In this maiden episode of The Jewish History Podcast with Rabbi Yaakov Wolbe, we begin a five part overview of Jewish History. This format is not an exhaustive accounting of all the copious details of Jewish history; rather we seek to highlight the general themes, trends and personalities of Jewish history.
We begin with Adam. What role does he play in the grand picture of human and Jewish history? What was the nature of the test of the Garden of Eden and what transformation did Adam undergo after his consumption from the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil?
Then we examine the story lines of the Forefathers of the Jewish People: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What were their eternal accomplishments and contributions to the nation? How did Abraham discover and proliferate the idea of monotheism? What are we to learn from the “other sons” of Abraham and Isaac – Ishmael and Esau – who are not the spiritual heirs of the Abrahamic destiny yet succeeded in contributing towards it? What can we learn from the rivalry of Jacob and Esau and the episode of the grasping of the heel?
In our story we see the formulation of the Jewish People – from a man to a movement to a family to a tribe to a nation, and finally to a religion. The Jewish nation’s moniker is the “Chosen People”. Where does this name originate from and what does it refer to? Who chose the Jews? Why were the Jews chosen? What were the Jews chosen for?
Another common catchphrase that is explained in this podcast is “Tikkun Olam” – fixing the world. Why is the world broken and how can we fix it?
We explore the persistent theme of exile and expulsion throughout Jewish history; analyze the personality and leadership profile of Moshe; and examine the most significant and remarkable event in human history – the Revelation at Sinai -and its far reaching implications.
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