Rabbi David Levinsky

Rabbi David Levinsky was ordained at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, received his Ph.D in religious studies at Stanford, served as Director at the Taube Center for Jewish Life in San Francisco, served as Rabbi at Chicago Sinai Congregation, and now serves as Rabbi at Temple Har Shalom in Park City, Utah. He’s a husband, father, and guitarist in Chicago based rock band The Lilacs. We talked about making music, Moses’s real problem with the golden calf, and how the mundane can be a portal to the Divine.

This interview was so full of quotable wisdom. I wanted to transcribe and share almost every part, it was so good. I hope you get something out of it as well.

If I can’t prove the they are true, then how does their value come out of historical veracity? The value of the biblical stories comes out of what we do with them. How they inspire us to become better people. How they inspire us to go out there and do good deeds in the world, how they make us think in different ways. They are a sounding board, something to interact with that supplies enough complexity, enough ambiguity, enough ambivalence, that in reading these stories, we can explore really complex issues and they can inspire us to be better people and to go out there and make the world better. 

– Rabbi David Levinsky

You can connect with Rabbi Levinsky and the Temple Har Shalom congregation at harshalomparkcity.org

Human creativity is a type of mysticism… the direct encounter with the divine. An artist may not use religious language and may not talk about divinity as far as the encounter and the experience, but the arts and religion are the two places where those experiences are really potent for people. 

Rabbi David Levinsky

Good bass playing, you don’t notice… you only notice if it’s not there. If you are noticing it, the guy is probably overplaying. 

– Rabbi David Levinsky

Here are the albums by WIRE that Rabbi Levinsky talked about:


Check out Rabbi Levinsky’s band, The Lilacs:



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