Kosher Queers

43 — Re'eh: G-d Doesn't Like Your Exes

August 13, 2020 Jaz Twersky and Lulav Arnow
Kosher Queers
43 — Re'eh: G-d Doesn't Like Your Exes
Chapters
Kosher Queers
43 — Re'eh: G-d Doesn't Like Your Exes
Aug 13, 2020
Jaz Twersky and Lulav Arnow

This week, we use an extended metaphor about monogamy and knowing G-d, raise some questions about Wicca, and have a good time with rubber ducks. Plus, cool historical info about Karaites and the Talmud, how to figure out if a prophet is just a fake, and why bats are not the same as eagles. Also, if you're into Elder Scrolls Three, apparently this episode is for you.

Full transcript here.

Here's the picture of chai written in rubber ducks! This week Jaz read Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender and The Talmud: A Biography by Barry Scott Wimpfheimer and recommend both for different reasons. Jaz and Lulav watched the movie Bit, which was also good, and featured the actress Nicole Maine, who you can follow on Twitter @NicoleAMaines if you want to check out more of her work; you can also follow our listener Ada, who wrote comments for this week's Continuity Corner, @klezmerwitch.

Jaz says in this episode that they think that child sacrifice was a thing in the ancient Middle East, but the archaeological evidence for that seems kind of scant, so take that assertion with a grain of salt.

Content notes: Discussion of slavery. 

Support us on Patreon! Send us questions or comments at kosherqueers@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter @kosherqueers, and like us on Facebook at Kosher Queers. Our music is by the band Brivele. This week, our audio was edited by Lulav Arnow and our transcript was written by Jaz Twersky. Our logo is by Lior Gross, and we are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Orthodox Union.

Support the show (http://patreon.com/kosherqueers)

Show Notes Transcript

This week, we use an extended metaphor about monogamy and knowing G-d, raise some questions about Wicca, and have a good time with rubber ducks. Plus, cool historical info about Karaites and the Talmud, how to figure out if a prophet is just a fake, and why bats are not the same as eagles. Also, if you're into Elder Scrolls Three, apparently this episode is for you.

Full transcript here.

Here's the picture of chai written in rubber ducks! This week Jaz read Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender and The Talmud: A Biography by Barry Scott Wimpfheimer and recommend both for different reasons. Jaz and Lulav watched the movie Bit, which was also good, and featured the actress Nicole Maine, who you can follow on Twitter @NicoleAMaines if you want to check out more of her work; you can also follow our listener Ada, who wrote comments for this week's Continuity Corner, @klezmerwitch.

Jaz says in this episode that they think that child sacrifice was a thing in the ancient Middle East, but the archaeological evidence for that seems kind of scant, so take that assertion with a grain of salt.

Content notes: Discussion of slavery. 

Support us on Patreon! Send us questions or comments at kosherqueers@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter @kosherqueers, and like us on Facebook at Kosher Queers. Our music is by the band Brivele. This week, our audio was edited by Lulav Arnow and our transcript was written by Jaz Twersky. Our logo is by Lior Gross, and we are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Orthodox Union.

Support the show (http://patreon.com/kosherqueers)

Jaz: Hey Lulav!

Lulav: Hi Jaz.

Jaz: What is something cool or queer or Jewish you experinced this week? 

Lulav: Well, it's something I experienced with you, namely, a trans lesbian vampire movie.

Jaz: Wonderful.

Lulav: Right? So Bit is a movie that came out very recently. Like it was filmed in 2019 and I think it just came out. 

Jaz: I think in, like, June? Yeah.

Lulav: And Jaz slid into my DMs and was like, “Hey, check out this trans lesbian vampire movie that we could maybe watch.” And I was like, “Okay, there's no way that there is textually a trans lesbian vampire movie.”

Jaz: But it is! 

Lulav: It is! And then I looked at the cast and it had Nicole Maines and I was like, “oh it is, sure.” 

Jaz: For people who don't know who Nicole Maines is, can you elaborate? 

Lulav: Yeah, I came across her watching Supergirl in which she is somebody who uses the power of dreams to fight.

Jaz: Cool.

Lulav: Basically, she's a youngster who transitioned really young so she looks cis, and she works in a lot of roles for trans women, often playing women who transitioned later in life than she actually did — but you know, some representation is better than none. 

Jaz: (laughs) Well, we were talking about this and then I was trying to explain it to somebody else, but can you say a little bit more about how you feel like this is potentially an interesting choice in that respect? 

Lulav: Right, so, some of the lines of dialogue in the movie indicate that the character— do we remember anyone's names? 

Jaz: I don't think I remember anyone — I remember maybe one person's name but not hers. 

Lulav: Okay, the main character has a couple lines of dialogue, either that she says or that other people say, that indicate she transitioned during high school, maybe as a freshman or sophomore. 

Jaz: Yeah. I think maybe even later because it seems like the people there have known her during her transition. 

Lulav: Right. And what is this, the summer after senior year? 

Jaz: I think that's the idea. 

Lulav: Yeah. So like, I went through first puberty when I was 12. 

Jaz: Uh huh.

Lulav: And so, somebody who had initially unsupportive parents and hasn't changed their license to reflect their actual name and gender…   

Jaz: Probably shouldn't look like she's been on hormones for her whole life? (chuckles)

Lulav: Right. They should look like they have had two puberties. 

Jaz: Right. 

Lulav: Which is a similar thing to — I forget her name, but I think Dreamer? A similar thing with that character, where she transitioned when she was 19 or something… I don't know. Like, at once it feels bad, because it's like, if you know nothing about the actress herself, you think that this is what you should look like as a trans woman who just transitioned like two years ago. 

Jaz: Right. 

Lulav: And on the other hand, it's like: well, if cis people can reliably gender Nicole Mianes correctly, maybe they can reliably gender me correctly (laughs) 

Jaz: Right. Right. There's not one given way to look trans. 

Lulav: Right, that's the thing. I don't want to be really gatekeepy, like "if she's not a brick she shouldn't be cast!" 

Jaz: Awww! (both laugh) 

Lulav: Like, you know? I have had a certain amount of privilege in terms of being able to remove my hair, and that has drastically improved my quality of life but was also very expensive, but people who don't have access to that and went through a similarly, mm, damaging first puberty wouldn't even look as good as me? So yeah. I want better representation for people who don't have access to those things. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: Which is not to say, “Nicole Maines, get out of here!!”; it's to say there should be more roles for trans people that aren't just The Danish Girl or whatever. (Jaz laughs) Which was played by a cis man, so you see what we're up against!

