Kosher Queers

74 — Tzav: Mandatory Parent-Child Teshuvah

March 25, 2021 Jaz Twersky and Lulav Arnow Episode 74
Kosher Queers
74 — Tzav: Mandatory Parent-Child Teshuvah
Show Notes Transcript

This week, we talk parallels between guillotines and ritual sacrifice, wrestle with ideas of Messianics and also a messianic age more generally, and point out that we apparently all have the power to rob G-d. Plus, there's a 300 year old prophet, and never a golden age.

Full transcript available here.

If you're interested in hearing more about brin solomon's nonbinary siddur, you can follow brin on Twitter @nonstandardrep, where, as a bonus, you also get to hear its thoughts on daf yomi, or you could check out its website. Here's a source about French revolutionaries dipping handkerchiefs in the blood of guillotined people.  You can listen go check out Scam Goddess, and Jaz was wrong; the host, Laci Mosley, is on Twitter @DivaLaci, though they were correct that she's not a blue check. Here's the Xai, How are You patron episode about the Hebrew word for slave. Here's the article about haftarah from the UK Reform movement that Jaz references. Also, small correction: Jaz said that a vav could indicate "and" or "or," which is not accurate; it can indicate "and" or "but."  Here's the listicle about what different emoji hearts mean.

This week's reading is Malachi 3:4–24. Next week is a special Pesach episode.

Support us on Patreon or Ko-fi! Our music is by the band Brivele. This week, our audio was edited by Ezra Faust, and our transcript was written by 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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Lulav: (groans) Hi Jaz. 

Jaz: Hi Lulav. 

Lulav: I can't believe that the vibes that you started us off with right before we started recording (Jaz laughs) were "let's look at pages on the LGBTA wiki".

Jaz: I didn't mean to. In my defense (Lulav laughs) I got sucked down a rabbit hole and it was a bad one. 

Lulav: Oh G-d. Okay. Anyway... (sighs) So we're not doing that and instead I would love to talk about anything cool and queer or Jewish that is happened in your week. 

Jaz: No, you start. What’s something cool and queer or Jewish that’s happened in your life this week?

Lulav: I had a date with you and we watched some Jane Austen adaptations and ate some food that we had bought each other from across the United States and that was fun. Also I did a bunch of cleaning. I really enjoy when things are put in order. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I am doing tikkun olam because making the system more orderly could be translated in some senses to tikkun olam. 

Jaz: Aww. 

Lulav: (laughs) But yeah, I like, unboxed a bunch of stuff that's still in boxes and bringing some stuff down to the basement and it feels so much better. We have just a nice TV stand with the crème de la crème of my DVD collection in it which includes Spider-Man 2 because I have not rewatched that yet and does not include Spider-Man 1 because that was a tragedy. 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: Uh, (laughs) that's going straight down to the basement, and I got to alphabetize my music collection that I have like physical CDs of which was great because like, I have probably five Bright Eyes albums and (chuckles) a bunch of Los Campesinos and it was just fun being like, some of this is music that I like but would not want to admit to liking and some of this is music that I like and would still want to admit to liking like Death Cab For Cutie's Transatlanticism and some of this is music that I don't like and also wouldn't want to admit to liking and that's all just kind of going in a pile together. 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: Which, again, I dont know that that really fits the prompt of what’s something cool and queer or Jewish but I did say a bit about tikkun olam so that counts! It counts. Hi. It's me, Lulav. I've had a week. I can't remember most of it. 

Jaz: Sure. I was trying to set you up to talk about— 

Lulav: Oh! Oh, we did Torah study last night! (Jaz laughs) Sorry, I was very sleepy. 

Jaz: You were, it was very cute. 

Lulav: Like, immediately after we did Talmud study, you read me to sleep. 

Jaz: Yes. 

Lulav: And I woke up with my phone at like 29% battery and no memory of how I got there. (laughs) 

Jaz: A victory. 

Lulav: Yeah, honestly you did a great job. Yes, we did Talmud study because Jaz had gone over a bit of masechet Pesachim with DiCo. 

Jaz: My chevruta, in case you're new here. 

Lulav: Yes. And they were like, hm, this is a part that I would like to look at more and so I suggested doing Talmud study for our date and they were like, well, there is a piece, and we read it and I got to feel smart and I got to be exposed to the stunning wisdoms and competencies of my rabbinical student boyfriend and… probably you had fun too. (chuckles) 

Jaz: It was great, yeah! It was cool to see you uh, parse your way through texts and I enjoyed that. 

Lulav: Yeah. A helpful tool is just saying a word out loud with multiple different inflections until you realize what word it is a modification of. 

Jaz: Yeah. Also the specific text that we were looking at was about if you should have sex right after eating, so. 

Lulav: I think? It was very unclear. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: But definitely that was one interpretation of it and the answer was no unless you only eat a little or you take a walk in the marketplace first. 

Jaz: (laughs) Yeah. I also want to be clear that when were like, it’s a little debatable what it’s about but maybe sex after eating like, that’s what the rabbis thought it was about, like that’s not us putting that, you know, like — 

Lulav: Yes. Sometimes we'll do sexual ethics reading into things. This was going with the text that Sefaria had and being like, yeah they were making this about sexual ethics, huh?

