Holy Madness - The Show

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Extra Madness by Meir-Simchah: On Tisha b’Av, Day of the Temple’s Destruction, Day of Truth

July 18th, 2018

We interrupt the regular flow of Holy Madness to bring you this Extra Madness in preparation for Tisha b'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av). Tisha b'Av is the day the 2nd Temple was destroyed, the day the 1st Temple was destroyed, and the day the twelve spies returned from their reconnaissance mission and discouraged the people from entering the land - a day in which we experience the Holy One's dedication to perfecting the world and terrifyingly uncompromising love. It is a mo'ed, an appointed time, a time of meeting, a day dedicated to re-membering, a day to investigate how what broke us then breaks us still today and to wonder how we got here, a time now of mourning but soon, we hope, of rejoicing.

Meir-Simchah gave this talk shortly before Tisha b'Av last year (5777/2017) at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, USA. The talk was in a bustling cafe, and we apologize for all the atmosphere that got into the recording.

May we return to the Holy One with great love and merit complete redemption, true integration, and uncompromised wholeness.

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Episode 18b: The Answers - What Are The Questions?

June 14th, 2018

Tzvi's burning question is who wrote the Torah and when? Meir-Simchah is miffed by his co-host's heresy. It ends well. Tzvi neither burns up Torah, nor burns at the stake (yet). Then Meir-Simchah confesses to burning over questions like how do languages work and evolvehow are flocking birds like computers but maybe more like us, and ultimately how does meaning emerge from structure? He also fires a volley in the war over gender and pronouns. Then, nearly doublebacking on our argument against scientism, we look at how nature is the good and (for you kabbalists out there) come to a new understanding of chesed.
Some references:
Will Stephen's TED parody https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S0FDjFBj8o, Sam Harris' talk about facts and values https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww (which itself falls into a scientist problem), and Radhika Nagpal's talk on swarm intelligence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bRocfcPhHU. Work by Lera Boroditsky (http://lera.ucsd.edu/papers/). The oeis.org (music from here: https://oeis.org/search?q=a001414&sort=&language=english&go=Search).
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Episode 18a: Burning Questions, Burning Bush

June 6th, 2018

We open up with some extended housekeeping which will excite any Global Zionist Conspiracy theorist. We explain our long hiatus, technical problems, and adventures with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard; we digress about the crash of 2008, Icelandic bankers, and German poo; and we speculate about doing episodes on profanity, on law, and on rabbis. We also celebrate Tzvi’s new job at Proggio! Then, remarking on how we’re the anti-religious religious guys, we smoothly transition into our main topic (brought to you by Holy Madness community member Yonadav!): BURNING QUESTIONS.

… a topic which makes Meir-Simchah insecure and defensive because the fire of his burning questions has faded. Instead he has hypotheses.

Tzvi then discusses growing up in black hat Brooklyn and how teenagers who asked theological questions were considered troubled… which was true, but not for the reasons their rabbis and parents thought. Questions burn, Tzvi suggests, when they hang your sense of self in the balances; and in contrast with Meir-Simchah, when Tzvi found he was no longer burned by his questions, he felt like he’d gotten somewhere in life. (Did he?)

We then stumble over a proof that the Torah was authored by God.

Turns out Meir-Simchah’s burning questions in high school were the cutting-edge of the post-modernism against which the “Intellectual Dark Web” has mobilized (we mention metaphor-meister Eric Weinstein, Jordan Peterson, and Bari Weiss). Tzvi remarks that both Social Justice Warriors and the Intellectual Dark Web religify politics converting what could be essentially pragmatic or philosophic matters into burning questions where the self hangs in the balance. Masculinity pops up.

These strange appetizers flow into a meaty dialectic. What’s with the weird opposition of Culture vs. Technology, Philosophers vs. Technologists, Ends vs. Means, The Meaning of Life vs. cancer drugs… Not to mention, the Spirituality of Doing Science vs. AI Takeover Dystopias, and Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Tzvi’s impersonation of Mr. Universe. Then suddenly Meir-Simchah appears to be a closet Marxist!