Jaz: True. Lulav, would you share with our listeners some about the actual movie itself? 

Lulav: Right. sorry. It was great. There are some lesbian separatist vampires who, y’know, just hang out and drink blood and have fun together. 

Jaz: And murder people. 

Lulav: Well, that's part of the fu—  okay, no, sorry. (Jaz laughs) Yes, they do very much murder people. But, this girl who just graduated high school goes to visit her brother in the big city. I think LA? 

Jaz: I think LA? 

Lulav: Anyway, point is: she goes to the Big City and hangs out at the club, then hooks up with a girl who eats her. 

Jaz: Tries to eat her! The one name that I remember from this movie is the ringleader of the vampire lesbian separatists — or is it lesbian vampire separatists — anyway, (Lulav laughs) the ringleader is named Duke and she stops her from being totally eaten and instead she turns into a vampire.

Lulav: Yeah, so it was fun. 

Jaz: It is a little gory for my personal tastes. 

Lulav: Right, I should say that — yes, it is extremely gory. I also recently watched Japan Sinks 2020 which despite being animated was much gorier than that, but. 

Jaz: But you like horror. 

Lulav: Yeah.

Jaz: I don't like horror very much. Good movie though. 

Lulav: So yeah, if you worry about spurts of blood and stuff, and people being on fire, be careful. (Jaz snickers) But yeah I liked it. It was really interesting seeing different political statements that I didn't necessarily agree with any of them 

Jaz: (laughs) They were fun though.

Lulav: I like that, that it wasn't just the thing that you should agree with and the thing you should disagree with 

Jaz: Yeah. I think we had one sort of clearly evil and then two sort of mmm, different ambiguously right and ambiguously wrong. 

Lulav: Right. So yeah, highly recommend Bit, which is accessible through Amazon Prime or probably through means which I don't think we're legally allowed to say on this podcast.

(both laugh) 

Lulav: Jaz, what did you do this week that was cool and queer or Jewish? 

Jaz: Okay, in addition to watching Bit, which was great, I have a Jewish thing to bring and a queer thing to bring. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: There is a man in my neighborhood who spells messages fairly regularly with rubber ducks. He just has a large collection of yellow rubber ducks and he spells them into words and images which—  

Lulav: Sorry, and this is not your brother. 

Jaz: It is not my brother. I understand the confusion because my brother also has a collection of rubber ducks, but he does not use them to spell messages to the neighbors. 

Lulav: That's wild. (Jaz laughs) Like, I now know of two rubber duck collectors and both of them live in your neighborhood. 

Jaz: Yes. This rubber duck collector is an adult man named Jim who is a baker. He has been writing these duck messages since I've been here at my parents’ house and we try and walk by regularly. And on this particular day, I was walking by and he was in the middle of setting it up, so it wasn't finished yet, so I couldn't see it, and he stopped me as I was walking and said “Oh would you like a spoiler of what it's going to be?” And I said yes, although I didn't know why he stopped me in particular. And he told me this whole story about how he was a baker and somebody he’d worked with in professional capacity and blah blah blah blah blah — it was an interesting story but I didn't fully understand why he was telling it to me. 

Lulav: Was it one of those stories where it becomes clear that the person is only telling you because you're visibly trans? (Jaz pauses)

Jaz: So, the thing (Lulav giggles) up at the top said "Living" and he had gotten the emblem for the symbol underneath it from the woman's necklace, and it was a Chai! Which was to say, it was because I was visibly Jewish. 

Lulav: Ohhhhh, okay! (both laugh) Cool. 

Jaz: This is the best reason for being stopped for being visibly Jewish that has ever happened to me? I've been stopped for being Jewish before, and it's never yielded as pleasant of a thing (Lulav laughs) as "oh my G-d, he's spelling out ‘chai’ with rubber ducks."  
 
Lulav: Good. 

Jaz: And thought I'd appreciate it! 

Lulav: I'm so glad. 

Jaz: So that was my Jewish moment of the week. I appreciated it. 

Lulav: Was there like a corresponding queer moment of the week that you were going to talk about? 

Jaz: Uh, the queer thing of the week that I was going to talk about isn't a moment, it's a book. 

Lulav: Mmm! 

Jaz: I read Felix Ever After this week. 

Lulav: Oh yeah. 

Jaz: Have you heard of Felix Ever After? 

Lulav: When was it published? 

Jaz: Very recently. 

Lulav: Then I probably haven't actually. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: If it was published when I was on Tumblr…  

Jaz: It was not. It was published in 2020. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: It is by Kacen Callender. Felix Ever After is a story about a Black trans high school student in New York who is trying to get into art school and making some art and also wants to fall in love and is figuring out stuff with his high school classmates and also has been the subject of some transphobic bullying, like, someone unearthed his deadname and some old photos of him and like hung it up in the school's art gallery. He's in like a summer art program and they were like, “this is my art exhibit!” and Felix was like, “Why is this up? What is this? Who did this?”

Lulav: That sucks! 

Jaz: Yeah it does. Anyway it's a really good book and I really liked it. I really liked Felix and some of the other characters in here. Some of them I did not like, but I still thought they were well-written. 

Lulav: Right?!

Jaz: And the point was that I did not like them. 

Lulav: I love that kind of character. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: It's like, “I really don't like you, but that's intentional.” (laughs) 

Jaz: Occasionally Felix also makes some questionable decisions once in a while, but in the vein of being a high school student who's figuring some stuff out. 

Lulav: Yeah — teenagers? making questionable decisions? couldn't be me. 

Jaz: (laughs) I know. Anyway, so, I really liked it. I have read another book by Kacen Callender as well, which was also about queer teens. I liked this one even more. I mean, I enjoyed the other one, which is partly why I got this one. Kacen is also a Black trans person. 

Lulav: Cool. 

Jaz: And this is the first one of their books that I'd read with a trans character and I really liked it. 

Lulav: Mm. Yay. Thank you for sharing that, Jaz. Would you like to get down to business? 

Jaz: Yes! 

11:16 

[Brivele intro music] 

Lulav: Welcome to Kosher Queers, a podcast with at least two Jews and generally more than three opinions! Each week we bring you queer takes on Torah. They’re Jaz — 

Jaz: And she’s Lulav — 

Lulav: And we’re here to joke about Judaism and talk Tanakh together. Today, our chevruta is learning Re'eh.

Jaz: Yeah! Which is "see"

Lulav: Ooh.

Jaz: Or like, “look at it”.

Lulav: “Lookit,” I like that.

Jaz: Yeah. Do you have anything to say about this before I summarize it?

