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In the Face of Change Transcript

The following is a transcript of Episode 11 of the TEXTing Podcast. Note: This is a lightly edited transcript of a conversation, please excuse any errors.

Elana: Welcome to TEXTing, where we consider issues relevant to Jewish life through the lens of classical and modern Torah texts. I’m your host, Elana Stein Hain. We’re recording on Tuesday, May 21st, 2024. If you’d like to follow along with today’s text, you can find the link to our source sheet in the episode description.

I remember September 11th, 2001. I was a sophomore in college and I was on my way to class when I heard about the Twin Towers. We didn’t understand it yet, but our world was fundamentally changed from that moment on. One way I might capture it is through the very mundane, a loss of naivete. I distinctly remember the lack of airport security during the first 20 years of my life, and then the plethora of new security measures and apparatuses installed at TSA as a result of 9/11. We had to take off our shoes, we had to take out our laptops, take off our belts, no liquids, et cetera, et cetera. And you know, this event happened over 20 years ago. And yet the security measures haven’t changed because we still find ourselves to be in just as much danger as we used to be. And maybe even more. 

I feel that we as Americans and as Jews are living through a similar watershed moment, where there’s been a major shift in rising anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment, and we’re worried that it’s the new normal. We don’t know what comes next as if any human beings ever truly do, but we’re definitely worried that this too will not abate and it may even get worse. 

So today I want to focus on the relationship between fear and change, which can be applied in a number of ways. Sometimes we actually fear making change. Sometimes we fear that something will never change. And sometimes we fear a change that has already occurred. And we’re afraid we’ll never be able to go back to the way things were. 

We’re going to study a text from Vayikra Rabbah or Leviticus Rabbah as it’s known in some weird combination of Latin and Hebrew. Today I’m back with Christine Hayes. It’s so great to be learning with you again. 

Christine: Thank you.

Elana: So let’s talk about fear and change. How would you describe their relationship as an overview?

Christine: Well, change introduces something new by definition, and new things are untested. They’re uncertain. And so humans have two basic responses to change and the uncertainty that it brings. And one response is hope, right? Hope that the change will be good for us in some way. So change inspires hope when the status quo is bad. But the other response to change is fear that the change will be bad for us in some way. So change inspires fear, maybe when the status quo is good, or at least not so bad as to risk something worse. 

I think what’s so interesting about the passage we’re going to be discussing is that it begins with a verse about fear, right? This verse from Yirmiyahu, in which God says, “Have no fear, my servant Jacob,” which suggests to the rabbis that at some point in his life, Jacob felt fear. And that’s what prompts God to say, have no fear. And the rabbis want to know when, when in Jacob’s life story, did God have to say this? When did he feel fear? And in this passage, they’re going to settle on the scene in Genesis 28, in which Jacob has this vision of angels who are ascending and descending a ladder that stretches from earth to heaven. And they’re going to explore this scene. What did Jacob see? Why did it generate fear in him? Was it a fear of change? Was it a fear of the status quo? Those are all things explored in this passage.

Elana: Yeah, I think question of whether change inspires excitement and positive anticipation, opportunity, or change inspires sort of like recoiling, fear in action. As a person who’s not great with transitions in general, I kind of know which side I fall on, to be honest. But let’s take a look. So our text today is Vayikra Rabbah, 29, subsection 2. And it has several steps. I think we’re going to do this in four parts. One thing that’s also useful to know is we’re in Vayikra Rabbah, we’re really talking about Leviticus chapter 23, and specifically the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Right, the day when your destiny is going to be decided for the collective of the people of Israel. So it’s like layered Jacob’s personal life and the collective life of the Jewish people. So let’s take a look at what we might call scene one, okay?

So Rabbi Nachman patach, he opened his homily with a verse from Jeremiah chapter 30, verse 10. “V’atah al tirah avdi Yaakov,” “Don’t fear, my servant Jacob,” which of course is interesting in Jeremiah, Jacob is a reference to the collective of the people of Israel, but nonetheless, what Rabbi Nachman suggests is “midaber b’Yaakov,” this is actually talking about the biblical Jacob. As it is written, “And Jacob dreamt, and behold, there was a ladder that was set on the ground.” And of course, we know the rest. He saw angels going up and down. 

Rabbi Samuel son of Nachman said, let me tell you who those angels were. Those angels were actually the guardian angels of the various nations of the world. God showed Jacob the angelic officer angel of Babylonia going up 70 rungs, and the angelic officer of Medea, going up 52 rungs, and of Greece going up 180 rungs. And then Edom, which for the rabbis is Rome, ascending, and Jacob couldn’t even tell how high up Rome was ascending. 

