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Transformative Text With Rabbi Daniel Friedman

The Ambassador of JOY, Barry Shore, is honored to welcome the world-renowned Scholar, Rabbi Daniel Friedman. Rabbi Friedman is an eclectic being who was born in the UK, raised in Australia, lived and worked in Canada and now resides in the USA in the state of New Jersey. His breadth of knowledge surpasses his global travels. Rabbi Friedman is an Author, Talmudist, Creator of the Transformative Text Series, chair of the Canadian Holocaust Monument, and a PhD in International Relations specializing in American Christian attitudes towards Israel. You’ll Laugh Out loud as Barry and Daniel discuss Life, Spirituality, and the Almighty’s Hand in helping. Must SHARE Episode with those You LOVE.

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Show Notes:

  • 00:45 – Barry’s rousing introduction
  • 14:17 – Transformative Text With Rabbi Daniel Friedman
  • 24:40 – What’s Talmud?
  • 41:55 – More on Jewish tradition
  • 52:21- Barry’s Interesting Wrap-up

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Barry Shore:

I cannot think of anybody that I want to share with you that inspires noble deeds more than amazing, wonderful, fabulous Rabbi Daniel Friedman. Wonderful Rabbi Friedman please say hello to 368,228 people around the world.

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

Hello to all of the followers of the ambassador of joy Barry Shore. It’s so wonderful to be here and I have to tell you, Barry, feel free to call me Dann. That’s D-A-N-N.

Barry Shore:

I told you you’re going to love him. Okay, Dann, D A capital N capital N. When was the last time anybody ever said F U to the rabbi, and you laughed?

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

Oh, yeah, this is a lot of fun. And thank you for having me here today. And I have to say, even with your thank-yous that you mentioned the fellas slams the door on the way out of the coffee shop. And thank you for getting past you in the traffic and cutting you off. And thank you for stubbing the toe. Remember all of these ideas of thank you, the real thank you is you recognize that, hey, not everybody could have made it at the coffee shop that day. Not everybody even has a job to get to, not everybody has a toe that can experience pain. Pain means that you’re alive. And so that is what we’re really thanking for.

Barry Shore:

And that’s really what we’re going to be discussing, Dan and I, and everybody else listening. Because remember the show is not about Barry Shore, the great guy that he is, or even round Rabbi Daniel Freeman, amazing being that he is, it’s really about you, Y-O-U. And because what Daniel Friedman brings to us is a life well lived in every possible way, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Now, he has rabbi in front of his name so you think, okay, he’s a spiritual guy. Yes, he is. He’s a spiritual guy because he’s married to a wonderful woman. He’s a spiritual man because he has five children, all of whom are daughters. Imagine paying for those weddings. So, he has to be also physical and mentally sound. And one of the reasons though that I asked Rabbi Daniel Freeman to be with us today is because he’s an iconoclast on many levels. He’s also a rock contour. He’s a great scholar, and he’s going to share with us insights that are going to make your eyes open wide, your eyebrows raise, and get your heart going pitter-patter because he’s going to go into and take us through what we call the Sea of the Talmud. And that’s sea because it’s a beautiful big, wide ocean, bigger than the Pacific and all the seas of the world. We’re going to get into the sea of the, I daresay most of the houses of people saying, [distortion: 0:12:21] up later. Talmud. But I’m going to turn everything over now to Dann, D-A double N. And he’s wax eloquent on what is the Talmud, and why should we be listening to you?

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

Okay, well, thank you, Barry. You know you’ve really put me on the spot here with coming up with an acronym for Talmud. So let’s try this. The awesomest, learning moments underlying daily life. Does that work? 

Barry Shore:

It works beautifully.

