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Modi Rosenfeld: A Serious Conversation About Comedy

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SUMMARY

In this special Purim episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we bring you a recording from our live event with the comedian Modi, for our annual discussion on humor.

As a preeminent Jewish comedian of only growing popularity, Modi finds himself needing to navigate the nuances of public and private life while he brings “Moshiach energy” to audiences all over the world. In this episode we discuss:

  • What makes laughter have ”Moshiach energy”?
  • What guidance would Modi have for a parent of a gay child?
  • What is Modi’s favorite prayer to lead as a chazan?

Tune in to hear a conversation about the element of redemption we find in humor amid a broken world.

Interview begins at 5:08.

Voted one of the top 10 comedians in New York City by The Hollywood Reporter, Modi is one of the comedy circuit’s most sought-after performers. Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Modi emigrated with his family to the United States at the age of seven and was raised on Long Island. After graduating from Boston University, he worked as an investment banker until his first open-mic night made him realize that stand-up was his true calling. Equipped with a sharp wit and a knack for reading an audience, Modi has gone on to become a successful fixture in New York’s vibrant comedy scene, often doing bits that incorporate his heritage, and he is a hit with diverse Jewish audiences as well as fans of all backgrounds and beliefs.

References:

And Here’s Modi – Episode 14 (Rabbi Manis Friedman)

Chasing Spielberg

Taanit 22a

The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

David Bashevkin:
Hello, and welcome to the 18Forty podcast, where each month we explore a different topic, balancing modern sensibilities with traditional sensitivities to give you new approaches to timeless Jewish ideas. I’m your host, David Bashevkin, and today’s episode is about Purim and humor, a live recording from our event with Modi. This podcast is part of a larger exploration of those big, juicy, Jewish ideas. So be sure to check out 18forty.org, where you can also find videos, articles, and recommended readings.

Hi, friends. So what you’re about to hear is our first 18Forty live event with a comedian that I’m sure many of you already know and love, Modi. You may know his humor, but what a lot of people don’t know is about his Jewish upbringing, his connection to Yiddishkeit, and really how his Jewish identity animates his humor.

We’ve been doing an episode about humor. We’ve done a series on humor at our very inception, and people always ask me, “Why is this such a central part of 18Forty?” In many ways, I really think it is. It’s not the biggest theological issue that people have. It’s not an issue that people are necessarily grappling with in their rationality and sociological issues. But in a lot of ways, humor transcends and approaches friction in ways that other approaches, maybe what you hear from your rabbi or other Jewish leaders, don’t necessarily do. And I think it’s really encapsulated with a passage in Taanis. The Gemara in Taanis, which is a very well-known passage, particularly about humor, tells the story of two brothers who come to the marketplace. And Eliyahu Hanavi says to Rav Beroka, says, “These two have a share in the world to come.” And Rav Beroka went over to them and says, “Well, what do you do for a living?” He says, “We’re jesters.” In the Hebrew, in the Gemara, it says inshei biduchei anan. “We make people laugh and we cheer them up. We cheer up the depressed.”

And there’s a second opinion that the Talmud says, that when we see two people who are quarreling, we create peace between them. And I think in many ways this gets to the heart of what humor is all about. That there are really two opinions in the Talmud of what brings you to the world to come. The first is that you’re humorous, you’re funny, you cheer up the depressed. And the other is that when you see there’s a quarrel between two people, you create peace. And I think in many ways this is actually what humor is. That isn’t a second opinion that the Talmud is saying.

The second opinion is actually explaining what humor is all about. Humor is all about seeing dissonance in the world. You see a very fancy person dressed up in a suit, and all of a sudden he’s walking very self-important, and they slip on a banana peel. There is a dissonance. The release for that dissonance is humor. The way a joke is set up is there’s always this kind of sequence A, B. You have this sequence and then you skip to Z. That’s the punchline. The way that we deal with dissonance and create peace in our lives most of the year is with Torah and Torah ideas and sermons and inspiration.

But particularly in Adar, and most importantly around Purim time, there’s also another path. When you see contradictions, when you see things that don’t seem to be able to cohere with one another, there’s another way to create peace between different concepts, different periods in our lives. And that’s not to philosophize or rationalize or think and dwell and ruminate. The other way is to kind of smile, to laugh at it. And there’s no question that so much of what we do in 18Forty is confronting dissonance in our lives, and we spend most of the year doing it with interviews and subject matter and articles and all of these substantive ways.

Not to say that humor isn’t substantive, but humor is almost the backdoor entrance. It’s when you take the setup, the dissonance, the contradictions that you see in the world, and instead of building up to some very clear approach, you go A, B, and you skip all the way to Z, and you see the humor, the absurdity, the silliness, and you’re able to laugh at almost how preposterous the impossibility of our own lives is. Which is why I’ve always found it’s so important to center humor in the work that we do. I know this intro is not all that humorous, but what we’re going to share with you right now is the live recording of our conversation with Modi, where he really opened up about his life and Jewish identity.

It was our first, and judging by the amount of anxiety I had leading up to the event, it probably might be our last live event. God forbid, I hope that we continue building this community. But it was really such an absolute pleasure. What moved me most about the event, really aside and above and beyond what Modi said, and he was incredible, were the people who showed up. We had people in the room from all walks of Jewish life. Our listeners came from Passaic, and from Lakewood, and from Bergenfield, and from the Five Towns in Scarsdale, and Great Neck, and really from all over, all different vantage points, all different ways of connecting to their Yiddishkeit. And they all came together for a night of thoughtfulness, of reflection, and a little bit of laughter. So without further ado, here is our live recording, our conversation with Modi.

Really, I cannot thank you enough. Really an absolute privilege and pleasure to be able to speak to you today. Because I feel like so many people know you, specifically within the Jewish community.

Modi:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
They know you, they follow you, they love you. And they know nothing about your connection to Yiddishkeit, to Judaism. And I wanted to begin with a question.

Modi:
I’m not Jewish. This is the first thing you should know. I don’t know why you think and assume I’m Jewish, but I’m not even Jewish. Is this lighting hitting me? Is this recorded?

David Bashevkin:
This is recorded. Lighting is hitting you.

Modi:
Is my nose the whole shot right here? Okay, there we go. All right. Talk to me.

David Bashevkin:
You’re able to channel so much of Yiddishkeit, different types. You can do Sephardic, you can Ashkenazi, you do Litvish, you do Hassidish. I want to know, what is your Jewish upbringing? Tell me a little bit about the Jewish experiences that continue to resonate in your life.

