Kosher Queers

58 — Vayishlach: The Prophecy of G-d's Secretary

December 03, 2020
Kosher Queers
58 — Vayishlach: The Prophecy of G-d's Secretary
Kosher Queers
58 — Vayishlach: The Prophecy of G-d's Secretary
Dec 03, 2020

This week, we read a very short books, take some digressions into more interesting stories, and  discuss how power protects itself. Plus, Jaz would be bad at thievery because all they'd take are some children's books. (Btw, in case you were worried about how much crying was happening, we are okay! It may offer partial context that we did record this on November 6th, 2020.)

Full transcript here.

Remy's Instagram is @ rat_dog_remy and Princess' Instagram is @cessprin_the_chug. Jaz highly recommends the book Something that May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel Lavery, and now would be an excellent time of year to buy it from your local independent Black-owned bookstore, as indie bookstores tend to really rely on sales this quarter to stay afloat. Jaz's friend Gabe Schneider is on Twitter @gabemschneider. Thanks to Zoe @TheStonyField for writing in to our Continuity Corner, and here's the Chabad translation of Hosea Ezra cited. 

This week's reading was Obadiah 1:1-21 and Hosea 11:7-12:12. Next week's reading is Zechariah 2:14–4:7.

Support us on Patreon or Ko-fi! Our 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 Ezra Faust, and our transcript was written by Jaz Twersky and Reuben Shachar Rose. 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 read a very short books, take some digressions into more interesting stories, and  discuss how power protects itself. Plus, Jaz would be bad at thievery because all they'd take are some children's books. (Btw, in case you were worried about how much crying was happening, we are okay! It may offer partial context that we did record this on November 6th, 2020.)

Full transcript here.

Remy's Instagram is @ rat_dog_remy and Princess' Instagram is @cessprin_the_chug. Jaz highly recommends the book Something that May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel Lavery, and now would be an excellent time of year to buy it from your local independent Black-owned bookstore, as indie bookstores tend to really rely on sales this quarter to stay afloat. Jaz's friend Gabe Schneider is on Twitter @gabemschneider. Thanks to Zoe @TheStonyField for writing in to our Continuity Corner, and here's the Chabad translation of Hosea Ezra cited. 

This week's reading was Obadiah 1:1-21 and Hosea 11:7-12:12. Next week's reading is Zechariah 2:14–4:7.

Support us on Patreon or Ko-fi! Our 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 Ezra Faust, and our transcript was written by Jaz Twersky and Reuben Shachar Rose. Our logo is by Lior Gross, and we are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Orthodox Union.

Support the show (

Lulav: Hi Jaz. 

Jaz: Hi Lulav. So, its been kind of a hard week, so instead of asking you things that are cool and queer and Jewish, what if I just asked you how many times you cried this week?

Lulav: Oh man. I'm not sure what a normal human number of cryings is, so can you calibrate that for me by answering first? 

Jaz: (chuckles) I— 

Lulav: How many times have you cried this week?

Jaz: This is a fair question, I'm not going to help your calibration because I was trying to figure out the answer to this before recording and I think — 

Lulav: Uh oh. 

Jaz: I think the answer was four or five this week? 

Lulav: Oh!

Jaz: Not 100% sure. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: This is also a low rating in that I was like, well, if it was this one and then I stopped crying but then started crying about the same thing I shouldn't count them as separate ones — 

Lulav: No you should!

Jaz: Mostly because I couldn't figure out how to do that. 

Lulav: That’s fair. 

Jaz: In that case (Lulav laughs) the number is like, much higher and also I don't know what it is. 

Lulav: (laughs) Four to fifteen. Okay. 

Jaz: Yeah. Yeah. 

Lulav: Sounds good. Yeah, I think I'm at three, which in Lulav cries is like, 15, so. 

Jaz: Uh huh. 

Lulav: Uh, it's just that kind of week. However, there have been bright spots, right? So, why don’t you tell me something that is cool and queer or Jewish. 

Jaz: Okay. Well the best part of my week was that last weekend, I went cabin camping with my roommates, and my roommates are great. They are Tori, the Hawk, and Emily, and we went to a cabin somewhere in New Jersey. My mother keeps asking me, "Where did you go?" and all I have is, "Somewhere in New Jersey." (Lulav giggles) And we brought both of their dogs, Remy and Princess. I will link to both of their Instagrams so you can go follow them, listeners. 

Lulav: (laughs) I didn't know they had Instagrams. 

Jaz: Both of them do. They are rat_dog_remy, and cessprin_the_chug I think? There are underscores under those letters too, but cessprin— 

Lulav: Say that one more time?

Jaz: “Cessprin” as in princess but flipped. 

Lulav: Ohhh, okay. (chuckles) Wild. 

Jaz: Yeah, and we dressed them up in costumes and it was great. Remy makes a great stegosaurus. (Lulav chuckles) I knitted a little coat for Princess, unrelated to her Yoda costume, and normally she hates being put in clothes, (Lulav chuckles) even though she gets cold very frequently so we do put her in clothes, but she liked mine better and it was great. 

Lulav: Aww, that's nice. 

Jaz: But my actual Jewish aspect of this is that the place that we were at did not have a stove but it did have a fire pit outside, and — 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: On Saturday night, we made a big fire — if any of my roommates are listening, do not contradict me on the “big” part of the fire; we made it perfectly reasonably sized fire, and — 

Lulav: Listen, its 2020, moderation in fire building seems like a good idea. 

Jaz: Yeah, you know. (Lulav chuckles) And I did a little havdalah thing at one point over the fire. I miss prayer? I don't do great at solitary prayer, but I really miss being able to, like, put 30 people in a room (Lulav giggles) and have us sing together on a Friday night before shabbos. 

