22 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
    • 5.0, 10 Ratings

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

    Pastor Jose Diaz on Genesis 2:3 -- “God’s First Lesson to Humanity”

    Pastor Jose Diaz on Genesis 2:3 -- “God’s First Lesson to Humanity”

    Mark’s guest on the podcast today is his good friend Pastor Jose Diaz, whom he met two years ago as they journeyed together with Eagles’ Wings through Israel. The passage Jose has chosen to discuss with Mark is Genesis 2:3.
    Their conversation today revolves around the importance of the Sabbath, the difference in the way that Jews and Christians honor and observe it, and the fact that it is of paramount importance. Jose shares the struggles that Christian leaders encounter these days, and he and Mark explore the power of the Shabbat dinner for Jews and Christians alike. In essence, today’s episode is a call to understand the Torah definition of rest and to restore or maintain the sacredness of the Sabbath. Take the time today to stop, reflect, and contemplate with Mark and Jose about this first and great gift which God has given all of mankind.
    Episode Highlights:

    The Torah’s definition of rest
    Stopping to take account of our lives
    Comparing the ways that Christians and Jews honor and celebrate the Sabbath
    The number one thing that Christian leaders struggle with
    Shabbat dinner
    God’s gift of the Sabbath to everybody and His first lesson to humanity
    The purposes of the Sabbath
    The lessons that Jose has learned about mankind
    Jose’s journey to Christianity

    Quotes:

    “He creates purposeful rest.”

    “One day a week, I’ll only be conscious of God.”

    “At some point you have to stop and contemplate, “What should I do next? How could I be better?’”

    “The truth is this, for the most part today…I don’t believe that the biblical understanding and concept of rest, I don’t believe we’re seeing it in Christianity.”

    “Because the Jews kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath kept the Jews.”

    “If you get rid of something that’s a core part of the human experience, I think you lose a major element of what it means to be human…we’re seeing this all over the world.”

    “It’s as though the Sabbath is calling all of us to it, and to God.”

    “There’s so much more to life than what we can see right now.”

    “Even…the worst among us can be saved, and can be loved.”

    “My life was completely and radically transformed.”

    Genesis 2:3
    And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all
    the work of creation that He had done.
    https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.2.3?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

    Links:

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

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

    • 30 min
    Alan Dershowitz on Genesis 22:2 -- “Abraham’s Ultimate Test of Faith”

    Alan Dershowitz on Genesis 22:2 -- “Abraham’s Ultimate Test of Faith”

    Mark’s very special guest on the podcast is none other than the distinguished Alan Dershowitz. Alan’s career is perhaps the most storied, consequential and important one in all of American legal history. He has taught at Harvard Law School for 50 years and is the celebrated author of dozens of books, including Mark’s favorite, The Genesis of Justice: Ten Stories of Biblical Injustice that Led to the Ten Commandments and Modern Law. While he has defended numerous high profile clients, he devotes half of his practice to pro bono work, particularly in the defense of women who have defended themselves against abusive husbands. He and Mark grew to know each other through their work with United Hatzalah, where Alan is a generous contributor and is always willing to do anything to help save Jewish, Christian, and Muslim lives in Israel. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark is the Akeida.

    Alan begins the discussion by sharing his experiences with both the constructive and destructive power of words, and then he and Mark embark upon a thoroughly insightful analysis of today’s passage. They discuss Abraham’s argument with and faith in God, the paradox of defending strangers which continues to this day, and the nature of questions, balance, absolutes and law as presented in the Bible. Alan offers intriguing thoughts about the Bible verses to which he frequently returns in his legal work, reviews one of his cases in which he invoked the Akeida story, and summarizes the nature of Judaism. To cap off this fascinating conversation, Alan shares the lessons he has learned about mankind throughout his extensive career. This episode is one which exemplifies its opening premise extolling the sheer power of words as host and guest passionately examine ‘the most profound words, not only in the history of Judaism, but in the history of law’. Today, you are offered the unique opportunity to witness these two great minds in conversation and allow the power of their words to educate and inspire you.

    Episode Highlights:

    Alan’s experiences with the power of words
    His analysis of the Akeida and the lessons it contains
    Arguing with God
    God’s test of Abraham
    The paradox of defending strangers
    Questions, balance, and absolutes in the Bible
    The concepts of law presented in the Bible
    The Bible verses to which Alan returns in his legal work
    One of Alan’s case which he one based on the Akeida story
    The nature of Judaism
    The lessons that Alan has learned about mankind

    Quotes:

    “Words can create a career, and words can try to destroy a career.”

