be the basis of all Jewish, and maybe Gentile, marital counseling’.

    Episode Highlights:


    · Rabbi Cohen’s summary of the passage its significance for him
    · Transitioning from taker to giver
    · Parents of married children needing to let go
    · The ethic this passage is communicating
    · Rabbi Cohen’s counseling around this passage
    · God anticipating or observing a problem
    · The goal of marriage
    · The story behind Rabbi Cohen’s involvement in YACHAD
    · ‘Get to Aryeh Levin’
    · Marriage vs. partnership
    · The lessons Rabbi Cohen has learned about humankind

    Quotes:

    “We now have to assume that position of the giver as opposed to the childlike taker.”

    “It must have been a problem in biblical days of parents remaining too involved in the lives of their married children – incredible, some things never end!”

    “You’re supposed to individuate, you’re supposed to mature.”

    “In early years of marriage, you do see a lot of issues that are connected to families of origin, in-law overreaching, particularly if people aren’t financially independent.”

    “Our relationships have to change in different periods of time.”

    “In many instances, the 10 or 15 year-old child is actually the parent in the relationship with the 40 and 50 year-old.”

    “He is kind of setting a tone for what’s to come.”

    “These are all kind of essential basics, foundational concepts to Jewish marriage, 100 percent.”

    “I think what the Torah is saying here is that the goal of the process of the whole marriage over many, many years is to reach this high level where…we’re really one.”

    “There’s no real Jewish notion of independence, it’s a notion of interdependence.”

    “A person, an individual, has to be able to bind himself or herself to the community, to others.”

    “I think at the end of the day, there is goodness in everybody, but sometimes you have to dig very deep to unearth it.”

    “You kind of have to make your own mazel…create our own opportunities.”

    “The Jewish story never ends…just know you’re going to die unfulfilled and that’s okay.”

    Genesis 2:24
    Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh.
    https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.2.24?lang=en&with=all&lang2=en

    Link

    • 29 min
    David Mark on Genesis 45:5-7 – “Lessons Learned from The Reunion of Joseph and His Brothers”

    David Mark on Genesis 45:5-7 – “Lessons Learned from The Reunion of Joseph and His Brothers”

    Senior editor at the Washington Examiner, David Mark, joins our host for today’s episode. Among many other roles, David has also been a senior editor at Politico and at CNN Digital Politics, is the author of two books, and appears regularly as a political analyst on television, radio and other forums. The passage he has selected to discuss today is Genesis 45:5-7, which recounts one of the most famous stories in the Bible.

    The conversation begins with David sharing his summary of the passage, the many lessons it contains, and his focus today on two of those lessons. He and Mark then explore the notion of divine reframing, the impact upon Joseph of the near fratricide he experienced, and the genius of Pope John XXIII. Calling upon his vast knowledge of Washington politics, David reveals his perspective on the sense of brotherhood he finds there, how social media has impacted it, the current level of partisanship evident, and the difference in the way politicians respond to the media as opposed to their constituents. The episode draws to a close with David’s suggestions for structuring the Presidential Debates effectively, and the lessons about humankind that he has learned. While the lessons of this remarkable passage are timeless, the expert analysis and extrapolation of them here today could not be timelier, given the current, and future, state of politics and the world.

    Episode Highlights:


    · David’s summary of the passage and the lessons it provides
    · Growing from previous mistakes
    · Finding the positive in negative situations
    · An act of divine reframing
    · How near fratricide impacted Joseph
    · The genius of Pope John XXIII
    · The status of a sense of brotherhood in Washington DC politics over the years, and the impact of social media upon it
    · Seeing government as a mutual endeavor rather than a game
    · A comparison between a politician’s response to the media and to a constituent
    · How to structure the Presidential Debate so that Americans win
    · The lessons about humankind that David has learned

    Quotes:

    “One that…gives a lot of different lessons, different takeaways, that you can get on personal growth, forgiveness, reconciliation, all kinds of other important themes.”

    “You can grow from your previous mistakes.”

    “You can find positive from the most negative situations.”

    “He’s a jerk when he’s young, but he’s a genius.”

    “No matter what has happened with family members in the past…you could always find a way to get back together.”

    “When you announce yourself as someone else’s brother, all the barriers drop.”

    “You’re treating them as an equal.”

    “Overall, it is pretty bitter, and we could use a whole lot more reconciliation.”