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

So, the Talmud is the oral law. In Judaism, we believe that we have the Bible, and we also have an explanation of the Bible. We believe that when Moses stood atop Mount Sinai and received the law from God, he received both a Written Torah and also a verbal explanation. As the oral law suggests, it was passed on orally from one generation to the next. And it wasn’t written down. It was only later when Rabbi Judah the Prince, a Rabbi who lived about 2000 years ago saw that there was going to be a dispersion of the Jewish people around the world, we wouldn’t have a central body to be able to explain written law. He says it’s time that we wrote it down, and that became known as the general body of the Talmud made up, you might have heard of the missioner, the Gomorrah, but generally, it’s known as the Talmud. And that’s the oral law, the explanation of the Torah, of the Bible, of the three parts of, what Christians call the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, the prophets, and the writings of scriptures, and that’s our written Torah, then our oral Torah, as a general corpus is the Talmud. Now, the Talmud contains all of the secrets of the universe. And if you start delving into it everything in life becomes meaningful, purposeful, and starts to make sense, starts to fall into place.

Barry Shore:

So, let’s unpack some of what you mentioned here because, first of all, it’s [unintelligible: 0:14:49], it’s important, and it’s now, that’s a whim. Because of the hundreds of thousands of people who are listening and I urge everybody to make sure you listen to this again and share this show with five people, just five. And that way we’ll have over a million and a half people around the world. Many people listening are under the age of 38, 80%, or more under the age of 38. And at this particular moment in world history there is a battle, not that it’s unusual, a battle between belief in a biblical source and i.e. the Creator, and those who are not. And it’s happening more and more in not just autocratic societies, which try to suppress the idea of God and a creator. But even in Western society, it is a big attack. So, you mentioned the term the Bible. Let’s take it in its narrowest sense, the Five Books of Moses. Most everybody, I’m sorry to tell you this, Dann. But there was a study done recently, I think within the past decade, amongst millennials, now millennials is an overworked term, but amongst millennials, and you’ll be amazed to hear that over a third, I think it was 38% of millennials did not know who Moses is, or was. 

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

Amazing. 

Barry Shore:

Quite amazing. The reason I mentioned it is because the people listening here are all seekers. They tune in because they want to know. They’re highly educated, they are interested, and they’re leaning in and saying, I don’t know what he’s talking about, Talmud and mission. But let’s keep it in a very narrowcast for the moment. And we’re talking about the Five Books of Moses, and that there is a fundamental belief in Judaism, which is by everybody’s account the spawning mother religion, or monotheistic way of learning about life that has given birth to billions of people around the world who call themselves believers, i.e. Christians, and Muslims. So, almost half of the world’s population believes in a God at some level. But let’s go to your point now about the Bible. Why is it that the written Bible that now has been handed down for thousands of years and we’re talking about if we’re putting Moses in a place in time then it’s approximately 35 hundred years ago. 35,500 years ago that Moses, highly educated, a prince of Egypt received something directly from the Creator. And then gives it over to [distortion: 0:17:44] people [distortion: 0:17:47] give the ability to pass it on. What does it need this written [distortion: 0:17:52]? Why does it need an oral explanation? Can you give an example of why it’s important to have the oral [distortion: 0:18:01] as well as the written?

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

Yes, absolutely. I think one of the best examples would be, one of my friends, Rabbi Mordecai Baca talks about all of the people that learn how to swim from a book. They borrowed the book from the library, the book was about how to swim, and they read the book. But sadly, those people are no longer with us today. Because you can’t learn how to swim from a book. You need somebody to teach you how to swim. There are some things you can learn out of a book, and some things that need to be conveyed orally, need to be hands-on, need to have human interaction and instruction. And it’s very fundamental to the Jewish tradition that there are these two aspects both the aspects of the written word, we are the people with the book, we study, we’ve had literacy, where most of the nations of the world haven’t had universal literacy for thousands of years. But at the same time, there’s that teacher-student that mentor relationship that rabbinic disciple relationship that has been paramount to the conveying of the Jewish tradition. Because there’s more to life than simply what’s written down on black and white. So, even when we say the Talmud is the oral law recorded, it’s not all-encompassing. It’s constantly growing and growing the oral law, the oral tradition in its written form is constantly being manifest on paper from one generation to the next as the various rabbis and those who have learned the tradition from the masters in each generation are able to convey that element that’s needed for that particular generation, commit that to writing, explain it well enough that it can be encapsulated in writing but knowing all along that, that is not the final word. The final word of the Torah is the oral tradition. And that’s something that is constantly being passed from one generation to the next orally. Many of your listeners might have heard of Kabbalah. Kabbalah became popularized when the likes of Madonna, Britney, Ashton Kutcher, and others became adhere to Kabbalah. Kabbalah literally means tradition or something that is received. It’s an element of the oral tradition, the esoteric element of the oral tradition that is so holy that only a small part of it has been committed to writing. For the most part, it can only be conveyed from teacher to disciple. But that’s the nature of the oral law. Since it’s just so much grander than what words on paper can express that’s why there is an oral law. Because we as human beings are so much greater. As you mentioned in your introduction, our neural function of multi-billions of neurons, you can’t commit that paper. We’re bigger than that. And Judaism recognizes that aspect of humanity, of human creativity, and of something that is more than just the written word. And that’s the Talmud. The Talmud is the beginning of that. Every word in the Talmud already speaks volumes and already needs explanations of volumes. My contribution to that, which I call the transformative Daf is just one small piece of the puzzle where I take just a little piece of the Talmud each day. The Talmud is divided into 2711 pages, which mind you was not a Jewish adulation, it was put together by the publishers in the [crosstalk: 0:2218]. 