Tzvi reviews Neil Postman’s Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, and quotes a section in which Postman reviews—and mocks—a New York Times article by Daniel Goleman. This leads into a discussion of how, lately, some public intellectuals try to convert moral questions into technological questions, whether the Talmud does that (it doesn’t), the Naturalistic Fallacy (cf. the Is-Ought Problem), and gay pigeons in Hume's Guillotine (no gay pigeons were harmed in the production of this episode… cisgender pigeons however are Nazis according to Antifa).

What’s the difference between Maimonides’ scientific meditations and the Total Perspective Vortex in Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide? Knowing how the world is created for you.

If you enjoy the show, there are many ways you can support the show. Please check our previous episodes and subscribe via this site, iTunes, whichever podcast app you like best, etc. Please spread the Holy Madness to your family, friends, and community members! And if you're up for some discussion, join us on our Facebook page "Holy Madness - The Show" and Facebook discussion group "Holy Madness - The Discussion Group".

If you would like to contribute some of the money you have for tzadaka or charity, as the saying runs, "no flour, no Torah; no Torah, no flour," please pitch in on our PATREON at www.patreon.com/holymadness.

And, finally, as we were saying about live shows... Tzvi and Meir-Simchah do travel down from their mountain periodically, so if you have a synagogue, church, campus, and/or coffee shop in your area where you would like to host us, please get in touch!

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Episode 17: Unintelligent Design

May 3rd, 2018

How can there be both free will and divine providence? If divine providence is everywhere and all the time, does everything have meaning or nothing? When doesn’t God care about you? Could unintelligent design be better for God? What’s the role of chaos in creativity? What’s the meaning of existence anyway?

With those questions driving “Unintelligent Design,” Episode 17 of the Holy Madness, what could go wrong? Well, Tzvi had a migraine, but Meir-Simchah had “dragon energy” lol!

Underlying much of the discussion is a question about how people’s ideas relate to what they find comfortable. (Hm… that could be a good focus for a future episode…)

On the way, we call back to “The Pursuit of Happiness” (episode 8, www.holymadness.org/e/episode-8-the-pursuit-of-happiness/) and “Betting Against Pascal” (episode 9, www.holymadness.org/e/episode-9-betting-against-pascal/); and we talk faith in football, Joel Osteen (please share this episode with anyone you know who’s into that putz), real-time reward and punishment, when R. Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz stubbed his toe but didn’t get atonement from it, whether Meir-Simchah is a Litvak or a Yekke, Holy Madness – The Beer: “Triple Privilege,” when and how the Angel of Death makes mistakes, how much rain for a pound of flesh (vs. broccoli), and Do You Want to Host the Holy Madness for a Live Show? Israel only for now unless you've got our airfare :-)

We aren’t sure how many sacred cows were harmed in the production of this episode, but we look forward to your comments and critiques, and let us know if your basement is available in case we need a place to flee and hide out ;-)

If you enjoy the show, there are many ways you can support the show. Please check our previous episodes and subscribe via this site, iTunes, whichever podcast app you like best, etc. Please spread the Holy Madness to your family, friends, and community members! And if you're up for some discussion, join us on our Facebook page "Holy Madness - The Show" and Facebook discussion group "Holy Madness - The Discussion Group".

If you would like to contribute some of the money you have for tzadaka or charity, as the saying runs, "no flour, no Torah; no Torah, no flour," please pitch in on our PATREON at www.patreon.com/holymadness.

And, finally, as we were saying about live shows... Tzvi and Meir-Simchah do travel down from their mountain periodically, so if you have a synagogue, church, campus, and/or coffee shop in your area where you would like to host us, please get in touch!

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Episode 16: What To Live For?

April 21st, 2018

Episode 16 starts off with some light and personal review of Passover, then charges forward in time (and the counting of the omer) to Israel's 70th birthday. We zoom in on how Israel marks Memorial Day and Independence Day back-to-back and compare it to Memorial Day and Independence Day in the United States. We offer some ruminations about how we relate to our fallen soldiers and to the purposes for which we send our children into combat. And romping along to a big question, we devote some attention to the passing of Barbara Bush, the humanity of George W. Bush, and the hawkishness of Binyamin Netanyahu's war policy. Ultimately, we make a distinction between What You Would Die For and What You Would Live For, and contemplate what it means to answer those questions. 

