Kosher Queers

57 — Vayeitzei: G-d as Domme?

November 26, 2020
Kosher Queers
57 — Vayeitzei: G-d as Domme?
Kosher Queers
57 — Vayeitzei: G-d as Domme?
Nov 26, 2020

This week, we talk about famed prophet and noted bad husband Hosea, learning from our pasts, and if "cow-kisser" is an insult (apparently, yes, but only as a way to tell off rich people). Plus, you get Biblical poetry served with extra bonus poetry on the side, and TSwift standing in a window with a sign reading "I Brought You Out of Egypt."

Full transcript available here.

This week's reading is Hosea 12:13–14:10 and also there's a single line from Micah, 7:18. Next week's reading is Obadiah 1:1-21 (otherwise known as all of the book of Obadiah).

Kipo and The Age Of Wonderbeasts and Crip Camp are both on Netflix.  The quotes about kissing calves was in Sanhedrin 63b.  Here's the Tumblr post about whispering in cows' ears Lulav was referencing. Here's a couple articles about modern Samaritan communities.

Support us on Patreon or Ko-fi! Our new website is at Send us questions or comments at [email protected], 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 Reuben Shachar Rose and Jaz Twersky. Our logo is by Lior Gross, and we are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Orthodox Union.

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Show Notes Transcript

This week, we talk about famed prophet and noted bad husband Hosea, learning from our pasts, and if "cow-kisser" is an insult (apparently, yes, but only as a way to tell off rich people). Plus, you get Biblical poetry served with extra bonus poetry on the side, and TSwift standing in a window with a sign reading "I Brought You Out of Egypt."

Full transcript available here.

This week's reading is Hosea 12:13–14:10 and also there's a single line from Micah, 7:18. Next week's reading is Obadiah 1:1-21 (otherwise known as all of the book of Obadiah).

Kipo and The Age Of Wonderbeasts and Crip Camp are both on Netflix.  The quotes about kissing calves was in Sanhedrin 63b.  Here's the Tumblr post about whispering in cows' ears Lulav was referencing. Here's a couple articles about modern Samaritan communities.

Support us on Patreon or Ko-fi! Our new website is at Send us questions or comments at [email protected], 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 Reuben Shachar Rose and Jaz Twersky. Our logo is by Lior Gross, and we are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Orthodox Union.

Support the show (

Jaz: Hey Lulav. 

Lulav: Hi Jaz. 

Jaz: Whats something cool or queer or Jewish you’ve been up to this week?

Lulav: That’s a good question. So, I have been watching Kipo and The Age of Wonderbeasts. 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: Which is a funky little cartoon about science experiments in the post-apocalypse?

Jaz: Okay.

Lulav: Yeah, I don't know. It's nice. At least a third of the main cast is gay and gets to be gay on screen —

Jaz: Aww. 

Lulav: And not as a Dumbledore thing. 

Jaz: Uh huh. 

Lulav: And yeah, it's fun. Also the Jewish part is like, figuring out what people need and trying to build a better world — 

Jaz: Mmm. 

Lulav: Instead of just punching them. (chuckles) 

Jaz: That seems lovely. So, I don't know anything about the show, is this a live action— 

Lulav: No. 

Jaz: Or animated — okay. 

Lulav: Yeah, it is very much animated. The three main characters are all black children — 

Jaz: Mm. 

Lulav: Which is cool. 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: And, okay — one of them is purple, but — 

Jaz: What? Okay. 

Lulav: (chuckles) Yeah, that's for science reasons. 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: Anyway, it's nice seeing like, people from different places get along which is something that last week's parsha's kind of doing the inverse of, (Jaz laughs) people from different places not getting along. 

Jaz: Last week's parsha was people from the same place not getting along. 

Lulav: Yeah, I mean, okay, it was Esau marrying two local girls and them not getting along with the immigrant parents. 

Jaz: Sure. 

Lulav: So I do feel like that's two seperate places, even if the place that they have been for their life becomes home. 

Jaz: I would just say that the main conflict in that story is not between the parents and the wives, but between the siblings who are definitely from the same place. 

Lulav: Ohhh, true. See, I am constantly afraid that my partners’ parents will hate me for some reason and so, just, that was what stuck with me (Jaz laughs) this week, especially reading another parsha where it is mostly about getting married. 

Jaz: Mmm. 

Lulav: So, yeah. Kipo and The Age Of Wonderbeasts is on Netflix. It's fun. I have been falling asleep while watching it but that's mostly because I have been watching it after midnight. (Jaz laughs) It's very cute especially if you have, I don't know, eight years olds who you want to watch a thing about making friends. 

Jaz: Aww. I teach eight year olds but I don’t have eight year olds, otherwise —  

Lulav: Oh that's true, you do teach 8 year olds! That's wonderful. 

Jaz: This is just a true fact. 

Lulav: I feel like, remembering back to the shows I watched when I was eight, there would be these characters who were like, "yeah, I was 12 and I just turned 13" and I'd be like, "whoa that's so old", but now I'm watching it like, "wow, you are an infant." (Jaz chuckles) Like, you are a zygote. Alright. (laughs) 

Jaz: The eight year olds that I teach would not appreciate being referred to that way; they would not necessarily know what the word zygote meant but they definitely would not appreciate being referred to as infants. 