Jaz: Which is great! It's one of those things that is very affirming when I do that, like they just did that too (Lulav laughs) for a thing that didn't have to be about that. 

Lulav: Uh huh. Good. So Jaz, now that you have done a whole bunch of hokey pokey around the question, waht is something cool or queer or Jewish that has happened in your week?

Jaz: Okay, so one of my friends — brin solomon —  is writting s siddur that’s like a non-binary siddur. It's really cool, I'm really excited about it and the siddur has transliterations and translations and has a bunch of prayers slightly re-written and all the pronouns for G-d are a neopronoun that brin made up. It's great. 

Lulav: The same neopronoun or different ones?

Jaz: The same one throughout the whole siddur. 

Lulav: The G-d pronoun. 

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: My favourite Richard Dawkins b— no, sorry. 

Jaz: It used a pronoun that it had never seen anywhere else so it's like a specific pronoun specifically for G-d that isn't used in other places, which is cool, I like that. 

Lulav: That's rad. 

Jaz: Yeah. Anyway, so there was a bit of empty space and brin is very knowledgeable about copyright and how it works (Lulav giggles) and has been including public domain works throughout the siddur that can be quoted from, but there was this space in front of Friday night kiddush and—

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: It is very hard, it turns out, to find public domain things (Lulav laughs) that you can put in front of the kiddush that are like, meditations on kiddush. 

Lulav: Mmm. Cuz it's a lot of like, private poetry and stuff?

Jaz: Well, not least of which because search engines are both bad for indexing for public domain and really bad at distinguishing between “kiddush” and “kaddish” and so you get a lot of meditations on like—

Lulav: Mmm. 

Jaz: Death instead of grapes. 

Lulav: Which presumably there are a whole lot of. 

Jaz: Oh, there are so many of them. So brin was like, alternatively, do I know any trans Jewish poets who'd like to write one? (Lulav giggles) So I'm writing a poem to go before the kiddush and in a siddur which I'm really excited about and really enjoying. 

Lulav: Baruch Hashem. 

Jaz: I'm hoping to finalize it this weekend actually. 

Lulav: Cool. I am really excited to see your work in a really rad siddur. 

Jaz: Me too. I'm really excited for the siddur in general, but I'm also excited to be in it and excited to write more Jewish poetry. 

Lulav: Mmm. 

Jaz: I have a few peoms that I’ve written in the last like, couple years that I’m really proud of and I feel like I’m just starting to like, find more of my particular voice in terms of writing queer Jewish poetry that really like works for me and speaks to me. 

Lulav: Cool. 

Jaz: It was one of those things where I wanted to find more pre-existing stuff and there is some pre-existing stuff but there's not as much as I wanted. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: So I'm writing some of it. 

Lulav: Instead of using the like, two things that you can find you'll make something that's more intentionally for this purpose. 

Jaz: Right, it’s not that there isn’t other queer Jewish poetry out there, it’s just that maybe it’s not specifically for kiddush or, you know, that sort of thing. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. So that's cool. Now that we have blessed the people with the wine of our doings— now that we have blessed the people with the wine of our shenanigans, do you want to get into the episode?

Jaz: I do. 

[Brivele intro}

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 haftarah of Tzav, which is Malachi 3:4-3:24, i.e. the end of the book. (chuckles) 

Jaz: Yes.

Lulav: So Jaz, can you tell us a little bit about what parsha Tzav was in the first place?

Jaz: Yeah I can. I didn’t time this so maybe try a minute?

Lulav: Okay. Ready, set, go.

Jaz: Lots of stuff here about priests and sacrifices! Instructions about keeping the fire going forever, offerings of flour and oil and stuff that sounds kinda like matzah, appropriately enough. Anyway, if you’re becoming a priest, you offer French toast to G-d, plus some meat, and if you get blood on your dress while slaughtering the meat, you make like a French revolutionary at a guillotining and treasure the blood-splattered keepsake. You can’t eat this meal though — it gets all burned up and you just get to smell it wistfully. But there are different sacrifices for different things, and if you’re offering up meat for a gratitude offering, you can eat that meat that day. And if it’s a “just cuz” offering, you can eat it that day and the next day. There are also bonus rules, like no blood-drinking or eating from live animals, or things that you might really hope you wouldn’t have to say and Moses listened to all this and then used it in a ritual to make some priests out of Aaron’s sons with lots of burning and sprinkling and additional wearing of fancy clothes.

Lulav: Great, that left you with like six or seven seconds. 

Jaz: That's great. It will make up for all of those other times I was not as timely. 

Lulav: Hey, sorry can we go back to the part about guillotining practices?

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: What was that? If you get splattered with the blood of somebody executed you treasure it forever?

Jaz: Oh, did you not know this thing about the French revolutionaries and guillotinings?

Lulav: No, sadly I am not very well-read in nonfiction. 

Jaz: That's true actually, I did know that. (Lulav laughs) You just know many things, it seemed like a thing you might have picked up along the way. 

Lulav: That’s— that's very fair, thank you. 

