This Week: The Witch of Endor

We’ll be kicking off this October with one of the creepier stories of the Bible: The Witch of Endor.

Image: Witch of Endor by Adam Elsheimer

If you’ve never heard the story (or just feel like revisiting it), tune in this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. or check it out on the show’s YouTube page.

And by the way: who do you say the ghostly apparition was? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

In Memoriam: Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz (1937-2020)

This week on the show we discuss the life and work of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, whom we lost earlier this month.

Image: Zakhor Online

Rabbi Steinsaltz was best known for his exhaustive work on the Talmud, bringing forth a new translation and commentary that sought to make the study of this essential Jewish text open to everyone. He also lived an incredible life, with many more accomplishments to his name. Tune in this week as we remember one of the great scholars of all time, or catch the episode on YouTube if you cannot hear it live.

If you don’t have access to any of his Talmudic work, you can also purchase his commentary on Tanakh or some of his other great books.

The Serpent in the Garden


For the next two weeks we will be covering the identity and motivation of the serpent who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Almost everyone has heard the story, but you may not have heard the whole story. Tune in to KEOS 89.1 FM or Thursday at 4:30 p.m. (CST) to hear it. And if you miss the episodes, just check the show’s YouTube page to get caught up.

Jewish Refugee Aid Groups and COVID-19

This week on the show we speak briefly about what some Jewish groups, such as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and IsraAID, are doing for refugees in light of the global pandemic. If you are interested in helping out, have a look at their websites for ways to get involved, or check out these other refugee relief organizations:

World Jewish Relief
Church World Service
Refugees International

Birthright Stew

This week on the show we’re discussing Esau, including the time when he traded his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew. The Talmud tells us that Jacob had prepared the stew for his father, Isaac, because his father, Abraham, had just died that day, and it was customary to serve lentils to mourners. Why serve lentils on such an occasion? The Talmud explains:

And what is different about lentils that they in particular are the fare customarily offered to mourners? They say in the West, Eretz Yisrael, in the name of Rabba bar Mari: Just as this lentil has no mouth (i.e., it does not have a crack like other legumes), so too a mourner has no mouth (that is, his anguish prevents him from speaking). Alternatively, just as this lentil is completely round, so too mourning comes around to the inhabitants of the world.

Bava Batra 16b

Speaking of this story, if you’re not familiar with Tori Avey, then today you’re in luck. She has a ton of great recipes covering a variety of traditional Jewish dishes, and one she has done herself is an attempted recreation of the stew for which Esau traded his birthright to Jacob. I have no idea how accurate it is, but this stew is wonderful.


Check out the recipe and the story of how Tori came up with it here.