299: An Invitation to the In-Between

Rabbi Eric Linder joins Brett and Jeff to talk band names, frameworks of understanding, spiritual atheism, and some real good apps.

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An Invitation to the In-Between

Brett: [00:00:00] Hello. I am Brett Terpstra. You are listening to Overtired. I, it was in a tribute to, to the queen. I just, I figured,

I figured I’d do a, a Python, a Python

tribute to the, to the

queen. Um,

jeffrey_merged: Yeah. Very slowly. Silently. Exactly.

Brett: I’m, I’m Brett Terpstra. You’re listening to Overtired. I am here as always with Jeff Severns Guntzel. Uh, Christina Warren has the week off. She got her vaccine and is recovering, uh, from a couple nights of insomnia that I think we can all relate to. We have a special guest this week. We are joined by rabbi Eric out of Athens, Georgia home of REM.

How’s it going,


jeffrey_merged: good to, and I’m, I’m meeting you for the first time. I’ve heard you [00:01:00] on Brett’s podcast, but

Naming bands is hard

Eric: And nice to meet you, Jeff I

and, uh, and, the B 50 twos and KLAS local

42, my

jeffrey_merged: The

Brett: Yes. Eric is in a band called KLAS

local. Is it 42 or

Eric: 42.

Brett: What does the 42 refer

Eric: It’s just the uh, the lead of the

band wanted a name that sounded like a

labor union. So he just

jeffrey_merged: What was the band thinking? Fellers union, uh, back from the nineties, there was another band

Brett: Street sweepers. No.

jeffrey_merged: That’s a

great name. It’s a great


Eric: Oh, I have a, I have a, I have a, note, uh, filled with

band titles. Like

jeffrey_merged: oh yeah,

Eric: I, I, have


dozens, dozens.

Brett: That is the hardest part

jeffrey_merged: thing in the world. That’s like, it’s amazing. Any band survives

naming itself?

Brett: so I had a band in high school that was called Moom man auto, which isn’t a horrible name, but it, it came about because we had spent weeks. [00:02:00] Arguing over what we should call our band. And eventually we had a chemistry book and the authors of the book were

Moom man and Otto, and we’re like, fuck it.

We’re that’s, that’s our name?

jeffrey_merged: like an academic paper reference.

Brett: with two man with two ends. And we kept that. We

kept it like straight up

Moom man auto

jeffrey_merged: That’s amazing. That’s good. Like, um, my wife and I were, were reminiscing of the, the heyday of the very long band name. Like, um, I love you, but I have chosen darkness or there was a band in, which is an amazing name. There was a band in Minneapolis called Siegels screaming. Kiss her, kiss her

Normalize sleeping at shows

Brett: or God speed.

You black

Eric: I That’s the one I was just thinking of. Yep.

jeffrey_merged: Yeah. I mean

Brett: felt I fell asleep at that


jeffrey_merged: Well, that’s actually nice sleeping music in my

Brett: it is, it is. I got those, uh, the, the seats at front row behind the glass up by the bar.[00:03:00]

jeffrey_merged: Ooh.

Brett: Uh, what did I did I say at

first a

jeffrey_merged: yeah, yeah.

Brett: first a that, that


weird in my head.

jeffrey_merged: didn’t say a club. I don’t think, but

I could be

Brett: at first Ave up, uh, behind the plexiglass on the, on the, on the balcony level. Um, and I just sat there in a bar stool and fell


and it was a

pleasant nap.

I, I can’t complain. I like, I like got speed. Just

jeffrey_merged: the, the idea of like napping at

shows is really, we’ve really missed a chance culturally, to make that a norm. Like, I just feel like I’ve fallen asleep. I love going to see classical music and I will often fall asleep at some point. And it’s the nicest little nap in the world.

Eric: An expensive one, but I

jeffrey_merged: super expensive.

Well, I’m awake for most of it, you

know, but

they always play a couple things. You didn’t come for, you know, like any


Brett: it’s PLE it’s pleasant to wake up and realize you’re in the

middle of a, a,

show you wanted to see. It’s a, it’s a great way to


jeffrey_merged: that [00:04:00] is max Richter has a, the composer has an album called sleep. That’s a, that’s the actual composition is like 24 hours

long and

Eric: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah.

jeffrey_merged: And the idea is you do go and you

sleep to it. Um, which is just like,


Eric: I feel like it’s in an app literally

called sleep. I could

jeffrey_merged: there is actually an app for it. Yeah, totally.

Brett: we need to add this

show. No, it’s max Richter.

jeffrey_merged: Max Richter sleep. Yeah. I mean, I actually was just, I just took a, uh, late morning nap to it cause I was feeling a little under the weather. It’s my napping. Totally. My napping music. Anyway, Eric, um, people who have listened to Brett podcasts have, have met you before, but I was wondering if you could kind of introduce


Meet Rabbi Eric Linder (again)

Eric: Yeah. So, uh, I’m a rabbi in Athens, Georgia. I’ve been here 10 years, uh, decided to be a rabbi. The, the, the joke I tell people is when I realized I would not be the

saxophonist for James Brown, I decided to be a rabbi, but, uh,

jeffrey_merged: so, [00:05:00]

Eric: right. It was one or the other, no, nothing else. Uh, I started college as a music major on saxophone.

And, um, you know, I grew up what I’ll call fairly mainline reform Judaism. So reform Judaism is a, is a denomination of Judaism that, uh, leans more to the liberal side. And I was active in youth group. And I, I, I made friends in Hebrew school. I went to undergrad at university of Florida and got involved in some Jewish activities there with Hillel and other things like that.

But it was really when I went to a summer camp, which is actually just about an hour from Athens in near a small town called Helen Georgia. Have either of you been there by chance?

jeffrey_merged: no.

Eric: It’s a weird little town. It’s a very touristy, it’s like a, it looks like a Bulgarian. Dollhouse has come to life and you’re walking around in it, like Google pictures of Helen, Georgia.


jeffrey_merged: Okay. Okay.

Eric: Um, and lots of like fudge places and funnel cakes and

jeffrey_merged: Yeah. [00:06:00] Okay. I get it. I get it. I’m starting to a, picture’s

starting to


Eric: you go. Um, and so there’s a Jewish summer camp, uh, very close to there that I went to as a counselor. And that kind of started this journey for me. And now I’ve been a rabbi 16

years, I think.

jeffrey_merged: 16 years.

Eric: yeah, it’s

crazy. Uh, started in Omaha, Nebraska at a synagogue. There had a wonderful

jeffrey_merged: way I, I have, most of my working life is spent in Omaha.

Eric: Oh, funny.

jeffrey_merged: you where we’re in Omaha.

Eric: Oh, right. I mean right in the heart of it, I was, uh, in


jeffrey_merged: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome.

Eric: and still have lots of good friends there and, uh, keep in touch with folks. And then I moved here to Athens and like two weeks after I moved here, I met the woman. That would be my wife, which is hysterical because I, Athens is the smallest Jewish community I’ve ever lived in.

So like, it, it is, I mean, I, I went to rabbinical school in New York, New York city, and then Omaha is about 5,000

Jews. And then [00:07:00] Athens, nobody, if you don’t count students, it’s probably 500 or so. I mean, nobody really knows, of course. And you know, I had this vision of being on J date and like driving to Atlanta, you know, once or twice a week, going on these blind dates and was not excited about that prospect.

And, you know, I met Emily, uh, through a congregant at a retirement party and now we have

two kids and

that That’s


jeffrey_merged: That’s

Brett: Was it, one of those,



need to meet my, my neighbor or my daughter kind of

Eric: No. She walked into this party and I was, and I

asked, um, the person who retired his wife, I said, Lauren, do you know who this woman is? She said, yes. And she’s recently single and Jewish and stereotypically, my wife does not present as looking Jewish. She’s tall blonde

hair, blue eyes. So, um,

jeffrey_merged: Yeah. Awesome. So you’re like, yes. Okay. Yes, the signals were not there, but now I know. Where, where did [00:08:00] you go to school? In New York.