Lulav: Oh, is that kind of like the poetic invocation that you see a lot in old English? It's “hwæt!”, like, “Listen up folks. I'm going to tell you a story.”

Jaz: Ah, I don't know enough about Old English. We do have stuff sometimes that's just “listen”.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: We had a lot of that a parsha or two ago where — 

Lulav: Sh’ma, Yisrael!

Jaz: Right. And I think this starts off as a slightly more generic introduction throughout Devarim, according to my notes.

Lulav: Okay. So how much time do you want to talk about it?

Jaz: I didn't check beforehand, but gimme 60 seconds?

Lulav: Ooh. A whole minute for this stuff, okay.

Jaz: A whole minute.

Lulav: There are, like, five and a half chapters.

Jaz: It's kind of a long one.

Lulav: Okay — ready, set, go.

Jaz:   We jump directly into G-d laying out the expectations and rules, with a quick reminder of monogamy and strong repeated exhortations to not even THINK of looking at those other gods, or checking out how other people have done things, because it’s a slippery slope that could lead to child murder. (Lulav laughs) Plus, if someone’s around sprou— if someone’s around spouting prophecies, even if their prophecies come true, if they tell you to do something you know you’re not supposed to, don’t follow them. Then, food rules: you can eat meat but not blood, some birds, but not gross ones (also there is a misunderstanding about the nature of bats), (Lulav chuckles) you can eat fish but not other sea creatures, no insects, no things that just up and died on their own, or things that you’re required to donate to the temple. Also you gotta take care of the people who don’t own property, like priests and poor people, and your workers should be more like indentured servants than slaves, although they can stay with you forever if they so choose. We wrap it up with reminders of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. Done.

Lulav: Yeah. You had three seconds left, nice.

Jaz: Yayyyyyyy.

Lulav: So, it sure is the monogamy bit, huh?

Jaz: It sure is. I, in particular, feel like the text itself is emphasizing that, even in a way that's not quite as acknowledged by the English.

Lulav: (laughs) Okay

Jaz: We open with stuff that's actually kind of fun dramatic type language: "See, this day I set before you blessing and curse. Blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Eternal your G-d that I enjoined upon you this day, and curse if you do not obey the commandments of the Eternal your G-d, but turn away from the path that I enjoin upon you this day and follow other gods, whom you have not experienced." (Lulav chuckles) Now, the thing is, that's like dramatic and whatever, but also, my translation renders this word as "you have not experienced”. The actual thing there, the word that they're translating as "experienced" — 

Lulav: Okay.

Jaz: is "lo y’deitem." Yodea is the word that means "know."

Lulav: Good. Which is — 

Jaz: And you might remember — 

Lulav: The euphemism for “to lie with someone”?

Jaz: Uh huh!

Lulav: Okay, good.

Jaz: And this is frequently used throughout the text to be like, "and so-and-so knew his wife and they conceived and bore a child,” you know, um… 

Lulav: Wow.

Jaz: And they do use this phrase, "v'lo y’deitem," to be like, “you don't even know them,” about these other gods that you might theoretically be drawn to.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: As G-d's reasoning. To be like, “Well, you're with me.”

Lulav: (both laugh) Yeah. Can you walk us through the text pointing out how the whole monogamy metaphor is really fitting here?

Jaz: Sure. So I wanted to start with that one,

Lulav: Mhmm.

Jaz: About “you do not know the other gods.” I think it's very funny that they translate that as “you have not experienced”. And then there is this next bit at the beginning of the next chapter, talking about, like, “here are the laws and rules that you must observe—”  and then, you can read the translation in one of two ways. It might be like, “as long as you live on Earth,” could be the translation.

Lulav: Mm.

16:24 

Jaz: And that's “asher atem chayim al ha’adamah,” and “ha’adamah” could be like the earth in general — you have to obey these commandments as long as you're on Earth.

Lulav: Right.

Jaz: But there are some translations that render it, like, “as long as you're in The Land”?

Lulav: Huh, okay.

Jaz: Which could like, “when you're in my home, you do—“, you know — 

Lulav: Oh, that's a much better interpretation than I was reading it as.

Jaz: Yeah, so it's a little ambiguous there. I think adamah lends itself often to Earth because you often use “aretz” for, like, a specific land, but people have read it different ways.

Lulav: Okay. So, what does it look like to follow these laws and rules?

Jaz: So, you have to get rid of all other locations and all other altars for other gods and — 

Lulav: In places that you conquer, right?

Jaz: Yes, but again there is this ambiguity of, would this be everywhere or just in this specific land where you have specific boundaries that have been drawn for you already? And there are notes here that are like, “don't worship G-d in any place but just in the specific places where G-d has said, like, ‘here’s where you bring burnt offerings’.”

Lulav: Well I do want to point out that it's “in like manner”, referring to the altars and pillars and sacred posts and images.

Jaz: Yes.

Lulav: So, definitely there is a specific place where you're supposed to do it, but I feel like this does not preclude… worship in general? Just — yeah.

Jaz: Well yeah, in general, but in terms of the idea of worship being, at this point in time, really related to sacrifices, you can't just like, do it outside your house or whatever,

Lulav: Right.

Jaz: You have to bring it to a specific location that's designated for sacrifices.

Lulav: Yeah, that's fair.

Jaz: Like, I think mostly the Temple, is what's implied here, but.

Lulav: Which is I think the first time that we talk about what the Temple itself is going to be in the text. Like instead of talking about the Mishkan here like we have done in the other parashot, we're talking about: there's a place where you will bring all of these.

Jaz: Mm hmm. It has, a couple times, this thing about “you bring everything that I command you to this site where the Eternal your G-d will choose to establish the Divine name. Your burnt offerings and other sacrifices, your tithes and contributions, and all the choice votive offerings.

Lulav: Yeah, so this is very much telling us that the Temple is coming.

Jaz: Yeah. But you asked me to spin out the monogamy metaphor a little bit longer —

Lulav: Yes please.

Jaz: And this is a little bit like, get rid of all of the photos of your ex. Do not ever talk about them, and also — 

Lulav: (archly) Are you texting someone else? Delete her number!!!

Jaz: (laughs) Yeah.

Lulav: Jaz, do you feel like that's a healthy way to go about monogamy?

(both laugh)

Jaz: I do not, in particular because we get, further on, this bit about like, “Do not inquire about their gods, saying ‘How did these nations worship their gods? I too will follow these practices.’” And this one, if you were going to spin out that metaphor, is like, you go to your friend and you're like, “Hey, how do you resolve things in your relationship? Can I ask you for some relationship advice?” And then you go to your partner and your partner's like, “You told somebody else about what's happening between the two of us?”