Modi:
I grew up with Israeli parents. I’m Israeli too. I was born in Israel, came here when I was seven. My parents were Israeli, lived in the Five Towns.

David Bashevkin:
A round of applause for the Five Towns.

Modi:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
Nothing wrong with that.

Modi:
But we grew up there, it wasn’t Borough Park. None of you were there yet. There was this little young Israel that was just starting off and getting its legs together, and the Cedarhurst, Central Avenue, were all these fashion stores. I don’t know if you know, but it used to be like when you opened a Vogue magazine and Valentino was on it, it would say Paris, Milan, Cedarhurst. I’m not kidding you. Now the big attraction on Cedarhurst is Chaim’s Bakery, two challahs for $5. Zomicks.

David Bashevkin:
I remember when Jerry Seinfeld came to the Five Towns, and he sat right outside of Morton’s, like where Army and Navy, the old Morton’s.

Modi:
Oh my God, Morton’s.

David Bashevkin:
The old Morton’s Army Navy. And Jerry, I remember overhearing, he was looking around, he says, “Wow, you guys have a lot of wig stores around here.” He was taken aback.

Modi:
No, when we grew up, there were not. It wasn’t. It wasn’t. So I was just… And my parents was Israeli, we-

David Bashevkin:
But did you go to Yeshiva? Tell me-

Modi:
I went to Solomon Schechter, then my mom realized, “What are we wasting this money for?” The whole school was Jewish, and I didn’t connect to it. So I went to Yeshiva later on my own.

David Bashevkin:
You sure did.

Modi:
Yeah, I sure did. But growing up, we didn’t have that. I mean, we’ve lived in an area that was 99.9% Jewish. The entire high school was Jewish.

David Bashevkin:
How would you describe your parents? Traditional Israeli?

Modi:
Traditional Israeli, I mean, kosher, there’s meat and milk.

David Bashevkin:
Sure.

Modi:
But who wants to reach for the meat plates? And when I was more kosher… If my mother’s out… I barely eat meat, so she only has kosher meat and only buys… Because she lives in the Five Towns. You cannot not not buy… But where are you going to find treif meat in the Five Towns? So the house is kosher, but it’s a traditional Israeli Jewish home.

David Bashevkin:
But you spent time, and we know this because we have a very close and dear mutual friend, you spent time in the Chabad Yeshiva.

Modi:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
What drew you to spend time… How did you find your way to spend a few months, a few weeks in a proper Chabad, Morristown Yeshiva? No? Was it Morristown?

Modi:
Well, before that I was at BU. I don’t know if you know, at Boston University there was a Chabad Yeshiva, a Lubavitch Yeshiva right there. And I spent equal time at both. So I was studying there. Joe, our friend, was also in that. But he was also getting his PhD with Ellie Wiesel.

David Bashevkin:
Sure.

Modi:
I wasn’t, I was barely getting through, copying and cheating off the Asian kids. I swear to God, I really was, I was the worst student. We had a lab, I remember in bio lab, it was very cliquey. All the Jewish kids in BU were cliquey, and at the bio lab, we sat down and all the Jewish kids went to the one table. Did you go to a real university?

David Bashevkin:
A real one?

Modi:
Did you go to a university where they had lab and all that?

David Bashevkin:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Modi:
Yeah, so they have a lab, and you had to sit there. So all the Jewish kids sat together. Literally, it looked like this table, like this, like that. And I said, “Oh, no, no, no,” and I went to a table that they spoke Chinese in and sat right in the middle. I said, “I’ll be happy to help you guys with whatever you need.” They said, “No, no, no, no.” So every name was Chang, Bang, Dang, and Rosenfeld. They didn’t want my help in anything, and the lab was the best grade I had. It helped the other grades, and it was, yeah.

David Bashevkin:
But what attracted you to go to Yeshiva?

Modi:
I was hoping you’d ask what attracted me to go to the Asian table. I always felt something so strong with Judaism. So when we grew up in the Five Towns, there was a conservative synagogue called Temple Hillel. And they had this chazzan in there, Chazkala Ritter. And I used to go every Saturday just to watch him sing. That was the most amazing thing. I would watch him sing, I’d listen to him when my Bar Mitzvah came up, I nailed it and all that. And it drew me to it. I don’t know what it was. It drew me to it. And then I always looked for more and I always bought books about Torah and Judaism. And then I went to that yeshiva and built it more. And that’s how, I just had a bigger flame for it.

David Bashevkin:
Do you look back at that period fondly or it was an out of body experience?

Modi:
So fondly. Everything you look back now fondly, out of body experience. I mean, so many years ago. And when you think about it, wow, did that really happen? And all the time it went through there, but very fondly.

David Bashevkin:
Do you remember which books or texts you were reading that even drew you to a specifically Chabad Yeshiva?

Modi:
No.

David Bashevkin:
Sounds about right.

Modi:
No, but I will tell you what, but I remember growing up, I would watch always on TV whenever the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Alav hashalom, would have his, fabrengin. But it used to be fabrengen and he was on TV. The younger kids aren’t going to know, but anybody older, I don’t know if you, sorry I’m pointing to you for older. But you’d see the rebbe speaking in Yiddish, speaking in Yiddish, black hat and the Sea of Chasidim in 770. And I was mesmerized by it. I was mesmerized. And later on I found out who the person that was doing the translation for the rebbe, it was Manis Friedman. I had him on my podcast. And he thought I was going to talk about this and that and that. And all I wanted to do was, how was he able to translate what the rebbe was saying? If you ever hear, when the rebbe speaks, he speaks in Yiddish, but it’s with Hebrew with the Torah and Gemara. And it’s so insane. And for this man, Manis Friedman, to channel that, blew me away.

So I always had a connection to the rebbe. Later on in life, I really understood what that connection was. And then this Yeshiva was there and I was like, wow, let me go to BU and go that Yeshiva also, and there’s a chabad house there and I was able to nourish my Yiddishkeit.

David Bashevkin:
But you didn’t stay in the Yeshiva. What’s so interesting is your first job was at Merrill Lynch, right?

Modi:
Right.

David Bashevkin:
So I’m curious, when did you decide, when did you realize, I want to leave and do comedy full time? What gave you that idea to do that?