Lulav: Yeah. 

Jaz: And since that's like, not a thing I can do now, and haven't been able to do for many months and don't foresee being able to do for at the very least, many months, it was nice to have this as like, a little approximation. People who are lovely and wonderful. 

Lulav: Yeah. 

Jaz: And they would not forgive me, I don’t think, if I didnt mention the other distinguishing part of the weekend, but I need to stress that this was neither cool nor queer nor Jewish, but we did at one point, while we were arriving, drive into the wrong driveway and a man came out of the house with a gun and mostly only helpfully shouted directions at us to say that we were in the wrong driveway, but was holding a gun the whole time and it was very alarming. 

Lulav: Uh huh. I'm sure. 

Jaz: It was alarming! 

Lulav: No, yeah! That wasn't sarcastic. 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: Listen, I've been around guns before. I, in fact, have a rifle shooting merit badge from the Redacted Scouts. 

Jaz: Wild. 

Lulav: Yeah, and the range instructor told us some horror stories about kids who didn't know what they were doing and were just like swinging guns around and almost took off some people’s heads before, so. 

Jaz: Yeah. Yeah. 

Lulav: Yeah. Hopefully the first thing you learn about guns is to never point them at other people. 

Jaz: Uh huh. 

Lulav: And, you know, don’t. (laughs) Just don't. (laughs) 

Jaz: Yeah. I don't voluntarily really spend a lot of time around men with guns, like — 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: There are people and friends in my life who know how to use guns. I don't think any of them are men. 

Lulav: (laughs) Good. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: Does this have anything to do with the general demographics of people who are in your life? 

Jaz: Well — I have friends who are men, who are in my life. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: Just, none of them use guns. 

Lulav: Okay. (laughs) 

Jaz: I probably have—

Lulav: Thats cool. 

Jaz: Fewer people who are men in my circles than I do of other genders, but, like, a decent number I would say. 

Lulav: Yeah. That’s cool. 

Jaz: Unlike you. 

Lulav: Oh, yes. Totally unlike me. Me with all of the — oh you’re saying I have none. Yes. Okay. That's approximately true. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: I didn't quite get the lay of the land, gender-wise, but there was a birthday party this weekend, for Shachar. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: And that was really fun, and yeah, Shachar was just in Québec, with all of the people in their bubble, just over at their house, and they had a Zoom call with their friends who aren't in Québec, which was mostly the people that we play League of Legends with and also Jaz. (chuckles)

Jaz: I— I don't play League of Legends. 

Lulav: (giggles) Yes. 

Jaz: Also, Shachar did not initially invite me to their birthday party because they were not sure if we were friends, and then we got to clarify that we are friends. 

Lulav: Yeah. I facilitated that because I'm pretty sure that Jaz just wouldn't have been at Shachar’s birthday if I hadn't been like, "Hey do you want to come to the birthday? Hey Shachar, is Jaz invited?" (laughs) 

Jaz: I was very dubious of this strategy. You were like, “Should I ask Shachar” and I looked up at my roommates and I was like, "How do I tell Lulav she shouldn't do that?" (both laugh) And then we got to have a small conversation, and I got advice from my roommates, and then eventually was able to be like, “Okay, but casually.” 

Lulav: (laughs) Okay, what did they say. I want to know the wisdom of the sages. 

Jaz: Okay, they disagreed. 

Lulav: Uh huh. 

Jaz: And Tori was like, "Well, I think you could do it if you did so carefully," and Emily was just like, shaking her head like, "You could, but I wouldn't." (Lulav laughs) Or, I probably got the intonation right, "You could but I wouldn't." (both laugh) 

Lulav: Good. Hi Emily. 

Jaz: The Hawk wasn't there, because she is gone for a whole month and we miss her. 

Lulav: Oh, that's so weird. 

Jaz: Anyway, did you have fun at your birthday party?

Lulav: Yes, I did have fun. Played some Jackbox games, and then everybody like collectively decided that they were like, too out of it to play Jackbox games and so we just chatted for a little bit and like, signed off one by one. 

Jaz: Nice. 

Lulav: Yeah. It was really nice, and it was good to see Shachar surrounded by people who really like them, 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: It was also very funny because, at one point they were like, “Oh no, I have so many friends, we're gonna have to actually rotate who's playing the games,” (laughs) and that's a good problem to have I think. 

Jaz: It is a good problem to have. (Lulav chuckles) Should we tell them our Jackbox names, and then get started?

Lulav: (laughs) Yes. I want to point out that I was trying to win a single game of Magic the Gathering, and after like, an eight-game losing streak I finished, but this was about 20 minutes into the party. So Jaz was the first one to put their name down, and they are…  

Jaz: “Fave pod host.” 

Lulav: Which… was a bold move. Very impressive. And so, I went with “cute pod host.” (both laugh) But I couldn't go like, two seconds without being like, "I mean, it's not a very specific name, but." 

Jaz: It was adorable. 

Lulav: Thank you. 

Jaz: Anyway. I maintain that this is very similar to when we ran a Twitter poll that asked our followers (Lulav laughs) whether they best liked our queer host or our Jewish host. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: And on that note, Lulav, are you ready to start the episode?

Lulav: What episode? Are we doing a podcast? Oh my G-d, we're doing a podcast! (Jaz laughs) (overlapping along with the beginning of Brivele) One, two, three, four! 

[Brivele music plays]

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 the longest haftarah that we've had, ever. Like, even when we were doing parshas, because we have not only an entire book of Obadiah, but also the approximately one chapter of Hosea from just before last week's reading, so that's Hosea 11:7-12:12.