Lulav: Oh G-d.

Jaz: “What is wrong with you?”

Lulav: Oh no.

Jaz: Don't you think? Don't you think that's the metaphor there?

Lulav: I was thinking more like “don't flirt with your friends”!

Jaz: Oh, I guess that's fair.

Lulav: (laughs) No, I like that reading and that's terrifying.

Jaz: No, yours is better. It's a more apt analogy.

Lulav: (laughs) Okay yeah.

Jaz: Okay I do have a different question about this “do not inquire about other gods and other practices” though.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: Which is, both you and I grew up with the same D'aulaires book of Greek myths in our households. (Lulav laughs) Did we violate this commandment?

Lulav: Can you give me a line citation? I know it's here but I can't find it right now

Jaz: Yeah. It's 12:30.

Lulav: Ah here we go. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, "How did those nations worship their gods?" I too will follow these practices. I think that the second sentence there is important to the meaning. You are inquiring not in the sense of you're going to shop where you can't afford anything in the shop and being like oh could you show me this vintage but this is a kind of inquiring that's like, hey can you show me some used cars that are within my budget range? So it depends. If you were actually a Hellenist, that was a violation of that particular commandment.

Jaz: So I definitely do know somebody who is — I mean, she's not Jewish. But there was a person I knew in college who is now like, yeah I am a follower of Hades.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: And she does things about being a death witch or whatever.

Lulav: You know, I respect that. I too just want to sit in a cave.

Jaz: (laughs) So is the restriction here about being a Jewish Wiccan?

Lulav: So, another thing is, how did those nations worship their gods?

Jaz: Ooh.

Lulav: Wicca was very recently invented.

Jaz: (chuckling) I feel like you shouldn't say that to the Wiccans. 

Lulav: (laughs) It's objectively true. I think that “how did those nations worship their gods? I too will follow those practices" is like, "Don't incorporate into you practice of Judaism something that would lead you astray from local practices," but you are free to create your own practices which, following these commandments, glorifies Hashem. Does that sound like a reasonable reading?

Jaz: Well, I was going to ask you —

Lulav: Okay.

Jaz: I recognize this is a generous reading, but do you think there is a way to read this as being about cultural appropriation?

Lulav: Yes, for sure. Did you have more that you wanted to say about that?

Jaz: Just that I feel this reminds me a little bit of people being like, (different voice) “You know, I picked up some sage and this is a Native American thing and I'm going to do, uhhh —”

Lulav: "’Smudging’?"

Jaz: You know, whatever the thing is —

Lulav: In quotes. (laughs)

Jaz: For people to pick up something that they're like, "I think this is a Native American thing" but they're taking it out of context and they're taking a thing that was associated with people's holiness —

Lulav: Yeah.

Jaz: and just kind of using it for their own ends.

Lulav: Right.

Jaz: They're not part of that culture and they're not deeply enmeshed in it and they're acting like it was a monolith

Lulav: Right? Especially like, from "Native Americans."

Jaz: Right.

Lulav: Rather than whatever specific people did something vaguely like whatever they're proposing to do.

Jaz: Right, and so this is like a, you can't pick up a practice outside of its cultural context.

Lulav: Mm hmm. Are you familiar with the European tradition of wearring torture implements around your neck?

Jaz: (chuckling) Uh huh. Enjoying your joke about Christianity.  

Lulav: No, it's about European practices. I have no idea what Christianity is.

Jaz: Uh huh. (Lulav snorts) So —

Lulav: (laughs) We can move on.

Jaz: Okay, well, actually, the one thing I want to say about this before we go back — 

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: — is, part of the reason that the text gives for saying why you shouldn't follow those practices is "for they perform for their gods every abhorrent act that Hashem detests. They even offer up their children in fire to their gods."

Lulav: (laughing disbelievingly) Is this a thing?

Jaz: My understanding is that it is, yeah?

Lulav: Oh.

Jaz: That it was an extant historical practice.

Lulav: That's wild.

Jaz: That in fact, the story of the akedah, of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac would have resonated differently culturally in a context —- 

Lulav: Ohhhh. 

Jaz: — where other peoples might have occasionally sacrificed their children.

Lulav: Yeah.

Jaz: And so the idea that then you are being told that yeah, Abraham thought that’s what he was being asked to do and then realized that actually, Hashem would not ever ask that of you —

Lulav: Oh, that's fun.

Jaz: And that's not part of the religion that you're going to be creating, would have been important.

Lulav: Yeah. I really like a lot of the stuff from the first couple books that lay out this image of G-d that is a god of the wilderness and of freedom and stuff in a way that the last couple books have been a lot more about the god of the Mishkan and the Temple

Jaz: Well, there's a thing I was reading —

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: Here, let me see if I can grab it. (pages rustling) Um, the thing that I was looking at last night was a book I was reading about Talmud. It's called The Talmud: A Biography, by Barry Scott Wimpfheimer.

Lulav: Okay.

Jaz: You were talking about how there's some difficulties in particular in these last couple books which are really focused on rules in a way that can be troubling.

Lulav: Okay.

Jaz: And I was reading about how the Karaites were people who — 

Lulav: I want to interject and just say that there are Karaites practicing in the US right now.

Jaz: Okay, yeah! Sorry — the Karaites are an extant group. They were a group that was large and dominant and in pretty serious struggle with what has now become mainstream Judaism between the 9th and 11th centuries.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: And now like they exist, but they don't have the —

Lulav: Numbers?

Jaz: They don't have the same numbers, and they don't have the same authority in terms of being regarded as another strand of Judaism.

Lulav: Mm. Okay.

Jaz: They're like, more their own thing. 

Lulav: Yeah. 

Jaz: So this is not meant to say anything negative about the Karaite, just that they read the Torah differently. So they start with the same text. So this book says "There is a fundamental feature that unified the Karaites behind Anan ben David — the rejection of the Talmud of a canonical work. It draws its name from a renewed commitment to Biblical scripture. The Karaite is a biblicist." And then they talk about how that requires radical strategies of reading. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: "This was considered superior however, to reliance on the Talmud, which represented at least in part, someone else's radical strategies for reading the Bible.” (Lulav chuckles) And note, the rabbis who then became our ancestors really really didn't like that.

Lulav: Didn't like what, sorry?

Jaz: Didn't like the rejection of the Talmud.

Lulav: Okay.