This episode points backward to Episode 3: If I Am Not for Myself, Who Will Be? (http://www.holymadness.org/e/episode-3-germany-refugees-migrants-and-identity-oh-my/) and also to Meir-Simchah's rant on classical liberalism toward the end of Episode 13: Religion - Education vs. Ideology (http://www.holymadness.org/e/episode-13-religion-education-vs-ideology/). And a matriarch of the Holy Madness community gets a theme song - Carol!

 

If you enjoy the Holy Madness, there are many ways you can support the show. First, please check out previous episodes at www.holymadness.org and SUBSCRIBE to Holy Madness via iTunes, another podcast app, or the website itself.
 
Second, please SHARE the show! Spread the good word to your family, friends, and community members!
 
Third, please join our FACEBOOK page (just search "Holy Madness - The Show") to get updates and our discussion group ("Holy Madness - The Discussion Group") to join the conversation in our community and contribute your ideas to our work. (You can also email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com with question, comments, and technical issues.)
 
Fourth, as the saying runs, "no flour, no Torah; no Torah, no flour," please pitch in on our PATREON at www.patreon.com/holymadness.
 
Fifth, Tzvi and Meir-Simchah do travel down from their mountain periodically, so if you find synagogues, churches, campuses, and/or coffee shops in your area which would like to host us, please get in touch about a LIVE SHOW!
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Episode 15: Holy Madness Reads The Haggadah

March 24th, 2018

Continuing in the Passover suite, here is Holy Madness reading the Haggadah. Insights abound, and for first timers, this is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to the text of the Haggadah! You'll learn different traditional tunes, too. 

Enjoy, and have a happy Pesach!

Follow us on Facebook - search "holy madness the show" (follow the group, and then join "Holy Madness - The Discussion Group" for thought provoking topics and educational and entertaining talk), or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com. Spread the good word, y'all. Add us to your RSS feed, to your iTunes, or follow us here on podbean. We also now have a Patreon - www.patreon.com/holymadness - so if youd like to help keep this going, head on down there.

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Episode 14: Passover Introduction - Freedom Through Words

March 15th, 2018

Let my Episode 14 go!

This episode is an overview of Passover - what is being celebrated, why, and how.

We discuss the oddly universal celebration of our little nation's holiday commemorating its emancipation, the themes and imagery of the holiday, and we go back to place issues discussed in Episode 12b (freedom and liberty) in the Passover milieu.

Ultimately, this is a fantastic overview of the holiday's ubiquitous insistence on freedom through words. We discover a little bit of what that means, and set the stage for the coming episodes - where we will explore the Haggadah in depth and inside.

Follow us on Facebook - search "holy madness the show" (follow the group, and then join "Holy Madness - The Discussion Group" for thought provoking topics and educational and entertaining talk), or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com. Spread the good word, y'all. Add us to your RSS feed, to your iTunes, or follow us here on podbean. We also now have a Patreon - www.patreon.com/holymadness - so if youd like to help keep this going, head on down there.

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Episode 13: Religion - Education vs Ideology

March 12th, 2018

Its the long awaited Episode 13!

Sarah returns as a special guest. We discuss our favorite books in the bible (SPOILER ALERT: IT IS NOT CHRONICLES), and segue into a conversation about education within religion.

We compare belief and ideology, talk about the effects of religious education on faith, and end with a discussion on the shortcomings of modern "classical liberal" ideology in giving a society a "why" to their lives, as well as something that connnects them all. Along the way, we compare orthodox and orthoprax, define what an "ummah" is, and highlight some of the real aims we ought to have in education.

Follow us on Facebook - search "holy madness the show" (follow the group, and then join "Holy Madness - The Discussion Group" for thought provoking topics and educational and entertaining talk), or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com. Spread the good word, y'all. Add us to your RSS feed, to your iTunes, or follow us here on podbean.

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Episode 12b: Randomness

February 26th, 2018

Here it is, earlier than promised - Episode 12b of this year's "Purim suite"!

We discuss randomness (with a meandering random way of getting to it), then explain how the random nature of the universe is what gives us choice. Choice is the bedrock of freedom, and liberty. We then discuss the differences between the two, the need for limitations, and end up back in different views of randomness - the postmodern version, and the Torah version. Along the way, we highlight these ideas within the Book of Esther and the holiday of Purim.

This is a fun episode, featuring some bad InfoWars Alex Jones impressions, ruminations on apophenia and libations, and some personal anecdotes.