Jaz: Okay, in fairness, Obadiah is the shortest book in the whole Tanakh.

Lulav: Yes, but if you measure in books! (Jaz laughs) This is so long!

Jaz: Obadiah has one chapter which has like —

Lulav: Twenty-one lines.

Jaz: Yeah.

Lulav: (laughs) It's very funny. I was scrolling to the bottom of the chapter for Sefaria, and I was like, "Why isn't more text showing up?" (Jaz laughs) Is there — oh no, there's only one chapter of this. So… 

Jaz: Yeah, it is very short.

Lulav: So, do you have feelings about Obadiah and Hosea?

Jaz: I do, but before we get to those, could you summarize last year's parsha for us?

Lulav: Okay, this is gonna be really tight but give me 75 seconds.

Jaz: That's a long one this week.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: Alright. Ready, set, go.

Lulav: The golden boy — now a golden man — leaves last week's acrimonious breakup with his father-in-law and braces for an acrimonious homecoming with his brother. Yaakov recites his own rags-to-riches story as a pep talk to himself, then decides to overcompensate for his guilt with gifts! Anticipating death, he secrets his family away across the river, but on his way back he learns the very Jewish technique of holding two truths simultaneously. In this case, though, holding "truths" is a euphemism for holding hips, like his busted one and the hip of the dude he's fighting in the middle of nowhere who is maybe himself. Regardless! He gets the name "Yisrael." In the morning, he limps up to his brother, who is absolutely blown away by the fact that he's an uncle and tries to assert that he is the hosting top in this familial relationship. After a top-off, Yisrael wins because "oh no, it's fine, we'll just get a hotel and see you tomorrow for lunch." Dinah — yes, I too forgot that Yisrael had daughters — has an interaction of questionable consent with a local, and her weirdly overprotective brothers murder everyone in the town after the townsfolk all get simple genital plastic surgery to fit in with the locals. The family has a fun religious retreat, as though they didn't just participate in genocide together! Then Rakhel dies in childbirth, and the son she named with her dying breath gets (ringer goes off) a different name on his birth certificate. Yitzhak also bites it — though at a more reasonable age — and Esau moves to Edom and makes a bunch of descendants. Wow, I misjudged that. 

Jaz: Uh huh. (Lulav laughs) That's okay. Great summary. 

Lulav: Thank you. I try. 

Jaz: Also this is a good parsha. 

Lulav: Yeah. This was the one where you had a very big guest episode — it's the only Kosher Queers episode that I haven't been in. 

Jaz: Yeahhh, this was the one that my family came on. You can go listen to it, it's called "Mothers, Brothers and Angels, Oh My"? Something like that. 

Lulav: Something like that. It's Vayishlach. 

Jaz: Don't hold me to that. Also, I just told the story of Yisrael getting his new name via this wrestling contest in the middle of the night as a Halloween story to my third graders that was like, loosely connected to our naming unit about Jewish names —  

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: And also loosely related to the fact that I have learned, having now had a little bit more experience teaching, that you can't have lessons near Halloween that are not Halloween-themed because children cannot focus on them. 

Lulav: Good. 

Jaz: Also, if you haven't read Daniel Lavery’s book Something That May Shock and Discredit You, he's got some very fun stuff about this renaming. (Lulav giggles) Lulav, I don't remember if you got far enough into the book. 

Lulav: I may have? The thing is, Danny Lavery is constantly talking about like, Christian Bible stuff. 

Jaz: Uh huh. 

Lulav: Which I am familiar with, but also having spent over a year doing specifically Torah study— 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: It's wild to like, come back to that?

Jaz: Mmm. Anyway there is a couple good pieces. My best guess, but I'm not certain, Lulav, is that you read the first one but not the second one —  

Lulav: Mmm. 

Jaz: And one is about the renaming itself, and the other is about other people reacting to the naming. 

Lulav: Oookay. The naming itself was maybe in that one chapter about, "this is not a trans memoir" (Jaz laughs) where he basically says over and over again that it is a trans memoir even though it's definitely not. 

Jaz: Uh huh. (Lulav laughs) Maybe that was referred to slightly, but no, these are a couple of pieces of fiction, both of them, that I'm referring to. 

Lulav: Mmm! Okay. 

Jaz: Anyway, excellent. I recommend them. So, Lulav, how does Vayishlach connect to the haftarah reading? 

Lulav: Well, it’s stuff that we've talked about before with Edom getting the short end of the stick. 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: This is another one where I'm like, "Why exactly did they choose this one?" because I can think of other parashot that would have gone so much better with it. 

Jaz: Mmm. 

Lulav: Yeah, the stuff here is odd, I gotta say, because it's a lot about how “thoroughly rifled is Esau and how ransacked his hordes”, and like, there really isn't anything in this week's parsha about that. It is much more about like, hey, these brothers are meeting up again after a long time away and that time away tempered a lot of the acrimony that they had towards each other —  

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: And like, they are maturely interacting even though they can't live in the same place because their households are like, each 1000 people big. 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: And so, yeah, this just seems like an interesting parsha to be tying to the haftarah because it is very much about backstabbing; very much about like, “Hey this bad stuff happened, so this other bad stuff is gonna happen.”

Jaz: Mmm, say more about that, about how you're reading that?

Lulav: I mean, I think this is metonymy, I guess— 

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: For the Northern Kingdom of Israel because —
Jaz: You don’t think it's for the Edomites?

Lulav: Well, tell me a little bit about the context then. Like, how are the Edomites related here?