Lulav: That’s fair. Also fair is the fact that I don't think anybody appreciates being referred to as infants. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: Cuz I think at this point, that's gone up to like age 22 for me. 

Jaz: Okay. (Lulav laughs) That's weird, honestly. (Lulav laughs) 

Lulav: Okay. I don't know, when you're almost 30, anyone younger than that feels very young. 

Jaz: Ah, at the ripe old age of 30. You're not even— 

Lulav: Right?

Jaz: Okay. (laughs) 

Lulav: And then of course, anybody who's like 45 listening to this is like, "oh, child," so maybe there is something about the like, fundamental inability of people to bridge each others experiences unless they try to come to it with no preconceptions and like, meet people where they are?

Jaz: Hm. 

Lulav: Phenomenology, whoaaaa. 

Jaz: I wonder if there's a certain amount of embarrassment about our own past selves and then we put that on other people because were like, "I am embarrassed of the person I was a decade ago,” (Lulav laughs) “and so other people must be embarrassed to be that same age cuz its the ages fault". 

Lulav: That is also definitely a thing. This is more an indictment of who I was when I was in my very early 20s than like, an indictment of 22 year olds in general, but every 22 year old I know is so much cooler than I was at that age. 

Jaz: I don't know whether that's charming or sad. 

Lulav: (laughs) Well, I'm cool now, (snaps) finger guns. 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: Anyway, Jaz, whats something cool and queer or Jewish that’s happened in your life recently?

Jaz: So I've been having family watch nights with my roommates. 

Lulav: That's sweet. 

Jaz: It's very sweet. We're a fairly queer Jewish household, so sometimes we're joined by somebody’s girlfriend, and that’s cute. We've been watching a lot of the Great British Baking Show, and one episode that we watched that’s from, I don't know, collection 5 on Netflix, (Lulav chuckles) they have them do- it has one of those very English names, it's a Bedfordshire clanger. 

Lulav: Wow! That is extraordinarily English. 

Jaz: Right?

Lulav: Gonna have some clangers and mash? 

Jaz: (laughs) Exactly. 

Lulav: Sorry, go ahead. 

Jaz: Anyway, so (Lulav laughs) a clanger I guess is a thing people would take out to the field and would have it for lunch that day so it had to be pretty hardy and stuff, so we were like, "this seems fun," and the Hawk and I made them, (Lulav gasps) and they turned out great. The premise is that there's sort of two sides of it —

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: And you make the different fillings and you put them in and there's like a little divider in the middle (Lulav giggles) that's like a tart or a rollover but one side is savory and the other side is sweet. 

Lulav: That's amazing. 

Jaz: So you have dinner and dessert in all one thing. 

Lulav: (laughs) I love that. 

Jaz: It's so good. It's such a cute concept but also it's just really yummy. (Lulav laughs) The original ones are all like, pork and apple, but none of us eat pork so we — 

Lulav: (laughs) And probably all of the apples that we had from when I visited are like — 

Jaz: Long gone. 

Lulav: Yeah. 

Jaz: Long gone. Also the Hawk doesn't like apple pie type stuff all that much — 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: So we had one side that was like a fruit tart and the other side I made some turkey bacon and we had some sausage and some onions and made a slightly more Jewish-friendly— 

Lulav: Uh huh. 

Jaz: Version of the Bedfordshire clanger and it was delicious. 

Lulav: Good. I know this is a neighbourhood that's a little bit to the east of you, but is it a Bed-Stuy clanger?

Jaz: Aww, cute. (Lulav laughs) Anyway, it was just like, a nice little thing that I did with my household, like a little family and then we each had one except Emily, who was out that night, which is why we — Emily is my vegan roommate, so we made ones that she couldn't eat, but our next challenge is to try and make a vegan version so that all of us can eat them. 

Lulav: Nice. I'm happy for you. 

Jaz: Yep. I know that that wasn’t technically very queer and Jewish —

Lulav: Yes it was. 

Jaz: But it felt good to me. 

Lulav: Yeah, you had found-family movie nights and you made food together that was good for Jews to eat and also everyone involved was queer and Jewish I’m pretty sure. 

Jaz: Yes. Also it was mostly me and the Hawk and we definitely were, (Lulav laughs) and to complete the rest of this picture, the Hawk talked her girlfriend into coming over and Jill and Tory moved a new couch into our apartment — 

Lulav: Amazing. 

Jaz: Like, lugged it up the stairs and we fed Jill a clanger too in thanks. 

Lulav: (laughs) Good. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: Do you wanna roll into the portion?

Jaz: I do. 

[Brivele intro music]

Lulav: Welcome to Kosher Queers, a podcast about — nope. (Jaz snorts) 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 the haftarah of Vayeitzei, which is, um, a little difficult. So it's Hosea 12:13-14:10, right?

Jaz: Yes. 

Lulav: And then there's also a single line from Micah, which is 7:18. 

Jaz: Are you summarizing this week?

Lulav: I sure am, and I would like exactly 60 seconds in which to do that. 

Jaz: Hello, okay. Ready, set — wait. (ping noise) (Lulav laughs) Ready, set, go. 