Barry Shore:

The Gutenberg. 

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

That’s it. And as a result, though, we now have a page system that’s universal, where 100 years ago, one rabbi said, well, let’s take that, and let’s all do one page of that a day so that we’re all on the same page. And what I do is I take a little piece from each page, and try to make it accessible. Because even that page of the Talmud speaks volumes. And most people would find the inexpressible and would say, wow, you talk about the sea of the Talmud that one is jumping into. Every word, every letter is sacred and is so profound. And if I can do my little piece to be able to make that profundity and sacredness accessible to my fellow inhabitants of this great planet earth then I feel that I’ve contributed as you say again in your introduction, I’ve done my little piece to be able to make this world a better place, a place of meaning and purpose.

Barry Shore:

So, you are hearing that Dann has just admitted that he’s mad. He’s making a difference. I’m going to urge everybody again if you don’t know about Rabbi Daniel Friedman just go to barryshore.com and get access to his book [distortion: 0:23:45]. But his book called The Transformative Daf in the Hebrew language page is truly transformative. It is the ability to make that which is on the surface. And as you dig deeper, esoteric, make it as accessible [distortion: 0:24:05] if you can read English, and you have the ability to ask questions because the essence of Judaism is to be a [distortion: 0:24:16] to seek answers. If you have the ability to ask questions, then this could become something that will transform your very being. But Daniel has dedicated years of his life to this transformative daf as the beginning of a process as he mentioned several things. Number one, the Talmud itself is a very large Compendium, 2711 pages, which by definition, it takes some seven-plus years to go through if you’re doing a page a day. But I also want to make mention that Dann has mentioned the word law a number of times. Now, when people hear the word law they tend to [distortion: 0:25:00] because law sounds like the police. So something heavy. I want to share with you, Dann, and our listening audience, those who are new [distortion: 0:25:11] those that have been around would have heard it before. Law in our lexicon stands for love and wisdom. Because of that sense of law. So when you’re talking about the written law, written love and wisdom, the oral law, love and wisdom, that’s really what it’s about. It’s the ability of the creator, God, whatever you want to use as a term, the creator of the universe to communicate with humans. In other words, the ability of the infinite to somehow communicate to the finite. And that’s what Dann has done. Not that he’s God, I don’t want anybody to get the wrong impression. But what he’s done is he’s literally taken the ability for us to get into a boat, and to go into the sea of the Talmud because as everybody knows, if you launch your boat in the Pacific Ocean and let’s say Venice Beach, California, which is a very famous place, by the way, where I used to live for decades, and you go out and you row or sail out for 100 yards, you are as much a part of the oceans of the world as if you were anywhere in the ocean, it could be in the middle it doesn’t matter. Once you’re in one part you’re in all parts. And that’s what Dann has done. This volume, and the subsequent volumes that will be coming, God willing, are really enabling us to sail confidently in the ocean of the oral law, which gives us the ability to begin to understand the genius of what we call life. Life’s stands for Dann, living inspirationally for eternity. And I want to use that as a jumping-off point to go back to you again. Because the essence of Judaism, as we say, more than 3500 years, God willing and counting, and we will continue, is the ability to understand that we as Jews are the eternal people, and that’s our message to the world, I think you’d agree, that every human being is unique and eternal. And the ability to tap into that channel to recognize that you are a cog, not just an insignificant cog, but a channel of goodness, or as I like to say, a child of God. That’s what you really are. And that’s what you’ve done. So, let’s use this now to continue our discussion of being in the Talmud’s wisdom and relevance for the here and now. And not some dusty tome that becomes a tomb and exists in another time, it’s relevant for here and now. Can you give a potential example of the here and now in the Talmud?