    “I wish people would take ‘bearing false witness’ more seriously.”

    “God, you’re not above the law.”

    “It’s the only religion I know of in the world in where a person is praised, praised for arguing with God.”

    “We have to strike a balance between defending the rights of others and defending our own rights.”

    “The Bible is the best book of questions ever written.”

    “You can’t have statutory law until you’ve lived through the experiences of searching for justice and trying to define justice in the activities in imperfect human beings.”

    “I think Abraham did not believe in the end that God would allow him to kill his completely innocent child…it was more a test of his faith.”

    “We have to learn how to argue the way that God argued with Abraham and Abraham argued with God, and dialogue is so incredibly important at a divisive time such as the one that we’re now living through.”

    “There are no perfect answers to difficult questions.”

    “Let’s strive to be better.”

    Genesis 22:2
    And He said, “Take your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of
    Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you.
    https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.22.2?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

    L

    • 35 min
    Rabbi Ben Spratt on Genesis 3:24 -- "A Surprising Stroll Through the Garden of Eden"

    Rabbi Ben Spratt on Genesis 3:24 -- "A Surprising Stroll Through the Garden of Eden"

    On today’s episode, our Rabbi’s husband is joined by his great friend, and a Cantor’s husband, Rabbi Ben Spratt. Rabbi Spratt spent his early years exploring his Jewish identity, journeying through the many worlds of Judaism before finding a home within the Reform movement, and in 2008, he was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he was the recipient of many awards and prizes. Currently, he is the beloved Senior Associate Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom and the Rabbi-in-Residence of Rodeph Sholom School. Rabbi Spratt has chosen Genesis 3:24 to discuss with Mark.

    He begins the discussion by sharing his Jewish journey, precisely what interests him about the Garden of Eden, and both the conventional reading of today’s passage as well as a more radical reading of it. He and Mark then explore the side of God that tests us, the significance of choosing knowledge over immortality, and Judaism’s perspective on living forever. Rabbi Spratt then describes his approach to supporting those who are dealing with death, and reveals what he feels is the path to knowledge, connection, and relationship, as well as the lessons he has learned about mankind. Today’s enlightening conversation offers you the opportunity to go beyond the conventional and expand your understanding of this magnificent text with two passionate and insightful seekers of biblical truth.

    Episode Highlights:




    Rabbi Spratt’s Jewish journey




    What interests Rabbi Ben about the Garden of Eden




    The conventional reading of this story




    A more radical reading of it




    The side of God that tests us




    The significance of choosing knowledge over immortality




    Judaism’s perspective on living forever




    Rabbi Spratt’s approach to supporting those dealing with death




    The path to knowledge, connection and relationship




    The lessons about mankind that Rabbi Ben has learned



    Quotes:

    “God expelling them from the Garden of Eden actually sets up the idea that the only aspect, perhaps, that distinguishes us from God is that we are mortal. And that I think is a very radical read.”

    “Maybe this is the very path of what Torah is all about - that part of what we’re called to do is to bring that innate curiosity, the inquisitive spirit that makes us want to plumb the depths…the divine aspect of us which is reaching for more and more knowledge.”

    “In the Jewish imagination…our origin story is one where we’re reaching actually for knowledge instead of immortality.”

    “You live forever through the deeds that you do in this chronologically finite life.”

    “I believe that we are all wired just to be boundary crossers…our heroes are always the boundary crossers.”

    “Our most fundamental need is connectedness.”

    Genesis 3:24
    He drove the man out, and stationed east of the garden of Eden the cherubim and the fiery ever-turning sword, to guard the way to the tree of life. https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.3.24?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

    Links:

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

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

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    • 26 min
    Rabbi Ari Lamm on Deuteronomy 4:6: "The Essential Calling for Jews"

    Rabbi Ari Lamm on Deuteronomy 4:6: "The Essential Calling for Jews"

    Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm, Chief Executive Officer of the Bnai Zion Foundation, joins Mark for a lively discussion on today’s episode. Rabbi Lamm is a graduate of Yeshiva University, and has served as Special Advisor to the President of that illustrious university. He has also completed his PhD in ancient Judaism and Christianity at Princeton, and his writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Jerusalem Post, Tablet Magazine, and First Things Magazine. The passage he has selected to discuss with Mark is Deuteronomy 4:6.