Lulav: The golden boy is going to find some cousins to marry. He has a vision while traveling, of a ladder of messengers and G-d promising myriad descendants. He names the site “G-dhouse”, missing the point in a kinda sweet way. Then he does some well-based shenanigans and goes home with his cousins, where he bids a stupidly high amount of labor to marry the younger daughter, gets duped into marrying the older daughter, and agrees to the same contract again for the original deal, but with the wedding up front this time. There's a couple years of frankly appalling decisions about the new polygynous arrangement, including some kids who probably could've used a lot of therapy. Laban engages in blatant wage theft, so Yaakov starts a side hustle on company time. Yaakov lights out from Aram as he's trailed by twenty hounds, and Rakhel makes him a liar by pulling some typical younger-sibling nonsense with Laban's household gods. The men make an acrimonious nonaggression pact, around a pillar called Gal’ed — "Witness" — in the land of Gilead. (timer rings) 

Lulav: What's up! (laughs) 

Jaz: Nice job 

Lulav: Thank you. Also I feel comfortable in saying” typical younger sibling nonsense” because both of us are older siblings.  

Jaz: I — (Lulav laughs) think that that's still rude (Lulav laughs) regardless of whether it impacts anybody currently in the room, but, you know, that's okay. If there are any — 

Lulav: To any younger siblings out there (Jaz laughs) I am definitely not saying through gritted teeth (dramatically gritting teeth) you are valid. 

Jaz: Challenge Lulav to a duel, I think it'd be funny. 

Lulav: (laughs) I would probably accept, I'm very fighty. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: Though I did get the chance to duel somebody in real life (Jaz gasps) and I did not follow through. 

Jaz: No! 

Lulav: Partially because she would have wasted me but also because it was a pandemic. 

Jaz: That's true. 

Lulav: Like, honestly, if COVID-19 weren't an issue, I probably would have gotten beat down by Ava. (both laugh) 

Jaz: Fair enough, I'd believe it. 

Lulav: Oh, right, how does this connect to the portion that we read today? 

Jaz: Yes. 

Lulav: Well, the whole thing is about like going elsewhere (Jaz snorts) and — hold on. It starts off with Yaakov fleeing to the land of Aram. 

Jaz: Uh huh. 

Lulav: He's going to his cousin's land to find a wife and it talks about like, the difference between how he came out of there and how he came out of Egypt? 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: So there's really a contrast here between the story of Yaakov and the story of like, Beit Yisrael, right, the house of Yisrael. And there is also, I remember Gilead being mentioned in here. 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: And I didn't remember straight off what that meant but then we read this parsha and it had Gilead in it. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: And I'm not finding that right now... where is it... oh. (chuckles) It's in the section that we're going to talk about next week. 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: Which immediately precedes this one. 

Jaz: Well, that's alright. Prequel. 

Lulav: (chuckles) Yeah.

Jaz: So tell me a little bit about the places or the people mentioned. 

Lulav: I mean, definitely about the people mentioned — it's not especially about the places like Padan Aram being more important than the general story of Yaakov but it is specifically that Yaakov was made to serve and similarly, Am Yisrael is being made to serve in the occupation, right? 

Jaz: I don't know if it's being made to serve in the occupation, I don't know if that's exactly where I would go with it, but sure, yeah, close. 

Lulav: (chuckles) Yeah, so does that make sense as, like, connections? 

Jaz: Sure, it's a good working start. (Lulav chuckles) I —

Lulav: It's pretty surface-level, but. 

Jaz: My instinct here is that the connection has to do with finding an appropriate wife and the correct way to interact with a spouse. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: What the correct arrangement between spouses should be. 

Lulav: Interesting. 

Jaz: Because that's a lot of what the parsha spends its time on is this whole deal with Rakhel and Leah and making deals with Laban and that's what Hosea is basically about? 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: All of Hosea. And there's not as much commentary on the end of Hosea. Like, when you look up stuff about Hosea, it's mostly stuff about the beginning, 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: And how it sets up a comparison between Hosea and his wife and G-d and the Jewish people. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: And that this is the spinning out of a metaphor. 

Lulav: Hmm. Okay. 

Jaz: So I think that they look at anything in Hosea and they're like, ah, that can be connected to our marriage-themed parsha. 

Lulav: Yeah. I — hmm. Okay. 

Jaz: What? You can disagree! 

Lulav: Yeah, I don't see as much about like, right action between spouses in this particular portion. I think that's a really cool reading but I do think that that's more about Hosea in general rather than these specific couple lines at the end. 

Jaz: Chapters. 

Lulav: Yeah. This like, two and a half chapters. 

Jaz: Yes — 

Lulav: But I do like that connection that you're making. 

Jaz: I think that they are supposed to be related. 

Lulav: Okay. And also, like, a lot of the way that right action between G-d and the Jewish people is conceived is in the context of marital relationships. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: So, that's definitely fair. 

Jaz: Okay. Should we go through it? 

Lulav: Let's do. 

Jaz: We start on line 12:13, and Jacob fled into the field of Aram and Israel served for a wife and for a wife he kept sheep. 

Lulav: Mm hmm 

Jaz: So to me it does sort of imminently draw that parallel of spousehood. 

Lulav: Okay, so are you saying — like, I think  the use of the word "flee" here, especially in contrast to the next line of Hashem bringing Yisrael up from Egypt, I think that this contrast is between what's going on in the present moment and what will go on when the present moment is ameliorated. 