    “We all got here the same way.”

    “Social media puts immediate pressure on these people to make very harsh statements they might not otherwise say.”

    “Essentially, you are on one team or another.”

    “The Bible, in so many instances, is so insistent on creating a positive structure…it’s basically all throughout.”

    “It seems like there’s got to be some kind of a penalty for just constantly interrupting the person you’re debating.”

    “In Congress, there’s still very much a sense of decorum.”

    “Language is important.”

    “You don’t want to question people’s motives.”

    “I think that the majority of people who go into public service mean it for the right reasons.”

    Genesis 45:5-7
    Now, do not be distressed or reproach yourselves because you sold me hither; it was to save life that God sent me ahead of you.
    It is now two years that there has been famine in the land, and there are still five years to come in which there shall be no yield from tilling.
    God has sent me ahead of you to ensure your survival on earth, and to save your lives in an extraord

    • 23 min
    Pastor Nick Hall on Habbakuk 3:2 – “In the Midst of the Storm, God is There”

    Pastor Nick Hall on Habbakuk 3:2 – “In the Midst of the Storm, God is There”

    Mark is delighted to welcome evangelist and international speaker, Pastor Nick Hall, to the podcast today. The Founder of PULSE, a movement that seeks to empower the Church and awaken the culture to the reality of Jesus, Nick also sits on the leadership teams for the US Lausanne Committee, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the student advisory team for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He has chosen a passage that Mark had never considered before, Habbakuk 3:2, to discuss today.

    Nick begins by summarizing the passage, sharing its meaning for him, and looking at how it demonstrates that God welcomes our humanity and works with the broken. He explains the three levels of faith found within the passage, and outlines the ways to help people move to the highest level through prayer, giving them a ‘God size vision’, identifying miracles in everyday life, and exercising their spiritual muscles. As with all guests, Nick draws the episode to a close with the lessons he has learned about humankind. His insight and passion, so clearly on display here today, not only bring the lessons of this passage to life, but also provide ample evidence as to why Pastor Nick Hall is ‘widely known as his generation’s successor to Billy Graham’.

    Episode Highlights:

    · Nick’s summary of the passage and why it’s meaningful to him
    · God welcoming our humanity
    · The three levels of faith involved in this passage and getting someone to the third level
    · God working with the broken
    · The power of prayer
    · Giving people a ‘God size vision’
    · Identifying miracles in everyday life
    · Working out your spiritual muscles
    · The lessons about humankind that Nick has learned

    Quotes:

    “It’s a man who is trying to have a conversation with God in the midst of a really hard time.”

    “When God opens the prophet’s eyes, we actually see his heart change.”

    “I’m going to put feet to my faith.”

    “Our God acts on behalf of those who seek Him, who wait for Him, who call on His name.”

    “God only works with broken utensils.”

    “You think you’re worse than King David?”

    “Every biblical figure has massive flaws.”

    “We need God to do what only God can do.”

    “Every moment can be sacred if we allow it to be.”

    “The more miracles you identify in your life, the more appreciation of God you’re going to have, and the more grateful you’re going to be.”

    “I’m able to give away because I have been given.”

    “The most spiritual moments in my life have come from just unexpected encounters with just people who are image-bearers of God.”

    “Truth is either a gift or a weapon.”

    “I want to be closer to God, you know, and I want to cherish the people around me.”

    Habbakuk 3:2

    O Lord! I have learned of Your renown; I am awed, O LORD, by Your deeds. Renew them in these years, Oh, make them known in these years! Though angry, may You remember compassion.

    https://www.sefaria.org/Habakkuk.3.2?lang=en

    Links:

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

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

    • 26 min
    Pastor Jerry Gillis on Leviticus 19:1-2 – “Holiness: For God, and for Us”

    Pastor Jerry Gillis on Leviticus 19:1-2 – “Holiness: For God, and for Us”

    Pastor Jerry Gillis is Mark’s very special guest on the podcast today. Pastor Gillis is the Lead Pastor of The Chapel, a multi-complex church network in the Buffalo area, and he is also involved with ‘Christ Together’, a network of churches which aims to ‘empower the whole Church to bring the whole Gospel to the whole nation’. The passage he has selected to discuss with Mark today is Leviticus 19:1-2.