Jaz: It was a thing that people would go to public guillotining and then their heads would be cut—

Lulav: Not the people going, the people who are the subject of the capital punishment. 

Jaz: Right, the people getting guillotined would have their heads cut off or whatever and then other people would run up and dip their handkerchiefs in the blood (Lulav gasps then laughs) and then they would just like, have it as a keepsake to be like, I went to the guillotining. 

Lulav: Okay. We live like this. 

Jaz: Well, we don't currently. 

Lulav: Yeah, I mean there's the true crime fandom. 

Jaz: That's true. That is actually the same vibes. I am not a true crime person. 

Lulav: Also, I can't be a true crime-ist, some of my best friends are true crime listeners. 

Jaz: (laughs) There's really interesting stuff that's been written about true crime as a genre and like how it feeds the prison industrial complex. 

Lulav: Woof. 

Jaz: Fascinating stuff out there. Anyway my friend Briar recently got me started on a different podcast that they were like, this is like the vibes of true crime without any of that kind of bad stuff about true crime and it is a podcast called Scam Goddess in which they just cover scams that people have run. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: But like, decently approvingly, they're like (Lulav laughs) yeah, hustle, get it. 

Lulav: Who runs this?

Jaz: It is hosted by a woman named Laci Mosely— 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: Who seems cool. Not a blue check in that I don't think she's on Twitter. 

Lulav: Oh okay! 

Jaz: It is a fun podcast though. 

Lulav: (laughs) Good. 

Jaz: Anyway, all of that connects because in this week's parsha they were talking about how appropriate slaughtering things happening and there was a thing about like, well, if the thing you're slaughtering gets on your clothes, you wash it carefully in a specific way and anything that touches its flesh shall become holy and if any of its blood is spattered upon a document, you shall wash the bespattered part in the sacred precinct. 

Lulav: So how does that connect to the haftarah though?

Jaz: So the haftarah this week seems somewhat disconnected to me, and the haftarah is more about the fulfilment of the laws— 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: Is what I would say, and this initial one is more about what you do when something’s gone wrong or how to establish the principle of laws, and then this one feels like it’s more about a sort of fundamentally bigger wrestling with that same question of like, something’s gone wrong — what do you do?

Lulav: Yeah, and also the first section that we read from Malachi which was the haftarah of parsha Toldot, that was about how people are offering the wrong kind of sacrifices which like, slots in with the whole, “you don't re-sacrifice stuff by eating it like a day after,” like, the idea that there are right ways to offer things and right things to offer. 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: So that kind of connects to the text that comes before the portion we're reading today and the thing you said about it being kind of the same thing but with a much bigger scope also makes sense. Is that a fair summary of what you said?

Jaz: Yeah, I think so. 

Lulav: Okay. So can I talk a little bit more about the context that we're reading this in?

Jaz: Please. 

Lulav: Okay, if you want a deeper dive, go back and listen to the middle of episode 56 but Malachi is the last book of the prophets and it is a very short one. 

Jaz: It sure is. 

Lulav: It sure is. And so last time we were talking about like, respect for music-based celebrities and how that was greater than the respect you're showing for G-d itself and how you just gotta do better, and then there’s a portion in between here that we aren't going to read this year where it basically says we're all one race, the human race, and also (Jaz laughs) G-d hates divorce, and then we set up the haftarah reading by saying Hashem is coming and it's gonna be like getting smelted or bleached. It's gonna be really painful and caustic but very ordered things are going to come out of it. We start the haftarah with, "then the offerings of Yehuda and Yerushalayim shall be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of your and in the years of old", instead of being all mixed up together, like y’all saying all who do evil are good in the site of Hashem and in them they delight. So that's where we're coming from here, also just a totally separate fact that I will mention for no reason at all. 

Jaz: Oh no. 

Lulav: Eliyahu Hanavi was supposed to have prophesied in the mid-eighth century BC — or is it 9th century? I don't know how centuries work. Anyway, he was walking around in the early- to mid-800s BCE. 

Jaz: Uh huh. 

Lulav: And Malachi was presumably written in like the mid-500s, so 300 years later. Again, I'm not mentioning that for any particular reason, (Jaz laughs) uh huh, wink. So we're in this day when Hashem has come and is acting like a smelter or like fuller’s lye and before that I — I'm not sure if that's the messenger of G-d itself will have to contend against the people who do wrong things, who cheat laborers of their hire, who subvert the cause of the widow, orphan, and stranger, and, as we have previously established here on Kosher Queers, the cause of the widow, orphan, and stranger is very important to Hashem. 

Jaz: So yes, but also— 

Lulav: Mm hmm?

Jaz: This particular bit is super interesting to me. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: Because this comes up again in the Talmud, like there's commentary on it and our favourites commentate on this, both of them. 

Lulav: Oh, the gay ones?

Jaz: Rabbi Yohanan and Reish Lakish. Lulav: Yay! (laughs) The gay ones as though there are only two— yeah, anyway. Continue?