Eric: It’s so it’s called Hebrew union college is the seminary and it’s right

by NYU, downtown fourth and Broadway

jeffrey_merged: My, um, My, wife went to union theological

seminary up near


Eric: sure.

jeffrey_merged: and, uh, and took some classes across the street.

Um, at the what, what is the

school across

Eric: J JTS.

jeffrey_merged: the JTS. Yeah. Jewish


Eric: what did, what did she take there? Like what

jeffrey_merged: She, um, well she was studying

theologies of evil and, uh, and also feminist theology.

Uh she’s like she likes to party, you know,

Eric: Well, it’s like my wife’s specialty is PTSD

and sexual trauma. It’s

jeffrey_merged: See. Yeah. Yeah. So I can picture already the books that lay around the house. Like that was, I remember when she, we had our first child living in New York city when she was still in school. And, um, and, and it was almost like he was waiting for her to finish this paper on evil. It was just literally just a paper on evil.

And, um, and she had a book laying [00:09:00] around that. Just the biggest word you could see on it was just evil, you know, and she’s like waiting for this baby to come. And it was like, as soon as she handed in that paper, she started going into labor and within hours we were in a taxi going to the hospital. I was like, just needed that, that evil


Eric: That’s right. Just get it out. Get it.

jeffrey_merged: don’t wanna bring that into the whole labor process.

Anyhow. That’s awesome.

Eric: the Odyssey is one of my favorite Tencent

words that, you know,

jeffrey_merged: a good tenent word, that’s a 25% word, but you, okay. So you’re a rabbi and I’m looking at you and, and like Brett, you have framed black and white pictures in musical instruments behind you. Um, so can you tell, tell me, tell us a little bit about


Eric: Yeah. So, you know, music has always been huge for me. I mean, I, I, honest to God, remember when I was in sixth grade and going to like the, some open house for people interested in band, and I picked out the saxophone purely because it had a lot of buttons and I just, I liked the mechanics of it. And, [00:10:00] um, I’ve always found joy in listening to music, learning about music, certainly playing it.

Uh, it’s a huge part of what draws me to Judaism, what both drew me in and in terms of, I guess, how I present Judaism, if that makes sense, you know, through music and, and through musical teachings. Um, so yeah, I have this studio in my basement. It’s it’s, as my wife likes to make fun. It’s one of my man caves that she’s allowed me.

Um, but yeah, it’s a lot of fun down here. A lot of

electronic keyboards and drums and, and stuff

jeffrey_merged: Yeah. What’s the other cave.

Eric: So the other cave

is, yeah, well, so next to it is, well, it, it could be my study. It’s, it’s, it’s become a bourbon room just to my left that uh, that’s it’s the combination of pandemic and

children somehow


Um, and then I have a, a whole video game. Well, it’s, it’s

the general playroom, but, [00:11:00] um,

jeffrey_merged: all right, hold on. Let’s just, let’s talk

about that. Let’s talk about the video game room.

Brett: I wanna, I wanna point out one thing because nobody can see it, but the lighting in the man cave, you’re currently in with all the musical instruments,

you have some

like maybe Scots lighting going on.

It’s gorgeous. you have the best

jeffrey_merged: It’s true. It’s true.

Brett: ever seen.

Eric: that you say that Brett, because it’s because a lot of bulbs are they’re all BR 30, like flood lights. But literally there’s only three on, because they’re all burned out. The electrician was here last week.

Brett: It looks beautiful.

Eric: speaking of like stereotypical Jewish guy that



anything about, you know, electronics. I have the electrician here thinking like it’s some complicated mistake

with wiring. He’s like, these bulbs



jeffrey_merged: Oh, right,

Eric: Here’s $150 to tell me that. Thank you.

jeffrey_merged: That’s amazing. And a little bourbon. That’s incredible. Okay. So you have a, a video game room. It is. It is. How old are your kids?

Eric: at two and a half in six [00:12:00] months.

jeffrey_merged: So this is truly your video game room. Let’s

hear about it.

Eric: but it will be theirs. It will.

jeffrey_merged: sure.

Of course. That’s why That’s uh,

it’s it’s under that, that you, uh,

build it, right?

Like, yeah. Yeah. I build this future for my children. Um, so what’s the what’s what’s what would I see if I

walk in

Eric: Oh yeah. I mean, Xbox PlayStation. Um, I’ve been playing with, uh, you know, about the Phillips hubs. So I have a sync box. So if I’m really feeling

geeky, I can sync the lights to the

TV and the

jeffrey_merged: Nice, nice. That’s awesome. Do you have the, do you have the PlayStation five or do you have

me too, but nobody else it’s like my, my poor teenagers are like, I wanna play with people on this thing, but

nobody has it.

Eric: Yeah. So we’re, we’re in

Jeff. Let, let,

jeffrey_merged: yes. do it. You gotta get got lucky. Got lucky. Um, do you do any, do you mess with any vintage video game stuff?

Eric: like, like

jeffrey_merged: gaming either?

Just like, yeah.

Any, any [00:13:00] interpretation


Eric: yeah, so I have emulators, I actually have an arcade cabinet that I, I got from myself. Um,

Brett: the question right there is, do you have an arcade

Eric: or

something. Yeah.

jeffrey_merged: yeah. I, um, hold on. I’m gonna grab something,

Eric: Yeah. Tell me everything.

Brett: while, while he’s running off, have you seen the go V lighting stuff?

Eric: No.

Brett: It’s super affordable compared to hu. And you can like hook it up to a microphone and have like rope lights and, and back lights, all like dance to music. It’s actually

really good.

Eric: Go V.

Brett: G


Eric: Okay, look, look it up.

jeffrey_merged: So I built this for my kids out of a like ancient electronics project box, uh, that I got at this amazing surplus store called Axman in town. And everybody I’m just holding up like kind of a joy, it’s a joystick with a bunch of bunch of buttons and it actually has


Eric: fighter. Uh,

jeffrey_merged: has [00:14:00] that look. And it has like a seven inch screen that,


is actually normally hooked up to it.

But I’m upgrading it.

Brett: to a 10 inch.

jeffrey_merged: uh, no, I’m upgrading the electronics inside and, and putting speakers in and

Eric: so is it a raspberry pie or

jeffrey_merged: yeah, it has a raspberry pie in it. I’m

totally obsessed, um, with them anyway. Well, you have a lot of fun rooms in your house. Um, that’s great.

Eric: yes. So that’s something else that right when I got here, um, met now a very dear friend, who’s the one of the, uh, heads of our band and found out I played sex and I sat in with the band and, and it’s great, cuz there’s obviously overlap culturally with Judaism, but you know, a lot of congregants come to our shows and it’s just a nice way to integrate with

the community and, and be involved in the music scene and

all that stuff

jeffrey_merged: That’s awesome. So how did you and Brett meet.

Eric: we met because I annoyed him on Twitter. I think I just had

Brett: sounds about right.

Eric: OmniFocus questions,

[00:15:00] automation,

Brett: Yeah. You hired

Eric: apple script.

Brett: you, you you hired me as a consultant for some of your crazier scripting stuff. And eventually, like, it got

to a

point where I was like attending your temple services and I wasn’t charging



Eric: Yeah, Jeff, be careful. well, yeah, I mean, I think I was asking you all these questions and you were so nice and responding and I just, I was like, you know what, rather than like one at a time and, you know, ignoring you at all hours, can I hire

you for an hour and, you know, pay you for this

expertise is

jeffrey_merged: I basically did the same thing.