Jaz: And as there was more pushback on the Talmud from people like the Karaites, the rabbis embraced it even more firmly (Lulav laughs) and so, one of the rabbis described Anan, who was sort of considered the originator or leader of the Karaites, as having said "forsake the word of the Mishnah and Talmud and I will compose for you a Talmud of my own" and then described him as having composed "A Talmud of wickedness and injustice" and while obviously this is really dramatic language, the way he's employing it is to be like, the Talmud is central and if you're creating a different one, you're creating a whole nother religious tradition. And so if you skip to the end of this, it says, "the more the Karaites insisted upon a Bible free of the Talmud, the more the Rabbanites and those who followed them would insist upon the Talmud as the exclusive filter through which the Bible is consumed."

Lulav: I love to take my religious tradition from reactionaries.

Jaz: (laughs) Anyway, I was noting it because you were like, what do we do with this text that I have disagreements that I have disagreements on?

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: And there have been disagreements about this for millenia, about what's the appropriate way to read it, and 2, some of our ancestors decide you just gotta read it through the lens of these other texts and focus on what the other texts say.

Lulav: Which I find abhorrent.

Jaz: Why?

Lulav: So the great thing about Talmud is that it has a plurality of voices.

Jaz: Yeah.

Lulav: And indicates that arguing is the entire point. And so while I think it is irresponsible to read Torah completely absent Talmud, it is even more irresponsible to say the only lens you can read Torah through is one of the lenses portrayed in Talmud.

Jaz: Mm.

Lulav: Does that make sense?

Jaz: It does! I mean, I think there's value in grappling with what we see in the text itself, but I also think that there's value in saying, well, people have been grappling with this for millennia — what else have they said and what else have we said and how else have we decide to look at it and how else have we decided that those other ways of looking at it are also holy, that those are also part of our holy canon?

Lulav: Yeah.

Jaz: Anyway.

Lulav: Thanks for that history. That was so cool.

Jaz: After that really long digression, I did have another question for you.

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: Sorry I keep putting off the kashrut stuff to talk about the other god stuff. 

Lulav: To be fair, so did I when reading it. 

Jaz: (laughs) okay they have this stuff about don't have altars and don't have other religious practices and okay, I don't know about you, and how much you go into explicitly queer spaces these days.

Lulav: Okay 

Jaz: But when I was working at my college LGBT Resource Center, they set up an altar in the space and people would put different things there and I remember thinking at the time, hey, is this allowed? We're a public university. But it feels fairly common to me for queer spaces to have something that they call an altar and was wondering if this is a thing that you have encountered. 

Lulav: So this is a non-Jewish queer space. 

Jaz: Yes. 

Lulav: Ah — I — that — no, this is not a thing that I have encountered. Part of it is that a lot of my queer community was experinfced at Lutheran schools. Another part of it is my queer community now is not geo-located 

Jaz: Oh okay 

Lulav: And also is pretty Jewish. Like, definitely have a bunch of witchy friends including overlaps with the Judaism. 

Jaz: Uh huh 

Lulav: But I don't — if you — (sighs) okay. Yeah. 

Jaz: Maybe this is an overgeneralization but I feel like if you don't hae another religious traditon that you particualry own or belong to or feel connected to, that the default thing that lots of queer people who I know or have encountered tend to go into is like a sort of — 

Lulav: American paganism? 

Jaz: yeah. Has that been your experience as well? 

Lulav: Yes. (laughs) Also I think it is more common coastally for you to see American pagans? 

Jaz: Oh, yeah? 

Lulav: Yeah. Like i'm saying, I don't think that altars in a university queer space wuld be a thing. I can ask Tova, because they actually went to the U and interacted with stuff (Jaz chuckles) but I don't think they had an altar. 

Jaz: Okay! Hey, listeners, if you live — 

Lulav: Yes, write us. 

Jaz: anywhere, please tell us roughly where you're located and if you're a part of in-person queer community when there's not a pandemic, (Lualv laughs) if this is a thing you encounter. 

Lulav: Yeah. Also not being American-centric here, if you are anywhere in the world, we would love to hear about what people around you do. 

Jaz: Yeah. I meant to imply that but thank you for making it more specific because I didn't actually (laughs) 

Lulav: Bless. 

Jaz: Okay. Then there's some kashrut stuff. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: There's things about anybody can eat things. They have it phrased as the pure and the impure alike — although, the word they have here is "hatameh" and "hatahor" which doesn't exactly translate to "the pure and the impure" it translates to those ipure and those susceptible to impurity. 

Lulav: Oh, interesting. 

Jaz: other way around. Tameh is like, susceptible to impurity and tahor is impure, but still. It's an interesting choice. 

Lulav: There are a lot of words about ritual purity and I can't keep any of them straight. 

Jaz: I'm like, pretty sure I'm right on that one. 

Lulav: Because I thought that tameh was ritually impure. 

Jaz: Well, that's tumah. Ah, so I am wrong slightly. Tameh is not exactly impure, that's why I was getting tripped up. It's susceptible to impurity, at least in later rabbinic Hebrew,  but tahor is ritually pure. 

Lulav: Gotcha. 

Jaz: It's just a smaller difference ad the translators might have thought that wasn't worth noting 

Lulav: And also it's like, hard to figure out what you would say instead. 

Jaz: Right. Those susceptible to impurity and those who are pure? That's a mess. Also you would think that everybody could be susceptible to ritual impurity so I don't know what's up with that. Anway, and then they have notes about you must not partake of the blood. You shall pour it out on the ground like water when you're eating meat — 

Lulav: For blood is the Lord's! I don't think they say that here. 

Jaz: They don't. But they say that earlier, right, in some other parsha? 

Lulav: Yeah.

Jaz: And then when there are things you tithe, like the first grain or first wine or first oil or first.. born from the flock, any of those things that you should be giving as an offering, you can't eat them because you should offer them. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. Speaking of things that you shouldn't be eating.

Jaz: Uh huh. 

Lulav: You mention bats in your summary.

Jaz: Yeah! 

Lulav: And I wanna say a) bats are mammals, 

Jaz: Uh huh.

Lulav: And b) don't eat them. They are major vectors for respiratory diseases. 

Jaz: So for some reason, rules about kashrut are like split in half here. So we have some stuff about don't worship other gods and then we have some of these rules about food and then we have some more stuff about don't worship other gods (Lulav laughs) that we already talked about and then we have some stuff about prophets and then we have some more stuff about don't worship other gods, which we didn't already talk about, and then we have more stuff about kashrut. I don't know why it's organized like this. I would prefer to go through it by category and talk more about the food restrictions now, but just, you know, for the sake of those listening at home, it is organized like that. I don't know why; it's bizarre. (Lulav laughs) 

34:48 

Lulav: I'm sure there was a reason at some point. 