Modi:
So I was working at Merrill Lynch, the international banking division. And everybody around was Latin and from all places all over the world. And I would imitate them when I came home, I had friends, I would just do the imitations. And my friend Donny Moss said to me, you should be doing this on stage. I went, why? Because that’s comedy. And I had no idea what that was even. And it was at this club on this stage, it looked a lot different. It was a real hole. And I performed, he set it up. You had to bring five friends or three friends and then you got five minutes of stage time.

So I came from work in a suit, tie, Armani, it was hot. And I sat and I watched these comedians who all they wanted to do in life was be comedians. I had no desire to be a comedian. And I went up here and just told the stories about what work and the accents. It was super over the top characters I did, there wasn’t a Jewish voice yet in my comedy. And that’s where it began. Right here.

David Bashevkin:
I’m curious. I wrote and hold your applause, I wrote a humor column for Mishpacha magazine. Hold your applause. Wait til after the show. Wait til after the show.

Modi:
I have the zechus] to be here. Mishpacha magazine, that’s the magazine you get when you’re in Borough Park and you’re buying gas and you go get the cooking, it’s there in tinfoil or whatever. You get it saran wrapped, it’s saran wrapped.

David Bashevkin:
I remember when I told…

Modi:
This guy’s the best laugher, because he’s from Swamp People, he’s telling me. Yeah, yeah. Anybody who watches Swamp People is a friend of mine.

David Bashevkin:
When I told my dad that I want to even write a humor column, he looked at me and his first reaction was like, you could see the cringing like full-time?

Modi:
Right.

David Bashevkin:
He was nervous already. I’m curious, how did your family react when you decided you’re taking a BU degree and you’re going to take it into comedy full-time?

Modi:
As of now, we all know that BU degree, any degree from university is worth nothing. Especially today. I was doing comedy from 93 to 99 while working at Merrill Lynch. So when I left I had a year booked out. So my mom didn’t really care. My dad didn’t care. They weren’t like one of those on top of you parents. So it wasn’t like, oh don’t leave. What are you going to do? It wasn’t that. I was already making money in comedy.

David Bashevkin:
So you weren’t even nervous?

Modi:
I wasn’t. No, I knew it was the right move.

David Bashevkin:
And growing up your comedic inspirations, would you say they were Jewish comedians or just regular comedians? Meaning who informs your voice when you come out and perform?

Modi:
One of my favorites is Alan King. I don’t know if you know who that is, those of you who don’t, Alan King, Google it tonight. Watch. I think he has a special at Carnegie Hall. George Carlin. I was recently compared to, not compared to them, but what my audience goes through was what their… Robin Williams and Richard Pryor. Variety wrote this article about me and the owner of the Laugh Factory or Comedy Club, it’s been for 42 years, said he’s never seen laughter like that except for those guys. So I was appreciative of that, but Alan King was classy. It wasn’t this I am a shlub and this is what I do and this is my money.

And when I began to work in Jewish communities, not just religious, talking about country clubs, where there’s money. In Long Island there’s these country clubs where you can walk in, you smell the money and it’s an energy. Money is energy and you can smell that there. And I learnt, first of all, rich people don’t ever want to hear about how poor you are. And they don’t want to ever talk about their money, which most comedians always love to talk about. When they get into a situation like that that’s the first thing you’re talking about.

With Alan King I saw, hold yourself up. You’re a mensch too. You’re doing well. Enjoy it. Don’t go into self-deprecation of not doing well because you’re a comedian.

David Bashevkin:
What was your foray into Jewish comedy? When did you realize, I could wed these together? What was that breakthrough?

Modi:
The Jewish voice came out, so I would do a show and look, anytime I speak, it’s Jewish. Even if I’m doing over the top characters. So you begin to get hired to do a synagogue, somebody’s event, a country club. And then these guys that ran the Catskill Mountains, I don’t know if you… You guys know what the Catskills? So there was the tail end of the Catskills, the tail tail end. There was the Concord Hotel, Kutcher, Raleigh and the Neveline. And they saw me and the guy said to me, “Hey kid, do you want to work the mountains?” I said, “Call me Moses.”

And the last weekend of the Concord Hotel I opened for Claire Barry from the Barry Sisters. I don’t know if you know who they are. And it was the last weekend, that hotel closed right after. Not because of me, I had a great set. But that was the tail end and I began working up there. Now you’re working for Jewish audiences and you’re looking for laughs. So you’re working your audience, know your audience and you see that the Jewish stuff, which is in me anyway, bring that up to the front and there you go. And it became a Jewish voice.

David Bashevkin:
So you really came to it later. You weren’t doing aufrufs and speaking at sheva brachos and doing like…?

Modi:
It was more like my first few years was just the Catskills and synagogues. Then it began, fundraisers at Bonei Olam where there’s a mechiza down the wall and the guy says to you in Yiddish, don’t make eye contact with the women’s shul. And you’re up there doing comedy in front of chasidim and they’re having a great time. I’m having a great time. We’re connecting with the right material. And that developed later on.

David Bashevkin:
So tell me about your process. I’m always fascinated by people’s processes. Looking at your set tonight.

Modi:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
Do you have a drawer where you have your jokes written out long form. Yeah. Do you write bullet points? How do you construct a set?

Modi:
Like you just saw now, me talking about Swamp People. We were watching and I just turned to someone, I go, look, could you believe this goyim? And I just began to do a little riff with my friends and then I said, “Oh, this is something I should be doing on stage. Let me bring it on stage.” And on stage I work it out. I don’t sit in front of a typewriter and write the jokes out.

David Bashevkin:
You don’t have them written out long form?

Modi:
No, I have them written out in bullet points for like a set list it’s called.

David Bashevkin:
Correct. Could you find your set list from the early 2000s?

Modi:
Yeah. Yeah. But when you write the joke, you try new material. You try, when I said, I was hunting alligators, but I say alligators or crocodiles and then the audience, he has no idea. That’s a funny part of it. And then the crowd doesn’t go whatever, behemas are floating around down there, this crowd knows what a behema is. And they feel so like, wow, he just did a punch line.

David Bashevkin:
For us.

Modi:
I got it I got it. Nobody else would’ve gotten that joke. No one knows. And to throw the word behema into a bit like that is, it’s insane. So that’s developing your Jewish joke.

David Bashevkin:
Let me ask you something, Dave Chappelle one time said that he retired jokes because he didn’t like the laughs he was getting. He felt that some of the people he was imitating within his community, the laugh he was getting was not the laugh he was looking for. You play not just for Bonei Olam, you play around in the non-Jewish world.