Brett: is the way you worm your way into Brett’s

life is, uh,

jeffrey_merged: That’s how you end up on his podcast. I also like the idea that apple script is like the gateway to converting to Judaism. I mean, you all know how someone says they’re doing apple script, you know what they


Eric: that’s somewhere

jeffrey_merged: yeah, that’s right. That’s right. [00:16:00]

Well, should we do, uh, should we do our mental health corner?

Brett: Yeah, let’s let’s let’s do that. And then we’ll, we’ll hit a sponsor then, then I kind of wanna talk about like an atheist



Mental Health Corner

jeffrey_merged: perfect. Sounds good. Um, it’s a, it doesn’t have to be, how is your mental health? It can be a mental health checking of any sort. Uh, you, you wanna start you, are you feeling, are you feeling really brave? Eric?

Eric: I mean, I, I could start, I I’ve listened to you all a few times. I, I. um, I have a sense of what’s happening even regardless of my mental health. Um, so we’re actually, it’s a, we’re actually in a, a super interesting time in the Jewish calendar. Um, we’re right before our Jewish high holidays of Han and Kippur Han actually starts Sunday.

And the month prior to Rohan, it’s called Elul is meant as a time for introspection and really kind of thinking about your life and your [00:17:00] priorities and what a lot of people do. My myself included is try and have either a meditation or reading for everyday of Elul that either focuses on an aspect of introspection or forgiveness, which is another huge theme.

And so in many ways, mental health, you know, in kind of capital letters is what this month is about. Um, at the, as a rabbi though, I don’t know that my mental health is as balanced as Judaism kind of would want it to be because I’m, you know, I’m trying to promote, it’s like a physician healed myself kind of situation where I’m, you know, giving it to the congregation hopefully, but not necessarily always taking it for myself.

And so I’ve really been, especially as Roshan comes closer and closer, I’ve really tried to kind of take those themes to heart. Um, and it’s different with kids too, like just thinking about time and how, [00:18:00] you know, we’re, we’re always in a rush to get to the next thing, or certainly I am. And like my two and a half year old, if he wants to jump, doesn’t matter that dad has an appointment or, you know, or it’s lunchtime or whatever.

So, um, that’s kind of, uh, where I am. And, and what I’ve been thinking about in

terms of, uh, mental health lately.

Brett: Yeah,

jeffrey_merged: to have a framework.

Eric: It is. And the other thing too, is like, without a framework, people don’t do it. Like, that’s why there’s apps. That’s why there’s like all of these methodologies,

because we, it, it helps.

jeffrey_merged: Yeah. Yeah, For sure.

For sure. It’s funny. You mentioned the kids like I, so I have two teenage boys. Um, but when I, when the first home was born, I remember having this just in those hours after having this distinct feeling that I could see further and, and, uh, and almost like this opening of a, of a void or something, like avoid sounds like a negative connotation, but like, I felt like I could see [00:19:00] further beyond just whatever kind of shortsightedness I had been living my, my life with up until having a child.

Right. But then really

Brett: heard that description.

jeffrey_merged: but really quickly it becomes you can’t see past

your fucking nose. Right? Like, like

And I think that’s such a funny, such a funny


Eric: Absolutely. That’s a great, yeah.

Brett: like, it’ll, it’ll never happen to me. I’ve taken surgical, uh, precautions to ensure that I never become a father. But when I hear people talk about like the perspective change that happens when you have a kid, uh, like I find myself very curious, like I’ve always considered myself too selfish to have children.

Um, I am too obsessed with like figuring out my own life that I, I don’t feel qualified to, um, inflict my, uh, insecurities, I guess, uh, my, my lack of direction onto another [00:20:00] life form. Uh, but the response I get from people who are happy, parents is often like none of that matters. Once you have the kid, like everything changes, your, your perspective changes your, your, what you thought was selfishness then gets directed towards a new life form.

I, I,

that’s curious. I,

believe that could be, uh, a situation.

jeffrey_merged: Yeah, 10 years of 10 years of high triage will definitely

the selfishness out of you.

Eric: And, and to flip it too. I mean, I think there is a, not in a negative way. I, I have a whole thing on selfishness gets a bad rap sometimes, but, um, in, in a way it,

your children is extension of your, of yourself. So it, it, it, it almost like it’s selfishness in that way too. Like, they are a part of you, so it’s not like you’re giving up something to

be with them.

Like it it’s like, it’s the same thing in a.[00:21:00]

jeffrey_merged: a nice way to put it. That’s a nice way to put it. Yeah. Yeah. Having kids can also be the ultimate selfish act, right. Like

Eric: I mean, yeah. I mean, like, look at, you know, overpopulation and the planet and the world. I

jeffrey_merged: right,

Eric: don’t, I don’t want our mental health to now go down thinking of

Brett: if, if, if

you want a list of all the reasons not to have

kids, we can do

Eric: AB it’s very easy. Very,

jeffrey_merged: too late for me. Um, uh, I can, I can go. I, you know, I, um, I am just, uh, really benefiting from, uh, probably my eighth or ninth week with a new therapist. And, um, after having one for the same therapist for probably three years, she retired and I’ve mentioned this on the show before, but I, um, it is an incredible thing to generally in life.

It’s an incredible thing to watch a good professional, do what they do, but it’s a really incredible thing to be held by the [00:22:00] sort of skills of a professional in the case of therapy in a way that, um, Uh, that I, in, in this case, I just, I’m noticing after years after decades of kind of circling around some of the same things, all of a sudden, I feel like I’m standing somewhere different with those things.

I’m not, I haven’t healed from any issues. Not that healing is a final state. Right. But like, but, um, but I’ve just been so grateful, uh, to have this particular therapist at this particular time in my life and, um, and is a great argument for why, why we try so hard to find the right therapist in the first place, cuz it doesn’t always work.

Um, I’ve had to, you know, I’ve had to let one go before, but, but it just is an amazing thing. Now that said she only does, uh, online therapy and I realized that after eight weeks or so, it is strange to not have been in a physical space with a person that you’ve shared this much with, you know [00:23:00]

Eric: My therapist, I is online as well. And that’s the only way I know him. Yeah,

jeffrey_merged: yeah, yeah. yeah. And, and like she’s technically savvy. Thank God. My, my retired, uh, therapist, the first, probably four to six appointments of COVID. I was doing tech support for 20 minutes of the hour and I was not actually in a good place. So I was just like, can we, can you figure this out some other fucking time

Eric: Oh my God. I

jeffrey_merged: can you figure this out?

Uh, you know, she’s like, well, I’m just not hearing it now. And I’m, and then she got a kitten at the same time and the kitten was jumping on. It was just like, it was insane. Anyway, just grateful for that. And, and as always recommending, you know, if you feel like you’ve never been to therapy or like it’s been too long, uh, it’s so worth, it’s so worth looking into it and trying to find a match.


Brett: Oh, I can follow that


jeffrey_merged: All right. Hit me.

Brett: So, okay. My, I, I recently got a new therapist. I got a therapist. This is my [00:24:00] first real therapist. Um, and if you had talked to me last week after my weekly, like right now, I’m, I’m going every week. Um, and if you had talked to me last week, I would’ve been a lot more skeptical because I went to see him in person.

Like I have the option to do either telehealth or in person visits. So I was like, I’m gonna try it in person. And I showed up and the session ended up being like, mostly we talked. Like, uh, media, uh, our favorite movies and, uh, Neil Gaman and adaptations of, of comic books into movies. And it was an intriguing conversation, but it’s not what I ever thought therapy would be about.

And, and he was like, yeah, no, it’s good to just, you know, establish a, a personal base, uh, like groundwork, uh, to get to know each other. So I was like, all right, I’m, I’m gonna let this one [00:25:00] go. I’ll, I’ll pay for a, a shoot the shit session with this guy. And, and we’ll see what happens. And then this week, uh, I went back to telehealth just due to schedule and holy shit, like we, I learned so much.