Jaz: Yeah, yeah, they’re all gay. Anyway, Rabbi Yohanan is really troubled by this verse. 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: And he's troubled by it because someone has recently died, a young student of Torah, and someone has suggested that perhaps he died because he acted badly and so Rabbi Yohanan’s reading this verse and he's like, "I will be an accuser against the sorcerers and the adulterers and false witnesses and is there a remedy?" It's sort of “a must this person have had to die even if he did wrong?”

Lulav: Wow, this is really buying into the premise. 

Jaz: What?

Lulav: I woulda gone for something more like, it's not that directly related my dude, just because someone dies doesn't mean they did evil things, like death is often meaningless and we can look at major structures as being like this will lead to death in general but you can't look at one person's misfortune and be like, oh that one person definitely did something wrong because everybody runs into misfortune. Everybody literally dies. (Claps) Yeah, so it just seems like Yohanan is buying into the premise a little bit here. 

Jaz: He's troubled. He's worried about it. 

Lulav: Mm hmm. Probably this is leading to the same point which is like, hey, this paradigm doesn't make sense. I'm very troubled by this. 

Jaz: Well, basically what they end up doing is narrowing the scope of it, saying that there were hidden parentheticals in all of them, so Rabbi Yohanan cries out a number of times and is like, must we really really be condemned? And a bunch of different rabbis replied for different parts of this and say well, surely the text only meant in this situation, this far narrower situation, not all of the time everywhere. (Lulav sighs) And— 

Lulav: I— 

Jaz: Reish Lakish (Lulav giggles) in particular does not do that. Like, many of them do that— 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: Reish Lakish sort of disregards the question, he does not really engage with it on that level. 

Lulav: My favourite bisexual bandit. 

Jaz: (fondly) Yeah. 

Lulav: Well, second favourite. Wink. Sorry. 

Jaz: And he's like, oh I'm actually interested in a different part of this verse. I think a different part of this verse is relevant and worth considering, and he looks at this verse and says, like our translation translates this as like, subverts the cause of the widow, orphan and stranger and Reish Lakish translated it differently and thinks its more talking about distorting the judgement of someone who’s converting. So they're converting and you give them wrong information. 

Lulav: Mm. 

Jaz: Like, there's a phenomenon sometimes of people who are in prison in the US and ask to speak to rabbis. 

Lulav: It's messianics. 

Jaz: And some messianic gets in there (Lulav chuckles) and tells them something instead because the messianics are actively marketing and people who run the prisons don't know or care about— 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: Bringing in somebody real and Judaism has not institutionally prioritized reaching out to people in prison instead, you know?

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: So Reish Lakish is like, anyone who distorts judgement, someone converting, it’s as if that person has distorted the judgement of G-d Itself, and G-d will be an accuser against that, which is an interesting way to go like, Reish Lekeish does not in fact at all deal with the issue of punishment, he just sidesteps it and talks about respecting converts instead. 

Lulav: Yeah, I am just so bewildered by the fact that all of these dudes were like, let's look at the meaning of this thing or this thing and not like, look at what it means to act as a relentless accuser, like— 

Jaz: Mmm. 

Lulav: The nature of rehabilitation or punishment or whatever, but yes. Okay. I like where he went with that. I'm just wilding over here about all of these people accepting the premise that being a relentless accuser means like, “oh, this person is cancelled forever” (Jaz laughs) instead of like the utility of canceling people is taking out people who showed no sign of repentance from positions of power. 

Jaz: Mmm. 

Lulav: You don't just say this person was swearing falsely, you like, say this person was using improper weights in their like, uh, souk exchanges and they are going to continue to do so so they shouldn't be working at the souk. 

Jaz: Yes. Alright, wanna take us to the next one?

Lulav: Yeah, sorry, okay. Hashem has not changed and the children of Yaakov have not ceased to be. We talk a lot about how Hashem is constantly changing, right?

Jaz: Okay. 

Lulav: But I think this might be a specific thing about like, not changing from the covenants that have been cut. 

Jaz: Mmm, okay. 

Lulav: And from the beginning you turned away from my laws and did not observe them, but turn back to me and I'll turn back to you, and then we look into how to turn back and tithe then contribution come up just as they— 

Jaz: Oh my G-d. You're skipping the most metal line. 

Lulav: (Semi-incomprehensible metal album voice) “Ought man to defraud God? Yet you are defrauding Me.” (both laugh) 

Jaz: Okay, well. 

Lulav: You asked for it. (laughs) 

Jaz: I… did I? Is that what I said? I really like the— that it— 

Lulav: (singing) “‘And you asked how have we been defrauding you?’ (screamo) In tithe and contribution.” Hi. (both laugh) 

Jaz: Well. (Lulav laughs really hard) 

Lulav: Yes. So what were your insights here?

Jaz: Oh I just really liked it that it's not even like, can humans, this is very like— 

Lulav: Oh yeah, good point. 

Jaz: Prometheus robbing from the gods. 

Lulav: It's not asking can man defraud G-d, it's ought man defraud G-d, assuming that the power is already there. (laughs) 

Jaz: Absolutely can steal from G-d is what this is saying, it's like, this is rude of you but you definitely can and definitely are doing it. You are robbing G-d. 

Lulav: What, are you saying that if there were like, a magical fruit that could tell you the difference between good and evil that humans would just steal that despite being explicitly told not to? That really runs counter to everything I've learned about Judaism. 