Happy Purim! 

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Episode 12a: Purim and the Book of Esther

February 22nd, 2018

In honor of the upcoming holiday of Purim...here is Episode 12a of the Holy Madness! 

Join us as we explore a little bit about the holiday, and do a quick overview of the central book about it - the Book of Esther. We tease out the farcical tone it is written in, identify many of its comedic elements, and identify some of its main themes. (Those themes will be more fully explored in episode 12b.)

We humbly suggest you read the book along with us!

Happy Purim :)

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Episode 11: Social Justice Worshipers

February 16th, 2018

Your patience has been rewarded! 

 

Join us as we explore the odd parallels between the postmodern "social justice" beliefs system and religion. We visit economics and financial markets, black swans, epistemology, facts and "alternative facts", how people form their beliefs, and sink our teeth into the difference between faith and love. We discuss Popper, Taleb, Wittgenstein, Tertullian, and Sartre, plus detour into language, antisemitism, and the difference between staying true to your beliefs and wanting to be proven wrong.

 

Follow us on Facebook - search "holy madness the show" (follow the group, and then join "Holy Madness - The Discussion Group" for thought provoking topics and educational and entertaining talk), or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com. Spread the good word, y'all. Add us to your RSS feed, to your iTunes, or follow us here on podbean.

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Episode 10: Tu B’Shvat

January 31st, 2018

Happy Tu B'Shvat to those celebrating or not!

This epsiode takes a good look at Tu B'Shvat the holiday, tracing it from the Mishna to modern day. Along the way we discuss the halachot (Jewish Law) of produce, why Man likes tree metaphors so much, what the Tree of Knowledge actually was, means and ends (which justifies which?), Spinoza and Plato, and end off with a nice insight into the deeper meaning of the holiday. 

Tzvi's daughters make a guest appearance in the introduction. 

Follow us on Facebook - search "holy madness the show" (follow the group, and then join "Holy Madness - The Discussion Group" for thought provoking topics and educational and entertaining talk), or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com. Spread the good word, y'all. Add us to your RSS feed, to your iTunes, or follow us here on podbean.

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Episode 9: Betting Against Pascal

January 26th, 2018

We've done it again! The Episode 9 has landed! This is one small step for Holy Madness, but one great leap for all mankind. 

We explore why Tzvi won't convert to Christianity. (Yes, he is just as surprised as you are.) Along the way, we get into Pascal's Wager, sin, salvation, the afterlife and the world to come, Christian music (again), community, prayers, and more.

Where else can you get a detailed discussion on salvation and the afterlife together with sampling Christian music? Okay, quite a few places as it turns out. But we can guarantee none of those will get you to think into your cherished beliefs or question things the way we do. Okay, we can't guarantee it, but at least we'd wager on it. Unlike wagering on Pascal. 

Follow us on Facebook - search "holy madness the show" (follow the group, and then join "Holy Madness - The Discussion Group" for thought provoking topics and educational and entertaining talk), or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com. Spread the good word, y'all. Add us to your RSS feed, to your iTunes, or follow us here on podbean.

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Episode 8: The Pursuit of Happiness

January 18th, 2018

It's Episode 8 as the Holy Madness continues, this time welcoming special guest Adam K into the studio to discuss happiness!

Listen in as we question, what is happiness? How do people find it? Is it worth looking for? Where would be a good place to start looking for it? Why care about happiness at all? Can you be happy without G-d? Can you be happy with G-d? Is happiness an emotion, a choice, something else?

As always with a special guest, we adopt a conversational style. Come for the rambling, stay for the ambling, and walk away with some thought provoking points to consider. 

Follow us on Facebook @holymadness.theshow or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com. Spread the good word, y'all. Add us to your RSS feed, to your iTunes, or follow us here on podbean.

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Episode 7: Iran, And Here I Am

January 11th, 2018

Oh my, we've done it again! Another fantastic episode, this time about Iran/Persia, exile, redemption, identity, and way, way more. 

(This episode was recorded during the protests taking place in Iran in 2018.)

We discuss Iran as a country (taking care to avoid politics as always), its history, and the Jewish People's history with Persia - and that takes us to Exile and Redemption, the World to Come, identity, peoplehood, and the unique conception of exile/redemption that the Jewish people has forged and crafted in its development. Come for the banter, stay for the knockout insights, and enjoy the show! :)

We clock in a little over an hour - it proved to be too hard to cut down the time without sacrificing the various novel insights we had to share. 

