Gidon Ariel and Jason Brunette - March 21,2024

Gidon and Jason discussed the topic of proverbs, their interpretation, and the significance of various Jewish fasts. They also shared their methods for understanding and interpreting biblical texts, emphasizing the importance of exploring different translations, contexts, and intertext within the Bible. The conversation touched on the value of wisdom, the potential for it to emerge from unexpected sources, and the concept of collective wisdom. Gidon introduced Jason to Sefaria.org, emphasizing its vastness and the importance of studying it throughout one’s life.

Proverbs and Fasting Discussion
Gidon and Jason discussed the topic of proverbs, and the recent fast day of Esther, and explained the significance of various Jewish fasts throughout the year.

Gidon’s Historical Narration and Fasting Day
Gidon discussed the Babylonians’ establishment of the Babylonian siege on the walled city of Jerusalem and the subsequent fall of the city. He elaborated on the appointment of Gedalia and his assassination that followed. Gidon also mentioned a fast day commemorating these events, emphasizing the need to avoid violence and assassination. He ended the discussion by humorously noting that the word ‘fast’ seems ironic during the actual fast since it makes him move slower.

Exploring Biblical Interpretation Methods
Gidon and Jason discussed their methods for understanding and interpreting biblical texts. Jason shared his practice of reading one chapter of Proverbs daily and using multiple translations for context, including the New International Version, the New Living Translation, and The Israel Bible. Gidon praised Jason’s approach and shared his own preference for Wikipedia and other online resources for information. They also discussed the importance of exploring different translations due to variations in interpretation.

Exploring Proverbs and Resolving Contradictions
Jason expressed his ongoing exploration of the Book of Proverbs, seeking to understand its wisdom and source. Gidon shared his perspective on the Proverbs, stating that they offer guidance, but also cautioned that they should be approached critically. Gidon gave examples of how some Proverbs might seem contradictory and shared his approach of trying to reconcile these contradictions. Jason agreed with Gidon’s approach, explaining his process of spending time to reflect on verses and find resolutions.

Biblical Wisdom and Personal Evolution
Gidon and Jason discussed their interpretations of biblical wisdom and its relationship to human nature. Gidon emphasized the importance of personal evolution and self-learning from mistakes, using his own experiences as an example. Jason expressed confusion about the meaning of a particular verse, with Gidon advising him to consider the context. They both agreed on the idea that wisdom is not static but rather an ongoing process.

Proverbs Interpretation and Contextual Understanding
Gidon and Jason discussed the interpretation of proverbs and the importance of considering the context and intertext within the Bible. Gidon emphasized the significance of understanding the meaning of words in their original context and also their usage in other parts of the Bible. He suggested using a concordance to aid this interpretation. They also had a light-hearted exchange about guessing the frequency of a word’s appearance in the Bible.

Exploring Hebrew and English Language Differences
Gidon and Jason discussed the differences between the Hebrew and English languages, specifically focusing on the order of words in sentences. They examined a biblical verse, “Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning,” and explored its translation in both languages. Gidon shared his interpretation of the verse, emphasizing that wisdom is found in the heart of the discerning and that it can be understood differently due to the variation in word order between the two languages.

The Wisdom of Unexpected Sources
Gidon and Jason discussed the value of wisdom and the potential for it to emerge from unexpected sources. Gidon shared a paradoxical view that the wisdom of the group can be revealed through the actions of its least wise members, emphasizing the importance of allowing everyone to contribute. This idea was further reinforced by a quote from Benjamin Franklin or Mark Twain, suggesting that it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and prove it.

Exploring Collective Wisdom Concept
Gidon and Jason discussed the concept of collective wisdom and its source. Gidon emphasized the importance of recognizing that wisdom is not limited to any one individual, but rather can emerge from a group’s combined understanding. He suggested that everyone should strive to listen more and speak less, as a means to access this collective wisdom. Jason expressed appreciation for this perspective, acknowledging that it challenged his more individualistic approach. They agreed to continue exploring this idea in future discussions and publications.

Exploring the Book of Jewish Wisdom With Jason
Gidon introduced Jason to Sefaria.org, which contains 3,000 years of Jewish texts. Gidon demonstrated how the website uses hypertexting to interconnect the texts. He then showed Jason a specific verse from the Book of Proverbs and discussed some of the various commentaries available for that verse. Gidon emphasized that the breadth of Jewish wisdom is so vast that it would take a lifetime to fully understand a single verse, hence the importance of studying it throughout one’s life.

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