TanakhCast: The Ironically Everybody’s Amalek Edition!

01-snidely-whiplashIn this week’s episode: Exodus 17-20.  Though this portion is pyrotechnically-packed and commandment-filled, we examine the irony of memory and forgetting as it refers to the memorable command to erase the memory of Amalek.  How are we supposed to forget Amalek when we constantly bring them up all the time?

And ICYMI, here, here and here are pieces about the Knesset and banning the word “Nazi”.

TanakhCast: The We Kvetch Therefore We Are Edition!

born_to_kvetch_3d_paperbackIn this week’s episode: Exodus 13-16.  Thanks to the miracle of Skype, Michael Wex, author of Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods, explains the intricacies of kvetching and why Jews have been kvetching for as long as there have been Jews, Egyptian bondage notwithstanding.

TanakhCast: The Being Like Atticus Finch Edition!

Atticus_Finch_by_Crispy_GypsyIn this week’s episode: Exodus 9-12.  We re-examine the question of collective punishment as the remaining plagues ravage Egypt and, in the process, probably manage to piss off probably every working lawyer by taking a poke at the legal profession’s favourite fictional character Atticus Finch.

ICYMI, have a listen to the Gettysburg episode of Slate’s Political Gabfest podcast so you can get a sense of context for David Plotz’s comments.  And here is Dalia Lithwick’s piece on Atticus Finch as well as Malcolm Gladwell’s jab at the legendary fictional lawyer.

TanakhCast: The Collectively Punished Prisoner’s Dilemma Edition!

In this week’s episode: Exodus 5-8.  We examine the beginning of the grand game between Pharaoh and Moshe, a contest which not only results in the first three plagues and the punishment of a whole nation for the recalcitrance of one man – but also demonstrates why Tit-for-Tat works best when facing down your opponents.  And my daughter Heala weighs in on the notion of collective punishment!

One additional note:  Richard Dawkins’ love for Tit-for-Tat in the Prisoner’s Dilemma game is based largely on simulations where there are more than two players in the game – which suggests that Tit-for-Tat, though the best strategy for multiple opponents, might not work as well in the Egyptian Bondage version.

UPDATE: It seems that prisoners are more cooperative than expected…

TanakhCast: The Lousy Leader and Miserable Mentor Edition!

Mmmm Yeah, I'm going to need you to come in on Saturday.

Mmmm Yeah, I’m going to need you to come in on Shabbess.

In this week’s episode: Exodus 1-4.  Dan Libenson, President of the Institute for the Next Jewish Future, explains why God has a lot to learn about mentoring Moshe at the Burning Bush, and how sometimes, it is better NOT to walk in the ways of God if it means that you cannot grow and learn to be a better leader.

I was going to insert a picture of Dan Libenson, but then I realized that folks would connect the header and the image.

Dan is a distinguished leader and wise mentor.

Bill Lumbergh is NOT.