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

Sure, absolutely. So I just think about, obviously, I live day by day with my daily Talmud study. And it’s something that I responded to you in the introduction, which was actually just yesterday’s piece of Talmud study. It’s based on a famous story. Here’s the story. Rabbi Akiva is walking along through the ruins of Jerusalem. In Jewish history, there were two holy temples in Jerusalem. The first one is built by King Solomon, the second one built or orchestrated by Ezra and Nehemiah at the behest of King Cyrus of Persia. And afterward, it was destroyed by the Romans. And Rabbi Akiva is walking through the ruins of Jerusalem, and he’s with two of his friends. And they see foxes running through the ruins of the temple. And his friend began to cry. They can’t imagine this was the splendor of Israel, of the Jewish people, of Zion, of the world to a certain extent. And look at it now lying in ruins with animals running through, they’re crying, and Rabbi Akiva starts laughing. Akiva what’s up with you? What’s wrong with you? Don’t you see what’s going on? It’s like, yeah, what’s wrong with you? Don’t you see what’s going on? Like, what do you mean? He says, well, the prophets have already told us that there will be destruction and there will be foxes that will run through the ruins, and then eventually the temple will be rebuilt. Now that I know, destruction they don’t have to prophesy about. But then to tell me that there will be foxes running through and I see that with my very own eyes. Now I know this is tangible, this is real, this is going to happen, and this is one step towards the final redemption, to the rebuilding of this holy temple. Now, what this tells us is like you Barry, the ambassador of joy, who always sees that glass as half full, and this is what I began with. When we see a temple in ruins, we could say, oh, the temple is in ruins. But when we see those foxes running through, we just say the foxes are running through it. Or we could say, the foxes are running through it, and they’re dragging with it that final rebuilding. And one of the things that I touched on yesterday in my exposition, is my expositions are not based on, my own thoughts are based on great rabbis who have expanded the Talmud. I just bring it down to 21st-century thinking. I said, there are so many things in our life when we attempted to see the negative, you have to think about well, maybe that negative could only exist due to the positive. So say, for example, people complain I have problems with my boss, and I have problems with my colleagues. And he said, well, wait a sec. We know what you’re saying. You’re saying you have a job. How many people don’t have a job today? Thank God you have a job.

Barry Shore:

Dann, let me put you on pause for a moment. Talking about job, we have a job to do. We have sponsors that love us. And Dann is going to bring us through on the other side and tell you the positive of everything in life because that’s his essence. So don’t go away. Stay with us. Buckle up there’s more Rabbi Dann, D A double N, Friedman on the other side of this short break. We’ll be right back. Don’t go away. 

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Barry Shore:

Good day beautiful, bountiful, beloved immortal beings, good-looking people, and remember you’re good looking because you’re always looking for and finding the good. That’s what Dann told us just before we left you, and we’re back now. And Rabbi Daniel Friedman, DANN is going to share with us some amazing insights. By the way, he’s a Rabbi. For those who don’t know, Rabbi means teacher. In his case, not just teacher but master because that’s what it means and master. He is dedicating his life and his wife by his side because you don’t live in this world without a wife that makes the team work. His five daughters are included in the team. Team stands for together everyone achieves miracles. And that’s what he’s done. He’s achieved a miracle in bringing the esoteric, interesting, somewhat difficult information to people to make it accessible and allow that information not just to be information but to be transformation. So, we left off just before we went for the break, Dann, you were talking to us about the relevance of the Talmud in today’s world. It’s wisdom. And we talked about law as love and wisdom. Let’s talk about some things that are truly interesting in the here and now. Because if you pick up any newspaper, I don’t know if anybody does anymore if you listen to anything or you read and such, you will notice that the country called Israel and the Jewish people are almost always in the news. It is astounding. Because the number of Jews in the world is infinitesimal compared to the 7.68 billion people on the planet. We’re talking about just under 20 million, less than 15 million Jews in the entire world. And we’re talking about a place, Israel, which is the size of a state called New Jersey, which is where you live now. So if anybody around the world, because we have people listening from China, India, and a lot of places, you look up New Jersey you’ll see it’s small. Well, that’s with Israel. You got outside [unintelligible: 0:37:11] size proportion of impact on the world. Let’s talk about Christian attitudes because there are billions of Christians around the world, towards Israel, and the Jewish people. Because you’re sort of an expert in this.

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

So thank you, Barry. We have transitioned a little away from the Talmud study to the academic hat that I wear. I’m a student of International Relations at the University of Alberta. We lived in Canada for 16 years. And my area of expertise is American Christian attitudes to Israel. And I look at, what is it about America and about Protestantism that has led to much interest in Israel in the area, and it’s really fascinating. Because the pilgrims who first came to this country saw America as the new Israel. They saw this journey as biblical in nature. They were escaping religious persecution in Europe, various parts of Europe. You have all sorts of European groups who come to settle in the new world because they were escaping religious persecution. And they see their journey as paralleling the journey of the ancient Israelites, the [unintelligible: 0:38:44] of the Jewish people. Just a word of explanation for your listeners, Barry, Israelites, Jews. So originally, there is an Israelite nation, the children of Israel. Israel was the other name of Jacob, the third patriarch Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob becomes known as Israel. I like to quip, I know we’re on a tangent of a tangent that Israel, L is God’s name, and prior to that, we were known as Hebrews. But then when we were given the Torah at Mount Sinai, our sages likened it to a marriage between God and the Hebrew people or the Jewish people. At that point, God says you’re no longer Hebrews now you’re taking my last name, now you’re Israel. So, the Israelites, made up of 12 tribes, later make their way to the promised land, which is the land that’s been promised away to the patriarchs and already a part of the family’s land under the forbear shame, who was a son of Noah and is displaced by the Canaanites. And it’s also very important to mention in any of these discussions that people say, well, the Israelites conquered the land. Yes, they brought the land back into the family where it originally was. Shane was known in the Bible for your Christian listeners as Melchizedek, the King of Salem, which is Jerusalem. So, it was originally family land that we regained. Now, there was an Israelite nation that was eventually displaced by the Assyrian kingdom, not Syrian, Assyrian. A-s-s-y, Assyrian, who removed, dispersed, exiled most of the Israelite nation, what was left was primarily the tribe of Judah. And that’s how Jews got their name. The national name Jews is really that one tribe of Judah that were originally the children of Israel.

Barry Shore:

By the way, now that you’re taking a pause, just to put it in context. So, one of the most famous Jewish holidays that is celebrated worldwide, [unintelligible: 0:41:13] a holiday called Hanukkah involved one of the more famous Jewish people named Judah Maccabee. So, the name Judah is the essence of what Judaism is. It’s not Judism. Judism is a study of Judy. Judaism is a study of Judah and our descendants. What is it about American Christianity that was different than European, or now today, even in Asia? For instance, in Korea. South Korea has a very strong Christian identity. And by the way, in Korea, we have thousands of people listening in Korea, there is a movement among Koreans in South Korea to study the Talmud because they recognize the love and the wisdom that is inherent in there, and maybe what your book, “The Transformative Daf,” will be translated into Korean, who knows. Let’s talk about why is American Christianity seemingly different than European, which persecuted Jews for many centuries, and American Christianity, which really welcomed Jews.