Jaz: I believe it but I don't know what it is. By the way, it calls the animals that you can't eat — the translation renders it as "abhorrent." I, because I am persnickety — 

Lulav: Yeah! 

Jaz: And hold a grudge, might render it as "an abomination" because the word here is toevah, which is the word that people often use to be like, “homosexuality is an abomination.” 

Lulav: mm hmm 

Jaz: And it's used here for "you can eat deer but not eagels, because eagles are an abomination." (Lulav laughs) It's a really funny take. Also if it has hooves, the hooves have to have split feet and it has to chew its cud and you can eat things that live in water if they have fins and scales. It's very straightforward and I appreciate that it's that straightforward. 

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: You can eat some birds, but not ones that eat carrion like vultures. Also not eagles (page turning) and then they list a bunch of other things like gulls and owls and pelicans, the stock, the heron, and also the bat. (Lulav laughs) So it has grouped them in with birds. 

Lulav: Yeah. Which like, from a distance, I get it, but also bats literally have nipples. Like, under their arms. 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: You can be like, oh, this is a mammal! 

Jaz: Yeah, you didn't need to group them with a bird either, to say that you can't eat them, because we have rules about mammals and bats don't have hooves so you can't eat them. You know? 

Lulav: Uh huh. 

Jaz: Anyway no insects also. Also you can't eat anything that's died a natural death, though you can sell it to other people to eat who don't have the same restrictions. You're not supposed to sell it to other Jews who you assume have the same restrictions. 

Lulav: Mm. That's important. 

Jaz: But if you're selling it to somebody who can eat that. that's fine. And then you have to set aside a 10th of the field to donate it as tithers and that's one of the things that priests live on because the don't have land, and so people like the Levites and then also strangers in the area who don't have land and people who don't have somebody in their household who can work, in this case they list people like "the fatherless" and "the widow" but I think the implication is just like, if nobody can work in the household and they need food, like, you should take care of them 

Lulav: Yeah. 

Jaz: And then they are more explicit than that — there shouldn't be any needy people around you. If however there is, you have to take care of them. And it's kind of an interesting thing, because it goes through like, there should be no needy and that's in line 4, and then also, by the time you get to line 11, it's — 

Lulav: There always will be. 

Jaz: “for there will never cease to be needy ones, who you have to take care of.” 

Lulav: Which I think points to the coming world as nt like a finish line

Jaz: Mm. 

Lulav: It's an ongoing process. 

Jaz: Yeah. Yeah. So there's a bit that says if there's a prophet, you have to find out if that person is a legit prophet or not. Lulav, if you were going to try to find out, hey this person is prophesying in the square, how would you figure out if you thought they were legit or not? 

Lulav: Can you give me a line citation real quick? 

Jaz: (small voice) No, it was a question for you. 

Lulav: No I know! But I wanna look at what the text says. 

Jaz: It's in 13:2. 

Lulav: Oh. Oh right, we're going back.

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: Okay. I don't think that there's something about testing prophets here. It's about even if somebody's signs come true, don't trust them. Right? 

Jaz: Yeah, there is a certain amount of you do have to be able to evaluate is this person a legit prophet or not. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: Like, the most obvious way that people say, “well, is this person a prophet or not?” is, do the things they say come true? 

Lulav: Okay? 

Jaz: Does that make them a true prophet? And this text goes out of it's way to say even if it comes true, they're only right if they're telling you to do right things. 

38:38   

Lulav: Okay. So to answer your very good question, whether I think somebody is a true prophet or not would depend mostly on the justice of the things that they prophecy, because like the way that we talk about prophets in Judaism tends to be less about here is a specific thing that will come true and more about here are things that we say on behalf of G-d are just or injust and which will lead to ruin if they are unjust. 

Jaz: Yeah, like Nathan the prophet or Isaiah the prophet.

Lulav: Yeah.

Jaz: The things that do are mostly yell at powerful people and tell them to do things differently 

Lulav: Right. So that kind of prophet, I think it's all about the justice. If they're like, “We require austerity, get these welfare moms off of the public dole,” clearly they're a false prophet because that has no relation to reality other than causing people to suffer even more. 

Jaz: Mm. Okay. So, you are in agreement with the text, which is always nice, (Lulav laughs) and then they go one step further and say even if it's a close family member — they list some examples like your brother or your child, your spouse or your closest friend — even if your BFF comes and whispers to you, “come, let us worship other gods,” (Lulav laughs) again, it says, asher lo yadeta ata v'avotecha which is like, who neither you have known or your ancestors have known — yeah, whaterv. 

Lulav: So challenging there — is G-d saying that G-d makes an exception for your exes? 

Jaz: Could be like, well if you have known them, it's different. 

Lulav: Yeah, You can hook up again, it's whatever. (Jaz laughs) Oh, okay, So i think part of it is that other gods have not proved themselves in the way Hashem did through the Exodus. 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: So it's like a constant reminder, “You haven't lain with them, but you have with me.

Jaz: “And I'm pretty great.” Wild. 

Lulav: Which I think is a much healthier… 

Jaz: Actually, I am fairly on board, I think. I don't want to overextend what I'm saying, but I do think that there's a certain amount of, “Hey, I have shown you that I'm trustworthy and I can show up for you.”

Lulav: Yeah. 

Jaz: “Don't throw that away, cause I want us to have a thriving relationship.” 

Lulav: Yeah. 

Jaz: If you go with the generous read. 

Lulav: Okay. Kill the prophet... and specifically this is a prophet who's saying let us follow and worship another god.

Jaz: es.

Lulav: Rather than like, somebody who is a just or unjust Jewish prophet. 

Jaz: Yeah, specially it's like, hey one of those people might order you to kill children, so, don't. 

Lulav: (laughs) This makes me think, a lot, about the whole Jesus thing. 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: How presumably there have been a great many Jews in our history who were like, that was a prophet who was entreating you to worship a different god and disploay and I just wonder to what extent early Christains rolled into that and were like, yeah, this was a prophet who was totally separate — hmm. I don't know. That was a half-baked thought. 

Jaz: Alright! The idea of treating him as a prophet has some precedent, is my understanding, because I believe that's what Islam does.

Lulav: Mm hmm, for sure. 

Jaz: Is that it treats him not as a divine figure, but as a prophet, and we just don't think of him as a prophet 

Lulav: (laughs) Yeah. 

Jaz: Or anybody significant except for the fact that then Christianity happened. (Lulav giggles) We have had other people in our history who are like, false messiahs, but I don't know that we call them false prophets. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. Cuz like, haMoshiach is a different thing than... is there an indefinite article in Hebrew? 

