Matt Gewirtz on I Samuel 3:1-12 – “When we are Called”

Show Notes:

Mark is delighted to welcome Rabbi Matt Gewirtz to the podcast today. Rabbi Gewirtz began his tenure as the Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in July 2006, and is the President of the Coalition of Religious Leaders for the State of New Jersey. He is the author of The Gift of Grief: Finding Peace, Transformation and Renewed Life after Great Sorrow, often appears as a commentator on religion on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ and CNN’s ‘State of the Union’, and has recently started his own television series as a tri-anchor of PBS’s (NJTV), ‘A Matter of Faith with an Imam, Bishop and Rabbi’. Rabbi Gewirtz has chosen 1Samuel3 to discuss with Mark today.

Before summarizing the passage, Rabbi Gewirtz shares the context in which it occurs, reviews the significance of the names of those involved in the story, and explores the notions of remembering not to forget, and recognizing when you are being called as they appear in both the passage and in current times. He then explains the notion of Angels according to Jewish thinking, where such Angels can be found in the world today, and reflects upon the search for meaning and God which many people engage in as they grow older. He and Mark also share some of the ways that Jews and Christians can learn from each other and explore the contribution to healing that awakening God in people can bring, and Rabbi Gewirtz finishes by sharing two profound lessons he has learned throughout his life. As you listen in today, you will be astounded by the many lessons that are revealed in the chosen passage, you will be awestruck by the insights shared, and you will undoubtedly continue to ponder the wisdom offered here for a long time to come.

Episode Highlights:

Rabbi Gewirtz’s context for today’s passage and summary of the story itself The significance of the names of those involved in this story and the language of ‘calling’ Remembering not to forget Recognizing when you are being ‘called’ Angels as defined by Jewish thinking and their presence in our lives today Congregants looking for meaning, particularly on ‘the back nine’ Jews and Christians learning from each other Healing through awakening God in others Two lessons about mankind that Rabbi Gewirtz has learned


“Make sure that you never forget and you always remember God and your relationship with God.”

“Sometimes…the most important thing in the world could be calling at you and…you don’t see it.”

“We think that being uniquely qualified for something means that we get it on the first time.”

“We are not perfect people but we have moments of perfection that represents God’s presence on Earth, and we don’t have to be that forever.”

“Punctuating our life with acting in ways that perpetuate sacred moments.”

“There’s something powerful about awakening God in people that does contribute to the process of healing.”

“The parts of us that become angelic…exist within the layers of our imperfection.”

1 Samuel 3 Young Samuel was in the service of the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; prophecy was not widespread.


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