Jaz: Well, okay, so my understanding is that the Edomites are like, a neighboring group and the history of that is that they were not always allies of the Jewish kingdoms, so — 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: In particular, there's this note that when Nebuchadnezzar II sacked Jerusalem and carted away the king of Judea, Edom assisted the Babylonians in looting the city. 

Lulav: Ohhh, okay, so this is during Babylonian times. 

Jaz: Yeah, Obadiah’s a later prophet — 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: Like Jeremiah and Ezra, I think, and I think that partly because Obadiah is mentioned in Jeremiah and I believe in Ezra. 

Lulav: Okay, so you said that Edom has at times been at odds with the kingdoms of Israel and I just want to point out that like, the kingdoms of Israel were at odds with the kingdoms of Israel for longer than they were the same thing. 

Jaz: Absolutely true. (Lulav laughs) The other thing that I think is worth noting as a point of connection is who Obadiah is, which I will note that there is some debate about. (Lulav giggles) Not internal to Judaism precisely but Obadiah’s a figure who shows up right here in the Tanakh, but then also the Talmud and I believe that Christians, Jews and Muslims all have interpretations of who Obadiah is, and we don't have all that much information about him. Again, it's a very short book. 

Lulav: And also “Obadiah” counts as a title, right? Kind of the way that um…  what was the other one —  Malachi! 

Jaz: Yes. Obadiah is spelled in Hebrew as ayin-vet-dalet-yud-hey and if you seperate that out, that ayin vet daled, that's the root that means like, work, and the yud hey is sometimes a thing that indicates G-d and so this means like, one who works for G-d. 

Lulav: Yeah. The prophecy of G-d’s secretary. 

Jaz: Yeah. Exactly. (Lulav giggles) Great pen name. It's also like, a name, like other people have this name. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: So the other thing that's relevant, potentially, is Obadiah does show up in some earlier books, in Kings in particular.

Lulav: Hm.

Jaz: And he has a tactic that he uses which is the same tactic that Yisrael uses here of taking half of the party and putting them in one place and half in another place in case something happens to them.

Lulav: Okay, that's a really nice pull. Where'd you get that from?

Jaz: It's in Kings 18:14, and I looked up where Obadiah shows up in other texts.

Lulav: Oh that's so much fun. So, that really makes me feel like these aren't the same Obadiim— wait. Obadiot? Obadia— whatever. That these aren't the same guys.

Jaz: Why?

Lulav: Because weren't there like, 12 kings in between the end of the book for Kings and the Babylonian captivity?

Jaz: Yeah, I don't know how exactly the historical stuff works out there, (Lulav laughs) I’m choosing not to think about it that hard, partially cuz I don't know enough to answer that question well, but the other things that I would note is that the Talmud traditionally, in Sanhedrin notes about like, who Obadiah is and different rabbis put forward different things, and they said in particular that he feared the Lord greatly which is similar to how Avraham is described but actually is even more so than how Avraham is described. Avraham doesn't have the "greatly" in there.

Lulav: Oh, interesting.

Jaz: But Obadiah is not allowed to be particularly blessed because he comes from a cursed like of people, (Lulav giggles) and they're like, well where does he come from? And they say part of the reason he's so great is that he lived among wicked people and came from wicked people and did not become wicked like them, so the people who were persecuting them such that they had to hide in a cave— 

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: He came from the persecutors and instead went to the "I will help hide people in caves" side— 

Lulav: Nice.

Jaz: Which is to say, one of the students of Rabbi Meir says, "Obadiah was a convert from the Edomites".

Lulav: Okay, so that tracks. (laughs) 

Jaz: Yeah.

Lulav: So, you said that he showed up in Second Kings, chapter 18 something?

Jaz: I think First Kings.

Lulav: Oh, okay. Then I do not know, cuz apparently First Kings is the Elijah cycle?

Jaz: Yeah. Elijah is in here. Obadiah and Elijah meet and have a very funny back and forth in First Kings 18:7.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: “Obadiah was on the route when Elijah suddenly confronted him. Obadiah recognized him and flung himself on his face saying, ‘Is that you, my lord Elijah?’", and Elijah is like, “please tell the…” Edomite, I think? Ahab? Who I guess Obadiah is still with at that point, “that I'm here and I want to talk to him,” and Obadiah is like, “You will get me killed. You will get yourself killed. Why? (Lulav laughs) Stop it. They're looking for you. You're like walking right into the people who have been trying to kill you. Why are you here? Go away. And now you want me to announce you?” (Lulav laughs) And Elijah's just like, “Go tell them I'm here and I want to meet with them.”

Lulav: Wild.

Jaz: And then Obadiah goes and tells them he's here and he goes to meet with him.

Lulav: So, everything you mentioned isn’t part of the reading that we’re doing—

Jaz: No.

Lulav: For today, but also, really connects to the parsha because, like, upon seeing each other, Yaakov flung himself to the ground and bowed seven times and called his brother "lord"—

Jaz: Mm hmm.

Lulav: And he also was like, "ehhhhh, I feel like there's gonna be death here", and then it was fine.

Jaz: Yeah!

Lulav: So it's interesting that like, by choosing the book of Obadiah which contains none of that—

Jaz: None of it.

Lulav: We are also talking about all of these things that actually do tie into the parsha very well. 

Jaz: Right, those all feel connected in the way that the parsha, which is just yelling about the Edomites (Lulav chuckles) does not feel as directly connected, (Lulav giggles) but you can't have a haftarah that quotes Talmud (Lulav giggles) — that's not how the haftarah works, it has to come from Neviim or Ketuviim. So, you could have it come from First Kings, and it is interesting that they didn't, but instead they went this route of hearing the actual words Obadiah said when he's given his own pen. It's like the difference between journalism about an important person and like, reading essays that they wrote to see what they believed. (Lulav giggles) And both of those, to be clear, can be like, important ways about learning about somebody cool, but they serve different purposes. 