    Pastor Gillis begins the conversation by sharing his summary of the passage and the significance it holds for him, and then launching into an extensive analysis with Mark about the very nature of holiness for both God and ourselves. Along the way, they touch upon the importance of actions and character, how we can be holy, the power and grace of God, and how this passage should change our lives. As the conversation draws to a conclusion, Pastor Gillis shares the lessons he has learned about humankind, which leads to a discussion of those who claim to reject religion and the causes for this. As you will hear, Mark’s esteemed guest here today is a Pastor with intricate knowledge and understanding of scripture whose ‘brilliant insights’ reveal the eternal wisdom and guidance of this powerful passage.

    Episode Highlights:

    · Pastor Gillis’ summary of today’s passage and its significance for him
    · The idea of God’s holiness as His essence
    · Holiness as more than morality
    · The importance of action and character
    · How we can be holy
    · How this passage should change our lives
    · The power and grace of God
    · The lessons about humankind that Pastor Gillis has learned
    · Those who claim to reject religion

    Quotes:

    “It kind of inspired me to look back into the Torah itself to understand better the idea of holiness.”

    “God’s holiness makes a claim on our humanness.”

    “Holiness is His essence…it is more essence than it is attribute.”

    “Everything you do should be infused with holiness.”

    “I think that holiness, by definition, has to be about more than morality.”

    “He understands it as being set apart to God to fulfill His purposes with your life.”

    “God wants the heart…of course the actions are important, but so is the character.”

    “His essence informs and constructs His attributes.”

    “The interesting thing about the New Testament is how much Old Testament is quoted in the New Testament, particularly, by the way, when you’re reading Peter.”

    “God’s holiness belongs only to Himself, and our holiness is in only belonging to God.”

    “Who am I owned by - God or me?”

    “That’s a great frame right there - God is not ridiculous.”

    “We’re asking for You to give us the grace to be able to fulfill living in such a way that brings You glory.”

    “There is a God, and I’m not Him.”

    “People oftentimes, who are claiming to be atheists, are so emotionally angry at a God that they say they don’t believe in.”

    “Either people have a broken view of God, or a broken view of who they are in God.”

    “We have a mission. God has a plan. It’s our job to figure out what our mission is.”

    Leviticus 19:1

    The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
    Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.

    https://www.sefaria.org/Leviticus.19.1-2?lang=en&with=all&lang2=en

    Links:

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

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

    • 29 min
    Joe Lonsdale on Deuteronomy 32 – “Responsibility — from the Bible, and for Us”

    Joe Lonsdale on Deuteronomy 32 – “Responsibility — from the Bible, and for Us”

    Mark is delighted to welcome “perhaps the youngest person to have ever earned the appellation ‘a legend’” to the podcast today. Joe Lonsdale truly is a legend in the fields of business, philanthropy, and public policy, and was the youngest member of the Forbes ‘100 Midas List’ in 2016 and 2017. As an investor in, and founder of, numerous businesses, Joe has found great success with such companies as Wish, OpenGov, 8VC, and Addepar, to name just a few. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark today is Deuteronomy 32.

    Joe starts off by summarizing the passage, sharing why he chose it, and highlighting the notion of accepting blame that is found within it. He then goes on to discuss his experiences with both failure and blame, how self-criticism is needed now more than ever in society, and the discipline and framework that chess has taught him. Joe also offers his advice on what should be passed on to children, the current lack of gratefulness that he observes in his own generation, and the importance of criticism and how it is delivered. He concludes the episode with the lessons he has learned about humankind and his advice for young parents. Joe’s objective observations about his own failures are inspiring, especially considering the vast amount of success he has achieved in his life, and the lessons he derives from this prophetic passage, so very relevant to society today, reinforce yet again the role of the Torah as an eternal guidebook for us all.

    Episode Highlights:

    · Joe’s summary of the passage and why he chose it
    · Accepting blame and striving to do better
    · Joe’s experience with failures and blame
    · Avoiding Moses’ prophetic warning
    · Accepting blame in the world these days
    · What Joe has learned from playing chess
    · His perspective on the inheritance to pass on to children, and the current lack of gratefulness for American core values among those born in the 80’s and 90’s
    · The importance of criticism and how it is delivered
    · The things about humankind that Joe has learned
    · His message to young parents

    Quotes:

    “This is the last speech that Moses gives the people before they enter Israel.”

    “When things are not going well, I think the first thing you should do is look at what you’ve done, and look at how you could be doing better yourself.”