Jaz: Mmm. I think it's highlighting different possible relationships, because the word that it uses both in this first line and in the second line, that sort of is more translated as “G-d brought the people of Israel up from Egypt via a prophet, through a prophet they were guarded.” And they use this root, shin mem resh, in both sentences actually. In the first one it's as "shamar" and in the next one it's "nishmar,"

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: And that root is "guard." Like, if you used it as a noun, it'd be like "shomer," a guard. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: And this is like, what model of interaction are we having? Is it one person to one person being guarded? Hosea has a very, uh, bad and dysfunctional relationship with his wife.

Lulav: Oh no. 

Jaz: Or through a prophet they're being guarded, not in a, "I'm jealously guarding" sense but in a like, "I'm here to take care of you and get you where you need to go." 

Lulav: Yeah, I definitely think the latter is what it's supposed to evoke here. (chuckles) 

Jaz: Yes but like, the interpretation of “Hosea has a terrible relationship with his wife” isn't just my interpretation. 

Lulav: Okay.

Jaz: It's the textual reading. Like, they get divorced at the beginning of Hosea. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: So like, I do think there is this thing operating here of like, what type of model are we having? What kind of guarding? Like, what are your options? 

Lulav: Okay. So I read this less as "he had to guard his wife," and more "in exchange for a wife, Yaakov's job was to guard." 

Jaz: Mm. 

Lulav: And then, drawing that parallel, a prophet is going to be guarding the people of Yisrael.

Jaz: Mm.

Lulav: On their way out of the present troubles. 

Jaz: Okay! Sure. 

Lulav: But again, I do like your talking about how proper marital relations, especially in the whole context of Hosea, can be compared to proper popular relations with the Divine. 

Jaz: Mm. Yeah. Okay. Um, so then there's this thing that says "Ephraim gave bitter offense" and G-d is really upset. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: So like, when Ephraim speaks in a way that's all about G-d, he's doing great. Also, the text has it as like "he" as if this is an individual person and I think it's not. I think it's talking about Ephraim, the group of people. 

Lulav: Okay. Was there a time in the family story of Israel where Ephraim gave bitter offense, or…? 

Jaz: I do not believe Ephraim ever spoke. 

Lulav: Okay. So this is more like Ephraim as the Kingdom of Samaria. 

Jaz: Yeah, this is Ephraim the political unit who's being personified here. 

Lulav: That makes sense. 

Jaz: I think it's a little bit like saying, "when Washington does this, the people do this." 

Lulav: (Laughs) So we're not literally talking about George Washington. 

Jaz: Right. 

Lulav: That's like, metonymy? So when we look at 13:1, it is pretty cleat at it's talking about the current political situation because there's that whole thing where the Northern Kingdom of Israel purportedly was worshipping idols?

Jaz: Uh huh 

Lulav: And so, “When Ephraim spoke poetry he was exalted in Yisrael, but he incurred guilt through Ba’al and so he died.” (laughs) 

Jaz: Yeah, it is the way people talk about like… I don't know. You know when you hear people talk about former Soviet Union states? 

Lulav: Mm 

Jaz: And they're like, at one point, they were doing okay, and they did such-and-such a thing, and now they're gone and failed. 

Lulav: (laughs) Okay, it does a little bit sound like that, nice. And of course, related to that thing you just said, they go on sinning. (laughs) 

Jaz: Uh huh. So then they're like, they continue to do bad stuff! They're making more idols out of silver and using craftspeople, not to, like, make the mishkan, but instead for sacrifices to the idols. Lulav, what do you make of this line that says, "they are wont to kiss calves." 

Lulav: Uh... so this is definitely poetry, right. Just based on the way that Sefaria is translating it with capitals in the middle of sentences. I don't know, is “cow-kisser” an insult? (Jaz chuckles) Just, smooching the bovines? 

Jaz: I mean… (Lulav laughs) There's an elaboration about these lines, basically, at 13:2 in Sanhedrin.

Lulav: Ooh, fun. 

Jaz: In Sanhedrin 63b, when it says they're making these molten images according to their own understanding. They elaborate and say everybody has a little idol and they put it in their pocket and then sometimes take it out and kiss it. 

Lulav: Yeah, that tracks. (both chuckle)  

Jaz: And then they continue and are like, "okay, but what about the line where it says they kiss calves?" And this is fascinating. 

Lulav: Uh huh.

Jaz: This is a delightful interpretation to me. 

Lulav: Uh oh. 

Jaz: Okay. Rabbi Yitchak, of the school of Rabbi Ami, says it means that priests would set their eyes on the wealthy and would starve the calves that  like, were part of idol worship and make statues of the wealthy people and place those statues next to where the cows would get food, next to their troughs. 

Lulav: I see.

Jaz: And so the calves would go and kiss the pictures of the wealthy people, such that it would be like the idol itself is worshipping you. 

Lulav: Whoa. This is either true or a really elaborate thing to fabricate.  

Jaz: It's a really elaborate thing to fabricate. Its modern analogue, as far as I can figure out, is that rabbi Yitzchak is saying they just bought a lot of followers on Twitter. 

Lulav: (laughs) Okay. Huh. Okay. This is wild. 

Jaz: Right? 

Lulav: Thank you for explaining that. 

Jaz: Anyway, so that's delightful. It’s such an elaborate story. Do you have a different elaborate story of what "they are wont to kiss calves" could mean? 

Lulav: No, but I am reminded of that one Tumblr post that's like, "stands up on my tippy toes to whisper in a cow's ear" and then somebody reblogged it like, "why are you standing on your tiptoes to talk to a cow?" and then the original poster reblogged it like, (exaggerated cowboy accent) "looks like we got ourselves a city slicker!" (modal voice) cuz cows are so tall. 