And at that moment, “nityareh Yaakov Avinu,” Jacob was scared. “Amar,” he said, “efshar she’ein bazeh yerida?” Is it possible that this angel of Edom, meaning the Roman Empire itself, will never decline? 

“Amar lo HaKadosh Baruch Hu,” God said to him, “V’atah al tirah avdi Yaakov,” Don’t fear, my servant Jacob, taken from Jeremiah. Even if that angel representing Edom, representing Rome, ascends all the way and sits next to Me, comes all the way to the top, so to speak, and sits next to Me on My throne, I’m going to send him down from there. And that’s why it says in the book of Ovadia, which is famously about Edom and Israel, “Im tagbia kanesher ve’im ben kochavim sim kinecha,” even if they’re able to raise themselves up like an eagle, and even if they’re able to nest among the stars, so to speak, guess what? The rest of the verse, “‘from there I will bring you down,’ so says the Lord.” 

So let’s talk about Jacob’s fear here for a minute, because it sounds like your fear of the status quo.

Christine: Yeah, a status quo that’s gonna be established in the future, certainly one that’s in process right now. These various nations are each ascending a certain number of years. I think those rungs represent in the rabbi’s chronology, at least the number of years that each has reigned. And so it looks like Rome will be ascendant forever, which will leave the temple destroyed, Israel in a subjugated position. So there’s a fear of the status quo that’s being signaled by this vision. So in that case, it’s the status quo is bad. And so we would want change presumably from that particular picture.

Elana: Yeah, and it’s important to note that there’s a zero-sum game here, right? His assumption is that if Rome is up, we are down, right, because for him it’s, as you mentioned to me when we were talking about this earlier, it’s either Yaakov or Esav. It’s Jacob or Esau. It’s not both. And if Edom is a moniker for Esav, then what it’s really saying is this is a seesaw. Right? I understand it’s a ladder, but it’s a seesaw.

And I think that sense of powerlessness, that sense of overwhelm, of, I can’t tell when this ends, right? The uncertainty about when something will end. The others, he sees they’re going to end, right? And I think that’s part of it also sometimes in like the human psyche. if I know that there is a perceivable finish line to something, I can handle it. But if I don’t, I think that’s really where activists, I would say, are very impressive. Meaning, because they’re essentially saying, without us, we don’t know when it ends, but we want to do something in order to try to end it.

Christine: Right. Bring that horizon closer. So something’s unbearable. For some people, the way to endure is to grab the horizon and try to bring it closer. Yeah.

Elana: Right. And that’s just not, that’s not the vibe, I would say, of this midrash. The vibe of this midrash is, whatever’s gonna happen, God’s gonna do it.

Christine: Yeah, I think that is true. I think we’re going to end up with a little qualification of that towards the end, but it’s certainly the picture that’s being presented here. And we have a long tradition of understanding some of these visions in the Bible as predicting the progression of nations, the rise and the fall of different nations. Of course that happens in the book of Daniel as well, but this vision is also being interpreted here in the same way, and that’s something that seems to be left to the control of God. So he’s being vouchsafed some vision of the future and he’s going to react when he sees only part of it, but we’re going to have sort of a series of unfolding disclosures as we go through this particular passage, and he’ll see more. And as he sees more, his fear will shift. He’s still, there will still be occasions for God to be saying, “Al tirah, don’t fear,” but it’s going to shift as different things are disclosed to him in this vision.

Elana: Great, so let’s move to piece two, because I think they’re really two sides of a coin, right? If Jacob starts off as, I’m afraid of the status quo, and let’s remember his own status quo is at this point he’s running from his brother Esav, so he’s in the middle of his own status quo that he’s afraid of and doesn’t know how it’s going to end, then this next part is, he’s actually afraid of change more than he’s afraid of the status quo. Do you want to pick up on Rabbi Berechia, continuing? 

Christine: Sure, we have a series of people who cite a tradition in the name of Rabbi Meir. And Rabbi Meir says that this teaches, melamed, that God showed Jacob, as we said earlier, the guardian angel of Bavel, of Babylon ascending and descending, of Madea ascending and descending, of Greece ascending and descending.