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

So, this takes us back to the Protestant Reformation. We have a time, 500 years ago when Martin Luther who mind you was an anti-Semite. He wrote on the Jews and their lies, he remained very dedicated to persecuting the Jews. But there was one thing that he and his contemporaries did, Calvin, others, that was a game-changer in history, is that they said, well, wait a sec, we’ve been taught all of these things about the Bible. Let’s see what the Bible actually says. They called this sola scriptura, only the scriptures. Let’s read the scriptures and see what they say. Now, as I say, Martin Luther still couldn’t change his mind about Jews but many, particularly felled by Theodore Beza who translated the Bible, it was called the Bazar Bible, and it was a precursor to the King James Bible. He said, well, wait a sec, it never says that God rejected his relationship with the Jews. Yes, he has a covenant with Christians but that Jewish covenant never disappeared. And what began then in the 16th, 17th, 18th centuries, was a form of Christian restorationism that said, let’s restore the Jewish people to their ancient homeland, to Israel. That’s what the Bible says. The Bible says that the Messianic era will happen when the Jews are returned to Israel. So clearly, if that’s what we want, we want a messianic utopian era, the Jews need to have the wherewithal to return to Israel. And this became a movement in England, and then became a movement in America and it really moved by leaps and bounds here in America, particularly because the American immigrants, the Christian immigrants saw themselves as part of this same story. They could identify with Jews that have been exiled because they themselves had been removed from their original European homelands and been sent away. And they said, this journey but then they found that wait a sec, this promised land on of America, this land flowing with milk and honey, you have original ideas of maybe the language of America being Hebrew, that maybe there should be a staff of Moses, who we mentioned earlier, splitting the Red Sea that should be the seal of America because that’s what’s happened here. And as many of these, particularly those of Scots, Irish migrants, as they made their way across America they felt that this is the journey that continued across the wilderness and into the wilderness until they could develop this promised land of America. And then when Israel, the modern state of Israel, became something that was discussed in the late 19th century, early 20th century, American Christians said, this is important. This is what the Bible has said. We see the prophecies of the Bible that are unfolding.

Barry Shore:

Let me interrupt you to unpack some things. So, you had mentioned before the break that you were working with a particular page in the Talmud about Robbie Akiba, A-K-I-B-A. Again, everything you want to know what Daniel’s talking about just go to barryshore.com, and everything about him will be there. But talking about prophecy, and that the destruction and now the restoration. So, the people who came to America and settled saw themselves as living the Bible. You see, the Bible is not just a book of stories or something that happened at a time in a place. It is universal. And it applies to all places and all times, by definition, because it comes from God. God doesn’t have just one particular place in time. And the ability for people to see themselves in that journey. So one of the words we use for joy, the acronym for joy is journey of you. Everybody goes through a journey. Mormons built their theology upon the same idea of the journey to the Promised Land. American Catholics became different than European Catholics who persecuted Jews relentlessly, and yet in America not so and became much more accommodating to the process of working together in brotherhood. Because when you read the Bible, and the Bible now we talk about five books of Moses, it also contains the Psalms, and the Proverbs and the song of the Psalms, and these universal applications of the idea of joy, happiness, peace, and love animates America. Because these are our founding principles. We were founded upon two basic ideas. One is reason, and one is the spirit. And they both work hand in glove in America without, and here’s the key, without a state religion. I want to talk to you about Canada again because you mentioned that you lived there for 16 years. And now you live in the United States because Canadians think they’re part of America, too. But I want to talk about a great story because our time is coming short, that you were the chair of the Canadian Holocaust monument. And I’d like you to tell a story that you had mentioned to me because it doesn’t involve Christians, it doesn’t involve Protestants, it doesn’t involve Catholics. It involves Sikhs. Now Sikh is S-I-K-H, not S-E-E-K even though Sikhs are seekers. But talk to us about what happened with the Holocaust monument that you were the chair of. What was the story here?