Lulav: Yeah. Also, I don't know if I was like, clear enough on this. Not only are we not reading First Kings chapter 18 this week, we are not reading it this season. 

Jaz: Yeah, it's not in our haftarah cycle. 

Lulav: So, now that we are a goodly ways into the episode, do you want to talk about the actual writings of Obadiah? 

Jaz: Yeah. But in some ways, I think it's very straightforward. Its very funny to me, actually, that the translation is so dramatic, like, the JPS one on Sefaria has this thing that's like, "we have received tidings from the Lord", and I am admittedly not a great scholar of Hebrew and what ever, but to me, it sort of says, "and the Lord G-d said to me the following". So when you were like, “it’s G-ds secretary,” it does in fact feel to me that the tone is a little bit more like, serious, but it's a little bit more secretarial. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: Than "we have received tidings", (Lulav laughs) wh- where is that coming from? I don't see it. 

Lulav: So what's the thrust of the extremely long book of Obadiah?

Jaz: It is that the Edomites are bad and will be hated and destroyed and they have arrogant hearts and humans might hurt you but they could never hurt you as much as G-d could (Lulav chuckles). Your allies will desert you, everything will vanish, your fighters will lose their courage, and then there's this thing that alludes to the thing I was talking about earlier that's like, "When people came in and took Jerusalem, you stood aside. You looked at it happily," and that's where it gets kind of most agitated. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: And uses words like, "achicha,” “your brother", like, how could you do this to us?

Lulav: Jaz, is this a particularly emotionally mature reaction?

Jaz: (laughs) Well, I think it's debatable. 

Lulav: (laughs) That’s fair. I agree. 

Jaz: What were you gonna say?

Lulav: Just like, it is remarkable to me — not like, silly, or of grave importance either, but it is remarkable to me — that in the middle of being conquered by the Babylonians, the message that comes up is, "Hey, why are you specifically dunking on us?"

Jaz: Well, that doesn't seem very fair to me that like, there is a certain part that's like, “Hey you should have been our allies fighting for us— 

Lulav: Yeah. 

Jaz: “And you just like, deserted us.” And I think there is something to be said for, "Hey, these people came in and conquered us and we had nothing and you laughed at us and like, no. The forces of justice will come down on your heads and we don't need you. Go away".

Lulav: Okay, so, who in this parsha is Debbie Wasserman Schultz? (Jaz groans) Kicking it back to 2016~. 

Jaz: Why are we doing that?

Lulav: (laughs) We don't have to~. 

Jaz: (laughs) Are you suggesting that she is the Edomites?

Lulav: I'm not sure. I can't tell if this is a kind of petulant thing like, “Why weren't you fighting on our side?” Well, you like, explicitly did not allow us in your lands and we’ve kind of been enemies for centuries even though were vaguely related, in the same way that like, the power core of the Democratic Party constantly sees leftism as the greatest existential threat and shuts leftists out of power and then blames them when they lose elections. 

Jaz: Mmm. 

Lulav: But there is also the thing that's like, “Hey, if you are ostensibly some of the good guys, you should be doing good guys things, not just hamstringing fugitives as they are fleeing.”

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: So. Could go either way, frankly. 

Jaz: So, there is I think a tension here between, what should the Edomites have done — what could they have done to the Babylonians, you know? Uhm, and because there's this frame of like, “my brother”, there is this frame of you should have protected us, or at the very least should not have profited off of it, and I do think that there is an argument to be made there too- like, okay. There was going to be some pride thing in the UK and the UK as you know has like, really had it in for trans people and particularly trans women recently. I guess always but like, as a whole thing. And the BBC banned their politics or current affairs reporters from going to this pride event—

Lulav: Okay.

Jaz: If it was going to have trans rights and trans pride stuff at it. 

Lulav: Weird.

Jaz: They were like, “That's getting too involved in a political issue, (Lulav laughs) and you're supposed to be dispassionate or whatever.” Really good example of why pretending to objectivity is a mess, and bad. 

Lulav: And a defense of whatever the conservative position is?

Jaz: Yes. Sometimes not the conservative position, but usually the conservative position. (Lulav giggles) The conservatives have like, in recent years, sort of staked out a monopoly on claiming their position is the true one with no objectivity but I do think at the very least it supports like, the status quo. 

Lulav: Right, I meant small-c conservative, not like Tories. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: Yeah. Just like, the idea that if you hold people's existence and rights up for debate then what wins by default is the people who already have the power? 

Jaz: Right. So, there was this thing about like, “They can go if it’s just about gay people and just like a party, but if it feels like a protest or whatever, then they can’t go.” And it was like, “We already recognize that I guess gay people are people or what ever, as long as they’re not protesting, but trans people? Not people anyway.”

Lulav: (laughs) Woof. 

Jaz: Partially BBC makes that decision because they don't want to stand up to even more powerful people who are going to be upset with them and there is a question here that's like, if the Edomites didn't want to stand up against people more powerful, then they abandoned people who were more marginalized and said, "You deal with it," and particularly for Obadiah if we think of him as someone who converted out of the Edomites, the analogy is maybe like, a trans former BBC reporter, right? Who’s like, (Lulav gasps in delight) "We don't need the BBC, we need like, different kinds of journalism entirely that doesn't pretend to objectivity, that just supports the status quo". 