Jaz: They are! These ones are babies though. 

Lulav: Yeah, that's true. So, you gotta do the opposite of getting up on your tiptoes, which is...getting down on your squatty-ankles, I guess? 

Jaz: (groans) I don't like that. 

Lulav: Yeah, it doesn't sound great. So yeah, will these wealthy people who have their statues kissing calves long endure? 

Jaz: (laughs) They shall be like morning clouds, Lulav. 

Lulav: Oh! 

Jaz: Like dew so early gone. 

Lulav: Ah. Look on my works ye mighty and despair! 

Jaz: (laughs) Nothing beside remains. (Lulav laughs) Like a spoke from a lattice. Anyway, are you impressed by us quoting extra poetry in between the Biblical poetry? (Lulav laughs) You're welcome. Okay, so then there is a "only I have been your G-d ever since Egypt." It's a like, why would you, you know, turn to anybody else? I've been here for you the whole time. 

Lulav: Mm hmm 

Jaz: Which, I gotta say, in defense of my, "it's still a marriage allegory," (Lulav laughs) really does have Taylor Swift "Love Story" vibes over here. 

Lulav: Um, that's the one where she uses the names Romeo and Juliet — 

Jaz: Oh — 

Lulav: despite not really having anything to do with — 

Jaz: Sorry, I was trying to remember a specific Taylor Swift song, and now I don't remember the songs because I don't — 

Lulav: Um, "she wears short shorts" or whatever? 

Jaz: That one! What is it called? 

Lulav: (Typing noises) Cheer captain.. in bleachers... song. “You Belong With Me”! 

Jaz: Yeah! (Lulav laughs) Anyway, it's the same vibe of like, I've been right here/ the whole time./ Why are you paying attention/ to somebody else? 

Lulav: Okay, yeah. That was a good comparison and I'm so glad we don't know enough about Taylor Swift's oeuvre to resist googling that.   

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: So, Yisrael, take me somewhere we can be alone. 

Jaz: Basically, right! 

Lulav: That's a line from Love Story. 

Jaz: No, it — oh, yeah you're right. I will not be embarrassed by mixing the songs up. The last time I listened to them on the regular was middle school and that was a little bit under duress. 

Lulav: Whoa! You listened to Taylor Swift in middle school? 

Jaz: Did you hear the "under duress"? (Lulav laughs) I think it came out when I was in middle school or just before and so it was just kind of everywhere. 

Lulav: Good. 

Jaz: Anyway, there's a whole thing here's that's like, (echoing G-d voice) "I looked after you in the desert, I fed you, and then when you had everything you needed, you forgot about Me" and then it turns to this creepy vibe (Lulav laughs) "so I have become like a lion to them. Like a leopard I lurk on the way." And like, it's very a lot. Like a bear robbed of her young, I attacked them and ripped open the casing of their heart. I will devour them there.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: So, okay. Do you have thoughts about this, because I have possibilities but —

Lulav: It's reminding me of a documentary that's like, narrated by David Attenborough or something, (Jaz laughs) where you have some grazing gazelles and then it smash cuts to one of the gazelles getting eaten by a lion —

Jaz: Mmm.

Lulav: In like, fairly graphic detail. That's the main thought that I'm having.

Jaz: Okay.

Lulav: Like, I think this is a pretty straightforward statement. It's like, "hey, idols won’t do anything for you. I am the only G-d who has ever proven Itself to you, and also I took care of you but because you're turning away from me, I'm going to eat you."

Jaz: (laughs) Okay!

Lulav: And it does kind of seem like this is talking to the southern kingdom of Yehuda about the Northern Kingdom of Samaria.

Jaz: Right, this is a like, they didn't do well, so you gotta do well.

Lulav: (chuckles) Okay.

Jaz: Which — here's the thing: it's great to learn from past experiences and do better on future experiences, right?

Lulav: Yeah.

Jaz: Like, and it's even better if you can learn from somebody else's bad experiences (Lulav laughs) so you don't have to make the same mistake yourself, right?

Lulav: Right. For sure.

Jaz: (laughs) You sound so forlorn.

Lulav: I'm the Samaria, probably. I just think about how like, I would have really appreciated some hot tips from like, people who had gone through the situations that I did so that I didn't have to go through them so painfully or at such length?

Jaz: Mmm. I think this is also a thing that like, if you can learn from other peoples experience, that’s great, and — I dont know, like one of my friends, back when there was like a little queer Jewish book club that I was attending—

Lulav: Sweet.

Jaz: For like a minute, we had a conversation at one point about like, are there trans couples who are like both members of the couples are trans?

Lulav: t4t!

Jaz: Who are older. 

Lulav: Oh!

Jaz: Do we know anybody in their 40s and up who could have modeled that for us?

Lulav: Mmm.

Jaz: And we couldn't think of any.

Lulav: Yeah, you've mentioned this before.

Jaz: Right.

Lulav: And that's rough.

Jaz: Yeah! And like, there is something to be said for, you can also learn through situations that are not exactly the same as your own, like, I feel like I've learned a lot from my parents’ relationships —

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: And, they're not trans, but like, looking at their relationship does inform how I think of love in the world and what I want in my life.

Lulav: Yeah.