This week, like my therapist, he, he, he, he likes to explain things. Um, like I expected to spend a lot more time talking about myself, um, and have him nod and writing a notebook, uh, just based on what I’ve seen of therapy in movies. Um, but he, he has a lot of input on what I’m feeling and what I’m going through.

And he’s actually given he’s younger than me. Uh, he actually has a lot, especially when it comes to bipolar, uh, ADHD, religious trauma, like he, he knows his shit and he proved that this last week, um, the big takeaway for me [00:26:00] was, uh, he suggested, so I quit drinking, uh, officially two years ago, had some relapses, um, and I was framing them as failures.

Uh, Like just the term relapse in and of itself is a loaded term. And like with heroin, I have good reason not to do heroin. Like I ruined people’s lives with my heroin addiction. Uh, alcohol I’ve never hurt anybody. Like maybe I got in a fight once when I was a teenager. Um, cuz I was drunk, but I’ve never hurt anybody.

I’ve never stolen from anybody. I’ve never, I’ve never even like emotionally injured as far as I know someone because I was drunk. So I don’t have this strong, like I can never drink again. It will hurt people. Uh, I just, I, I shouldn’t drink again because I know I’m not super [00:27:00] responsible with it and, and it’s not healthy.

Like it’s, it’s bad for my teeth. It’s bad for my, my liver or whatever. And, uh, and so he, he wants me to attempt to reframe my relationship with alcohol and like the times that I have quote unquote relapsed, uh, I’ve been like, I’ve had a bottle of whiskey in the basement and, and I sneak it and I use some mouthwash and go about my life.

Um, and maybe don’t sneak alcohol in the basement, maybe join my girlfriend for a glass of wine when she’s having a glass of wine and maybe, uh, attempt to drink socially and responsibly and not, not hide a bottle of whiskey in the basement. So it was a, it was a great conversation. Like we’re, we’re, I’m gonna attempt a new, a new paradigm.

If it doesn’t work out, if it proves that I just cannot be responsible, then we [00:28:00] look at more drastic, like, uh, complete abstinence, but it was like, he, he. Saw me in a way that, like, if you go to a 12 step program, uh, you, you go in, you just, by showing up there, you’re admitting you have a problem. And the only option is a hundred percent abstinence.

Uh, and he, and the way it’s framed is not necessarily, uh, helpful to people that might be in more of a gray area. So it was, it was enlightening. Um, I’m, I’m, I’m looking forward to this reframing of my relationship with alcohol as an attempt maybe, maybe, maybe AA is right. Maybe I don’t have a, a chance in hell of ever drinking responsibly.

Maybe. Uh, gonna find out, gonna gonna test the waters. So all this to say, like the [00:29:00] guy has really, he proved himself to me in the last session that he sees me as a person, he understands where I’m coming

from. And yeah, I’m really looking forward to my next

session with him.

Eric: that’s awesome.

Yeah, that’s great.

jeffrey_merged: That is so good.

Brett: Yeah.

jeffrey_merged: Yeah.

Failure. I feel like it’s like a good, a good therapist. Helps. At least in my case, my therapists, when they’ve been good, have always been so good at stopping me when I I’m clocking myself upside the head and making me kind of open the fists and you


Brett: So, he asks me what’s the antonym of shame. And, and my answer was pride. Like the opposite of shame is pride,

but he’s like, no, it’s compassion. The opposite of

shame is compassion. and and I was like, holy shit. Yeah. Like the things that I have figured out, especially in relationship to my ADHD, uh, is compassion, like [00:30:00] understanding myself in a way that lets me, uh, feel compassion for that kid.

You know, like to look back and say, this is life was rough for this kid. And I feel compassion for him. He wasn’t, he wasn’t lazy. He wasn’t a failure. He, he deserves compassion and, and same with like religious trauma and all of the shit that I’ve gone through with that, uh, compassion like that. That’s kind of the, the keyword.

From my last session, it’s just compassion, especially self-compassion, but that translates to compassion for others. Like how can you possibly exist in the world? If you paint everyone in black and white terms, good and evil and have, have no compassion for, for people’s stories for, for where people are coming from.

So that was actually a, that was

kind of a, an eyeopening thing for me.

Eric: Yeah. And that,

that goes so much toward, uh, Jewish teaching too. Especially during this [00:31:00] time. I mean, it really does. And again, not trying to convert anyone, but just the resonance there of, you know, the, the Judaism and I mean, the high holidays as a microcosm of that is all about us moving forward. And you know, my wife, uh, we were talking before the show, she’s a therapist.

Her specialty is, uh, cognitive behavioral. So like your therapist, Brett, a lot of talking, you know, it’s not the Freudian of like, yes. Tell me about yours.

Brett: And how does that make



Eric: Right. Exactly. But you know, the, the, I, one thing that she, her and I talk about all the time when I have, we, we, I have what we coin on. We sometimes where it’s just like the middle of the day and like, I’ll have a few hours free and I just don’t feel like doing anything and, or, or I’ll feel regret that I’m not doing anything.


you know, we talk about all the time that like you go down that rabbit hole where then you just feel regretful or shame and, and to use your word, when you feel [00:32:00] compassion, you’re motivated maybe to do something productive or good in the world. And that’s, I mean, that’s what Judaism is all about is taking our mistakes or what seemed like failures or places where we didn’t hit the mark.

And rather than beat ourselves up about it, just do better just starting today. Just do better.

Brett: As a bit of backstory. Um, Eric and I, uh, we started a podcast called an atheist and a rabbi, uh, something, something, I forget exactly what the title was, but, um, Eric has always accepted that I am an atheist and has never attempted to convince me that God exists, but has offered me like what, what wisdom he can from a Jewish perspective.

And he has invited me to temple and I have attended with like, as an atheist, I have attended temple and have learned from what Eric, [00:33:00] uh,


don’t, it’s

not preaching. What, what is it you do



Eric: I mean, if I give a preaching sermonizing

Brett: It’s a sermon. It’s a sermon. Yeah, but it’s it’s you don’t have to accept God. To, to take something away from, from Eric’s temple or probably from most Jewish temples.

Like, I, I don’t have a lot of experience, but like, uh, there’s been a, there’s been an understanding and I think if I’m not mistaken,

you have atheist in your congregation, do you not?

Eric: Oh 100% and that’s not atypical in Jewish communities either. And you know, the, the way, the, the way I frame it, I mean, I, I could go on for hours about this. I, I’m not, I promise, uh, to all the listeners, this is gonna be very short, but you, if you picture a Venn diagram with religion being one circle and God being one circle, there’s definitely an [00:34:00] overlap, but they are absolutely not the same

Brett: yeah.

jeffrey_merged: Yeah. That’s nicely put,

Brett: What’s the, is it a lo Aloha,

ALO Heim. What’s the Jewish word for

God Elohim

Eric: Elohim is, is one name there’s there’s many, but that’s Yeah.

Brett: Yeah. I come from the church of yawe

jeffrey_merged: I

heard of that, dude. Um, I truly hate to do this, but we

have to read a sponsor.

Brett: Yes, let’s do it

jeffrey_merged: minutes in

Brett: Oh, man.

jeffrey_merged: call it 30.

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jeffrey_merged: Ding D ding,

Bearing witness to ourselves

jeffrey_merged: ding, you know, something that I think is really amazing about finding, being able to have compassion, especially as you were talking about it, Brett, like towards like your younger, younger self, is that when you can do that, when you find yourself able to have that compassion, you’re also bearing witness in, in a way that almost nobody else could, like, if you’re thinking I’ve had this experience recently looking at things when I was younger and, and finding some compassion for myself and understanding, or kind of making room for understanding what that [00:37:00] experience was like for me also ends up being that I serve as sort of a witness to it.

