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 • 27 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.

    The Biblical Battle of the AI Priesthood Lineage

    The Biblical Battle of the AI Priesthood Lineage

    • 6 min
    Amalekites, Gaza and the End of Megillat Esther on Purim

    Amalekites, Gaza and the End of Megillat Esther on Purim

    As Purim became a holiday of tremendous festivities and lightheartedness, the Rabbis knew that the end of the Megillah in Chapter 9 has a dubious quality, that of a massacre on Haman's people.  Is this a happy ending, a desirable ending, that of massacre, that of Jews finally (and really for its time, only possible in the Jewish imagination but not in practice) having power?  So the Rabbis created a requirement that on the Shabbat morning before Purim, one must read about the Amalekites. In this podcast, I present traditional commentary and observations given the context of the fighting in Gaza.

    • 14 min
    The 19th Century Reform Rabbi Who Changed Physics

    The 19th Century Reform Rabbi Who Changed Physics

    The most influential rabbi you've never heard of?  Based on an episode of the RadioLab podcast ("Relative Genius") and a biography in the Jewish Encyclopedia -- https://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12611-rebenstein-aaron -- I tell you about the extraordinary Rabbi Aaron David Bernstein who likely accomplished more in his lifetime by himself than your average Ivy League university!

    • 9 min
    The Israelites Left Egypt Armed: Gender & Chauvinism Preceding October 7

    The Israelites Left Egypt Armed: Gender & Chauvinism Preceding October 7

    In the second verse of Parashat Beshalach (the flight from Egypt and the crossing of the Sea of Reeds), the Torah states that the Israelites fled fully armed.  I explore the traditional commentaries on why, and connect this to the haftarah (story of Deborah and Yael) and to the intelligence failures in Israel caused by male chauvinism. 

    • 16 min
    Who Gets to Be a Spokesperson for Israel? The Soft of Heart and Slow of Speech

    Who Gets to Be a Spokesperson for Israel? The Soft of Heart and Slow of Speech

    The focus of the American and international conversation about the Hamas attack and its aftermath has been "Ceasefire or No Ceasefire" by which people mean (since there was a ceasefire prior to Hamas's breaking it) whether Israel should cease its counter offensive due to civilian casualties. Who gets to be a spokesperson for Israel at this time in our communities and in the world? Interestingly, the Torah portions of Vaera and Bo --where we are when the war stands at 100 days-- raises the classic ethical question: Why did God prosecute a full 10 plagues upon the Egyptian population when it seemed like Pharoah might yield earlier? Why does God intervene --it seems-- in the hardening of Pharoah's heart so that the full span of destruction continues? In this Dvar Torah, I note the context of this Torah discussion. This is the first time Am Yisrael --the nation of Israel-- ever has a spokesperson! That phrase, that this kinship-related tribe of Hebrews, or Bnei Yisrael, are actually a Nation, is spoken first in the Bible by Pharaoh. And God appoints Moshe as the spokesperson, and Moshe turns it down, so Aaron becomes a spokesperson. Why turn it down? Who today gets to speak for the nation when the antisemite demands a response? I note two important textual clues. First, Moshe is called by God to be a spokesperson for the "Sh'fatim Gedolom" --the "Great Judgments upon Egypt" (the plagues)-- and replies that his "S'fatayim" (lips) aren't up to it. (Though one is tav and the other tet, the words look strikingly alike in the Torah!) Midrashically, the trouble is not a speech impediment, it is an impediment to explaining the plagues to the hostile audience! When God doesn't accept that excuse, Moshe says he has "hardness of mouth" and "hardness of tongue/speech" -- the same word "hardness" that describes Pharaoh's heart! This surely tells us a lot of the deep meaning connecting the two.

    • 13 min
    Tikkun Olam and Redeeming the Hostages

    Tikkun Olam and Redeeming the Hostages

    As a Dvar Torah for Vayigash (Joseph's revealing himself to his brothers following Judah's speech), I explore the mitzvah of redeeming our captives and the limitations on the law "for the sake of Tikkun Olam."
    The conversation among American Jews about Gaza centers around "Ceasefire or No Ceasefire? What kind of Jew am I if I don't support stopping the bombing?" while the conversation in Israel is "Exchange terrorists for hostages? What kind of Jew am I if I don't bring my sister/brother home at any cost to an Israel bereaved beyond measure?"  In an amazing synchronicity with the Torah reading, the entire drama of all the parashiyot of the Joseph saga lead up to whether Judah will say for his brother Benjamin what he wouldn't say for Joseph, that he will do anything rather than fail to bring his brother home to his bereft father, an Israel who cannot bear further trauma. What kind of Judah/Jew am I if I don't bring my brother home to my heartbroken Israel? And there is Israel (Jacob), saying he will enter Sheol (the underworld) if he is forced to endure another son never coming home.
    The redemption of Jewish captives is one of the hightest mitzvot in Judaism. Why? And why does the Talmud and Jewish Legal codes say that one only refrains from doing so for the sake of Tikkun Olam?

    • 16 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
27 Ratings

27 Ratings

Bela1818 ,

Rabbi Kaine is the best!

Rabbi Kaine is a uniquely warm and wise Jewish leader for his community and outreach. I highly recommend listening to his podcast!

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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