Modi:
I play on the non-Jewish world and I play around what’s now become my world. I take a theater-

David Bashevkin:
Sell out a whole theater.

Modi:
And I say, I’m at the town hall December 21st and whoever comes, they’re coming for me.

David Bashevkin:
Correct.

Modi:
They’re not coming for Bonei Olam-

David Bashevkin:
Correct.

Modi:
They’re not coming for Hatzalah they’re coming from me.

David Bashevkin:
For you.

Modi:
For me.

David Bashevkin:
But I’m curious if you ever retired a joke because you didn’t like the laugh. You felt that it was crossing a line. The way people were laughing, they’re laughing at the subjects.

Modi:
I will say there’s one joke, I thought it deserved a lot more than it got. But everybody’s — would just cringe up so much. It was so horrible. And it’s a joke I only did it in New York and I tried it five times. I just said, it’s not worth it. The joke was-

Speaker 4:
Try it again.

Modi:
No, no, no. It was a whole episode with the Black Hebrew Israelites.

David Bashevkin:
I want to be real. I’m fully clenched right now.

Modi:
Right. The fact that I said the word black, everybody here’s already a mess. A mess. I said the Black Hebrew Israelites screaming in the streets, we’re the real Jews, we’re the real Jews. You ain’t nothing. We are the real Jews. If a guy walks by with the yamaka, you ain’t nothing. We’re the real Jews. So I said, first of all, I want to say I have read the Torah and nowhere in there does it say to stand in the street and scream that you are the real Jews. If you want to be Jewish, produce a movie, start a hedge fund, take on an allergy. Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
It’s very interesting. I’ve known you, I’ve watched videos of you for over, maybe it’s 20 years already, where I remember the early video, we were talking about it before, he’s a fellow lansman of the Five Towns with Dove Friedman.

Modi:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
And I remember you going around, what was the name of the video? Spielberg?

Modi:
So many… The Spielberg one and we dressed, we wrote a movie about two chasids Who go to Hollywood.
Who go to Hollywood looking for Steven Spielberg. And instead of just pitching the idea, we did a sizzle reel. We did a little filming of it and it went super viral. Before Facebook, it was on YouTube.

David Bashevkin:
Correct. One of the first viral videos I ever…

Modi:
Yeah, super viral. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

David Bashevkin:
But I remember, for a lot of comedians that I followed closely and I had followed you closely for years, you are always fairly guarded. I’ve never heard so much material about your personal life, about who you are. And recently in Variety, you started to share about your personal life. And I’m curious for you, what changed why did you decide to start sharing about your personal life, come out in Variety? Why did you, that wall, which for me, the boundary between personal and public is like, it just keeps you intact. Why did you decide to open up more?

Modi:
I’ve becoming more and more a bigger audience and very Jewish audience all over the world. And I was never not out. If any comic comic you asked, they always knew, Modi’s gay. Anywhere I went, if anybody asked, I said yes. But on stage it’s just not what I talked about because I’m more Jewish than I am gay. And that’s the voice too. But we’re in a world where the media’s insane now and everything is just out there. And my husband said, we have to take control of the narrative.

So me coming out, let it be in Variety magazine, the number one magazine of the industry of show business in a way where it’s an amazing article with excitement and with mashiach energy rather than some horrible, Jews of … some right wing miserable Jewish magazine saying, did you know that this is this and how dare he this? We took control of how it’s going to come out.

David Bashevkin:
Be honest with me.

Modi:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
Leading up, you spent so many years sharing nothing about your personal life, emotionally leading up to that article, you’re cool as a cucumber, no big deal. You were nervous, you were concerned. Where are you emotionally when for the first time…?

Modi:
I don’t know if you know, but I have a podcast called, “And Here’s Modi.”

David Bashevkin:
We promised we would not be plugging any other podcast.

Modi:
No, but okay, but I start the show with that, “And here’s Modi.” Because that’s how all my events start. I’m usually doing comedy in some insane situation, and here’s Modi. So we did a podcast, me, my husband, and this woman named Periel. We have a podcast and we talk about everything freely. So it’s not as though it’s not out. If somebody’s a real Modi fan, you Google, oh he has a podcast. Okay, who’s he on with? His husband? Holy —, he has a husband. And then my life is out there. On stage, it’s again, it’s know your audience. And even now, when I do my material, that’s the gay material, it’s more about being married to somebody younger because that’s just what it is.

David Bashevkin:
Let me ask you this. We spoke before the show and you’ll apologize if I’m even bringing this up. I asked you a question. I asked you, “What would you tell somebody who’s now uncomfortable?” Because you know have so many people in the Jewish community who followed you really closely. And there are people in the Jewish community who are uncomfortable. And I remember you responded to me and I was very moved by it. You actually called me out. You said you didn’t do your research, you didn’t do your research. Because I’m getting more shows than ever. They all still love me and I’m still getting booked. But to me it didn’t fully answer the question because I know, and I’m going to be very real right now.

Modi:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
Even tonight, even tonight coming here, there are always people on different fringes who are like, wait, is this okay? Is this accepted? And I personally got emails. So I’m curious…

Modi:
When they asked you, was this accepted? What did you say?

David Bashevkin:
I said, yeah, and why can’t I speak to Modi? But my question to you is, what would you respond to somebody who’s like, I don’t feel comfortable anymore. I don’t want to go to shows anymore. What would you tell them?

Modi:
I thank God that I found that out. I don’t you think they’re, I don’t want to be doing their event, let them go get, what’s it called, the Mentalist or whatever garbage, some “Ta da!” nebach for them, nebach for them that they don’t get to have me at their event. Nebach for them. Yeah. But let me tell you something. The Jewish world, the Orthodox Jewish world, didn’t miss a beat. A Variety article, get him here right away. I performed at this what a beautiful shul, Anshei Emuna in Boca. You’ve heard of it, Anshei Emuna in Boca, adorable. The woman who booked me for the event saw the article. That’s what she found me. She booked me. She’s like, I would say between 70 and… Older woman, Florida and the whole thing. And it’s an orthodox shul. And she’s walking around, his husband’s here, drop dead gorgeous. Drop dead gorgeous.

We did the show in the sanctuary and beautiful. And it was an amazing show. And they sold meet and greets and they raised $70,000 to redo the entrance of the shul. So that’s my community. Someone who goes, we shouldn’t, ugh, I don’t want to be doing their event.