Jaz: So I do think there is value in being able to be like, “what is a situation that is comparable to mine and how do I learn from it?” 

Lulav: Mm hmm. Even if it's not exactly the same.

Jaz: Yeah. But you could imagine people saying that about a political thing too, like, this political thing isn't exactly the same and therefore you can't compare it, cuz theyre talking about a different country like the Northern Kingdom vs the Southern Kingdom. And that's like, well, okay, no political situation is exactly the same but we can still learn from other people's tactics what's worked in their communities and apply them to our communities.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: You don't have to reinvent the organizing wheel.

Lulav: You don't have to reinvent the wheelchair, as it were.

Jaz: Yeah.

Lulav: Shoutout to disability activists by the way, who have done a lot of fundamental stuff informing how activists in general think about their activism.

Jaz: Totally. Also I recently, on another movie night here at the apartment —

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: Got to watch Crip Camp.

Lulav: Oh, okay.

Jaz: And, it's great. I recommend it.

Lulav: Yeah, I have seen people talking about it, but not —

Jaz: I've been meaning to watch it for a while, I'm not —

Lulav: Yeah.

Jaz: very good at watching things on my own, so I got to watch it with my roommates.

Lulav: Mmm, right. I'm going to add that while you continue talking about what's going to happen even though Samaria has some nasty stuff stored up.

Jaz: I wanna offer one more thing —

Lulav: Oh, yeah?

Jaz: About this part because this line specifically, 13:8, is pretty brutal. The stuff about like, I attack them and rip them open and devour them and mangle them — like, I wanna own that that's... rough? As like a thing to be figuring out? And I took an interesting one-off this summer through Queer Talmud Camp —

Lulav: Hm!

Jaz: Where someone did like, a workshop on... not Hosea but a part from… I think Ezekiel? It was like another prophet I didn't know and had not studied before who is famously bad to his wife.

Lulav: Eugh.

Jaz: The Rabbi I was taking it with was trying to offer a, is there another way to look at this text, as like, not brutal, but instead a like, consensual play in a BDSM sense?

Lulav: (laughs) Okay.

Jaz: Which was really fascinating to think about, as like a different way to look at the text.

Lulav: Mm hmm. I definitely don't see it as that here because this is talking specifically about the Northern Kingdom ignoring the covenant that they had made, and then as a result getting absolutely bodied by the Assyrians, so I don't think that this is consensual vore play, but that is an interesting lens to look at things through if on the face of it it’s real bad.

Jaz: I'm just saying, none of the stuff that's happening here around devouring or even things around pain and stuff —

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: Is like, intrinsically a dynamic that you can't have, you know?

Lulav: Hm. Okay so you're saying that the scenario is like, we’re going to do some petulant sub stuff and then it's going to transition into vore?

Jaz: Sure!

Lulav: I see. (chuckles) That is like, a little bit of a trivializing way to look at the displacement and cultural annihilation of 10 ancestral houses, but — 

Jaz: But so is this! Like deeply, in some respects, so is the idea that it was their fault. 

Lulav: Mm. 

Jaz: And what are we holding onto as we look at this text? Like, are we holding onto people who do something bad are gonna be just absolutely annihilated — 

Lulav: Hm. 

Jaz: Or are we holding onto this idea that there's a way to interpret what's happening instead as playful — 

Lulav: Hm. 

Jaz: Or like, working through your stuff but in a way that like, you agreed that this is gonna be difficult, and a way that you work through things is through difficult scenes for some people — 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: You know what I mean, like, you can see either, I would say, as infantilizing or as a way to draw meaning out of. 

Lulav: Yeah, cuz like, I do think this is a pretty reasonable thing. It's like, we had an agreement and then you cheapened that agreement, that relationship that we had by totally ignoring what we had agreed upon as the boundaries of our relationship? So we're going to have a nasty breakup. 

Jaz: But that's not what happens here, right? Especially given the context of the rest of Hosea where he's like, “I think you were cheating on me with other people,” and then goes into all of this and that line of reasoning feels more to me like, I feel betrayed by you and now I’m like your stalker ex and that's like, not the direction I'd wanna go with that. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. And also, yeah, what's being said here is not that we are never ever ever getting back together. 

Jaz: Right. 

Lulav: "From Sheol itself I will save them."

Jaz: Right! Also, then they're like, also we could get back together, (Lulav chuckles) we could just get back together and it would be fine, which is not the behavior of somebody who's like, “yeah, this is just not working out.” 

Lulav: Yeah, and I think that makes sense because in relationships you assume that the other person has good intentions and wants the best for you and so if they prove that, prove that they are a rational actor who actually cares about you, then it is reasonable to continue the relationship having had that experience in the middle, but if they just like, ignore your needs and keep messing with you, it's fair to just break up with them,

Jaz: Yeah, I guess I just feel like because there's this stuff also there that's like, from Sheol itself, from very death, from saying like, you're in a really really dark place but also you could get out of it and tying it to the pain and punishment stuff does feel like the metaphor you could draw there is instead somebody working through stuff with pain and then getting through the other side of that and then getting through to a place where they can be held and cared for. 

Lulav: Hmm. Okay. So what's the rest of the portion? 

Jaz: Right, so then we have stuff about — 

Lulav: Ooh. 

Jaz: Then we have stuff about childbirth. Like, there's a baby that's born. It is not a wise baby: 13:13. "For this is no time to survive." 