Jaz: Is it really stealing if you canonically do not know the difference between good and evil?

Lulav: Mmm. 

Jaz: Anyway, not to get bogged down but— 

Lulav: Right, so bring the full tithe in, let there be food and put me to the test by holding up your end of the bargain and thus I'll hold up my end of the bargain. The locusts will be gone, your soul will be fine and everybody’s going to be like dang, you are so happy. And then it goes into like, what are the things that you have been talking about amongst yourselves? You’re saying it's useless to serve Hashem like, we haven't gained anything from holding up the laws and basically this is making fun of the fact that like, there has been at no point in history at which people were actually upholding the laws of the covenant, like, we haven't been doing right to our neighbours generally speaking ever. (laughs) 

Jaz: But Lulav, isn't there a mythical golden age of when everything was going right that we should go back to? 

Lulav: Literally no. 

Jaz: Great. 

Lulav: (laughs) Like, I get what you're saying but also I'm pretty sure there wasn't a mythical golden age where everybody was doing everything right in Jewish history. 

Jaz: Yes. 

Lulav: Cuz like, Adam and Chava got kicked out. 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: And then there was some murder and then there was a bunch of incest and then probably some more murder in there and some more incest and like, it just kept happening and even when we get to these supposedly really uprigth kings, its full of them doing horrible things to their subjects. There isn't even a mythological golden age in Judaism unlike the 1950s in American mythology. 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: Hey, remember when the country that we live in did like, maybe the most significant war crime in the history of the world twice in the 1940s?

Jaz: Yes. 

Lulav: Wow. 

Jaz: Okay, so moving on. 

Lulav: That sucks— anyway moving on. (laughs) We count the arrogant happy, they have indeed done evil and endured, they have indeed dared G-d and escaped, but like, here's the thing, on this day that is being prepared where it's gonna be all smelty and leachy, people who do right are still gonna be the most treasured possession and it'll be okay, like we're gonna make it through. 

Jaz: Mm. 

Lulav: It's just that, you know, that day is at hand burning like an oven and all the arrogant and all the doers of evil shall be straw. 

Jaz: So question for you about this, does it remind you of the way Christians talk about the end of days? I know there's not an explicit like, this is the end of days here, but it is like a day of reckoning here. 

Lulav: Can you cast on that row for me a little bit?

Jaz: Well—

Lulav: I might have said something completely unintelligible in knitting words, but— 

Jaz: No, that was cute. 

Lulav: Oh, it was? Okay, cool. (laughs) I try. 

Jaz: Well so what I mean is that there's stuff about like — look, I don't know Christianity stuff, so somebody out there who knows more can tell me I'm wrong but I know that like there is stuff in Judaism about like, you'll turn back from your evil ways and do good, but this one— 

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: It seems very specific about like, evildoers may be prospering now, but they won't prosper on this day that is coming someday soon and other people will prosper then, and you'll all be happy and the evil doers will all be punished and I don't know. Maybe it’s because it's like, a this world thing it's different, but— 

Lulav: I mean, think about what happened with the golden calf stuff, like in a very seminal Jewish story, people were doing wrong and then their cousin slaughtered them en mass for it. 

Jaz: That's true. 

Lulav: And they were not alive anymore, so like, this doesn't seem un-Jewish to me in any way and I think the worst possible picture that I could have of Christian interpretations of end of days is that like, oh, all the good people will be picked out one by one, you’re- you're fine because you're one of the chosen and it'll be alright in the future, but I don't get that vibe as much here. It's like, there will be a difference between the righteous and the wicked not, you know, if you're listening to this, you're righteous, you'll be fine. 

Jaz: Mmm. 

Lulav: And also not if you're listening to this you're eternally damned. 

Jaz: Right. 

Lulav: It's neither of those, it's like, hey, don't be arrogant and do better. 

Jaz: That's true. Okay. 

Lulav: Sacrifice the best things in the right ways. (laughs) 

Jaz: You're right, that's fair. 

Lulav: And in some of the best statements of Christian apocalypticism, I think there is kind of a convergent message here but I am less familiar with being able to construct defensible arguments about Christian theology and more about like, wow, this is messed up and antisemitic often. 

Jaz: Mmm. Yeah. 

Lulav: Be mindful of the teaching and then (laughs)— 

Jaz: Wait, a question here— 

Lulav: Yes, sorry. 

Jaz: Before you move on, just because it comes up right again at the end, there's this thing like, “I will be as tender towards them like someone is tender to the child taking care of them.” 

Lulav: Uh huh. 

Jaz: Either for now or for when we get to the end of the haftarah, do you have thoughts about this comparison of G-d and parent?

Lulav: If G-d is the justice and the kindness and the living essence that we share with each other— 

Jaz: Mm. 

Lulav: And that’s what made us, then it makes sense that we would in turn have to tend to that kindness and goodness when “the brand, she is very sick,” so this makes sense as an analogy here, like, I will be tender towards people who do well and want to live in a society just as someone who is being taken care of by their child is tender towards them. 

Jaz: Mmm. 