Brett: define this term for define, define, bearing

witness, cuz for me,

that’s a loaded term coming from a fundamentalist background.

jeffrey_merged: It comes from, I mean, it’s absolutely rooted

in, uh, in a theological sense, right. Because it’s the idea of bearing witness to suffering, bearing witness to, you know, what, what is true about somebody, um, that maybe that person can’t see or bearing witness to a system that is, that is doing something to people that, you know, so it really does have its roots.

Cuz the idea is like if it’s seen then all that, all that needs to happen can happen once it’s seen. Right?

Brett: Yeah.


jeffrey_merged: It’s my sermon for the day.

Eric: That’s a good one. No it is. And you know, people forget too, forgiving yourself is as important as forgiving


Brett: That, that I have [00:38:00] definitely learned, like the thing that has allowed me to move forward, um, like getting ADHD and bipolar diagnoses were huge for me. Um, they gave me an understanding of why my life has gone the way it’s gone. Um, but the process of forgiving myself, the process, like even day to day, like, like you were talking about, like you have some free time and you feel guilty about all the things you don’t feel like doing and being able to forgive yourself, being able to find that compassion.

Is what leads to actually doing something worthwhile. Um, and from, so from like a, a grand scheme of things, forgiving childhood me to like forgiving me for not feeling like doing this, this thing that maybe needs to be done. Maybe it’s just an idea that I wish I could bring to fruition. Uh, but I just don’t have the [00:39:00] motivation and finding that forgiveness really

leads to actual like productivity.

Eric: And all, you know, I, I also, I, I, I think I’m hearing my wife in my ear too. Like, it doesn’t mean anything we do is okay. And like, you know, just like you could do anything and you’re just like, it’s okay. Just forgive yourself. But don’t let that mistake be kind of, you know, is a biblical phrase, uh, from the Torah, uh, be a stumbling block for the blind.

Like don’t let that mistake stop you from then doing the right thing or doing better. And that’s really the, the key, I


Brett: Yeah,

Eric: Which of course is easier to say than to do. I mean, I, I say, you know, rabbis often write the sermons that like they need to hear, and that is 100% true for me as, so I’m by no means.

Am I like

preaching to you here?

Brett: I can tell you, my girlfriend is a yoga instructor and she often leads the class that she needs [00:40:00] for her body at that

Brett’s weekend plans (including dinner with Jeff!)

Brett: time. Um, can I tell you about my weekend


jeffrey_merged: Of course

Eric: Sure.

Brett: So, so I’ve decided to start taking like foodie trips. Um, I watch enough food shows it’s become like my new porn, uh, is to watch like Hulu and Netflix food shows and.

And to, to really explore my palette. And I live in a small town. We have very few restaurant choices. We have some actually amazing sushi considering we’re in like landlocked fucking Midwest. Um, the, like the, we have two great sushi restaurants in a town of 30,000 people, but we don’t have much else. And, uh, so, and I have a lot of dietary restrictions.

Like I am sensitive to gluten and dairy and uh, if I eat [00:41:00] either of those things, I end up, I, I pay for it. I won’t go into details, but I pay for it. Um, and I have decided to take like weekend vacations where I ignore my dietary restrictions and just plan to pay for them in the next week and go to cities with like a lot of food options and.

Eat and just for two days, just breakfast, lunch, and dinner, just find the best restaurants available and, and eat the food that I want to eat. I have some savings, like I’ve been working a corporate job for over a year now. I’ve, I’ve saved up some cash and I feel like eating is what makes me happiest. Uh, I appreciate a good meal in a way that is almost religious.

And, uh, so, so my first trip this weekend, uh, I leave, I leave today. I’m headed to [00:42:00] Minneapolis. Um, I have, I have dates set up for. Friday dinner, Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner, Sunday, breakfast and Sunday lunch. I’m still looking for a date for Saturday breakfast. Uh, but one of my, one of my stops will be Mr.

Jeff severances. Gunzel uh, we have a, we have a dinner date on Saturday and, and I am very much looking forward to just like, I basically, I put it on, on Twitter. Like if I came to your city, where would you take me? and and I got a lot of feedback from, from people that are like, uh, so I’m gonna go to Portland.

I think my next trip is to Portland because, because I am vegetarian. And Portland is considered the most like vegan friendly city for culinary arts in the country. And, and I could go to [00:43:00] Portland and eat. like gluten free vegan the whole weekend and, and, and always have great food. But, um, I’m finding even Minneapolis,

which is just a two hour drive for me,


is full of, is full of

jeffrey_merged: we got your vegans buddy.

Brett: Well,

jeffrey_merged: they, Dr. They, they ride really tall bikes, just like in


Brett: I’m, gonna be honest. I’m willing to cheat, like I’ve already decided I’m not gonna worry about gluten and dairy. I’m I’m gonna pay the price for that. And when it comes to, if, if, if there is a Cuban pork sandwich

that is calling my name, I’m gonna fucking eat it. These

Eric: one for you in Athens, Georgia, Brett.

Brett: these, these weekends are, are guilt free eat, good food and, and good food may include meat. And I’m willing, I’m willing to cheat just on these weekends, which will not be [00:44:00] a regular thing. And I would always prefer to eat meat that is ethically sourced,


that said like these weekends are a free for all for


jeffrey_merged: I’ll tell you where I’m taking you, because you say you don’t mind, like in your words, cheating, but if you’re, I don’t wanna be part of putting meat in you, if it doesn’t make you feel good. So there’s a, there’s actually this place called trio plant based and it’s a black run vegan soul food place. And I say black run because in this town, if it’s vegan soul food, it was likely to be white up

Brett: Right? Sure.

jeffrey_merged: but it’s just an, it is incredible. I’m not vegan. I was back in the day. I’m not vegan. I love this place.

Brett: All right. I’m in.

jeffrey_merged: you’re gonna love it.

Brett: That sounds amazing. There’s a, there souled in Chicago was the first, first vegan soul food I ever had. And it was before I was even vegan.

I had

souled in Chicago and was like, holy shit.

jeffrey_merged: I love a vegan restaurant where, where I’m like, oh, I’ll go eat there

[00:45:00] anytime. I don’t even think about the fact that it’s vegan. No offense. It’s all. It’s cool, man. Vegan’s cool.

Eric: Yeah,

jeffrey_merged: don’t,

Brett: I am I,

jeffrey_merged: ride with it anymore, but

Brett: so I am pescatarian. I just wanna be totally honest. I eat eggs and cheese and I will eat fish. Um, so I am far from vegan. I am, I am three points away from being an actual vegan, but given my, uh, my allergy to gluten and dairy, it’s easiest to just say I’m vegan. Um, cuz that automatically excludes dairy and there’s a lot of gluten free vegan available.

Um, but yes, uh, there’s a, there’s a breakfast joint in Minneapolis that I’ve forgotten it’s on the west bank earth, something earth. Uh, but

they, it was the first place they ever had like a vegan


jeffrey_merged: Oh, I


what you’re

thinking of.

and the name is totally escaping me, but yeah, I

Brett: [00:46:00] and they, you, you can give any name you want

to, um, and they will call it over this little loud speaker system they have set up and I

would always

give my name as you and

the bushes.

jeffrey_merged: It’s because , Hey you in the bushes, uh it’s. You’re thinking of their dish, the like whole green

Brett: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly.

jeffrey_merged: why I can’t, you know,

friend of the show Danny glamor worked there,

Brett: Oh really? That makes sense.

jeffrey_merged: Back in the day. um,

yeah, that’s a

good place for vegan and also not

Brett: Wait. It may be where I go Saturday morning sands

jeffrey_merged: right. Yeah. Maybe, maybe we could talk Daniel into it. Um, alright.