Jaz: No, there isn't. 

Lulav: Okay. HaNavi. 

Jaz: Right, because there can be lots of prophets. It's in some ways a lower bar. 

Lulav: Yeah. (laughs) 

Jaz: Because there is in some ways a burden of proof for a messiah that is not brought here in the same way for a prophet. Like, a prophet is supposed to have a direct line to G-d and stuff, but here it's not as much about burden of proof you can see in the text and part of the way that we knew that other people were false messiahs is that we don't live in a messianic age. (Lulav laughs) They just didn't do the thing! 

Lulav: Yeah. Also just, that's like, the messiah's got to be “born on a certain day to uncertain parents, incarnate Moon-and-Star Reborn, neither blight nor age can harm him, the curse of flesh before him flies,” you know, all that stuff. 

Jaz: What? 

Lulav: Sorry, these are (chuckles) prophecies of the Nerevarine from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

43:44  

Jaz: Okay.

Lulav: In which a reborn general will strike down the evils of the world and, yeah. (laughs) 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: I'm sorry, that was a thing which you would have no way of knowing (laughs) 

Jaz: Nope! I was like, I know there is a reference here, I just don't know what it is. 

Lulav: For all my Morrow-heads out there: (Jaz chuckles) Wink!

Jaz: So then we talk about indentured servitude. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: And debts. We have shmita year, which is a thing where every seven years — 

Lulav: Yeah 

Jaz: — all debts get cancelled. It's like a little bit uncertain if that applies to people outside your community but it definitely applies to people inside your community.

Lulav: I think previous things that we've heard about shmita and yuval indicate that you can treat foreigners differently

Jaz: Mm. And I think that's part of the basis of what Jewish communities used later. 

Lulav: Okay.

Jaz: When Christian kings forced them into money lending, like, didn't allow them to do anything else, is that there were rabbinic things of, “I guess we can do that as long as we're not lending to each other.” 

Lulav: Yeah, you can do usury with the goyim. (laughs) 

Jaz: Right. I mean, also, there was some amount of, the Talmud and Hillel walked back shmita year. 

Lulav: Aww. 

Jaz: As a concept. But, that's a longer story for another time. 

Lulav: Yeah. Right.  

Jaz: Yeah. But even though there's a shmita year, they have here in this text if somebody needs money and needs a loan, you can't say, “Well, I don't know, shmita year’s coming soon so I guess I won't lend to you.” You still have to lend to them 

Lulav: Yeah! 

Jaz: However much they need. Okay. So the last interesting thing here,

Lulav: Mhm.

Jaz: Is if a person — they go out of their way to indicate that in both of Hebrew's grammatical genders, it’s applicable — 

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: So if a person is sold — the wording is "sold to you" — that person serves you for six years and the seventh one goes free and you give that person a flock to take with them and food and the ability to be like, compensated and start a good new life. 

Lulav: Yeah, basically: whatever you make, you need to give to your former slaves. 

Jaz: Yeah, to give them— 

Lulav: Also— 

Jaz: Yeah.

Lulav: You were saying “a person”, and I do want to point out that the text says "A fellow Hebrew." 

Jaz: You're right, but — 

Lulav: As previously established, you are welcome to be as cruel as possible with non-Hebrews. I hate slavery!

Jaz: Yeah. So the text has previously said bad things about it. It does not go out of its way to repeat them here, but it has previously said them. Um.

Lulav: Right. What do you do if they want to stay around? 

Jaz: So, should they want to stay with you and your family, they absolutely can do that. And… I think the way to read this is that you pierce their ear? 

Lulav: Yes. 

Jaz: And then it's like, marked that they're staying with you. 

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: They can do that but it has to be initiated by that person otherwise you have to let them and go outfit them properly for a prosperous life and not be grumpy about it. 

Lulav: Right.  I think this kind of relates about the thing before, beware lest you harbour the base thought the shmita year is coming, in that this has to be a completely uncoerced interaction and uncoerced in the sense that you are offering this person security in starting out on their own life. You can't be like, I could give you a sack of beans or a could pierce your ear and you could continue serving me forever, and I'll keep feeding you 

Jaz: Right. You have to give them a free choice. 

Lulav: Right. It has to be something where like, you're giving them a bunch of beans for eating and for planting, and if you have flocks, you give them from the flock and all that. 

Jaz: Yeah. Do you have anything else on that? 

Lulav: No. I think that's it. 

Jaz: Okay, So the rest of it I kind of want to speed through because I feel like we've seen lots of before. It's about how you have to offer the first of your flock and you can only offer things that — 

Lulav: Are not disabled in any way 

Jaz: Yeah, and then also you have to celebrate Passover and Shavuot and Sukkot. 

Lulav: Yeah. And on these three times, all your (mockingly) “males” shall appear before Hashem in the place that Hashem will choose, and they shall not appear empty-handed, but each with their own gift according to the blessing that Hashem has bestowed upon them. 

Jaz: Yeah.

Lulav: So that's interesting, and I think how I interpret this is kind of, if you're going to part of high holidays and you are the head of a household and you have earnings — 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: You should probably donate. 

Jaz: At least some of them. 

Lulav: Yes, right. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: Because of the blessing that Hashem has bestowed upon you is you don't really have enough to survive normally, so like, what are you going to do about a holiday? Maybe you bring a very small offering. 

Jaz: Right 

Lulav: But that's still what you can do. Right. 

Jaz: And if somebody is really well off, then making sure that other people can experience the festival seems reasonable. 

Jaz: Yeah, it's a nice thing. I like, also, that lots of our holidays end up having bits of taking care of other people built in as part of them. 

Lulav: Yeah. (Bubbe voice) Oh, you’re looking so skinny, come in and I'll feed ya. 

Jaz: (laughs) Yeah. 

Lulav: So that's the parsha! 

Jaz: That's the parsha! Lulav, it's time for Rating G-d's Writing, the segment in which we pick two scales and rate the parsha based on them. 

Lulav: Jaz, out of ten gods who you have not known, how many gods would you rate this parsha? 

Jaz: I would rate this parsha one G-d who I have known, because I —  

Lulav: Aww! That's sweet. 

Jaz: (laughs) because we're out here trying to build a healthy and mutually satisfying thing (Lulav laughs) with lots of detailed conversations. I like that it is laying out ways, very specifically, for how people are going to negotiate doing the right thing and building a society together 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: And it is imperfect, as relationships are, but also, it is considerate in a number of different ways, 

Lulav: Yeah, and like, expressing what your boundaries are in any relationship is... edifying and a good idea, I think. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: Side note, I am really glad that this parsha fell on one of your weeks. 