David Bashevkin:
But tell me, what would you tell a parent? People in the community for many years, a lot of people didn’t know. Yeah, I mean those in the know, knew, but a lot of people didn’t know. Give me a message. What would you tell the community to help grapple or things that you maybe overheard? What would you tell a child? What would you tell a person in the community who’s grappling with their discomfort?

Modi:
I don’t know. First of all, the parents should be taught what to say when they’re a kid comes and says, I’m gay. If you’ve a child and they’ve come to you and now they’re sitting in front of you, whether you’re expecting it or not, say I’m gay, your first response should be, “I love you.” If you do, if you don’t love the child, don’t say it. Give the kid a chance to know that this is not something I need to build up to and get their respect. So if you love the kid, you say, “I love you.” And then you say, “what will make you happy?” Because don’t forget, it’s a big mitzvah. Mitzvah gedola lehiot bsimcha is that a mitzvah. It’s a big one. It’s a big mitzvah.

So don’t make it right away about you, you’re gay. Oh my God, how am I going to marry your sister off? People are going to find out, you don’t want that. And you also don’t want to find your kid hanging in the garage with a note. So your kid comes to you, I’m gay, I love you. If you do, and then say what will make you happy? Make it about them. Don’t make it about you. And then find your common ground and get to your situation with whatever rabbis that are good rabbis and build it from there. That’s how it has to be. Yep, yep.

David Bashevkin:
Yep. I joked around before, and people who have listened to me know that I struggled in a very real way with anxiety. Tonight was the most nerve wracking thing in the world for me. My wife was going to come. I told her, you can’t come. It’s going to stress me out too much.

Modi:
Why?

David Bashevkin:
It’s stressed me out too much. I’m here. The only family member I allowed was my big sister.

Modi:
Okay.

David Bashevkin:
She’s allowed here. Yeah, my big sister Sarah. Round of applause for Sarah.

Modi:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
To me the difficulty is that even when you’re on a stage, people are looking, they come in with expectations. They want us, oh—

Modi:
Oh, you don’t usually do this in front of an audience?

David Bashevkin:
Never. Never. No, I do rabbinics…

Modi:
You do a regular podcast like I do in a corner somewhere with three microphones?

David Bashevkin:
No, I do scholar in residence gigs. But I’m not here on the stage doing the mic.

Modi:
Oh no.

David Bashevkin:
But before scholars residence, I’m still a mess. I’m still a mess. Because the setup and the need for validation messes with your head. Because people come in, especially in the Jewish community, everybody I know is texting me their expectations about tonight, everybody’s texting me. Where am I sitting? Do I have tickets?

Modi:
Oh, it’s the worst. I know.

David Bashevkin:
It’s the worst.

Modi:
That’s the worst.

David Bashevkin:
mamish. And I’m curious, and in a real way, you carried, I don’t know to how many people, you carried the secret for a very long time, at least to the public. I’m curious how you deal as a performer with mental health issues. Do you struggle with mental? Do you struggle with anxiety?

Modi:
No, thank God.

David Bashevkin:
Never have.

Modi:
Thank God, no.Baruch Hashem no. I am calm. I know when I get on stage, I have a purpose. I have a purpose when I come on this stage, I am here to channel mashiach energy, which is laughter, which is mashiach energy. And every time, it took a minute to pull it together, to realize why you’re on stage. And then you take the ego out. When I began doing comedy, it was all ego. It was all ego. And then it was, oh, this is a calling and I am doing something here.

This is an amazing thing. And you know, you do a show, and then you get a DM saying, my daughter passed away three years ago. My husband and I haven’t laughed since tonight. And you know you’re doing something right. Because I’m Anshei Bidichei do you know what that is?

David Bashevkin:
Yes. It is a gemara in Taanis.

Modi:
Exactly. So every time I used to perform at a religious event-

David Bashevkin:
Can I explain the reference?

Modi:
I’m going to explain the reference. Sit down. Every time I would do an event for a very religious Jewish organization, the guy introducing would come with this big black hat and say, there’s the Gemara in Taanis and it’s called … and he would introduce it. And the Gemara goes like this, it says they’re in the marketplace and Eliyahu Hanavi is there, Elijah, the prophet’s there. And somebody asks Eliyahu Hanavi, who in this market, who here has a chelek in Olam Haba?. They have sealed their portion in the world to come. And so what does he say? He says, those two guys there, they went and they asked, who are those guys? He goes, what do you do? What’s your work? What work do you do? They said, We are anshei Bdichei we are, translate that.

David Bashevkin:
We are people who bring laughter. We’re Badchanim we’re comedians.

Modi:
Wait, wait, wait. He didn’t say Badchanim, He said Anu Anshei Bidichei, we are people-

David Bashevkin:
Of.

Modi:
Of laughter. Anu Midvachim Mutzuvei. We make people who are sad, happy. Okay. iy Nami And also, when there’s a rift between people, we bring peace through laughter. So now everybody says so. And then now we have a comedian here who was Anshei Bidichei, and I used to really think that that’s what that was. But it’s wrong. It’s wrong. So Anshei Bidichei if you think about it, the Gemara’s not going to use words, every word in the Gemara is for a reason. So if it said comedians, they would’ve said Badchanim ,joke, Badichaa is a comedian, but it didn’t. And there’s two guys up there. It could just have been one. That guy there, he’s a comedian. There’s two guys, anshei Bidichei.

And until I began to work full-time with my husband, now my husband, only since Covid began taking care of everything. Any video you see, any show, you see anywhere, it’s because of him. Before Covid, before he began working with me, I had 7,000 followers, now I have 170,000 followers. Shows booked all year. Sold out only because of him. And again, Anshei Bidichei the comic needs somebody else. You can’t just be a comic and be a performer because you need, we have in the audience today, the guy, the owner of the club, Donny Zuldan.

David Bashevkin:
Brother Donny.

Modi:
Who produced mashiach energy on a level you can’t even imagine, the Chosen Comedy Festival. We had 4,000 people in Brooklyn. We had a show in Miami. It was called the Chosen Comedy Festival. Jews came from everywhere, every type, shape, size age, came and just had a comedy night. And that’s Anshei Bidichei.

David Bashevkin:
You keep talking about mashiach energy.

