The Heretic: Why an 18th Century Opponent of Rabbinic Authority Matters Today

Episode 35 · November 23rd, 2022 · 55 mins 55 secs

About this Episode

This episode features polymath Jay Michaelson, a rabbi, journalist, scholar, LGTBQ activist and meditation teacher. Michaelson spent 20 years researching Jacob Frank for his new book, "The Heresy of Jacob Frank: From Jewish Messianism to Esoteric Myth". In 18th century Poland, Frank led the largest mass apostasy in Jewish history. He was the most notorious Jew in Europe and, not without good reason, history has remembered Frank as something of a scoundrel. However, Michaelson separates myth from fact and explains why Frank’s radical philosophy may have been a precursor to how many non-Orthodox Jews relate to the tradition today. We dip into modern politics, including the endurance of the cult of personality in human affairs, but also spend a lot of time talking about the 18th century, which seems no less a wild time than our own.  

Theme song, “Ilu Finu” by Rabbi Miriam Margles. Her album This is the Day is available for purchase at CDBaby:

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