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

So just again, to expand even further for your listeners as to who Sikhs are because there are far fewer numbers of Sikhs here in America than there are in Canada and other parts of the world. And so they’re a really small minority here. And so, not all Americans are familiar who with who they are. A lot of Americans see them and they think they’re a form of Muslim. They’re not. They’re from the Punjab section of northern India. They’re the ones that wear the turbans.

Barry Shore:

By the way, much like we wear this. In other words, the idea of recognizing something above you.

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

Exactly. The difference is they are wearing that turban and beneath that turban is hair that’s never been cut. They tie it up in a bun as children and then they tie it up in a turban as adults. They don’t cut their hair. They don’t cut their beards. And in Canada in particular, Sikhs have become very prominent and part and parcel of Canadian society. The leader of the NDP, one of the major federal political parties in Canada today is a Sikh fella. He is married to an Indian actress. Both are very good-looking people, very intelligent people, and very Canadian despite they come originally from India but it might be a couple of generations, Canadian. Now back to our story. So, they have a strange law in Canada, whereby if you want to be able to introduce a new law into the parliament, which is like Congress, if it’s completely unrelated to anything else that’s current, you need someone, you get a one-shot deal, someone who’s never introduced new legislation. They’re called rookies or backbenches. You need them to introduce it. So, there was this idea that was being floated for many years about having a national Holocaust monument in Canada, which was long overdue. I mean, you think about the United States Holocaust Museum, a prominent part of what this country represents in Washington, DC. Every major country in the world and yet Canada had nothing. Holocaust monuments around Canada, in Jewish communities, major Jewish communities like Toronto, Montreal but Ottawa, which is not particularly a Jewish community but is the capital of Canada did not have a holocaust monument. And there was a feeling that this is an important message for Jews and non- Jews. It’s not a Jewish message. It’s a message that is universal that how could progressive society allow this to happen, and in fact, Germany was the most progressive society and orchestrated that this shouldn’t happen. We need something as an eternal testament to Canadian values. And so, the government decided we want to be able to do this but we need somebody to introduce the legislation. They have a fellow sitting in the backbench by the name of Tim Uppal. Tim Uppal is Sikh. They say, Mr. Uppal, would you like to be the initiator of this legislation? He goes home, talks to his wife, comes back, he says, absolutely. Let’s do this. He introduces it. And of course, it receives unanimous assent in the parliament, everybody across parties says yes, this is something that is essential. Now, here’s where I enter into the story. Tim Uppal doesn’t do it because he has Jewish constituents. He probably has very few Jewish constituents. He has a couple, a handful at most. But he is the parliamentarian for a town just outside of Edmonton. And I’m the Rabbi of Edmonton, Alberta at the time. And I said, well, nobody in his town cares or knows. This is major. I said you know what, we have to honor him as a Jewish community. I call up his office, I say, Mr. Uppal, we would be honored if you would come to our synagogue, we would like to honor you at the synagogue, we’ll make a celebration, and you will address us. He says, thank you. That’s very sweet of you.

He comes. I want you to know, firstly, he and I remain lifelong friends. I’ve since lived in the UK. I’m now living in the US. He and I are actually close in age. Our families close, he’s been over to my home, he has presented to one of my daughters at her Bat Mitzvah at the synagogue. I mean, he and I are very close friends. But here’s what’s really interesting and how you never know what impact will happen in life. So, why did I mention that he went home to discuss it with his wife? I’m sure innately he knew that it was the right thing. But here’s his wife Kiran’s involvement. He goes home, Kiran is also Sikh. Now, you mentioned Barry, no story of Christian Catholic here. She actually attended a Catholic school in Ottawa. And she had a lot of Jewish friends. It was a good school where members of all faiths attended. Here a Sikh girl, Jewish friends, these Jewish friends were about to go on the march of the living, which is a visit the teenagers take to the death camps in Germany and Poland. They go to Auschwitz, they see that this is a sad reality, a sad part of history, a tragic genocide and it prepares them to be able to fight the injustices that surround us throughout our lives. And they asked their group leader, they said, do you have to be Jewish to attend? No, you don’t have to be Jewish. Can we bring along our friend Kiran, she’s Sikh? Yes, sure she can come along. Kiran as a teenager goes on this march of the living, Sikh girl, Catholic school, she develops a relationship with Rabbi Reuven Bulka. Rabbi Bulka was a major figure not only as a Canadian Rabbi but a leader of the Canadian general community. All politicians know Rabbi Bulka, he was such a kind and generous individual and a man of great wisdom. He passed away just a few months ago. But from that moment on, she had a relationship, she considered Rabbi Bulka, her Rabbi as a Sikh girl. Her [unintelligible: 0:55:53] Rabbi. Rabbi Reuven Bulka. When her husband comes home, her husband who had nothing to do with Holocaust, Jews, nothing, he comes home, he says, well, what do you think? She says, what question, of course, this is what you’re going to do. 