Modi:
So yeah, so I’m just saying, that’s Anshei Bidichei. And you could also be, I’m going to tell you a story. I did a show in the height of Covid, when it was ending, kind of in Scarsdale, the synagogue there. The young Israel called me up and said, “Somebody wants to bring you in to do comedy night. What would do you charge?” Gave them the price. And that was it. They had their whole Megillah reading. There were the kids and all that. Then they left. And then there was a comedy night in the room. Somebody said, whatever it costs Marty, I’ll cut the check. I’m done. Anshei Bidichei. He brought comedy to a place. And where is now where the Shalom comes on the Anshei Bidichei is this, the synagogue was so torn apart because they had the people in the parking lot in those dumb tents for the Covid tents. The older people were out there with their masks and they’re sitting in the cold, breathing closer to each other than the people in the shul.

But there was that riff in the shul. The shul had a riff. And that night was the first time they all came together and laughed together. And peace came to that shul. It happened to me one time before I realized what that energy was. In 2016, there was a synagogue in Philly or Pittsburgh, something with a P, and the shul was ripped in half. Half of the people were pro-Trump, the other half were anti-Trump. And brothers and sisters in different, they had to make two minions. It was insane. And the first time I came in was the first one that the shul came together for one single event, and with laughter. And the rabbi said it changed everything in the synagogue.

So that’s Anshei Bidichei that’s Donny. That’s my husband who runs the entire, my husband has done more for the Jewish community than most Jews. Most Jews. He’s raised more money for them. He’s organized things for them. That’s Anshei Bidichei. So it’s not just the comedian. And that’s why now I’ve been ending my video’s saying, “Be the friend who brings the friends to the comedy club. You see I’m performing. You see some comic you like, Gary Goman, buy four or five tickets, invite a few friends.” That’s an Anshei Bidichei energy.

David Bashevkin:
When and why did you start using the term, mashiach energy?

Modi:
I just felt it. You just feel it, when a room is blasting, because I think mashiach is here. I really think he’s here. I don’t expect you to. I’m just saying, I feel like mashiach energy, it happens. You see it. Miracles happen all over the place. I just see that as mashiach energy.

David Bashevkin:
Oh, it’s very moving. I feel like I’m contractually obligated, Rav Tzadok Hacohen who was a Hasidic leader who I love to quote, he says that the Gematria the numerical value of Yeush of hopelessness is shin yud zayin. Is 317. And he says siach is one above hopelessness, to show you that even in that lowest place, you can still transcend it. And he says that’s what mashiach is. It’s Siach energy.

It’s transcending that. Even in that place of brokenness, of hopelessness, there’s always a path out. There’s always a way home. There’s always a way to transcend it. And I think that in many ways, comedy for me, in my own personal life, helped me bridge gaps of dissonance where I felt there’s no way to find meaning in this hopelessness. And the mashiach energy was saying, no, no, no, there’s still a way to transcend.

Modi:
100%. Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
So I’m curious, and really, this is kind of my last question in a way because I struggle with this. I really do. And tonight highlighted it, because it’s hard for me. I serve the Jewish community. I serve, I try to educate. And a lot of times people are always louder with their criticism, with their pushback than they are with their compliments.

Modi:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
Jews are a tough to please audience. We love them, but they’re tough to please. And it’s very easy when you serve the Jewish community for a long time, whether you’re doing it as an educator, whether you’re doing it as a rabbi or as a comedian, or when you serve a community, you feel beholden to them. I’m curious, how do you make sure that you don’t become frustrated, cynical with the Jews that you serve?

Modi:
I love my audience so much. I love the Jewish community so much. And the fundraisers, I make fun of it. But it’s why we’ve survived. The fact that the Jews are alive today and survived, after empires, the Roman Empire, the Greek Empire, you don’t hear about them. Jews have been around ’cause we’ve always helped each other. The Jewish people, and I’m so gifted that this is my audience, hatzalah Wow. We have our own ambulance corp, there’s a network in the world called Chabad. There is a rabbi in every corner of the world that if you need to, you can connect with. And nothing was more mashiach energy in our time than the Rebbe. I’m not saying he was mashiach, I’m saying that was mashiach energy.
Mashiach energy is helping other people, is helping other people. Did you put on film today? I don’t know if any of you have ever stood in front of the Rebbe and received a dollar from him?

David Bashevkin:
Did you ever stand…?

Modi:
Many times. Many times.

David Bashevkin:
What, you went on Sundays, he was giving the dollars?

Modi:
Sundays dollars. There was sometimes special events happened where he gave out books with $5 in it. And I was very blessed, and when you stand there, back then, I had no idea what I was feeling. But that was mashiach energy, helping somebody. It’s basically he’s saying, “Go help. Go help somebody. Go help. Here’s a dollar. Go help somebody.” It’s the most amazing Chabad with the fact that we have that in the world.

Let me tell you something. I do shows all over the world. I’ve been to more Chabad houses than Rabbi Kolowski, if you know who he is. And you get to a Chabad house and they’ve an audience, sometimes 400, 500, 800 people, they’re no longer this little house on the corner. They have these massive buildings, a day school, a yeshiva. They’ve built, not just a little shtiebel in the middle of a town. And the rabbi always gives you the hachana, what’s happening in the room. He’s going to, we have people who here are religious and many who are not religious. And then we have some Israelis and we have Latin Jews too. And then we have a few couples that are same sex, gay couples. The rabbis telling me this. They have gay couples and they’re wonderful. And their kids come to our day school and we love them. And they learn the Aleph Beis and they participate in the Shabbat we do. And they’re wonderful kids. And then we have this and that. And there you go.

There’s a gay couple. They have their kids in this Chabad day school. And the rabbi is treating the kids the same way he wants his kids to be treated at whatever yeshiva they’re going to. Vehavta Larecha Kamocha that mashiach energy. So when a rabbi tells me this, that there’s the kids of a gay couple in his day school, that to me is mashiach energy. You understand what I’m saying? That’s my mashiach, that’s what I see mashiach energy as. Whoever’s starting the clapping, on April 27th, I’m taping my special. I’m going to need you there.

David Bashevkin:
Rafi. It’s Rafi.

Modi:
Okay. All right.

David Bashevkin:
I’m curious, when somebody calls you a Jewish comedian and adds the Jewish to it.

Modi:
Yes.

David Bashevkin:
Do you like that or you…?

Modi:
Absolutely.

David Bashevkin:
You love it?

Modi:
Yes. I am a Jewish comedian. There are many comedians who are Jewish, but they’re not Jewish comedians. I’m a Jewish comedian.

David Bashevkin:
I love it.