But here’s the change from the previous one. He also showed him the Sar of Edoe, the sort of angel representing Edom, oleh v’yored, also ascending and descending. And then God says to Jacob, and you too will ascend. So now the vision, the interpret, the dream scene is being presented a little bit differently. He saw all of these angels going up and coming down, including Edom. And then God says, you too, Jacob, will ascend. 

So why would he be afraid? Right? You would think, Great news, why would he be afraid? But it says at that, or Rabbi Meir says, at that moment, “B’otah sha’ah nityareh Yaakov Avinu, but he responded in fear to that news. He says, “shema chas v’shalom k’sheim sheleilu yeridah af li kein.” He said, “But perhaps, God forbid, then, just as there was a descent for these, following their ascent, it means that there will also be, right, af li kein, there will also be a descent for me following my ascent.” So this change that you seem to be promising, God, I think I’m afraid of that too. Yes, I may ascend, but you know, that might mean that I’m also going to fall. And God says, have no fear, al tirah. 

So now the al tirah is colored in a very different way. It’s not an al tirah that this terrible situation is going to continue. He’s saying, no al tirah, don’t be afraid of it changing. Don’t be afraid of success. Don’t be afraid of ascent. If you ascend, he says, there will be no descent for you forever, ein lecha yeridah olamit.

I don’t know if we wanna give the last little line of this yet, but…

Elana: Ah, okay. Let’s yeah, let’s leave it as a cliffhanger. Let’s leave it as a cliffhanger because it feels to me like I’m looking at Jacob in the midst of his crisis, right? And one response is, oh gosh, Esav is going to be running after me forever. And that really turns into the collective. Oh gosh, Rome is going to be able to persecute us forever, right? Like it, it sort of is that big piece. But also in the midst of his crisis, God’s like, I’ve got a way out for you.

You can ascend, and he’s like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, that’s a bad idea, because if I ascend, then I’m also going to descend. It’s that sense of, I don’t want to go anywhere. Right? It’s like deer in the headlights, I’m afraid to take the risk to take an affirmative step forward, because I don’t know what that’s going to lead to either.

Christine: Right. He doesn’t know if it’s going to end well. So this fear of failure, it’s very paralyzing. And actually it would be a reason to never do anything in your life, right? Because there’s always the possibility of failure. So this kind of fear is self-undermining, and we have to really accept that a condition of human agency and free will is the possibility of failure. And accept it and then get on with it, right? There aren’t any guaranteed results. The lack of guaranteed results isn’t a reason not to act. In fact, it’s precisely what makes our freedom and our free action possible, right? If all the results were guaranteed, then we’d all just be living through or walking through a script. We wouldn’t actually be making free moral choices, right? The whole point of freedom is the possibility of failure.

Elana: Can I tell you, this might surprise you, but when I looked at this midrash, I actually thought of Rachel Goldberg-Polin. The reason why I thought of her is because she’s made a choice to be so outspoken, and to some degree when I saw the video of Hersh, I was like, she saved his life. She turns him into someone who is a big bargaining chip. Because she went so public.

And to be honest, when she first went so public, I was like nervous about the opposite. And we still don’t know, we don’t know anything, but that, that question of when you are really in crisis, what do you do, right? Like what choices do you actually have to make? And she made an incredibly strong choice. And I hope to God that it pays off, obviously, but it, but I was really thinking about it when I read this.

Christine: Right. And we don’t know the results. It’s always a gamble. It’s always a risk. You don’t know if it’s going to end as you hope or going to end so much worse than you imagined. 

Elana: Correct, meaning, you know, I was talking to Tessa, who works for the show. And, you know, I love talking to her about this stuff before we record. And she said to me something like, “If it can get better, it can also get worse,” right? Meaning sometimes when you just stay still, you know, and there are prosaic examples of this too, right? It’s like people, whether you’re in a job or you’re in a relationship, it’s like, do you have that conversation that’s clarifying where you want to go or is that conversation actually going to lead to steps back, right? Either because maybe the other party is like, no, no, no, no, no, no, that’s not where you wanted to go, right? It’s kind of applicable at all those levels. 

It’s even, you know, I think about even the day after questions. about Israel and Gaza. It’s like, ah, but if we do this, then what about that? And if we do that, then what about this? And it’s, it’s very, it’s very, very difficult because, because you don’t have a crystal ball. You just, you don’t have a crystal ball. And I guess this is the time to tell people what Jacob decided.