Lulav: (chuckles) So is Obadiah Gabe Schneider?

Jaz: Aww. (Lulav laughs) He is not trans but that's very sweet. 

Lulav: Yeah. (both laugh) Hi Gabe. Jaz speaks glowingly of you. I don't actually know if you listen to the podcast. 

Jaz: Would be shocked. I do not think so. (laughs) 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: My friend Gabe Schneider, however, is a very excellent reporter; you should all go follow him on Twitter if you have Twitter. 

Lulav: (giggles) So, now that we've talked at length about the thrust of Obadiah, are there any particular lines that stand out to you?

Jaz: Hmm, well are there any that particularly stand out to you?

Lulav: So the reason I asked you if this was an emotionally mature response, 

Jaz: Uh huh... 

Lulav: Is line 5, "if thieves were to come to you, marauders by night, they would steal no more than they needed. If vintagers came to you, they would surely leave some gleanings. How utterly you are destroyed", (Jaz laughs) which is basically to say like, if people were stealing from you, they wouldn't take anything because you have nothing valuable, (Lulav chuckles) which is like, a) a sick burn, and b) so immature, oh my G-d. 

Jaz: That's so not how I read that. Wild. 

Lulav: How did you read that? I might be reading it wrong. 

Jaz: I don't know that you're reading it wrong, but I read it in kind of the opposite way, which is that I read it as like, look if thieves were to come to you in your undestroyed state, they would take some stuff from you, but they probably wouldn't take everything, like you'd probably have some stuff leftover after the thieves came, and like— I don't know what a vintager is actually? This says like a person who harvests grapes. 

Lulav: Oh. Okay. 

Jaz: Like a vintner, except a vintager. 

Lulav: So, does that mean you have nothing worth stealing and your grapes are nasty? 

Jaz: Nooo, I mean, maybe in your version but the thing I was reading was like, if thieves came, they'd probably take some stuff but not everything, and similarly if people came to harvest things from the field, you'd probably still have little bits of leftover, but now you made G-d angry and so you're going to have nothing left. Worse than thieves. You will have so little things left, you are utterly destroyed. 

Lulav: Yeah. Okay. The reason I read it the way that I do is like, the reason that people steal stuff is because generally they need it. The reason that marauders steal stuff is that it has a high resale value.

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: Or is otherwise useful to them.

Jaz: Yup. 

Lulav: For instance, when I play Morrowind, I open every container and take any health potions, but most things do not have a high enough value density and so I just leave them where they are. 

Jaz: Right, well I think that's the implication here. They would only take the valuable things. 

Lulav: Right. If they really need health potions, they would maybe take those if you even have some, but they're probably bargain health potions and those are only worth 5 gold, if you can even sell them for that much. 

Jaz: Okay, well I think if this is saying, "you will be much more destroyed than if thieves came", it's positing G-d as the ultimate thief. 

Lulav: Woah. 

Jaz: Or in other words, G-d said “be gay do crime”. 

Lulav: (laughs) Good. Anything else from Obadiah?

Jaz: (laughing) No, I don't think so. 

Lulav: Okay, tell me about Hosea. 

Jaz: So, we’re not doing all of Hosea the way we're doing all of Obadiah. We talked a little bit about Hosea last week and were coming back to it, to actually an earlier section. 

Lulav: Yeah, it was literally the next 2 chapters that we did last week. 

Jaz: Right, so this one is chapter 11 line 7 to chapter 12 line 12, and the one we did last week started at chapter 12 verse 13, so it's exactly the bit right before it. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: There's this thing about G-d talking about the people, and it's kind of a different type of deal. This is about G-d deciding not to destroy the people. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: It has a thing about like: they are being rebellious, and not acting properly, but there's this thing that's almost, I don't know, wistful? Like, “But how can I give you up? How can I surrender you? How can I make you like these others I have (dissolving into laughter) destroyed?” Uhm, and then there's like, “I have had a change of heart, all my tenderness is stirred. I will not act on my wrath.”

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: And then there's this lil snarky aside that's like, my g-d, not a human. 

Lulav: Okay. This is the part that I was trying to remember and I just like scrolled past it multiple times when I was talking about connections to the parsha? 

Lulav: Mm 

Lulav: There's a bit in 12:3 and like 12:5 that is talking about Yaakov. 

Jaz: Yeah 

Lulav: The line is "the Lord once indicted Yehuda and punished Yaakov for his conduct, requited him for his deeds. In the womb he tried to supplant his brother. Grown to manhood he strove with a divine being. He strove with an angel and prevailed. The other had to weep and implore him. At Beit El Yaakov would meet him, here to commune with him." So is this saying that the wrestlin' messenger was a punishment?

Jaz: Mmmmmm.

Lulav: Or is the punishment of Yaakov other stuff? 

Jaz: I think it's other stuff. 

Lulav: Okay 

Jaz: I was taught at some point when I was younger that Yaakov's punishment for his trickery of his father in the matter regarding his brother is that his children all trick him in turn in a matter regarding their brother. 

Lulav: That tracks. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: (laughs) So definitely this being the parsha where the struggle with the angel comes in — 

Jaz: Yeah. I don't fully understand the point that they're making here, I will admit. 

Lulav: I don't know either, but here's a line that I really like: 

Jaz: Okay 

Lulav: “Yet Hashem, the G-d of hosts, must be invoked as Hashem.” And again, no idea what that means but my interpretation of what that's saying is you call things by the right name. 

Jaz: Mm!

Lulav: Hashem is Hashem! 

Jaz: This is so interesting. Have we talked about this before, how "Lord of hosts" is a euphemism? 