Lulav: Does that make sense?

Jaz: Yeah. I'm still part of turning it over but yes. 

Lulav: Okay. Are there any bad feelings that you have about that? Not necessarily about what I said, just about like, what made you mention it in the first place. 

Jaz: Well, okay so it's translated as like, who ministers but we've gone over this word before, ayin vet dalet, and I think actually Xai, How Are You just did a deep dive on this word on their like, for patrons episode—

Lulav: Mm hmm. 

Jaz: But this is the same word that's like, work but also slave. 

Lulav: Mmm. Can you say a couple of other Hebrew words that have that root of ayin vet dalet?

Jaz: Yes, so we actually get this exact word, of "eved" as the word slave. 

Lulav: Several times. 

Jaz: Right, okay so if at your Passover seder, you sing "avadim hayinu"— 

Lulav: We were slaves?

Jaz: We were slaves. 

Lulav: Oh, fun. I mean, not fun. 

Jaz: But like, I grew up singing that song because (singing) “avadim hayinu, hayinu. Atah bene horin, bene horin.” It's like, this notion of slaves and freedom is like an interesting one in that like you're casting it in pretty positive terms about like, yeah we gotta take care—

Lulav: Mm. Mm hmm. 

Jaz: Of this source of kindness and it's like, well, but this framed it in a particular choice of words. 

Lulav: Uh huh. 

Jaz: Let's come back to it at the end when there's another thing about like parents and children. 

Lulav: Yeah, literally says, "to the son, the slave to him". Okay. (laughs) Woof. Right, so we come to the last two lines, "lo, I will send the prophet Eliyahu to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of Hashem—

Jaz: Uh huh.

Lulav: He shall reconcile parents with children and children with their parents so that when I come I do not strike the whole land with utter destruction", and then in brackets it has the first line again of “lo, I will send Eliyahu of Hashem.” 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: And this calls to mind a totally unrelated fact that I have never said before, um (laughs) which is that Eliyahu Hanavi was doing prophecy about 300 years before the book of Malachi is supposed to have been written. 

Jaz: Yes. 

Lulav: So this isn’t talking about like, Eliyahu Hanavi will happen in the future, its Eliyahu Hanavi who got raptured up to heaven in a pillar of flame is gonna come back. 

Jaz: That's what I mean about it sounding a little “end of days”y. 

Lulav: (laughs) Oh yes, and definitely Christians really like to say that, oh it says Elijah but it's actually Jesus. 

Jaz: That's confusing. We know how to spell Jesus. (Lulav laughs) These are just entirely different names. We have managed to keep seperate rabbits whose names are Elazar and Eliezer. 

Lulav: (laughs) Good. Also we were keeping apart Eliyahu and Elisha. 

Jaz: Yeah! (Lulav laughs) Why do you think we can't spell Joshua? 

Lulav: (laughs) You know, the Elijah trees. (Jaz laughs) Love that national park. So are there questions that you had about this that you wanted to deframe our discussion here?

Jaz: Well, I didn't about Eliyahu so if you had more things you wanted to say about that, go for it. 

Lulav: It's just like, dang let's be messianic with a lowercase m, which you may have picked up from several episodes, I'm not a big fan of the idea of a moshiach— 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: Who fixes everything. 

Jaz: Mm hmm. 

Lulav: But also I guess this isn't saying that it's gonna fix everything, it's saying you're gonna get a prophet who's gonna reconcile people with each other and therefore when I come the whole land isn't gonna be completely destroyed. The future will have some part of the past in it. 

Jaz: Mmm. 

Lulav: So that (sighs) I guess I'm fine with that. (Jaz laughs) Do you understand what's going on with this bracketed repetition? Is that saying this appears in some text but not others or there's a little like, two lines and two dots thing that says you gotta go over from the start of the coda or?

Jaz: So I did some research and was looking at possible reasons for this to be here at the end and I came to nothing super conclusive so if you know, let me know. I will keep looking into it too and if I find something between now and a future episode, I will put it in the future episode. 

Lulav: Oh yeah, we can just put it out to the world because we have followers who are smarter in some ways than we are and that's great. 

Jaz: But I did look at several different versions of just the texts that I have ready access to and confirmed that some of those texts have it and some of them don't and this appears to be JPS's compromise (Lulav laughs) cuz even in this very old version of JPS that I have that says the English differently and stuff, it does include this last line repeated again in like, smaller type. 

Lulav: Okay. Which really makes sense because like, when we talk about what is or isn't in the bible, it's based on several reemerged branching document channels over centuries and so like, some of the sources that we have have this repeated line and some just don't. 

Jaz: Like how this whole haftarah cycle is like a little bit of an ambiguous deal. 

Lulav: (laughs) Right. 

Jaz: I was reading an article earlier today about the haftarah cycle at all, and— 

Lulav: Okay. 

Jaz: It was a guy from the Reform movement in the UK which is different from the Reform movement in the US. 

Lulav: Oh, interesting. 

Jaz: They're just governed by different things. They can make different decisions and do different stuff. Anyway, and that person was complaining about the parsha cycle as a whole. 

Lulav: Oh, really? Okay. 