Modi:
There’s a Black comedian and they’re Black and they’re comedians. And I’m a Jewish comedian. There’s comics, Jerry Seinfeld I don’t think would want to be referred to as a Jewish comedian. He’s a comic who happens to be Jewish. But I walk on stage, if half of this room was non-Jews, I would’ve performed today my little set, what I did up front where they would’ve understood, but they would’ve known, oh, we just saw a New York Jew. And I’m very proud of that. Very, very proud of that. Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
I always end my interviews with rapid fire questions. I added one specifically for you because there’s something that you do that I find extraordinarily moving. And that is, you are a fairly accomplished chazzan.

Modi:
Oh. Okay.

David Bashevkin:
I’m curious, and this is only for you, I’m curious what your favorite part of davening is?

Modi:
My favorite part of davening?

David Bashevkin:
Yeah.

Modi:
Oh, when your voice is on and your head’s in the right place and it all just works together. You mean a certain prayer?

David Bashevkin:
A favorite tefila, yeah.

Modi:
Oh, kol nidrei.

Yeah. Oh, the best. Are you kidding me? First of all, you’ve just eaten. You’re good. You’re good. It’s in the middle of the day. Your voice is in the right spot. It’s the best where you want to wants to be … who wants to be in the morning singing. Robert Bellino, my rabbi at my shul says, “You want to do Kol Nidrei” a few years back, and I went, yeah, it’s the best tefillah. You want to do Mussaf for Yom Kippur? No, no. I don’t want to be singing when I’m exhausted. So that’s one of my favorite prayers. It’s such a good prayer. And what else is one of my favorite prayers? I don’t know many. I love, there’s just…

David Bashevkin:
I love it.

Modi:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
I love it. I’m curious, what books have you read that inspire or inform your comedy?

Modi:
I will tell you, there’s a book that the entire world should have to read, should have to read. It’s called Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer.

David Bashevkin:
Why should people read that book?

Modi:
If I were a mayor of a city or a president, I would make sure every kid leaves high school having to have read this book.

David Bashevkin:
When did you read this book for the first time?

Modi:
I read this book, 2000. That’s when I began becoming more spiritual rather than just religious. And this book, written by a non-Jew, put everything that I’ve learned in Judaism kind of into perspective. And it’s an amazing…

David Bashevkin:
The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer.

Modi:
Power of Intention with Dr. Wayne Dyer. Yeah, he has the seven different things that he says, which is the Sefirot like, oh, that makes sense with the Sefirot the mind, your inner thoughts.

David Bashevkin:
It informed your Yiddishkeit.

Modi:
100%. It lifted my Yiddishkeit into another level. Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
If somebody gave you-

Modi:
These aren’t so rapid, these questions.

David Bashevkin:
They’re rapid. They’re rapid. We’re almost done. If somebody gave you a great deal of money-

Modi:
Yes.

David Bashevkin:
And you could-

Modi:
Yes.

David Bashevkin:
Retire, no responsibilities whatsoever to go back to school and get a-

Modi:
Never going. I will never sit in front of a syllabus in my life.

David Bashevkin:
But if you were to write a PhD, a book, what is the topic of the book that you want to write?

Modi:
It would be my life. My life, and whoever can learn and whatever they get the pieces from it, enjoy it. Whatever mistakes I’ve made, whatever good things I’ve found, I would write a book about my life and just whoever wants to… What I’m going to write about, Wallpaper? No, my life, and here’s what I’ve learned. This is things I’ve figured out. Enjoy it. You don’t have to go through this. I did it here. Go ahead.

David Bashevkin:
Do you think we’ll ever see that book? Do you enjoy writing?

Modi:
Yeah. Yeah. I can’t write, I can’t read. I’m dyslexic. It’s a nightmare. It’s a nightmare. But I’m working with somebody on some projects that are very good like that, yeah.

David Bashevkin:
My final question, I am always fascinated by people’s sleep schedules. What time do you go to sleep at night and what time do you wake up in the morning?

Modi:
Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow. Okay. So now, back in the day, I used to do comedy clubs all the time. Performing at a comedy show, like what you saw here, doing that for 15, that was what, seven, eight minutes, 10 minutes max, whatever you saw here. Now imagine doing that in four or five clubs a night every night. It’s addictive. And then you go to sleep. Now your adrenaline’s flying. Good luck going to sleep. Comics are very nocturnal. I’ve changed that. Thank God now I’m doing theaters, I’m doing that. And I try to go to sleep right when the Xanax and the Ambien hit, when that Xanax and the Ambien just click. And I said, oh, oh, oh, there’s my window. There’s my window. Oh, that’s when I fall asleep. Sleeping is so hard. Do you sleep well?

David Bashevkin:
I’m a terrible sleeper.

Modi:
Horrible, so what goes through your head?

David Bashevkin:
I wonder when I’m falling asleep, how did I ever fall asleep any night in the past?

Modi:
Any?

David Bashevkin:
I didn’t even know how it happened.

Modi:
How do people fall asleep?

David Bashevkin:
It’s a mystery to me.

Modi:
How do people fall… Literally. The other night I was in bed and I didn’t realize, I have a clock on the back so I could see how long I’m going through whatever I’m going through. The soup bit for the queen. I was going, oh, I believe that should be the funniest part of my act. We never see the queen serving soup. And look, there’s no laughter. And I’m in my head just going through, no, they served soups. She served soup. Okay. Let me go a different angle on this. You, my mother is, she’s a mother. My mother serves soup… And hours. But if that Xanax and I literally, I daven in now to God, please let me sleep well. Sleep is so hard.

David Bashevkin:
And what time do you wake up in the morning?

Modi:
Okay, so now the wake-up. The wake-up is this, sometimes the first eye opens and it’s 6:00 AM And I say to myself, get up and go to the gym. Get up and go to the gym. But let’s turn over and work this out again. And then it might start, and then it could be up till 11.

David Bashevkin:
It can be.

Modi:
Sometimes that Xanax and Ambien kick in only at nine. And you’re chapping that extra little piece of sleep at the end. Sleeping is hard. But I’m praying to God, please pray for me that I sleep well. And the traveling’s insane. Traveling. Oh my God. Ugh. Destroys you. Even if it’s like The Four Seasons. It’s not your bed.

David Bashevkin:
It’s not your bed.

Modi:
It’s not your bed. It’s not your shower. Your things aren’t around you. It’s hard.

David Bashevkin:
If I’m away for shabbos, like I’ve gone away for Shavuos for scholar in residence-

Modi:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

David Bashevkin:
I need the full next 10 days to recover.