Lulav: Remind me what it's a euphemism for?

Jaz: Armies. "Tzevaot" is “armies.” 

Lulav: Yës. 

Jaz: And admittedly, I am not a Biblical grammar person, but I wouldn't have said "zichro" as "invoked." I would have had it as — 

Lulav: Remembered? 

Jaz: Remembered. Yeah. 

Lulav: Ooh. Okay. Interesting. And I also want to point out, the JPS translation has "Lord," I was saying "Hashem," but it is the yod-hay-vav-hay in both places. 

Jaz: Yes I wonder if there's something happening here because when JPS translates it as "He strove with a divine being," that bit is just "et Elohim" — “with G-d” — and then in the next line, they're more specific about "el malach" — a messenger, an angel. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: And so I wonder if there's something here to the idea that like, he fought but also won and consequently got a name change as a blessing and G-d — as, like, yod-hay-vav-hay,  as the truest name — can have all these other titles like "G-d of Armies" but also the truest name to like, remember and hold in your mind, is this one. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. And also this is a name that kind of involves presence

Jaz: Mm hmm 

Lulav: Like, remember that this G-d is the G-d. 

Jaz: Yeah. And the next line sort of comes back to that, like go back to your G-d to do good and kind and just and all those things. 

Lulav: Yeah. Anything else in this bit that you want to talk about? 

Jaz: Well, there is this whole thing of referring to the children of Israel basically as birds (Lulav chuckles) all different kinds of birds

Lulav: Oh yeah, the dove imagery? 

Jaz: Like sparrows and like doves, who can then settle back into their home. 

Lulav: Yeah. That was very evocative. I was just thinking about having seen some flocks of bird that just come out of various nowheres and all just kind of settle in pigeonholes. 

Jaz: Mm

Lulav: And I don't know if this is a thing that I have literally seen or am just imagining, but.

Jaz: Uh huh. A few years ago I had a friend who made me watch Upstream Color. Really weird movie — 

Lulav: Okay.

Jaz: — that does contain a few different shots of birds circling around the sky and the main characters watching the birds circling around in the sky and there are just like these cuts to it interspersed throughout the movie. It's experimental sci-fi? Anyway, when it cuts to it, the first time I think they're going back and forth and trying to figure out what kind of birds it is and so it comes up a few different times in the movie, where they say, "They could be starlings, "They could be starlings." And that's the thrust of it. Anyway, my friend had titled that the, like, title of his tumblr blog at the time and it was just like, when you went and clicked on it, it said "they could be starlings." 

Lulav: That's cool. Okay, so this is the guy who made the movie with the time-travel box where it creates a loop bubble? 

Jaz: I really could not tell you. It's been several years and I did not like it at the time. 

Lulav: (laughs) That's very fair. 

Jaz: Anyway, did you have anything else you wanted to say about Hosea? 


Jaz: Okay. Then I think we can be done for today. 

Lulav: That's the haftarah! 

Jaz: Lulav, are we ready then to move on to Rating G-d's Writing, the segment in which we pick two scales and rate this haftarah based on them? 

Lulav: I sure am! Got a little warm-up in at the beginning of the episode. 

Jaz: Some bonus ratings for today? 

Lulav: Mm hmm 

Jaz: How many times of crying would you rate this parsha?   

Lulav: (snorts and giggles) Oh man, okay... 

Jaz: No, that wasn't my real scale! 

Lulav: Oh. Okay, so if you were a marauder and you were trying to take things of value from this parsha, would you only take food? And if not, what is the thing of value you do take? 

Jaz: I would take some fantastical story books to share with some children like the stories of Obadiah hiding people away in the cave that weren't technically in this haftarah (Lulav giggles) and I would take some really sappy sayings on the wall that are like embarrassingly cheesy to have around but probably have a shockingly high resale value because they're so old. 

Lulav: Okay! The original "Live, laugh, love." 

Jaz: Yeah. That's the good stuff that's in here to some extent, is the "you gotta be kind and just and those things." 

Lulav: Mm hmm 

Jaz: And also I would take some chill animals to get them out of here, like some birds and some lions and etc. I don't know. I liked it, but not that much. There's not that much of value to steal, as we've been over. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: But there is some. It's not that there is no value, it's that— you know the analogy that I was saying earlier about sometimes there's somebody who has done really great things and you read biographies about them and then you read their own words and you're like, "hmm, hmmmm." (Lulav chuckles) "You did great things I think, but we would not have gotten along." 

Lulav: Ooh, love that feeling. So yeah, listeners, do us a solid: if there is like a picture-books-and-platitudes thief going on a thieving spree, do not snitch on Jaz. 

Jaz: Hey! 

Lulav: I’m just saying. 

Jaz: So if you were to rate this parsha with a method of destruction of how something could be utterly destroyed, what method of destruction would you rate this parsha? 

Lulav: Ooh, okay. I would rate it: inclusion in a very large anthology (Jaz laughs) where most people read other things. 

Jaz: Oooh.

Jaz: Which is very meta? Because Nevi'im is a large anthology? (laughs) 

Jaz: We had — okay, I guess still have a box for short stories over at Books Through Bars and I have had people request them basically never. 

Lulav: Oh really? 

Jaz: Like, sometimes you can send short stories! It's just that like, you can do that easily if they're like, sci-fi short stories and people ask for sci-fi, or whatever. It's just that it's not very frequent for people to just say, “You know the thing I'm really thinking of and craving, is short stories.” Which, to be honest feels really fair to me cuz that is how I read things too. Like, sometimes I will read short stories but I'm rarely in a mood to read a short story. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: It's just like, sometimes there's an anthology of cool trans sci-fi and I'm like, oh I like those things. I can do it in short story form. 