Christine: Yes, it is time. I mean, God, after all, offers him certainty. If what you’ve just described, Elana, is the fear that arises from the fact that we’re uncertain and we’re having to make a choice and making a step in the dark. We don’t know if it will be better. We don’t know if it will be worse. You would think that it would be allayed by having some certainty. And so God actually gives him certainty. He says, have no fear. If you ascend, there will be no descent for you forever. So we expect the next line that concludes this little section to be, he said, great, have at it. I’m on board. Right. But he doesn’t. 

Lo he’emin v’lo alah, but he didn’t trust. He didn’t trust, and so he didn’t ascend.

Elana: It’s like, how I don’t know. How desperately scared do you have to be for God to say, I’ve got you, and Yaakov to say, I’m not going up that ladder? I’m not going up that ladder. I, I, I know you’re telling me, but I don’t, right, like, there’s also something here, to be honest, like we also know that in some ways a major tension within the covenantal framework of God and the Jewish people is, is that God says, aspire to be your best, aspire to be your best, and I also know you’re gonna mess up.

So it’s not true that Jacob’s not gonna descend again. It’s not true. It’s not true. Right? And to an extent, like, Jacob knows that too. And I think that’s a really interesting concept that God says, I’m willing to leave you up here forever. But I would ask, what’s to say that at some point Jacob and the collective won’t mess up so that they also deserve to go down? Right? Like, that’s human nature.

Christine: It is. And the truth of the matter is, I think the rabbis are really astute readers of the biblical text. I think one of the reasons that Jacob is my favorite patriarch is because

Elana: You’re not supposed to have favorites, Chris. 

Christine: I know, I know, but, you can’t have favorites among your children, but you can have favorites among patriarchs, I guess.

Elana: Among your parents, so to speak. 

Christine: Right. Exactly. But one of the things that’s so different about him and in some ways, you know, frustrating and yet lovable at the same time is that he doesn’t trust. He doesn’t trust God. I mean, in a way, Abraham is presumably in Genesis 22, the model of blind obedience after I think many chapters of not being so obedient.

Elana: Meaning, putting, putting Isaac on the altar. 

Christine: Yeah, yeah. And I think that, you know, that model of blind trust in a way is disproven. He and God never speak again. He and Isaac never speak again. There’s just such a rupture in the relationship. So I think that model of blind obedience is not the one that’s really preferred by God and the nation derives its name from Jacob. He’s the one with the struggle. 

But what’s so interesting is that in this chapter, he does put God on, on notice. He says, if, if you bring me back, well, then I will trust in you. 

So I think the rabbis are very astute readers of the character of Jacob. He is not one to simply say, I believe, or I trust in your promises, God. He says, let’s see how this works out, first, I’m going off, I’m leaving, and if everything goes well with me, I will come back here and then I will trust in you. 

So that’s, what’s being picked up on here. You can make these promises, God, and that’s wonderful, but really at the end of the day. Are you really in control? It’s kind of, kind of the question that’s lurking beneath this, right? It’s a really interesting question.

Elana: It’s so funny because I read that question of, are you really in control, as, isn’t there something that human beings are going to do to mess this up at some point?

Christine: And that’s the, that’s the message of Genesis, right? Genesis 1,2, and 3 are telling us God is very powerful, very knowledgeable, but he does give humans free will. And that’s why they surprise him. That’s why they anger him. That’s why we have this ongoing relationship, trying to figure out who’s doing what.

Elana: So you’re saying that’s why we need a dictatorial state that’s going to control what we do? Okay, everybody, Chris, you heard it here first. Christine Hayes is advocating for someone controlling our choices for us.

No, precisely the opposite. Precisely the opposite.

Christine: We know that’s not true because I am, as we laid out at the beginning, I’m probably the person who responds to change and uncertainty with delight, curiosity, and hope. That is just my nature. So I am grateful that we have that space for free will. And then God says, go ahead and screw up if you, if you need to learn that way, then that’s the way you’ll learn.

Elana: And you know what? Speaking of messing up, scene three, right? It goes on, the Midrash goes on and says, and God said to Jacob, well, guess what? “Ilu he’emanta v’alita, od lo yaratah.” Had you trusted me and gone up there, you would not have come down, but, “v’achshav shelo he’emanta v’lo alita,” because you didn’t trust in me and you didn’t go up there in the future, your descendants are gonna be subjugated by the four kingdoms, right, meaning these four nations that have been ascending and descending, right, in this world with land taxes, produce taxes, animal taxes, head taxes, it’s almost like, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, what just happened.