Follow us on Facebook @holymadness.theshow or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com. Spread the good word, y'all. Add us to your RSS feed, to your iTunes, or follow us here on podbean.

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Episode 6: Prayer - Where Are You Now

January 4th, 2018

Episode 6 is finally here, and with a special guest in the studio! Sarah joins us in our meandering exploration of prayer. We go through some Facebook comments on Meir Simcha's post on prayer, discuss different conceptions of prayer, introduce theme music for one avid listener (and commenter), and suggest a paradigm shift on what prayer really might be. There is even a suggestion for a great Christian prayer song, too, from your favorite Jewish podcasters, along with quite a few callbacks to concepts introduced in previous episodes as well.

The format is a little different than shows of late, with a more natural conversational presentation than a "tight" sound. We felt that this would be the best way to present the ideas we had, and if you have as much fun listening to it as we did creating it, you'll be in for a treat!

Follow us on Facebook @holymadness.theshow or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com. Spread the good word, y'all. Add us to your RSS feed, to your iTunes, or follow us here on podbean. 

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Episode 5: Jerusalem Is Calling

December 24th, 2017

Join us as we take a look at Jerusalem, moving from sacred cities and divided cities in general to Jerusalem in particular, and ending up with a deep look at what makes Jerusalem so special in the first place. 

(This episode comes at the point where the United States announced its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and faced a UNGA resolution objecting to their accepting a fact...) 

We also discuss city-specific mental illnesses, welcome our first special guest into the studio, make some oddly rap-fueled sound gags in opportune places, and feature topical musical breaks throughout.

Merry Christmas to those of you celebrating! 

Follow us on Facebook @holymadness.theshow or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com. Spread the good word, y'all. Add us to your RSS feed, to your iTunes, or follow us here on podbean. 

 

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Episode 4: Find the Light, or Become it?

December 16th, 2017

Grab some latkes and/or eggnog and join us for our fourth episode, where we discuss winter light festivals, light and darkness, metaphors, get into some of the differences between Christmas and Hannukah, reminisce on holiday season growing up, and make a key point about Light in our lives.

We also celebrate our one hundredth download, give some shout outs to our listeners, and throw in some holiday gags too!

Follow us on Facebook @holymadness.theshow or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com. Spread the good word, y'all. Add us to your RSS feed, to your iTunes, or follow us here on podbean. 

Happy holidays to all!

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Episode 3: If I Am Not For Myself, Who Will Be?

December 5th, 2017

Join us as we talk about the German migrant issue, teasing apart the political talking points to get into the heart of the matter - identity.

We clocked in at just about an hour here, and hopefully addressed some of the sound issues.

As always, here are links to the articles discussed in the chat:

Economist, Germany article - https://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21720578-rest-country-and-large-swathes-europe-will-face-similar-problems

Spectator, Norway article - https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/11/norway-is-hard-on-migrants-but-tough-love-works/

Standpoint, David Goldman article - http://standpointmag.co.uk/node/7031/full

 

Questions and comments welcome and appreciated!

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Episode 2: Why Do Bad Ideas Happen To Good People?

November 22nd, 2017

It's Episode 2! 

Where else can you find an earnest discussion of Richard Dawkins, sin and mistakes, evolution, paradigm shifts, and Torah, that isn't a sarcastic take down of religion, but a search for self improvement and spiritual growth?

Right here!

As always, comments and questions are appreciated - you can follow us on Facebook @holymadness.theshow or email us at holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com.

Enjoy!

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Episode 1 - First Die: Anomie, Israel-Palestine

November 19th, 2017

Our maiden voyage!

Join us as we discuss a news article about the horrors of daily life in Gaza, and tackle some points about Israel-Palestine.

Article discussed in the podcast available here - https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/1.821771

We explore the issues while keeping our discussions as agenda-free as humanly possible.

Come for the thought provoking conversation, stay for the oftentimes funny results of two guys still figuring out the medium of podcasting, sound editing, and making coherent points. 

Questions and comments to Facebook @holymadness.theshow, or holymadnesstheshow@gmail.com

 

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