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L’hitraot, for Now...

After four years of bringing you a new episode nearly every week, this podcast is taking a little break. Listen to this episode to learn more about our hiatus and where to find us in the meantime.

The Antidote to Kvetching

Most of us today aren’t tasked with wandering through the desert, like the ancient Israelites were... but we still find plenty to kvetch about! What if, instead of focusing on small annoyances, we turned to community-building and togetherness? This episode first aired in May 2018.

The Blessing of Blessing One Another

Parashat Naso, the longest of all the Torah portions, features a famous blessing – but what does it mean for us to bless one another? Is it a power reserved for clergy, or is it something any of us can do? In this episode, which first aired in May 2017, Rabbi Rick Jacobs talks about what kind of actions constitute a blessing and who, exactly, we have the ability to bless.

How the Book of Ruth Connects Us All Today

Chag Sameach and welcome to a special Shavuot edition of On the Other Hand! On this week’s holiday episode, Rabbi Rick Jacobs talks about Ruth, her connection to this unique Jewish festival, and what her story of unity and bridge-building means for us as we celebrate Shavuot today.

Where the Mishnah Meets the #MeToo Movement

Parashat Naso includes a passage about the sotah, the "errant woman" who is accused of adultery. It's a complex and problematic part of ancient Judaism, says Rabbi Rick Jacobs, so sometimes it's deliberately avoided. In this episode, though, which originally aired in June 2019, we deliberatly dive into figuring out what it means to us today.

Our Multiracial Jewish Community

The Torah commands us to take a census of the “whole Israelite community” – but who does the counting, and who, exactly, is counted? In this episode, which first aired in June 2019, Rabbi Rick Jacobs reflects on the Jewish community's chronic undercounting Jews of Color, as reported by a recent study. What does it mean to make equitable choices, and what will it take to truly count the entirety of our community?

Do You Really Care?

How much do you care about the environment? Yourself? Other people? Rabbi Rick Jacobs talks about our fundamental responsibility to care for God’s earth and attend to the neediest among us. It’s not a newfangled, 21st-century idea; it’s literally what our age-old biblical text calls for. So how do we do it? (This episode originally aired in May 2017.)

What Is Blasphemy, Anyway?

In ancient times, crimes of blasphemy were punished by stoning - but what does it really mean today to blaspheme? Rabbi Rick Jacobs explains the biblical prohibition against Chilul HaShem, desecrating God's name, and talks about what we are called to do to combat it. (This episode originally aired in May 2019.)

"Loving the Stranger" Isn't Always Intuitive

Let's talk about love: Torah talks about three kinds of love - and in fact, the phrase “love the stranger” appears in the Torah 36 times. Why is it written so often? Who is "the stranger," anyway? And who might be the strangers in our own lives? In this episode, which originally aired in April 2017, Rabbi Rick Jacobs talks about what it means to move from strangeness to equality to, finally, closeness and love.

Using Our Words to Heal, Not Hurt

For many Jews, Parashiyot Tazria and M’tzora are perhaps the most nerve-inducing of all the Torah portions. After all, none of us is exactly eager to discuss leprosy - or the fact that, in our ancient Jewish texts, illness is often seen as a metaphor for punishment for sin. In this episode, which originally aired in April 2017, Rabbi Rick Jacobs talks about the very real, important lessons to come out of these two portions, including the reminder to us all to be careful with our speech - especially gossip.