He didn’t go and now he’s stuck on the ground and they’re all ascendant, right? And then, “B’otah sha’ah niryareh Yaakov,” Jacob’s afraid again. Now what’s he afraid of? Jacob said to God, Master of the universe, “yachol l’olam?” Is this going to go on forever? We’re back to fear of the status quo, or it’s not yet the status quo, but the promised status quo. And of course, God says again, no, like that’s not the way it, it’s going to work for you. I’m going to make sure, right? And it’s great. 

It takes the verse, Jeremiah 30:10, which is what we started with, right? And it parses it, okay? It says, oh, says there that you shouldn’t fear, Israel, which of course the collective of Israel, but here Israel is Jacob, for behold I am going to save you from a distance, as it is said in Isaiah 39:3, “From a distant place they came to me,” from Babylonia, right? Meaning I am going to save you from wherever it is you get exiled to, right, to Babylonia, I’m going to save you. 

And more than that, the verse goes on, and your descendants from the land of their captivity. And now it parses that as from Gaul and from Spain and from other such places. And then it has another piece of the verse. And Jacob, referring to the collective of Israel, Jacob shall return from Babylonia, right? And things will be quiet, meaning from Medea. And things will be pastoral, meaning from Greece, and no one’s going to scare them, meaning from Edom, right?

Like, I told you that I have your back. So first you’re afraid of the status quo. Then you’re afraid of change. Well, I got to tell you, if you can’t move anywhere, there’s going to be a problem here. And now you’re afraid that that problem’s going to last forever. And I’m trying to explain to you, no, nothing lasts forever, although I promised you that you would last forever. It’s a weird, put those two next to each other, nothing lasts forever and you will last forever. It’s, you feel that tension, to be honest.

Christine: It’s a tension, but I think it’s really the tension that lies at the heart of human free will, that that’s the biblical message that there is a dialectic. You know, God would do X, Y, and Z, but there is room for human free will. So there’s always going to be that dialectic. And that is why you may want certainty. You may want certainty of a good outcome. You may want certainty that a bad outcome will be repaired. It’s not entirely dependent on me, God says. That’s what makes my vision of the human different from the vision of the human that we have in other philosophical systems or other, other systems in the world, right? That humans actually do impact the future. The future is being created now. 

And I think that’s what’s so powerful about this rabbinic passage. They take a text, which is often seen as predicting divine control over the rise and fall of empires with a fixed end, and they’re turning it into something which is much more dialectical, much more about the role that humans have to play to take up opportunities or to turn down negative opportunities, take up good opportunities, and not simply be passive agents of history. And I think that’s one of the brilliant things about this rabbinic reading. 

Elana: I have to say it’s, it’s a little bit of a proto-Zionistic text. It’s like, no, get up, get out of Europe, take care of yourselves. Which is just a fascinating, you know, it’s just a fascinating thing to see at this moment. 

So, let’s say this is scene three, right? You got stuck. I’m trying to explain to you, you getting stuck is not gonna help you. And I am just going to have to pull you out again at some point, and that’s, that’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to keep pulling you out until you do what you’re supposed to do. 

What I think in scene four, I think scene four actually does focus us a little bit more on human agency and human responsibility in a way that’s pretty fascinating. Do you want to read scene four, our final scene of this?

Christine: So in part four, they move on to the next verse. In Yirmiyahu verse 11, verse 10 has said, don’t fear Jacob, don’t despair Israel. You know, using both names, which kind of always gives more of a resonance of the collective than just the individual. Don’t despair. And then in verse 11, it’s going to say, for I will bring annihilation or bring an end to, e’eseh chalah, I will bring an end to all the nations to which I dispersed you. The rabbis are going to have fun with this word chalah, an end or an annihilation. They’re going to play with that because the same root can be used for a verb that means to reap your field all the way to the end in its entirety, right? 

So God says, am ki e’eseh chalah b’chol hagoyim, I will bring an end to all the nations to which I’ve dispersed you, meaning upon the nations of the world who “mechalim b’sadoteihem, who reap their fields all the way to the very end. They leave nothing. 

And it says, the rabbis go on to point out that Leviticus 23, remember this is a comment on Leviticus 23. So now we’ve come home to our home chapter of Bible. They remind us that it says on Leviticus 23, you shall not reap all the way to the corner or the sides, the peah of your field, lo t’chalei pe’at sencha, so you will not reap to the very end. And so because Israel does that, I will not bring an end to you because you do not reap to the ends of your field. I will, 

Elana: Play on words.