Lulav: Yeah! I used to read the big sci-fi anthologies that Gardner Dozois I think? 

Jaz: (makes a sound indicating lack of knowledge) 

Lulav: — put together and yeah, I really liked just reading a bunch of sci-fi about 40-70% of which I had no interest in and the other stuff of which was really good stories. 

Jaz: Uh huh 

Lulav: And I think there is stuff in this that stands out and it also is part of a much larger anthology and so you could be forgiven for forgetting that it was in this particular place. 

Jaz: Yeah. I think that brings us to our Continuity Corner. Lulav, I understand we have a couple things this week? 

Lulav: Yeah. For our second consecutive Continuity Corner, we have two things, one via our Twitter DMs, from Zoe at @TheStonyField on Twitter. Zoe says “Hi, new listener of your podcast this cycle, and loving it! [I don’t know] if you care about corrections” — we do (Jaz chuckles) — “but in this episode Lulav said the second temple was only standing from about 20 BCE to 70 CE , which is roughly when the bigger renovations by Herod were standing, but from what I've read the original small second temple was standing from the 500s CBE, so constructed not terribly long after the 1st one was destroyed. I don't wanna be annoying” — you’re not — “but you just seemed like you might actually like to know that.” Yeah, that’s really useful information. I was wondering why there was this whole movement about, you know, temple practice when there was not a temple, and it turns out there was a temple! It just wasn’t the big one that we tend to think of as the Second Temple. 

Jaz: Mm. 

Lulav: Do you have feelings about this, Jaz? 

Jaz: Mostly my feelings are that I really don’t know enough about this period of history. 

Lulav: Okay, me either. 

Jaz: And I would like to get clearer, in general, on the timeline of when everything happened and who the different people are and I understand that it’s a little confusing because some things are less known than other things. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: But that “we” does not include me because I do not know the answer. It’s a type of research that I didn’t do when preparing as much for this season. I did more reading about what are the prophets and what do they mean and what are the sort of theological implications of it, which is the same kind of research I did for season 1 and I didn’t really fully internalize that this one brings us into much more concrete history (Lulav laughs) than the Torah does and that looking at Nevi'im and Ketuvim can be more concretely tied to actual dates and not just mythology. 

Lulav: Which is wild. Cuz we go from thus totally mythological period of the Exodus where there aren’t really contemporary Egyptian records of any Israelite exodus and the 40 years in the desert seem to be pretty metaphorical? And then you go into this period of concrete history where you have a literal order of kings in both of the countries. 

Jaz: Right. 

Lulav: So that’s a really fun change between Torah and Nevi'im & Ketuvim. 

Jaz: Yeah, So that’s cool and fascinating and research that we should be doing more of/ (Lulav laughs) Or that I will own that I would like to be doing more of. 

Lulav: It’s a growing edge for the podcast. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: So our second bit comes from Ezra — It is not a correction but more of an addition? 

Jaz: This one’s a little more in my wheelhouse. (Lulav laughs) I love it. 

Lulav: Okay. So Ezra was leveling the audio for episode 57 and thought while listening to it that Hoshea 13:14 is a super ambiguous verse. “The way the line is written in Hebrew can either mean that Hashem is going to rescue the people or do the complete opposite and destroy them,” They cite the translation on Chabad of “From the clutches of the grave I would ransom them, from death I would redeem them; I will be your words of death; I will decree the grave upon you. Remorse shall be hidden from My eyes.” 

Jaz: Great. And you said that’s 13:14, which is cool, because… like, if you look at the line on Sefaria, they have, “From Sheol itself I will save them, Redeem them from very Death. Where, O Death, are your plagues? Your pestilence where, O Sheol? Revenge shall be far from My thoughts.”

Lulav: Wow! So that — yeah. (laughs) Wonderful. So Ezra says, “I'm pretty sure medieval commentators as well as modern ones are split on which translation is the truest. However, Christian bibles maintain the more positive sounding translation, and it's quoted in the NT. Either way, this is a pretty wild verse! :D” (Jaz chuckles) So thanks Ezra for pointing that out, and for your smiley face, as profane as its lack of nose may be, 

Jaz: (snickers) This is great. (Lulav snorts) I really appreciate the note that it’s ambiguous in the Hebrew because there are lines like that. We know that there’s stuff like that in English. Sometimes you comes across a word — my favorite are auto-antonyms, like the word “cleave,” which can mean like “to cut something in half” or “to bring two things together.” 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: And I love that this like, does it mean you’re going to be rescued? Does it mean you’re going to be killed? We just don’t know! 

Lulav: And the Lord was chuffed! (Jaz laughs and then Lulav laughs) 

Jaz: Okay!

Lulav: Cool. 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. It'll give you bonus content every week now, y'all. We are doing a great job. (Lulav laughs) We did not do quite as regular bonus content in our first season but we do have it up now and I think you'll really enjoy it.

Lulav: Yeah, we figured out a fun game to play for three minutes every week.

Jaz: Yeah. 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 our excellent audio editor, Ezra Faust. 

Lulav: 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

Jaz: I’m Jaz Twersky and 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. I did just want to give one last shout out, because I mentioned Shachar's birthday party but I did not mention the fact that Shachar and Benji were doing transcriptions at night and we couldn't do it without them.

Jaz: Yeah.

Lulav: Yeah. Shout out to Benji. (laughs) Okay, have a lovely queer Jewish day!

[Brivele outro music]

Lulav: This week's gender is: living in a failed state.

Jaz: This week's pronouns are: thon/then/thor.