Modi:
Really?

David Bashevkin:
I’m a mess. I’m a mess.

Modi:
Okay. No, no, no. I don’t need 10 days,

David Bashevkin:
Because they’re so kind. But anytime you even leave your room for one second, the whole family descends on you. The towels are here-

Modi:
Oh my God, you’re…

David Bashevkin:
And the water’s here. And you’re just like…

Modi:
No, you’re in the house with them?

David Bashevkin:
I’m in the house With them.

Modi:
Are you insane? Are you crazy?

David Bashevkin:
I’m in the house.

Modi:
You better get someone to put into your rider, a nearby hotel. People always invite me. You should stay by us, the Shabbos. Are you crazy? I want to see your kids running around in their pajamas? I want to blow up your bathroom and then have a, ah ha ha ha. Are you crazy? No, Four Seasons, business class. And still it’s hard. It’s so hard.

David Bashevkin:
I’m going-

Modi:
A scholar in residence and you’re in their face for the full Shabbos and oh my God. That is hard. That is hard.

David Bashevkin:
It is hard. I’m going to make sure I update my rider to the Young Israel Lawrence Cedarhurst.

Modi:
Just next to… Stay with us, we have a great, and then you’re sitting there. Hi. Where do you get your material from? What? No, my aunt saw you and I got to make to… I want to go in my room and cry? What are you…? No.

David Bashevkin:
Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause.

Modi:
Wait. Yeah. Okay. My Instagram Modi_live. My podcast, And Here’s Modi, it’s available everywhere. A lot of new shows are coming up in the New York area, so make sure you’re on the mailing list so you don’t be like, oh my God, how? It’s because they sell out. Thank God, thank God, thank God. And let me know what you think of this dm. I always see them never, sometimes I don’t answer, but I always see them. Thank you all very much.

David Bashevkin:
Thank you so much for listening. Thank you. And stay curious my friends.
I mentioned this in my introduction when I first introduced Modi Live from the event, that at really one of the low points in my life, I actually decided to go into comedy. I was in my mid 20s. I think I was maybe on the tail end of finishing Semikhah, my rabbinic ordination. I was really in a very dark place in my own life. And I was looking for just some creative outlet. And I took one of my best friends and we took comedy classes at Gotham Comedy Club. That best friend was in fact Modi. No, I’m just joking. That was not Modi. It was actually Duvi Staler, he’s one of my closest friends to this very day. And we took comedy classes together at Gotham. And I remember I performed twice. The recordings are definitely not circulating anywhere. But after the recording, I went up to the person who really ran the classes.

We had a teacher for a few months who helps us write jokes. And I asked her like, what’s next? What do we do after this? And she looked at me and said, maybe you should try podcasting. Not quite. But I think I have an easier time being funny in writing than I do live. My anxiety is so overwhelming when you’re in front of a crowd, particularly a crowd that you know. But what is most telling about everything is the place where I found comfort. The place where I turned to when I was most frustrated, most broken, kind of in my own life, was comedy itself. And I continued to turn to comedy. I remembered in the heart of Covid, I was on some panel discussion, I think it was with my dearest cousin, Rav Efrem Goldberg. And he asked a bunch of the panelists, what do you do to deal with all of the pressures in everybody’s lives? And the homes were upside down. And I remember everybody else on the panel had something really, really profound to answer. I turned to Torah. I think about when Im davening.

And I answered honestly, and it’s my answer to this day. I said, I listen to comedians, those Anshei Bidichei those people, those jesters, who are able to look at sometimes the horrors, the difficulty, the contradictions of the world and are able to find coherence, are able to find joy, are able to find laughter, whimsy, that Kafkaesque perspective that’s able to turn an upside down world and even see it upright and see even in an unredeemed world, find some element of redemption. And to me, that is what Purim is really all about. There’s this beautiful idea that Rav Hutner says where he’s kind of struggling with, why is Simcha, frivolity so different for Purim than it is for any other holiday that we celebrate?

We don’t have any other holiday where we’re told to kind of abandon our inhibitions and drink beyond our normal limits. We never have that. And he has this absolutely beautiful imagery where he has us imagine somebody who makes a, what’s known as a Seudat Hoda’ah, a special meal of appreciation after overcoming an illness. And it’s something that I’m actually quite familiar with. My father, as I’ve mentioned many times, is an oncologist and he’s been invited countless times to these Seudat Hoda’ah or you have a Seudat, you’ve overcome, a meal of appreciation where you thank God you’ve overcome an illness. And at such a meal, of course, everybody is happy. But imagine in a second instance, somebody who their illness was depression, their illness was that brokenness that prevented, that really suffocated their ability to experience happiness itself, and that person makes a party at that party, at that Seudat Hoda’ah.

The joy, the happiness, is not ancillary to the recovery. It’s not just like a part of the celebration. The celebration is the capacity to experience joy itself, and that in many ways is what Purim is all about. Our collective celebration that even in this unredeemed world, we still in many ways live in the world and in the kingdom of Achashveirosh, we still have around us and surrounded by us enemies and people who are looking to destroy us. We don’t have clear miracles or open prophecy to protect us. But even in this unredeemed Purim world that we live in, we celebrate once a year the redemption of Purim, which is a celebration of our capacity to experience joy itself.

So every extra drink, every extra smile, every extra dose of laughter just continues that celebration. Because what we’re really celebrating isn’t just the appreciation that we had a recovery and a redemption, but what we’re really celebrating is the capacity even in this world, to experience that joy and find that redemption, that sliver of redemption in our unredeemed world.

So thank you so much for listening. This episode, like so many of our episodes, was edited by our dearest friend Dina Emerson. It wouldn’t be a Jewish podcast without a little bit of Jewish guilt. So if you enjoyed this episode or any episode, please subscribe, rate, review, tell your friends about it. You could also donate at 18 forty.org/donate. It really helps us reach new listeners and continue putting out great content. You can also leave us a voicemail with feedback or questions that we may play on a future episode. That number is 9177205629. Once again, that number is 917 7205629. If you’d like to learn more about this topic or some of the other great ones we’ve covered in the past, be sure to check out 18 forty.org. That’s the number one eight, followed by the word 40. F-O-R-T-Y, 18 forty.org, where you can also find videos, articles, recommended readings, and weekly emails. Thank you so much for listening. Stay curious my friends, and wishing everyone, ah freilichen Purim.