Lulav: Huh. Is — "and the babe is not wise" a good translation here? 

Jaz: Hmm.  

Lulav: Or is it like, "and the babe is not quick?" 

Jaz: No, it's wise. Hacham. 

Lulav: Huh. Okay Is it like the idea that you know, you should be in a safe place before having a difficult childbirth? 

Jaz: Hmm. 

Lulav: And just kind of waggling your finger at the baby, being like, “hey, don't be born right now? Wait like six hours.” 

Jaz: Yeah, this is no time to survive, why are you coming now? 

Lulav: Uh huh.

Jaz: Yeah, sure. And then when we go to 14 — 

Lulav: Uh huh. 

Jaz: We have stuff about like, infants are going to die and pregnant people are going to have fetuses ripped out and like, people are going to die by sword and are going to fall. That's our connection to this is not a good time. 

Lulav: Yeah. And he's being very explicit here about who he's talking to. Not like, veiling it in the language of Ephraim as metonymy for the northern kingdom of Israel. He literally starts like 14:1 by saying, "Samaria must bear her guilt." 

Jaz: Right. 

Lulav: Again, that's the capital kingdom of the northern city of Israel. 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: And Assyria shall not save us. So he's being very explicit instead of veiling it the way that prophets tend to do. 

Jaz: Yeah. You cannot rely on somebody else's military might. 

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: This is a like, "they won't save us. we have to just like, turn to G-d and blossom that way." 

Lulav: Yeah. Blossom like a cedar. 

Jaz: It's just like you know you're not going to be protected by the powers that be out there. You have to go with the stuff closer to home.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: The relationships that are here and not like relying on other things. 

Lulav: Yeah. 

Jaz: That's basically the end! It's like, if you're wise, mi hacham — 

Lulav: Is that like "with wisdom"? 

Jaz: No, it's like "the people who are wise" will — 

Lulav: Oh, "who wise," okay. 

Jaz: Yeah, will consider it. 

Lulav: Yeah. I really like the imagery in 14:7 about how you're just going to strike root like a cedar. Just like, I don't know that much about cedars, but presumably a broad base of roots? 

Jaz: Mm. 

Lulav: And also one of the most famous things about cedars is that they smell really nice. Like deciduous trees that also smell good. Like, it's the national symbol of Lebanon, which is why the translation here says, "he shall strike root like a Lebanon tree." Yeah, I don't know. It just smells good when I read it. 

Jaz: Yeah! Yeah. And to the point earlier about like, it's nice to be able to learn from other people's mistakes and to learn from our own mistakes, they have this thing about like, the paths themselves of going with G-d, the paths themselves are smooth. It's sort of up to you whether you'll traverse them as smooth paths or (Lulav chuckles) stumble on the way. 

Lulav: Cool, so that's the portion. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: Does that bring us to Rating G-d’s Writing, where we invent scales and make each other rate the portion according to them? 

Jaz: Yeah! I think it does. Lulav — 

Lulav: Yes Jaz? 

Jaz: What smell and would it be pleasant or unpleasant — 

Lulav: I see. 

Jaz: — would you give this haftarah? 

Lulav: Okay, so I think it's a person's smell. 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: And it starts with a couple of notes that are like the perfume that your mother wore, kind of like obscured a little bit by a veil of nostalgia. 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: And mixed in with some new stuff that also smells good, but also there is the smell of the person who is wearing that underneath it, which is the smell of body odor of a body that is working. 

Jaz: Hmm. 

Lulav: Yeah, that is I think the scent of this parsha, is we kind of have these throwbacks to things that we remember very dearly, like the whole story that gave name to the Perchik corner 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: And there's also metaphor that's pretty straightforward and the smell of somebody who is living right now currently, like the Northern Kingdom of Israel was living right now currently under occupation by the Assyrians. 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: Jaz, out of six roots of a cedar tree, how many roots would you rate this portion? 

Jaz: Mmmmm. I guess I would rate it four. 

Lulav: Okay. Four out of six? 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: That is apparently the minimum number of roots that a cedar tree can have. 

Lulav: That is apparently the minimum number of roots that a cedar tree can have. 

Jaz: Oh! Okay. Let’s give it 5 then so it can have one for good luck and extra stability.

Lulav: Aww, that’s fun.

Jaz: I want to believe that this is one thats setting you up with more tools to thrive —

Lulav: Okay.

Jaz: But I am not certain that it is, (Lulav giggles) and so I think that there is some ambiguity there.

Lulav: Okay. Yeah. I like that rating. So that brings us, wonderfully, to a Continuity Corner which we haven't had in a while.

Jaz: Yeah! We got some good feedback from a listener who wrote to tell us we had made a mistake that we absolutely needed to fix on the air —

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: They were super right, thank you for writing to us and letting us know to correct it! If you, other listeners, hear that we do stuff like that, please let us know so that we can correct it.

Lulav: So what was the particular nature here?

Jaz: So, okay, we got an email from a listener who said that on our haftarah for parshat Noach, when talking about the Babylonian exile, we said people of the Northern Kingdom were totally destroyed, and then there are no more. Our listener wrote in to say, actually, those who remained are now called Samaritans and, there’s not a bunch of them, like —

Lulav: Ohhh.

Jaz: They’re only in the triple digits, but —

Lulav: Oh G-d.