    “The only way you get better is rather than blame everyone around you, you blame yourself.”

    “Most of the Torah is essentially reminders.”

    “As soon as you start to tell yourself that you’re really good at something, that’s when you stub your toe.”

    “When things are going well, become paranoid.”

    “Acknowledge your own faults.”

    “Whether you win or you lose, the discipline’s the same, right? You’re reviewing to see how you could have done better irrespective of the result.”

    “The hardest things we have in life is when you have success, when…life is going really well because…those are the easiest times to forget your values and forget your principles.”

    “Grateful am I.”

    “Love involves criticism, or else it’s not love.”

    “If you have to deliver the rain, deliver it with the dew.”

    “People respond better when you actually see their strengths and you actually show confidence in them and believe in them than they do to criticism.”

    Deuteronomy 32

    Ha'Azinu
    Give ear, O heavens, let me speak; Let the earth hear the words I utter!
    May my discourse come down as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, Like showers on young growth, Like droplets on the grass.
    For the name of the LORD I proclaim; Give glory to our God!
    The Rock!—His deeds are perfect, Yea, all His ways are just; A faithful God, never false, True and upright is He.
    Children unworthy of Him— That crooked, perverse generation— Their baseness has played

    • 18 min
    Ambassador Ron Dermer on Esther 4:14 – “Esther’s Choice — and Ours: To Become an Instrument of Salvation”

    Ambassador Ron Dermer on Esther 4:14 – “Esther’s Choice — and Ours: To Become an Instrument of Salvation”

    Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Ron Dermer, joins Mark for today’s episode. Born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, Ron went on to become a graduate of both the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and Oxford University. He has been a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and has served both as Israel’s Minister of Economic Affairs in the United States, and as one of the closest advisors to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The passage he has chosen to discuss is Esther 4:14.

    Ron begins the conversation by sharing the story of how he met his wife, before going on to summarize the passage and why it is meaningful to him. He and Mark then provide a thorough analysis of the passage, including how it represents the third round of battle between the Jews and Amalek, and its demonstration of the greatest statement of faith and Esther’s role as a navigator. The relevance of these themes throughout history and modern times are discussed, particularly in the context of Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to the American Congress and the standing ovation that Esther received there. Their conversation concludes with Ron offering the lessons he has learned about humankind, which leads to a discussion of the need to be able to disagree with others without impugning them and the evolution of the Jewish relationship with the United States. Ron’s thorough grasp not only of scripture, but of history, politics, and diplomacy as well, renders him uniquely qualified in ‘bringing the Bible to modern times’ here today, as he passionately inspires all who listen to recognize and play their role in life, especially as it relates to securing the Jewish future.

    Episode Highlights:

    · The story of how Ron met his wife
    · His summary of the selected passage and why it’s meaningful to him
    · Esther as a talented navigator
    · The greatest statement of faith
    · The three rounds of battle between the Jews and Amalek
    · Esther’s role and intention in saving the Jewish people
    · The passage’s message to those devoting their life to service
    · Esther’s standing ovation in the American Congress
    · Mordecai’s stand against Haman
    · The impact of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 2015 speech to the American Congress
    · Playing our part in securing the Jewish future
    · The lessons about humankind that Ron has learned
    · Disagreeing without impugning others
    · The Jewish relationship with the United States

    Quotes:

    “My hutzpah is what got me my wife.”

    “This, to me, is probably the most famous passage in the Book of Esther.”

    “It’s the navigators that actually win.”

    “I know the Jews are going to be saved.”

    “I see it as a primordial battle between good and evil.”

    “In confronting evil, we can’t rely on God – we have to do it ourselves.”

    “It’s whether or not Esther will be an instrument in that salvation.”

    “I think in life, we’re all put in different places in different times, and we all can have an impact.”

    “You have to be a believer that there is a destination towards history.”

    “It lights a fire underneath you that you have to do everything you can.”

    “Anything that any of us do could reverberate in a way that will be experienced 2500 years from now, and that’s, kind of, the great thing about living in God’s world.”

    “She is…one of the ultimate heroines of our people.”

    “What I’ve learned over time is the importance of people.”

    “Israel’s emergence as a rising power among the nations has started to impact our diplomacy and our relations with different states.”

    “The United States and Israel are not just countries, we’re causes.”

    “Israel’s strength, bringing along peace because the interests connect.”

    “Our interests drive re

    • 47 min

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