Barry Shore:

I want to put you on pause for the moment. Our time is at the place where we need to pack up. I’m crying, I believe tens of thousands of people around the world are shedding a tear of joy. The relationships that you’ve articulated here amongst people, recognizing that the Bible is the essence of truth. And we have it written, we have it oral, we thank you, Daniel. I’m going to ask you three quick questions, and we’re going to have to bid adieu. The three questions are number one, will you come back again? 

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

Absolutely. Thank you for having me. 

Barry Shore:

Number two, you have 80 seconds, actually no, and you only have 60 seconds to answer this question. Are you ready? 

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

Go. 

Barry Shore:

What is your most fervent desire?

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

My most fervent desire is to convince as many people as possible to contribute as much as possible in the short lifetime that we have here on Earth.
Barry Shore:

He’s a madman. Making a difference. D A double N. And number three, may I give you a hug in front of 368,227 people around the world?

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

Absolutely. 

Barry Shore:

Okay, let me tell you what hug stands for, heartfelt, unlimited giving. 1-2-3 roar.

Rabbi Daniel Friedman:

Thank you. That hit the spot. Thank you.

Barry Shore:

Thank you. You’ve been listening to The Joy of Living, with your humble host Barry Shore and our amazing guests. Rabbi Daniel Friedman or Dann as he’s known, D A double N. And you tuned in for one reason, one reason only Dann’s a great guy, Barry’s a fabulous guy but it’s all because of you. You tuned in because you want to be the best you possible and when you do that and you live with the three fundamentals of life you’ll be happier, healthier, wealthy, who doesn’t want that? First fundamental, life has purpose, your life has purpose. You lead a purpose-driven life and go mad. Mad stands for make a difference. And third is unlock the power and the sequence for everyday words and terms such as, www what a wonderful world. Smile, seeing miracles in life every day. Or as my eight-year-old niece says, see miracles in everyday life. Create the kind of world you want to live in causing, rethinking, enabling all to excel. Use the six most important words you will ever hear in your life and utilize them, internalize and leverage them. Choice not chance determines your destiny. Use four-letter words liberally. And remember because we live in a positive, purposeful, powerful, pleasant way, these four-letter words are love, life, hope, free, grow, play, pray, swim, and tell the world FU capital N capital N. [unintelligible: 0:59:04], what is that about? Barry Shore said, teach the world to FU capital N capital N like Dann, D A double N. And use the two most powerful words in the English language three times a day, consciously and conscientiously for now and the rest of your life. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to harmonize and network kindness. And our blessing from the great Rabbi and from Barry Shore is go forth, live exuberantly. Spread the seeds of joy, happiness, peace, and love. Go mad, go make a difference.

Outro  

Thank you for listening to this episode of The Joy of Living Podcast. Now, that’s another step towards your healthier, happier, and wealthier life. Never hesitate to do good in the world no matter what the situation. Join us for another upbeat discussion next time at barryshore.com. And be sure to leave a rating and subscribe to the show to get more conversations like this. And remember to share it with your family and friends, too. See you on the next episode.

About Daniel Friedman


Born in UK, raised in Australia, now living in New Jersey. Author of The Transformative Daf. Canadian Holocaust Monument chair. PhD in International Relations, specializing in American Christian attitudes towards Israel. Formerly rabbi of 1200 family synagogue in London, UK. Married to Rabbanit Batya with 5 daughters.