100 episodes

In addition to explicating individual chapters of the Torah using traditional sources to apply directly to our daily lives, Rabbi Caine or "Rav Nadav" (as he is affectionately known) teaches on topics such as The Soul, Mysticism, Theology, Ethics, Comparative Religion, Science & Religion, and Psychology of Religion. Rav Nadav studied religion and philosophy at Princeton, Harvard, and Stanford Universities. An award winning teacher and Conservative rabbi, he now serves as senior rabbi at a congregation in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Judaism for the Thinking Person Rabbi Nadav Caine

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.4 • 21 Ratings

In addition to explicating individual chapters of the Torah using traditional sources to apply directly to our daily lives, Rabbi Caine or "Rav Nadav" (as he is affectionately known) teaches on topics such as The Soul, Mysticism, Theology, Ethics, Comparative Religion, Science & Religion, and Psychology of Religion. Rav Nadav studied religion and philosophy at Princeton, Harvard, and Stanford Universities. An award winning teacher and Conservative rabbi, he now serves as senior rabbi at a congregation in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    Dara Horn‘s ”People Love Dead Jews” and the Erasure of Jewish Difference

    Dara Horn‘s ”People Love Dead Jews” and the Erasure of Jewish Difference

    In this sermon -- playing on the Rabbinic commentary that the name of the Torah portion that mentions Sarah's death is called "The Life [or Lives] of Sarah" because we should celebrate the lives she lead rather than think of her death-- I discuss Dara Horn's new book People Love Dead Jews, which argues that the non-Jewish world loves books about Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel because the stories of these dead Jews teaches us something universal and moralistic about ourselves, rather than challenging us to think of what Jewish lives are like, how they are different, how they might challenge us.  How is it that Wiesel's Night went from its original form, a scathing accusation against the Euopean bystanders who let the Holocaust happen to a book about God's hiding?  Because God's hiding happens in each of our lives, like a universalistic lesson about life's tragedies, and allows us to avoid the deep questions of Jewish difference and anti-Semitism.  In this teaching, I also ask whether we Jews are guilty of this:  inviting in our own Romantic visions of our ancestors --which allows us to live a two dimensional moralizing vision of them-- rather than embracing their difference, and practicing our own.

    • 15 min
    Changing our Relationship with Time from Productivity to Presence

    Changing our Relationship with Time from Productivity to Presence

    It hasn't been very long in human history (two or three generations) that we live our lives according to a clock rather than according to the processes of our lives (waking up, milking the cow, putting the hay in the barn, taking the goats for their grazing...).  This has changed our relationship to God, to ourselves, and to each other.  We judge ourselves by our productivity, how much we can get done using this resource of time, how much demand we can meet from others before our next appointments. We live outside of time, in a negative relationship, rather than in time, in a positive relationship.  Using Oliver Burkeman's book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, I reflect on how the pandemic first connected us to a positive relationship with time, vis a vis the Sabbatical Year, but then jerked us back to the negative relationship, as demands for productivity --now virtually impossible and harder than before-- were placed on our backs.  How can we live in time, not through the standard of productivity, but through the invitation of presence?

    • 20 min
    The Potentially Limitless Commandment of Honoring Parents As They Age

    The Potentially Limitless Commandment of Honoring Parents As They Age

    In this dvar Torah, I share Talmudic stories of rabbis trying to honor their mothers in ways that are both comical and also poignant in their alluding to our individual (and often lonely) struggles to honor God and them, especially as they age, with seemingly no yardstick to compare ourselves and manage expectations.

    • 15 min
    Combatting the Curses Against Israel with History, not more Scapegoating

    Combatting the Curses Against Israel with History, not more Scapegoating

    The last sections of the book of Numbers deal with the local tribes, themselves fighting and displacing each other, refusing to grant the Israelite refugees safe passage through their lands.  As a consequence of this moral failing, they lose the right to keep the land --an important message of Torah.  In fact, coupled with their denials of safe passage, they hire the famous Near-Eastern Bilaam to magically curse the Israelites with fraught words justifying violence against them.  It's like this entire section was relived in the years approaching 1948, when local Arab populations opposed Jewish refugees buying land and living peacefully in British Mandate Palestine, and instead attacked them.  Ever since they resort to Bilaam curses, the use of factually incorrect curse words of "Genocide," "Apartheid," "Settler Colonialism," "Ethnic Cleansing," "Daily Massacres of Children," and "Not Indigenous" to scapegoat Jews and justify violence against them, not just in Israel but in intimidation and harrassment on the campuses in the U.S.  In this Yom Kippur morning sermon, I name this reenactment of the end of Numbers and propose that Jews respond not with compaints about anti-Semitism, but with a campaign of history, along with a renewed consciousness that is not a victim consciousness but is a creator consciousness that is inclusive of Arabs, so we don't lose our moral authority in the Land.

    • 29 min
    Instagram, Depression and the Serpent Voice: ”And They Knew They Were Naked”

    Instagram, Depression and the Serpent Voice: ”And They Knew They Were Naked”

    The creation stories of Genesis blend mythological motifs with reflections on the moral consequences of human evolution.  When we understand the serpent voice to be the appearance of the human inner voice --the beginnings of evolutionary, human self-consciousness, a consequence of eating of the fruit of the garden-- then the hiding that Adam does, not because they have disobeyed God (as one presumes on a first read) but because for the first time they know they are naked, is crucial to notice.  The possibilities of self-consciousness are immense --they include becoming like God by living in past, present, and future at once, they include radical intentionality and subjectivity-- but also include the dark side, a preoccupation with self-consciousness in its most mundane meaning, a preoccupation with wondering what people think of one, the feeling of being naked in front of others, the nightmare of showing up at school in one's underwear.  What do people think of us?  Do they like us?  What about our physical appearance are they reacting to?  How do they compare us to others, favorably or unfavorably?  This is the serpent voice in our heads, of our inner "I," the one that nips at our heels and we try to clobber on the head but only goes away only temporarily but always returns.  Research shows that this serpent voice is amplified to monstrous degrees by social media:  Are my posts liked?  Are others making fun of my appearance in the photo?  Am I totally ignored?  Am I left out?  How can I cultivate a persona that garners "likes"?  How can I grown that persona, maintain it, even as it detaches from any connection to my authentic self, so when God says, "Ayekah?"  Where/who are you really?  God knows the self I'm wearing is the product of the serpent voice, my cultivated and emotionally crushing phony self?

    • 19 min
    The Halakhah of Zoom Minyan: Adding Windows to the House of Israel

    The Halakhah of Zoom Minyan: Adding Windows to the House of Israel

    Synagogues like mine have resorted to making virtual community over much of the pandemic.  How do we do a heshbon nefesh of the experience:  a reckoning of the pluses and minuses as we enter a new future of self-creation?  What is the halakhah of it, what have we learned, what are the issues?  In this Kol Nidrei sermon, I address these issues, as we consider who we wish to be as we enter the future.

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

A.E. Coleman ,

Wonderful!

I get excited every time I see that something new has been uploaded. I genuinely enjoy listening to Rabbi Cain's sermons. They're though-provoking, human, sensitive, compassionate, and powerful. I'm not Jewish, but Rabbi Cain makes me wish I was. I would love to have him as my Rabbi.

Emma Dawson ,

Thank you for making me think!

Thoughtful and inspiring, sensitive and wonderfully perspective-shifting.

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