Jaz: Because they were like, it should be a triennial. 

Lulav: Sorry, a triennial parsha cycle?

Jaz: Yeah. 

Lulav: Interesting. 

Jaz: And were also like, I recognize that would completely mess up the haftarah but it's worth it. 

Lulav: Oh yeah, that would be worth it but I don't know if that would be a good idea is the thing. Three years on entire- okay.

Jaz: On one Torah? Yeah. 

Lulav: I could do a year and a half, and then we have Simchat Torah on a birthday or half birthday sort of thing. 

Jaz: That’s funny. 

Lulav: Which no other holiday works like I'm pretty sure. 

Jaz: No. 

Lulav: But I would be fine with that. 

Jaz: I think the premise is that you would leave Simchat Torah in place but you would just have to change some of how it worked. 

Lulav: Mmm. 

Jaz: Because you wouldn't actually be starting the Torah over at that point. Also part of the author’s deal was that there was stuff about like, and then we wouldn't have to read all of the stuff out loud because some of it’s boring, and— (chuckles) wild.

Lulav: Wh-i just.

Jaz: Wild.

Lulav: That— okay. Oh, I had something really witty— Oh! Right, okay so do you think it is the opinion of Beit Hillel or Beit Shammai that the parsha cycle should be triennial?

Jaz: So I think it depends on what the argument made for it is.

Lulav: Okay.

Jaz: But fundamentally I think it is the opinion of Beit Shammai because—

Lulav: Is it because nobody does it?

Jaz: Yes, but also—

Lulav: Rude. (laughs) 

Jaz: So generally really Shammai is a little more stringent and adds extra requirements that Hillel doesn't—

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: So my real guess is — and this is why I said it depends on what the reason is because—

Lulav: Right.

Jaz: If Shammai’s reasoning is we need to take three years and go (Lulav chuckles) really deep into every bit of it and if it takes longer to do then so be it, and Hillel is like no, no, no. You need joy. You get to finish it in a year, you get a sense of accomplishment, you did it and then you get to start over again. You don't have to like, take three years about it, you can do it in three and it's okay if that means that sometimes you skim some parts.

Lulav: Versus Hillel is like, oh there's so much stuff going on here, what if we just, you know, do it over the course of three years so we don't have to read as much, which it's unfair to Hillel but in my defense, many people are unfair to Shammai. Um (laughs) and then Shammai is over here like, if we’re going to have the holiday Simchat Torah where we receive the Torah (Jaz laughs) we should have the symbolism wrapped up in that that we are reading through the entire Torah so that every year we are receiving anew the new Torah.

Jaz: Okay but counterpoint, Shammai is not very into symbolism, like on Chanukah when they are arguing about the—

Lulav: I'm thinking of Chanukah!

Jaz: Whether you should count up with the candles or count down with the candles Shammai is like you should reduce it because that is what they literally do and Hillel is over here—

Lulav: Yeah!

Jaz: Being like no, no, no but it's better symbolism to increase in joy.

Lulav: You know, symbolism, when you recreate the actual things that people did. (laughs) 

Jaz: No.

Lulav: (laughs) I know what symbolism is, I say in my Shammai voice. (laughs) Okay.

Both: Anyway.

Lulav: I don't know if we've had this argument on air but I do admit that it does look way cooler to have all of the candles at the end and the light is steadily growing.

Jaz: Yeah! 

Lulav: However! However, it makes so much more sense to have it dwindling and yet the candles are still being lit because Channukah continues, the light in the temple continues.

Jaz: That's so much less fun.

Lulav: It's so much less fun! But it's also way cooler.

Jaz: That is so not true! Such a killjoy. Anyway (Lulav laughs) we have one last piece of text to get to before we get to wrap up—

Lulav: Aww man.

Jaz: This episode.

Lulav: We do?

Jaz: Yes we do, because we were talking about Eliyahu for so long that we didn't even talk about that list bit where G-d was like, in the wrap up parents will reconcile with their children and children will reconcile with their parents and that is an important part of all things being good.

Lulav: Wait, why does it say “heart” here?

Jaz: Yeah, I don't know why the heart wasn't in the English but it's basically like—

Lulav: What does "heshiv" mean?

Jaz: The root there is "shuv '', uh, shin, vav, vet and it's like teshuvah, it's like return.

Lulav: Okay, return the heart of parents to their children and the heart of children to their parents.

Jaz: Yes.

Lulav: Okay. Which sounds so much cooler than "he shall reconcile parents with children and children with their parents".

Jaz: Fair year.

Lulav: Maintain the poetry of the original at least. Anyway I think there is some level of strife inherent in, you know, somebody had an entire set of life experiences different from you but also overlapped with you and you're going to have more experiences that don't involve them and there's like a growing apart that needs to happen and that like, ideally people who have history in common would be reconciled around that history.

Jaz: Mmm.

Lulav: Would return the heart of like, periods of suffering that don't feel like that much to the people to whom they don't feel that much and return the hearts of joy in certain times to people to whom they don't feel that joyful.

Jaz: Hm.

Lulav: I don't put a ton of stock in nuclear families but the idea that you gotta reckon with where you come from and where you come from has to reckon with the legacy that you have lived through.