    Rabbi Lamm begins this discussion by sharing the context of the passage and his reasons for selecting it. He and Mark then examine the significance of Moses’ oration in Deuteronomy, how it outlines the mission of the Jewish people, and how it establishes the role of ‘wisdom and understanding’ in both religion and politics. They then explore the many ways that this passage lives on today in its call for the Jewish people to be role models for the world, the need for them to have a land in which to build and display this beacon, and they also demonstrate the influence the Bible had with America’s Founding Fathers and in the US Constitution. Rabbi Lamm finishes the episode by relating the lessons he has learned regarding mankind – lessons that present a moving tribute to the legacy of his grandfather, and which are acutely relevant to the times we are living in now. Today’s conversation is a thoughtful and dynamic analysis of no less than ‘the speech that built our civilization’, filled with the passion and insight that such a singularly formidable text requires and deserves, and one that will undoubtedly keep you thinking long after you have listened to it.

    Episode Highlights:


    The context of today’s passage and Rabbi Lamm’s reasons for selecting it
    The significance of Moses’ oration in Deuteronomy
    The mission statement of the Jewish people
    The role of ‘wisdom and understanding’ in religion and politics
    Becoming role models for the world
    The reason for the Jewish people to have a land
    The influence of the Bible on America’s Founding Fathers and the US Constitution
    Lessons Rabbi Lamm has learned about mankind
    The legacy of Rabbi Lamm’s grandfather, Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm

    Quotes:

    “Not only is this the first, as you put it, biblical commentary in history…it’s also where Moses, for the first time, defines his earlier life as a work.”

    “Religion practiced correctly is politics.”

    “What Moses is basically saying is that the Hebrew Bible itself, the Bible, is the best and most ideal expression of political life that could possibly exist.”

    “It means building a just and virtuous and loving society that can be a beacon of light to all the other nations of the Earth, to inspire them, not to become exactly like us, but to become the best version of themselves.”

    “If the US Constitution is America’s founding and binding legal founding document, then the Hebrew Bible is really America’s founding moral document.”

    “At the core of the human experience, the thing that will save us is the ability to laugh and the ability to smile.”

    “There is no limit to what you can accomplish as long as you don’t care who gets the credit.”

    “I find it very comforting to know that his shoulders are available for all of us to stand on.”

    Deuteronomy 4:6
    Observe them faithfully, for that will be proof of your wisdom and discernment to other peoples, who on hearing of all these laws will say,
    “Surely, that great nation is a wise and discerning people.” https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.4.6?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

    Links:

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

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

    • 36 min
    Dr. Jon Fielder on Genesis 50:20 -- "Living In A Broken Creation"

    Dr. Jon Fielder on Genesis 50:20 -- "Living In A Broken Creation"

    This week, Mark is delighted and honored to welcome his great friend, Dr. Jon Fielder, to the podcast. Having received his Doctor of Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine in 1999, and completed his training in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Jon soon sensed the calling of God and moved to Kenya to serve with World Medical Mission and Africa Inland Mission focusing on the care of HIV and the training of Kenyan healthcare providers. Together, he and Mark have also founded African Mission Healthcare, a non-profit organization strengthening mission hospitals to aid those in greatest need. The passage Jon has selected to discuss today is Genesis 50:20.

    Their discussion begins with Jon sharing his background and offering his perspective on what it means to be a missionary. He then describes his reasons for selecting today’s passage and, with Mark, explores how the themes of God’s sovereignty and paradox of faith are found not only in this passage, but throughout the world as well. He also provides stirring examples of those who have inspired him in his life and his work, and then offers some of the profound lessons which he has learned about mankind. Given Jon’s extensive knowledge of scripture, passion for his faith, and determination to put that faith into action, it is no wonder that he and Mark would end up as great friends. They are shining examples of committed leaders who bring the lessons of the Torah to life, and you will undoubtedly be moved and inspired by their conversation today.

    Episode Highlights:

    Jon’s background
    His perspective on what it means to be a missionary
    Jon’s reasons for his scripture selection
    Paradox of faith and God’s sovereignty in both this passage and in the world
    The inspirations in Jon’s life
    The lessons about mankind which Jon has learned

    Quotes:

    “Part of my Christian calling was to confront that suffering and to witness to God’s love the same way that I had experienced it as a Christian.”