Eric: get someone to run services I’ll I’ll come to

jeffrey_merged: You’ll come. You’ll come. This is gotta

get a


Brett: So Eric, Eric is coming to Minneapolis in December and we will, I will actually, I will absolutely be coming to meet him and, and we will get a meal. Uh, but I’m also willing to visit Athens Georgia. I’ve [00:47:00] I’ve had some great

food in Georgia. Like my brother went to college in Savannah

Eric: Oh, yeah.

Brett: currently lives in Atlanta and every time I’ve been there, I’ve


great food. Um, is Athens near

the coast?

Eric: No, no. And the, the

Savannah is actually one of the closest beaches, which is like six hours away.

Brett: Okay. Okay.

jeffrey_merged: from the coast. That’s right. I forget.

Eric: I know it’s weird. My geography is horrible. I just know

that that’s how long it took GPS to take us to


jeffrey_merged: right, right, right. well, Brett, I think that sounds like an exciting, uh, what sounds like a year you’re

gonna have, uh, going places and

Brett: I’m, I’m I’m gonna keep saving up money. I’m I’m gonna try not to dip too far into my savings to do this. Uh, but flying is expensive

these days. Um, even trains are expensive these days, so I gotta kinda gotta kinda figure out the best way to stretch my [00:48:00] budget, to eat the best food possible without, you know, digging into

my, my

retirement fund, I guess.

Grapptitude (with a pre-game)

jeffrey_merged: Brett, can I do a pre GRAT tube


Brett: Yeah.

jeffrey_merged: it’s to you? Um, I have finally started creating how it build notes in all of my repositories, um, and in a few other places on my computer. And it’s all been part of this effort. Brett knows this well that I’ve had this kind of, it’s almost like a nervous Twitch that causes me to clean install my computer once every couple, few months.

Um, and usually what happens is I, I just, I don’t know what it is. I like going through the process of just kind of building things back up. I usually build some new system in the process, whatever, but it’s very destructive overall, um, to do this. And I think, and I believe connected to my now medicated, bipolar.

Um, so I haven’t, this one was totally different, right. [00:49:00] So I did the, like the reinstall, but I’m building everything so mindfully, so Brett has this. I don’t know, called a utility, which called it.

Brett: tool a tool, a

TT tool,

jeffrey_merged: a

TT tool, um, it called house it, and it’s

just, you know, Brett classic, Brett style.

It’s a plain text file that you put into some repository where that involves you. You know, like say I imagine it like this. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a folder. It’s a project that I, I, I go to maybe every few months and every time I go to it, I have to remember some sequence of events, uh, to kind of get it running again, especially with the repository, you know, I gotta make sure the environment is ready and have I, do I have everything installed that needs to be installed and have I configured, you know, where I need to configure.

And that can really, really freeze me up when it comes time to revisit. Um, a project, especially something like that lives in a repository, something that’s sort of code based, command based, that kind of thing. And so this time, Brett, when I [00:50:00] rebuilt my system, I just paused everything. Once I had all my repos in and, you know, I had successfully kind of gone through, you know, I, I have web scrapers that run from my investigative work and stuff like that.

So I kind of touched everything. And then I was like, all right, no further, I’m writing a house. It file for each of these. So that the next time I blow up my computer system, if I decide to, I can at least get to this point very quickly. Um, and generally what I’m doing, because I don’t believe that I can stop myself from wanting to.

Clean install my computer. I don’t know what it is. Uh, I’m I’ve decided instead to just make sure that as I rebuild it every time I sort of systematize it so that I kind of defeat, um, this part of me that wants to just like knock all the Legos over, you know, and , and I can just kind of build it back up, uh, again, as needed.

And then assuming that I can beat this thing where I’m constantly, you know, knocking the Legos over, it just becomes useful and meaningful because it will be three months between touching a certain repository [00:51:00] or whatever. And so the ability to have through a text file create a sort of interaction, which is like, what part do you wanna do?

Do you wanna set the environment? Do you wanna run the script? Do you wanna clean up after the script? Right? It’s just been it’s

Brett: The

jeffrey_merged: as always.

Brett: yeah. Yeah. The time, the time that I write the most build notes is that first time I come after three months and touch a project and cannot remember

how, how it works and, and immediately I’ll figure it out. And as I figure it out, I’ll document it in a build notes file for how’s it in the future. But yeah, like you have to, you have to forget once

before you realize how important it is to document, and then in the process of figuring it back out,

you document what you figured

out and then you never have to do it again in,

jeffrey_merged: Yep. Yeah. And it’s nice. Cuz like my process is I, I open up a build file and I just make a bulleted list of everything I needed to do. And [00:52:00] then I just start writing it in. You’re incredibly simple syntax. Um, it’s beautiful.

Brett: I’m glad. I’m glad to hear. I’m glad to hear it. Serving someone else as well to

serve me.

jeffrey_merged: Oh my God. How’s it. I love it. That’s my deal.

Eric: It’s like two standard deviations above my comprehension.

The markdown tools, breast markdown tools are about my, my speed.

jeffrey_merged: yes, no. I, I relate to that. Like I’ve only in the last year, uh, is this something that I’m even able to handle? You know what I mean? Like, so I’ve always like, groked Brett’s tools, but been like, uh, I wish I was doing the kind of project where I could use that. but slowly but surely I’m getting there.

Brett: should we, uh, should we segue into your


jeffrey_merged: absolutely.

Brett: first? We have another sponsor.

jeffrey_merged: Oh, we do. Oh,


making this up. You make a

Brett: I’m just making this up. This episode is brought to you by atheist Judaism.

jeffrey_merged: Hmm. [00:53:00] I have

Eric: There’s another joke in there. Something will come to me.

Brett: Do you believe in God? No.


atheist Judaism.

jeffrey_merged: You know, in my world of, you know, my wife went to seminary, so lots of friends who became pastors and, and the like, um, and then I come from sort of Minneapolis, punk rocks. So a lot of atheists in the, in the house, I I’m gonna make an, an observation that I don’t think is all that, um, Wild, but I was thinking about it as you were speaking with Eric Brett about atheist and the congregation, is that in my experience, if I am sitting with an atheist, I feel far further from that person who is, you know, maybe preaching in a pulpit than I do from, from the atheist, if I’m sitting next to the preacher of the pulpit.

Um, I, I think that sometimes the, the construct of atheism, [00:54:00] which can be, I think in sometimes some cases very protective in nature, right. Especially if you’ve had religious trauma and I am not saying this is what happened to you. I don’t know. Right. But I think it can sometimes make it feel that there’s a thicker wall than there is.

And I say that as somebody who is. Any more comfortable saying, I believe in God than I am saying. I don’t believe in God, so I’m not coming. I’m coming. Literally. I find myself in the middle of atheists and, and believers of some form or another all the time. And that’s how it always feels. It just feels like sometimes the wall is a little higher because my friends who are atheist and it had, they got to it after much harm.

Brett: yeah.

jeffrey_merged: and, and so they’ve built this fortress called atheism that is fully understandable, right?

Brett: that’s the thing is like my initial, like atheism absolutely was a protection. Uh, it, when it started for me, like basically this, [00:55:00] this idea of God has hurt me enough has caused me. Uh, pain in my life that I refuse to believe in it. And over time it has become a far more intellectual thing. Um, like I, I refuse to believe without evidence and, and for fantastic claims, you need fantastic evidence and, and it has become more, it has become more scholarly, but yeah, absolutely.

It was, it was a defense mechanism at first and, uh, in the process, like over the years, I have found great connection with people like Eric, uh, and as well as like even Baptist preachers, like every kind of denomination, the clergy are the people who have actually questioned. This shit and, and have, have come up with their own [00:56:00] answers and their own justifications for believing.