Jaz: Mm.

Lulav: That in its own time was the future, I don't know. I don't know. There's something here.

Jaz: Yeah.

Lulav: What were you thinking?

Jaz: It's hard for me to do it when it’s, “reconciles.” The Hebrew—

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: Is easier in some respects for me. The idea that when things are better, people who owe each other teshuvah, and parents and children as the most ready example of people who almost certainly owe each other teshuvah (Lulav laughs) in one direction or another will do that, is compelling to me.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: Cuz it doesn't necessarily imply that like, the same people will do it, right? Like there's a world in which you can say like, children will do teshuvah for their parents and or parents will do teshuvah for their children and this thing here is indicated by a vav, like a "v" and that can be an "and" but it can also be an "or". Ancient Hebrew doesn’t super distinguish in that way.

Lulav: It's a venn diagram where it's like, reconciliation of parents with children and reconciliation of children with parents are the two circles.

Jaz: Right.

Lulav: And there is some overlap in the middle but a venn diagram isn't just a circle.

Jaz: Right. Yeah, so I think the idea of like, you won't be destroyed because the people who are owed teshuvah will get it and you'll do it and on that claim of teshuvah will happen you'll survive I think is a powerful like, we stand together or we fall together type of deal.

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: Or not stand, you know what I mean, an imagery that's not about physical standing.

Lulav: We heart together.

Jaz: Yeah.

Lulav: Or we un-heart together. (chuckles) 

Jaz: Cute. Okay. I think that brings us to the end.

Lulav: Or to Rating G-d’s Writing?

Jaz: Aww, okay.

Lulav: The segment that extends our recording time by several minutes.

Jaz: Okay.

Lulav: (laughs) If we didn't do it now we would have to do it in—

Jaz: Let’s—

Lulav: some other episode which I totally forgot — 

Jaz: Let's hurry it up because—

Lulav: Okay—

Jaz: Appropriately, I gotta call my mom.

Lulav: Jaz, how many hearts does this haftarah make you want to give your mom in this phone call?

Jaz: Several. I'm just going to go with a vague several—

Lulav: Mm hmm.

Jaz: Because I love my moms and also they are people who I trust to be good working through things in the way that this haftarah encourages me at least to feel like, yeah we should work through things when that's necessary.

Lulav: That's sweet. Are any of them corporate blue?

Jaz: No!

Lulav: Sorry to extend our run time a little longer but Jaz shares this listicle with me about what different emoji hearts were often associated with and apparently brands use the blue heart which I just use for literally everything. Am I a brand? Maybe. No!

Jaz: It is very unreasonable and unfair that brands get the blue heart. Blue heart is just clearly a good friendship heart. It's not fair. (Lulav giggles) Anyway.

Lulav: (laughs) Yeah, what's your rating for me?

Jaz: Out of... 300 years (Lulav laughs) between one prophet and another, how many years would you give this haftarah?

Lulav: I would give this 3 and a half years because that is how long it takes discourse to cycle on the internet (Jaz groans, Lulav laughs) and I don't want it to take that long. I don't want it to be three centuries after you had this prophet you're going to have someone reminiscent of this prophet who might be the literal exact same dude coming out of a pillar of flame depending on what metaphysics you think are real. I don't want it to be three centuries that we have to wait before we get another prophet that's saying things that we have to think about critically and have to like, take into ourselves and wrestle with. So yeah, 3.5 years because I think there still is a lot of restatement here. I read throught thishaftarah and I’m like, didnt we just talk about bisexual lesbians three and a half years ago?

Jaz: Ahhh. Nobody @ us about bisexual lesbianism. 

Lulav: Oh, yeah nobody @ us about that, we're not going to have conversations with you about our specific views whatever question you happen to frame that could have like seven different interpretations. Anyway, the point is (laughs) yeah I think it is good to talk about the things that you mean when you say things on a regular basis, it's just also like, G-d, I’m so tired. Do we have to do this every three and a half years? But also we shouldn't wait 300 years to do it. Okay. Jaz can you take us to the close?

Jaz: Yes. 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 Find out more information about our podcast, including bios for our team, and links to our social media at Also, please spread the word about Kosher Queers. 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: Jaz Twersky and Reuben Shachar Rose make sure every episode is fully transcribed, even if that happens after the episode comes out. We're trying. You can find a link to those transcripts in the episode descriptions, where you can also see if Jaz and Shachar roped in additional help for the episode.
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 to finish editing the episode @palmliker! I recorded this audio on the traditional lands of the Wahpékute Dakota.
Jaz: I already yell at you about finishing the audio editing.

Lulav: Yeah, and you actually do that @aunolin#3731. I will deny any friend requests on Discord from people who I just don't know, I'm just saying.
Jaz: Do not put your Discord handle on it—
Lulav: No, I'm doing it.
Jaz: Have a lovely queer Jewish day.
Lulav: And add me just so I can deny your Discord— whatever, have a lovely queer Jewish day. (Jaz laughs)
[Brivele outro]
Lulav: This week's gender is: galaxy brain. 

Jaz: This week's pronouns are: any novarian.