Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein joins us to talk about God vs. gods, his wonderful book about idolatry in the development of Torah. (Throughout the episode, we use the Hebrew term for idolatry, avodah zarah, literally, ‘foreign worship’ or ‘alien work’. If you didn’t know the term before, you definitely will by the end of the episode. Also now. I mean you already know it now.)
Is Hinduism idolatry? Is Christianity? Are ideologies idolatries? … and why the religious and anti-religious might suggest they are and what they get wrong… (Do we need to revisit our take on Social Justice Worshipers?)
We discuss the sensual draw of alien worship, worshiping the poop god [BRING BACK PE’OR! -Tzvi], and famous places of worship, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Sistine Chapel, the Western Wall, May poles, and Meron.
Tzvi asks a pointed and loaded question about Ultra-Orthodoxy. Meir-Simchah differentiates avodah from Torah, and Torah from religion. Rabbi Reuven discusses how Molech might have survived into modernity, conjectures that living with morality demonstrates freedom from idolatry, and suggests that Christianity and Islam pave the path to ultimate redemption.
Some glowing recommendations:
Buy Rabbi Reuven’s book G-d Versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry.
Buy his first book, Lashon HaKodesh: History, Holiness, & Hebrew (English, Hebrew and Aramaic Edition)
And subscribe to his email series illuminating apparent synonyms’ deep differences in the Torah.
Intro music by bensound.com, outro music written, performed, & mixed by Meir-Simchah.