Jaz: Why? 

Lulav: Because having the monogamous person between us (Jaz laughs) make jokes about monogamy feels a lot better than whatever I would have done. (laughs) 

Jaz: Fair enough. Lulav, out of... ooh. Let's give you an interesting scale this week. 

Lulav: Yes please. 

Jaz: Which is, out of an offering according to your needs, what offering would you bring for this parsha? 

Lulav: Okay. Am I role-playing, or is this me? 

Jaz: It's you. 

Lulav: (laughs) Huh... okay. I think the offering that I bring is being extra careful to ask my friend if they need financial or emotional support in the festival week. Because like, I have very little income, so I try to minimize expenditures, but also when people need things, I will give them to them. 

Jaz: Mm. 

Lulav: Like, being more intentional about tzedakah is something that I wish for myself as I grow as a person. 

Jaz: Mm. 

Lulav: And I think this chapter is a lot about like, figuring out what people want and need and so that's especially why I'm like, I would figure out what people want and need. 

Jaz: Yeah, that's lovely

Lulav: Okay, so surprise Continuity Corner from the future. 

Jaz: It doesn't have to be from the future. 

Lulav: (snorts) That's fair. When we released our episode, “The Opposite of Iniquity”, our friend Ada Klezmerwitch left a couple of comments that she accidentally deleted because she was becoming too famous. (Jaz snorts) So with her permission, I wanted to read those out and talk a little bit about it. Are you cool with that, Jaz? 

Jaz: Please. I'm always excited to hear Ada's commentary/ 

Lulav: Yeah. So this was replying to Jaz's “hey, listen to our episode” post, that just had the quote "the opposite of iniquity is neutrality." Ada said "this is an interesting idea but i kinda want to push back? i don't think you can really make the jump from 'opposite' to 'logical negative'. if i take an action and am confronted with the equal and opposite reaction, that opposite action isn't neutral, it just restores neutrality. i don't think the opposite of iniquity can be neutrality. neutrality is what you would hope to achieve by combining iniquity with its opposite. to borrow the vector metaphor, the opposite of a vector is its inverse under the appropriate vector operation, not the null-vector. and yes, the "want to push back" was an intentional pun that i hope lulav will enjoy, even if i'm dead wrong :-)" I first want to commend Ada for putting noses on her smilies, (Jaz laughs) and then chastise her for using the dash instead of the caret, which is the one true nose for smilies (both laugh) Sorry, that's totally an aside. Jaz, do you have thoughts about this, first off? 

Jaz: I very much want you to respond to this because it includes a math metaphor — 

Lulav: Yes. 

Jaz: But, I would say that it has an interesting baseline that I am sympathetic to. 

Lulav: Yeah. 

Jaz: But that I feel like you also touched on in the episode itself, about how you can talk about it in that vein of "the opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation." (Lulav whoops like the ensemble at 1:18 of “La vie bohème B” from the RENT Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Lulav: Rent quotes. Sorry. (laughs) 

Jaz: Yeah. That you can operate in that model, but if you're using the math part of it — 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: You could say the opposite of 2 is -2, even though that will just get you down to 0. It's not like it's -4, which will get you down to -2. 

L: Right.

Jaz: But it's still reasonable to say that those things are opposite to each other, that things that cancel each other have value like that. 

Lulav: Yeah. And I think Ada and I were talking about two separate things. Which is to say, I love this comment. it's something that I don't know if I went so explicitly into detail on? But like the idea that you need to perform an inverse operation to restore something to the null vector, I think — how does linear algebra work? Anyway — 

Jaz: I can't help you here. 

Lulav: (laughs) Okay, But like, I think what we're dealing with here isn't a simple space where there is exactly one inverse of any given vector. Like, there are lots of ways to return to a neutral position when what has happened is a commission of an ill and a restitution for that ill. More importantly, the neutrality that you return to isn't the same situation as it was. It is a situation where an ill has occurred and restitution has been given. There's no way that you can get back to their original state, but you still arrive at something like neutrality, that's still good for the future. Basically, the idea that if you put a knife six inches into somebody's back, you don't just pull it out three, you don't just pull it out all the way, you heal them from that and that's what's the opposite of iniquity done. Is that fair? 

Jaz: Sure. 

Lulav: So what I was talking about in the episode is we shouldn't do bad things in the first place. And so it wasn't setting up a dichotomy where you don't do bad things, you do do good things, because sometimes if people can't do good things all the time — if they've like burned themselves out — you don't want the default of that to be they just go back to doing bad things because they can't be perfect. When I say the opposite of iniquity is neutrality, I'm setting reasonable goals… and then we should also, separate from that issue, do good things. 

Jaz: Uh huh.

Lulav: Do you think that's a fair thing to say? 

Jaz: I have trouble following this, but I accept your reasoning. 

Lulav: That's — yeah. (laughs) Okay, cool. So thank you for talking about that, and thank you very much to Ada for temporarily giving us her wisdoms on two-episodes-ago. 

Jaz: Great. okay. 

Lulav: So I think that's the thing. Jaz, can you take us to the close? 

Jaz: I sure can! Thanks for listening to Kosher Queers! If you like what you’ve heard, you can support us on Patreon at patreon.com/kosherqueers, which will give you bonus content and help us keep making this for you. You can also follow us on Twitter @kosherqueers or like us on Facebook at Kosher Queers, or email us your questions, comments, and concerns at kosherqueers@gmail.com, and please spread the word about our podcast! Our artwork is by the talented Lior Gross. Our music is courtesy of the fabulous band Brivele, whose work you can find on Bandcamp. Go buy their album, they’re great. Our sound production this week is done by my lovely co-host, Lulav Arnow. 

Lulav: Her mercy frees the cursed false gods, binds the broken, redeems the mad. (Jaz sighs) Our transcript team of Jaz, Reuben, DiCo, and Khesed brings you full transcripts of every episode. You can find a link to those in the episode descriptions on Buzzsprout.

Jaz: I’m Jaz Twersky and you can find me @WordNerdKnitter on Twitter. I recorded this audio on the traditional lands of the Ohlone people. 

Lulav: I’m Lulav Arnow and you can find me @spacetrucksix on Twitter, or yell at me @palmliker! I recorded this audio on the traditional lands of the Wahpékute and Anishinaabeg.

Jaz: Have a lovely queer Jewish day!

[Brivele outro music]

Jaz: This week’s gender is: definitely, absolutely, no really, for sure, alive.

Lulav: This week’s pronouns are: ze and hir.