And I have always been able to have a conversation with clergy in a way that I cannot with the average parishioner. Um, and, and it’s, it’s, um, like I, I can’t connect with someone unless they have truly questioned the existence of God, uh, the validity of religion. And, and if they have, and they have come to their own conclusions, I’m in, let’s talk.

Let’s let’s, we don’t have to debate, like, you’re not gonna change my mind. I’m not gonna change your mind, but let’s talk

about experiences and that’s always been fruitful


Eric: And, you know, I have so much to say about this would be, I guess it would be weird if I didn’t. Right. But you know, the first thing is, you know, Jeff, what, what you really beautifully describe? It reminds me of. You know, in [00:57:00] many ways the, the power that clergy has and in many ways, destructive, I mean, I, I hear stories from people who want to convert to Judaism.

You know, oftentimes it’s, it’s purely from a theological kind of, um, intellectual, spiritual place, but, but other times it is from, you know, they came out as gay and got kicked out of the church or, you know, all things like that. Um, and so I wouldn’t say it was a motivating factor in me becoming a rabbi because thankfully I, I did have positive experiences.

I mean, certainly nothing traumatic. Um, But it, I I’m reminded of that all of the time of kind of the power of clergy, especially with younger people and things like that. The other thing too, I think about a lot with atheism is, you know, for me, this kind of litmus test, I think of the movie contact, you know, when Jodi foster is not allowed because she doesn’t believe in God, like [00:58:00] first, like you have to define God to even make it a meaningful question.

Like to say, I believe in God and be like, Ooh, thank goodness. They believe

in God. Like what does that even mean?

Brett: Who who’s God.

Eric: yeah. And you know, something I do with kids a lot and frankly, adults too, is I ask the question, what kind of God do you believe in? And what kind of God don’t you believe in? Because when I talk to people that, you know, will describe themselves as atheists or die hard atheists or something like that, I’ll say, well, what kind of God, don’t you believe in?

And more often than not, that’s the same kind of God, I don’t believe in.

And then the, and then, um, the, the last thing I’ll say is, you know, I, I respect Richard Dawkins a lot. I, I read a lot of, you know, some of his science books before he became kind of this, the, you know, the atheist spokesperson,

Brett: Poster boy. Yeah,

Eric: But, you know, I, I, I call this


crop of atheists and this might be a [00:59:00] little bit tongue in cheek, but angry atheists. Right. And Brad, I don’t see you as an angry atheist. And I, as a matter of fact, I didn’t coin this term. I, I heard, uh, Jennifer, Michael, heck, who’s an incredible poet and author

jeffrey_merged: Oh

Eric: it. Um, you know, like you can be a spiritual atheist.

Without even question. Like, I don’t think that I don’t describe myself that way, but I absolutely think one can be, and one can find joy in religion and meaning in religion. And again, that, that separation sometimes of religion and God, and, you know, Judaism specifically, there’s a, without giving a full blown sermon right now that in the Tom mode, there’s this quote that’s attributed to God that says better.

They follow my laws than, than believe in me. And it’s like, that says it right there. And it’s, you know, it’s that it it’s a little bit of a gross metaphor, but there is some truth in it. Otherwise it wouldn’t exist of, you know, Christianity is a religion of creed, whereas Judaism is a [01:00:00] religion of deed.

Again, there’s so much to unpack there, but there’s something to it.

Brett: So to, to any atheist of my ilk is technically an agnostic. Um, we, we require evidence. We, we are willing to change our opinions based on evidence. We cannot disprove the existence of God. We just cannot prove the existence of God. So we refuse to accept what we cannot prove, but we do not discount the idea that if the correct evidence were presented, we might believe in a God, whether we worship that God is, you know, a question that remains to be seen.

It depends on the qualities of that, God, but we are, we are technically a, uh, agnostic and we, we’re not angry atheist. We are simply people who require, [01:01:00] uh, fantastic evidence for


claims. Um, yeah.

jeffrey_merged: There’s a, I don’t normally just pull out Jewish theologian quotes, but there happens to be one that I, that I’ve loved forever from Joshua Heshel. And it’s the, the high something that the higher point of spiritual living is not to AMA a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments. And I love that because it, for me that pulls me right out of the muck of like, of my own muck of what is God and what is, you know, whatever.

And it’s just kind of like that, that idea of like reentering yourself around sacred moments and whatever that similar to you. Like, you define it, you define what a sacred, you know, for yourself, you define what a sacred moment is. And I like that as a sort of, I like those kinds of, um, those kinds of invitations into the, in between spaces.

Eric: Yeah, absolutely. And Heschel’s very good. Uh, for anyone listening, he’s eminently

[01:02:00] readable whether you’re Jewish or not, whatever your belief

system is.

And Yeah.

jeffrey_merged: yeah,

I think that book was the Sabbath. I

Eric: Yeah. I would

imagine it is, which is also very short,

jeffrey_merged: yeah. Super. I know exactly right. That’s why it’s the one I know. I mean that, that’s the, the great thing about my wife being both a therapist and having gone to seminary is she leaves great books laying around

Eric: I love that

Brett: I think you found the episode

title invitations to the, in


jeffrey_merged: that’s right. That’s right.

Eric: also. Good band name.

jeffrey_merged: that is a good band name, actually.

Brett: Put that one in the


jeffrey_merged: yeah, exactly. Allt. Who wants to go first?

Brett: go first. I’m

jeffrey_merged: All right.

Brett: MailMate so there are so many email programs out there these days. Uh, you got your air mail and you got your spark and you got like every possible and they’re so many of them are beautiful. They’re just like. Aesthetic pleasures to use, but if you want actual power, if you [01:03:00] want actual smart folders, if you want actual filters, if you want actual keyboard shortcuts that are truly configurable MailMate is the way to go.

And I am not only an owner of MailMate like I paid the one time fee, but I enjoy it so much that I became a MailMate patron and pay a monthly subscription fee. In addition, you can purchase it one time and you own it and, and you can actually use it for free without purchasing it. It, he has very lax standards as to what a supporter is.

Uh, but I am all in on mail mate and, and I pay, I pay monthly. Uh, just to support the power. It’s not pretty, it’s not a pretty application. Um, it is, it’s very much like if you imagine a Java app from

like, uh, maybe 2015,

uh, it kind of feels like that

it, it is, it’s [01:04:00] not a Java app. It is, it uses all it’s, it’s a cocoa app, but, uh, but if you are, you know, into the airmail kind of aesthetic, you’re not gonna be pleased with it.

Um, but, but like the trade off for the power, it provides the kind of smart mailboxes you can set up using this app. The kind of filtering you can set up is above and beyond any


email application available. So my pick is MailMate.

jeffrey_merged: Can

Eric: to open their webpage

and it’s hanging maybe. So is everybody else?

jeffrey_merged: It’s

that Java, uh, two things I really love about MailMate as a user. One is just an instant thing you notice by accident, which is if you click on a subject, um, in an email, uh, in just the list of emails, it will immediately pop up a, a. Sub sort of folder of all of the emails with that, um, subject line.

And same, [01:05:00] if you, if you just like double click on a person’s name, you just get all their emails. It’s like, it’s really, it’s a really fast way to kind of get through the muck. And the other thing I do, which may make people choke out there is about once a year I go through and MailMate has a way that I can just download all attachments from all mail.

And I put it into a folder that’s very clearly labeled all attachments. And I have found that that has saved me so many times when I’m like trying to come up with something at the, I knew was in my email like six months ago, you know, but I’m not quick enough in a meeting to search it. I can, I can count on this weird folder that I should just have not indexed, you know,

Brett: right.

Eric: and.