Christine: Yeah, I will play on words very much. I’m going to chastise you with justice, the verse continues, right, I do afflict you with suffering, hence all of this, you know, aliyah and yeridah and all the rest that you, 

Elana: The ups and the downs. 

Christine: The ups and the downs, which in a way you continue and contribute to in some ways and make it go longer than it could otherwise, because there is that element of human free will. And so I will afflict you, afflict you in this world to cleanse your iniquities in the future. And that happens in the seventh month, Rosh Hashanah, bringing us back to Rosh Hashanah. 

But I think what’s so interesting is that this phrase does introduce an element of agency. It’s because of fulfilling this commandment to not exhaust to the field when reaping it. That makes all the difference as to the course of history is what’s being said here. It’s not random that the nations are rising and falling and you, Israel, have had a hand in this, in your ability to endure.

I think if we want to, we could even read a kind of a contemporary message of sustainability into this last pun and this last play, it’s because Israel doesn’t fully exploit the produce of the earth, it doesn’t take absolutely everything out of the field, that they are the ones who are going to endure in the end. It will bring the rising and the falling to an end. So there’s, you know, kind of an interesting, um, pro sustainability message in there, as well as a message about human agency and the way we do craft our own fate and futures.

Elana: Well, it is interesting as well that the mitzvah of Peah, the commandment to leave part of the field, the corner empty, it’s so that you can take care of the poor. So that they can eat it. And I think there’s something interesting, you know, Yaakov’s so worried about his vulnerability. And, you know, takes one to know one, in a way, that God is saying, you know, because you care for the vulnerable, because you know vulnerability, and you actually express care for those in that state, I’m gonna raise you up again at some point. 

But those who end up being strong and forget to take care of the vulnerable, they’re out. Right? At some point they’re going to, and that’s a very empowering message for people who are in a state of vulnerability to say, keep taking care of those who are worse off than you or who are part of you. Keep taking care of them because that itself is something that I see. I see that. I take note of that. That impacts what I choose to do. 

And beautifully, that verse that you mentioned about leaving that corner open, it’s the verses right before Rosh Hashanah in that chapter, right? So it’s, you do that and it’s going to lead you to a Rosh Hashanah that’s going to bring you to your fullest potential at some point, right? So it’s, you know, it’s kind of an interesting way to end, starting with, well, God, what are you going to do? Are you going to let this last forever? And then at the end, God saying, well, that really depends on you, right? Like, if you choose to do the things that I think you should be doing, then it will end at some point.

Christine: And it depends on you in perhaps the most mundane way. So, you know, you talked at the beginning about the paralysis, the powerlessness, the feeling of being overwhelmed. What can anyone do? And this really ends on this interesting note is, take care of your corner of the field. Don’t forget acts of charity. No matter what you’re going through, historically, you might be oppressed, you still are obligated with acts of charity. There are always people who are in need of help. And the earth itself has to be sustained, right? 

That’s what I love about Peah, right? Is it really combines both sort of the morality towards humanity and morality towards the earth and its productivity. So it’s saying, yeah, if you’re feeling powerless and helpless, start with your own backyard and your corner of it.

Elana: Right. And of course, it starts with Yaakov saying, is there never an end? And it ends with God saying, let me tell you about ends, right? Let me tell you about ends of your field. Let me tell you about ends of difficult situations. And, speaking of which,

Christine: We’ve come to the end!

Elana: Yeah, look, I think it’s also speaking of which, the sense of prolonged experience of crisis and fear and worry and I don’t know what the end is. But may we reach some endings. May people reach the endings that they need, and let’s do it in a way that manifests who we are and who we want to be, kind of our best selves even going through it, I would say.

Christine: Endings to be hoped for rather than feared.

Elana: Yeah, Amen to that. Thank you so much, Chris. It’s always a pleasure to learn with you.

Christine: Oh, terrific fun. Thank you. 

Elana: Thanks for listening to our show. And special thanks to my chavruta this week, Christine Hayes. TEXTing is produced by Tessa Zitter, with production assistance from Sarina Shohet. Our senior producer is M Louis Gordon. And our executive producer is Maital Friedman. This episode was mixed by Ben Azevedo at Bear Cave Audio with music provided by Luke Allen. 

You can now sponsor an episode of this show. Follow the link in the show notes or visit ShalomHartman.org/texting. We will acknowledge your gift on a future episode. 

We’re always looking for ideas for what we should cover in future episodes, so if you have a topic that you’d like to hear about, or if you have comments about this episode, please write to us at [email protected]

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