Jaz: They definitely do exist and are still in the region. They furthermore said, “The Isrealites who were exiled were more likely to be the upper class.” (Lulav giggles) “The Israelites who were exiled were more likely to be the upper class. When they were allowed to return, they offered to help rebuild the temple and we're shunned, thus separating them. Their holy texts are more or less the same only they're written in the Ancient Hebrew alphabet. Samaritans still maintain many of the same practices that we practice as Rabbinic Jews, as well as having a living Kohen Gadol. 

Lulav: Whoa. 

Jaz: They are mistreated in the modern state of Israel, and it's really disingenuous to say they were destroyed when some remained when there are Jewish efforts now that harm their living community. I think it would be really important to mention this in any upcoming recorded episodes because it's important for all Jews to know our history.” Which, agreed, thank you for educating us on this part of our history.

Lulav: Yeah, thank you so much.

Jaz: So then I went to go do a little bit more reading on it cuz I didn't know that much about modern Samaritans, and as our listener said, they’re a small group. Some of them live in places that are more Palestinian and some of them live in places that are more Israeli. They tend to hold dual citizenship —

Lulav: Mmm.

Jaz: Like, dual legal paperwork, and sometimes that position is a very dangerous one to be in. They have an official stance. There's a quote in, I think this BBC article and also this like, just some, there's a place called Culture Trip, which is a wild name for a website, (Lulav giggles) but anyway, they were quoting people were were saying, “if we want to survive in this crazy region, we have to live in peace with both sides. This is our policy, not to be involved in politics, only to be at peace with Palestinians and Israelis and ensure they'll both feel at home in our community.”

Lulav: What does that functionally mean though?

Jaz: I think it's a really hard thing, like when our listener said they are marginalized and mistreated, you know I think that's part of what it means. So, this article that I was reading says, "so theres this piece of history where, as the first intifada broke out in 1987, Samaratin families decided to flee the Palestinian city of Nablus to avoid being caught up in the violence, relocating to the nearby Mount Gerizim, the holiest site in the Samaritan religion. So, you know, that's significant relocation to deal with too.

Lulav: Yeah.

Jaz: Especially if there's not a lot of people in your community, so, it sounds like it is a complicated and fraught thing, and that they are often treated with a lot of suspicion and, you know, don't exactly live a life of safety and security.

Lulav: Mm hmm. That's rough.

Jaz: But also that they also like, theres a group of Samaratins who live in Kiryat Luza, which is under the PA, the Palestinian Authorities, and it says these people “are in many ways nationally and culturally Palestinian. They speak Arabic, study in Palestinian schools,—

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: “And universities, and work in Palestinian government offices” but also a lot of the cultural things they do make them feel similar to some of the Jewish communities also —

Lulav: Mm.

Jaz: In terms of when they do Shabbat, and that they celebrate Passover and Sukkot, and —

Lulav: But also, crucially, the Rabbinate does not consider them part of the same religion, right?

Jaz: I do not think so, no.

Lulav: So, yeah, that's a fun position to be thrust into.

Jaz: Yeah, it — yea. Anyway, as we have really clearly established, we are not experts on this group, but I—

Lulav: Absolutely not.

Jaz: I really appreciate the chance to correct that and to note, these are definitely people who exist and the Jewish community — at least the Jewish education I grew up with didn’t tell me about, and that —

Lulav: Yeah.

Jaz: Seems like an oversight.

Lulav: Okay. Jaz, can you take us to the close? 

Jaz: Yeah. Thanks for listening to Kosher Queers! If you like what you’ve heard, you can support us on Patreon at, which will give you bonus content and help us keep making this for you. Also, if you can’t commit to ongoing support but would still like to contribute, you can give to our Ko-fi, which is at 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 [email protected], and please spread the word about our podcast. You can check us out at 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: I was trying to remember a Taylor Swift song to quote, but yeah, came up empty. However, 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, And also I wanted to talk a little bit before we get into land acknowledgemnts about the fact that American Thanksgiving is I think the day this comes out.

Jaz: Ohhh, I forgot about that. 

Lulav: Yeah, and like, we have been doing our podcast about, at least for the last 10, 15 episodes, about building a homeland on the land of displaced people, so I wanted to really drill down onto the land acknowledgement and acknowledge that this is the unceded lands of the people we are acknowledging. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: And that we have kind of had to live with our people building on the backs of that. 

Jaz: Yeah. I think also it's a good time to be figuring out, as you all, our listeners are thinking about how we can build a better world — 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: — to think about what we can do this Thanksgiving, this time of year, what are ways we can show up for the indigenous communities around us and what are things that could make that material reality that settlers have created turn around a little bit and I think a place to start with that is figuring out who you can talk to in your life about what's happening. I have been working on figuring out how I'm going to talk to my students about Thanksgiving. I know a lot of people often go home to be with family and I don't think many of us are doing that this year — I'm not doing that this year. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: But it is still, I think, a good time to talk with family, with the people you would gather with, or maybe the people you are with currently about what are concrete things that we could do differently. 

Lulav: Yeah. So who are you, Jaz? 

Jaz: I’m Jaz Twersky. You can find me @WordNerdKnitter on Twitter. I recorded this audio on the traditional lands of the Lenape 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.

Both: Have a lovely queer Jewish day!

[Brivele outro music]

Jaz: This week's gender is teacher/professor/librarian vibes. 

Lulav: This week's pronouns are theta/thetum.