Brett: has extensions. It has bundles. Like if you, if you were ever a text bank, user, you’re familiar with bundles and it ha it has a whole bundle architecture. I built my own, plus it has integrations with like Adam busy, Cal calendar, E filer, fantastical lighthouse, macve [01:06:00] sublime, OmniFocus pigments, uh, for syntax highlighting, uh, vs code.



can do it, it integrates with everything and it’s it’s so much fun.

Eric: And it doesn’t bother you that it’s not on iOS

Brett: Um, so I use spark on iOS.

Eric: without a keyboard.

Brett: So I don’t use

Eric: Brett. And I had this whole



spark doesn’t auto complete email addresses. If you’re using a


jeffrey_merged: oh my God.

Brett: like you have to tap the screen.


jeffrey_merged: Wow.

Brett: ideal,

jeffrey_merged: Wow.

Brett: but I don’t use a keyboard with iOS. Like I barely use my iPad. Um, I, I need the spark on iOS. I can, again, with a little fining, integrate it with the way that I use, uh, MailMate on my Mac and, and it suits my purposes. If I were [01:07:00] primarily an iOS person, it would be a lot more grading, but iOS is kind of an afterthought for me.

Um, I’m, I’m mostly Mac and I do most of my correspondence on Mac and, and, and that’s, MailMate fits the bill. If you are an iOS heavy person and you do most of your correspondence on iOS MailMate is probably not for you. And you’re better off


into an ecosystem like spark or airmail,

uh, something


Eric: I’ve been begrudgingly

using airmail, very

jeffrey_merged: You have you have? Yeah, I have, I used it a long time ago, but I haven’t

tried it

Eric: but I really wanna switch to something, but I, I there’s nothing. And in apple mail doesn’t work for me either,

even with the latest upgrades in Iowas 16. I’m


jeffrey_merged: like there’s everything and there’s nothing.

Brett: there, there’s an iOS, uh, preside, have you seen preside?

jeffrey_merged: no,

Brett: It is a very, it’s, it’s [01:08:00] an iOS version of mail mate. Uh, totally different. Like I just mean as far

as like

severity of aesthetic goes,

jeffrey_merged: that’s the new bar

I’m looking for. Severity of aesthetic.

Brett: It, but, but it offers, it offers a lot of like, uh, extra power that you don’t get from other apps, but it doesn’t work with my outlook 360 account that I need


work. So I haven’t gotten into it,

jeffrey_merged: Painful. What about you,


Brett: will add it as a subtopic

jeffrey_merged: Sure.

Brett: in the show notes

anyway. Okay. That’s

me. Yeah.

Eric: mine’s boring, but it’s what I’ve been spending

most of my time in it’s PDF expert by, is it

jeffrey_merged: yes. Not boring. Not boring.

Eric: Um, and I also like they’re from Ukraine and I just kind of appreciate their messaging the past few months and everything. And, um, even though spark frustrates me PDF [01:09:00] expert, you know, for the high holiday, is it, it’s a combination of, we have a choir, we have a cantorial soloist.

I have announcements, I have page numbers. I have readers. And I just took a photocopy of every page of the prayer book. It’s, it’s a scanned PDF. It’s in there. I use my apple pencil on my iPad. I’m writing it up, who’s reading what, and it just, it makes me feel so much more at ease about the services coming up.

And, you know, I imagine there’s so many use cases where, you know, people having a PDF and being able to insert notes and

things is just super useful and yeah, it’s great.

jeffrey_merged: it’s

so great. You can export your notes, like whatever you have highlighted and yeah, I’ve used it forever. I love it. It is boring. It’s it’s the best kind of

boring. It’s

Eric: That’s.

jeffrey_merged: it just is really sturdy. Hardy, dependable.

Eric: Yeah. I even bought the, the Mac one, which is, I

mean, it’s expensive. It

jeffrey_merged: I just did the same. I just did the same. Yeah, it is expensive.

Eric: But yeah. And you know, I love that. It, [01:10:00] it, you know, goes right into iCloud everything’s synced it’s.

jeffrey_merged: Yes, definitely, man. That’s awesome. Um, mine is a command line utility called Rex G R E X. It is for regular expressions, which is not something I’m good with. Um, but because I deal with a lot of data and a lot of like bulk text files in my investigative work, um, I always am looking for ways into the data and what’s cool about this and I haven’t found anything else or I haven’t encountered anything else that does it.

So basically you. If I wanted to borrow the band name, Siegel’s screaming, kiss her, kiss her. If I wanted to come up with the regs kind of statement that would capture both that one and flock of Siegels, I would put those two things in quotes, uh, and just write Rex at the beginning of the command. And it would show me.

What regular expression would capture both of those [01:11:00] things. So if I also wanted to put, you know, I have a name, I have like a hyphenated last name, sometimes it’s Jeff severance. Gunzel sometimes Jeff Gunzel. So I have Jeffrey Gunzel if I wanted to make sure I caught all of those, I would just type 'em on the command line with GRX at the top.

And, uh, and it would actually feed out what the regular expression is that I would need now, as Brett knows, it doesn’t always get me all the way, cuz I sometimes part of my contracting with Brett is like 10 minute, uh, regular expressions challenges so it doesn’t always get me all the way there, but it’s just, it’s a fun thing actually just to play with and, and helps me a little bit to understand regular expressions better.

So G R E X, you can, you can brew, install it from home brew if that’s your, if that’s your, uh,

Brett: it’s, it’s a, it’s a great way to start. Um, Like, if you, if you know a little bit about red XX, you can take the patterns that it gives you and really make them truly [01:12:00] flexible. Like it’s great. It’s great at matching exactly the pattern or like the text you

give it. Uh, but if you wanna expand it to match, uh, a more flexible pattern, you

need to know

a little bit, but yeah, it it’s a, it’s a good, it’s a

jeffrey_merged: Yeah. For, For, me what I can do, here’s the, here’s the actual order I can, I can start there. Then I take it into there’s a couple of web web apps that you can use that there’s something called expressions as a Mac app that you can use to like put in text and then above it, type in your REDX to see if it captures it.

So it’s going the other direction. And so like, I can go from there to a thing where I’m kind of tweaking it to try to capture text that I put in. And then from there I go to Brett,

like I’m starting to


Eric: downloadable as part of a home brew

install. Not



jeffrey_merged: this week. Yeah. Brew installed Brett Terpstra. Um, the, this past week I must have spent an hour and a half on this stupid thing. And finally I’m like, why am I I’m like I bill by the hour, you know, [01:13:00] I’m like, I should just really give it to the guy that can do it in 10 minutes.

So anyway,

Eric: And you know, I I’m like a one on a one to 10 scale of, but of expressions, but you know, people don’t non-programmers don’t realize like you’re

searching email or, you know, Brett turned me onto Huda

spot to find files on



jeffrey_merged: to spot?

Eric: like, so Rex might be up my alley. I had not heard of that, but I, it,

jeffrey_merged: That’s like, for me, I’m like you like, and in that I’m, I’m, I’m zero to one at this, but it’s like, I, I know what it can do. That’s like , that’s, that’s the first step of being dangerous is knowing what it can


Eric: So true.

jeffrey_merged: anyway, this was super fun.

Eric: Yeah.

Thank you guys so much. I, I hope Christina’s feeling better, but, uh, I really appreciate, uh, being on here.

Brett: Yeah, it’s

been a blast. We’ll have you


Eric: would love

it. And, uh, Jeff, we’re gonna have to change a plate or

trade PlayStation, gamer tags. And,

jeffrey_merged: Yes, exactly. That sounds good. [01:14:00] awesome.

Brett: do you know how we

close out?

Eric: I don’t remember

Brett: All right.

Eric: because I, I have too much high holiday on the brain.

Brett: Just,


along. You’re ready.

Eric: I’m ready.

Brett: get some sleep?

guys. Oh, I do know how

jeffrey_merged: get some sleep?[01:15:00]