    “The most frequent commandment in the Torah, way more than anything else, is ‘fear not’.”

    “The idea of forgiveness, which we take for granted, was invented by Joseph in the moment when he revealed himself to them.”

    “The Bible tells us to walk in His ways, and that’s exactly what you were doing, what you are doing.”

    “What appears to be meant for harm can actually be to our good.”

    “God holds all the power and keeps His plans hidden until events come to pass.”

    “The redemption may come much further down the line.”

    “Where does such joy come from? It comes from the village, it comes from the church, it comes from family, faith, and it gives people hope.”

    Genesis 50:20
    You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives
    https://www.sefaria.org/Numbers.27?lang=bi&aliyot=0

    Links:

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

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

    • 30 min
    Whitney Tilson on Leviticus 19:16 -- "Leading with Compassion"

    Whitney Tilson on Leviticus 19:16 -- "Leading with Compassion"

    Mark welcomes Whitney Tilson, CEO of Empire Financial Research, lifelong entrepreneur, dedicated philanthropist, and avid mountaineer, to today’s episode. As a graduate with distinction from both Harvard College and Harvard Business School, Whitney has become a prolific author, a frequent financial commentator on a variety of television networks, and has been featured on 60 Minutes, and in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. While he acknowledges that he is neither Jewish nor particularly religious, Whitney has chosen Leviticus 19:16 to discuss with Mark today.

    In this discussion, Whitney shares his personal history, his connection to the Jewish faith, and just why the selected passage is so relevant to his life, particularly during 2020. He goes on to describe his work with the evangelical Christian organization, Samaritan’s Purse, the lasting friendships he made there, and his choice to set aside differences in order to work with them for a greater purpose. Whitney finishes by exploring the lessons he has learned about mankind, in particular, the notion of playing defense in life and marriage, and the importance of engaging and responding in positive ways in relationships. Today, you have the unique opportunity to meet and listen to Whitney Tilson - a man who has lived the very scripture passage he has selected, a man who has risen to his mother’s challenge of taking his good fortune and making the world a better place, a man whose story brings to life the timeless instructional and inspirational nature of the Torah.

    Episode Highlights:

    Whitney’s personal history
    Why today’s passage has been relevant to Whitney throughout his life, and particularly in 2020
    Whitney’s work with Samaritan’s Purse and the friendships he made
    His family’s history of helping others
    Setting aside differences for the greater good
    The importance of the Bible
    What Whitney has learned about mankind as a leader in the investment and non-profit world
    Some of the messages from Whitney’s upcoming book about ‘playing defense’
    Micro-interactions and engaging and responding in positive ways in marriages

    Quotes:

    “Like so many things in the Bible, it was a revolutionary idea that is now completely familiar to us.”

    “It felt good to try and make a difference and help my city address this terrible pandemic that killed more than 20 000 fellow New Yorkers.”

    “You lived this passage.”

    “We put our differences aside to save lives in the short term.”

    “You have a duty to take your good fortune and make the world a better place, and help others.”

    “I’m really proud of my friends and my fellow New Yorkers.”

    “In both cases, you refuse to stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.”

    “I always encourage young people…to just read broadly.”

    “It’s okay to take risks, but you want to have a mental framework that is focused on avoiding, to the extent possible, the big calamity.”

    “My observation is that people treat their spouses worse than they would ever treat most of their friends.”

    “We are a function of our actions, and we can control our actions.”

    “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken.”

    Leviticus 19:16
    Do not deal basely with your countrymen. Do not profit by the blood of your fellow:
    I am the LORD.
    https://www.sefaria.org/Leviticus.19.16?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

    Links:

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

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

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

Jtg3085865 ,

Loving this show!

Cannot recommend this enough. It’s interesting, insightful, and incisive. Definitely give it a listen!!

elitahu ,

A brilliantly constructed contemporary discussion on Judaism

Insightful, out of the box thinking with truly unique practical thoughts on modern day judaism. Most importantly- Mark, the Rabbi’s husband, asks the right questions in today’s complex universe.

DJ Danny 18 ,

What a find!

The Rabbi’s Husband feels conversational, educational and timely. I appreciate how in 30 minutes or less we learn about an interesting guest, how it focuses on a passage and how the conversation flows. Thank you!

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