PODCAST: When God’s Presence Overwhelms and Eludes

Yosefa Fogel Wruble Tradition Online | October 24, 2023
During this time of worldwide Jewish unity, TRADITION is pleased to deliver an episode of our podcast co-produced with our friends at Matan: The Sadie Rennert Women’s Institute of Torah Study in Jerusalem. Our recently released Fall 2023 issue features an essay by Dr. Yosefa Fogel Wruble titled “Psalm 139: When God’s Presence Both Overwhelms and Eludes” which explores two exegetical prisms for Psalm 139 and the theological relevance in understanding this mizmor as a form of emotional struggle with God. Of course, when the essay was written, and when we went to press a few weeks ago, no one could have foreseen how its themes would become presciently relevant to our current moment—but that’s often how it is with Torah learning. We thought it would be appropriate to chat with the author about her essay in light of the events on Simhat Torah and the war.


Dr. Yosefa Fogel Wruble is a Ramit in the Women’s Beit Midrash at Migdal Oz, a lecturer at Matan, and the host of the 1-on-1 Parsha Podcast from Matan which explores deep thematic points of the weekly Torah portion. For today’s we turn the microphone back on her, making her the guest of this episode, for which she is joined by TRADITION’s associate editor, Rabbi Yitzchak Blau. They discuss the feeling of being overwhelmed by God and the feeling of His absence. Wruble deepens her analysis and the conversation moves in some novel directions: How does the Psalmist’s self-expression compare to the prophetic ambivalence of Jonah and Jeremiah? What are possible responses to our paradoxical experiences of feeling both His presence and absence Which related issues have the current situation brought to the fore.


Listen to Hanan Ben-Ari’s single “Mimekha Ad Elay” referenced in the podcast.


Read “Psalm 139: When God’s Presence Both Overwhelms and Eludes” by Yosefa Fogel Wruble (TRADITION, Fall 2023).


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