Listen To This Episode:
[0:06] Leigh Cuen: Hello, can everybody hear me?
[0:09] Jeremy Rubin: Hello, hello.
[0:10] Leigh: Awesome. Thank you so much for making me a co-host here. Awesome. We’ve got The Rabbi, and Jeremy you there too?
[0:16] Jeremy: Hello. How’s it going?
[0:18] Leigh: Hey, everybody, chag sameach. Happy Hanukkah.
[0:22] The Bitcoin Rabbi Caras: Hanukkah sameach. Happy Hanukkah.
[0:24] Leigh: Cool. I’m super excited about this. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many friends to celebrate Hanukkah with. So very excited about this Bitcoin community thing, sounds like a lot of fun.
CK, is there anything that you wanted to start us off with in terms of just like, I know that the magazine recently came out, right? That’s on shelves today?
[0:40] CK: Yeah. So, I guess this is the part where I shell and then I’ll let you guys celebrate Hanukkah together, but…
[0:50] Jeremy: We’re gears. We shull here. We don’t shell.
[0:53] Leigh: Exactly.
[0:54] CK: Exactly. Well, yeah, so Bitcoin Magazine, the El Salvador edition just came out. So, you can go to subscribe to that by going to the Bitcoin Magazine store. You can find that on our website and the magazine is absolutely beautiful. Really, really recommend it. A lot of amazing work there and amazing story by Aaron van Wirdum, who spent, I believe, four months in El Salvador, pretty much after the law was announced and then, through, it kind of coming to fruition. So, he put a lot of heart and soul into that and there’s a lot of other amazing work. Leigh here had an interview with Cynthia Lummis, and that was incredible as well. So, I highly recommend that, highly recommend the Bitcoin Conference, b.tc/conference/. Check out all the amazing speakers.
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[02:40] Leigh: Awesome. So, okay, everybody, by the way, who’s here that’s celebrating tonight? I would encourage you to raise your hand to ask to speak, because throughout the night, we’ll just be asking how different Bitcoiners around the world are celebrating. It’s a fun holiday. But before that, I want to ask Jeremy a little bit how he’s been celebrating, because him and our favorite Rabbi, here, have been doing something I do not understand at all, but it seems kind of cool.
So, I want to start maybe at a high level talking about this experiment and then maybe get down more granular and more technical. From what I understand, he called it a time-locked gelt drop. Gelt is like the little chocolate coins that we gamble with when we play dreidel. So, okay, coins, I get that joke. The whole time-locked dropping something in a Hanukkah shape, that I don’t understand at all. So Jeremy, can you tell me a little bit about your Bitcoin experiment this holiday?
[03:30] Jeremy: Yeah, I can. But I was thinking, because I haven’t yet lit the Bitcoin “Hanukiah” yet. Maybe Rabbi could lead us in a quick prayer, and then I will submit the transactions to light it for tonight.
[03:45] Leigh: Oh, snap. That’s putting you on the spot. Rabbi, do you mind leading us in a quick lighting of the candles?
[03:51] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Okay. So, now, obviously, we already lit our…
[03:56] Leigh: Yeah, because you’re on the East Coast.
[03:57] The Bitcoin Rabbi: … said these prayers. We said these prayers when we lit our menorah tonight. So for those who don’t know, we light for the eight days of Hanukkah, a real menorah, you can do it with any kind of candles. Some people do with wax candles. The traditional way is with oil candles as we’ll discuss later on. Then there are two blessings that we say when we light those candles. I’ll give you the rendition of it that we do when we actually light that and have it in mind that’s it’s also for the Bitcoin smart-contract menorah as well.
[04:37] Jeremy: If you’re at home in the appropriate time zone, you could also light your Menorah now.
[04:42] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Yeah. You should. It’s the third night of Hanukkah, so it’s a great time if it’s after sunset to light your own. All right, [prayer].
[05:29] Leigh: Thank you so much. That was much more beautiful than I could have sung that.
[05:33] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Yeah, Amen. Sure, sure. Jeremy, I…
[05:40] Jeremy: Amen.
[05:41] The Bitcoin Rabbi: … I see the link there.
[05:42] Leigh: Awesome.
[05:43] Jeremy: Yeah. So while Rabbi was doing that, I was running around to both light my physical menorah and to light the blockchain menorah that we have on Bitcoin. So, if you’re following in the audience and you go ahead and click that tweet that was posted, what you can see is a gif or a little video of the menorah that I made. As you can see, there are eight blockchain candelabras, one for each night. These are represented by Bitcoin transactions.
So, if you scroll down from that little video, you can see there’s the blockstream.info link to a transaction. So, this is just so everybody can, don’t trust verify. You can check that I actually made a blockchain menorah. So then, if you go and you click on that transaction link, and you look at the outputs, you’ll see the one that’s marked number two because it’s zero index. So there’s zero, then one, then two, and it’s like bc1qs4, et cetera, with .000248 Bitcoin. You go ahead and click on that address. What you’ll see is there is a transaction that is currently unconfirmed in the mempool. In the video, that corresponds to the Bitcoin transaction that you can see that has three outputs representing the three candles that are lit on the side of Hanukkah. Each of those outputs has 8,000 Satoshis on it that are a gift to some friends that Rabbi found that have Bitcoin addresses.
[07:28] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Yeah, we collected thirty-six people signed up that every night of Hanukkah, you start on the first night, one candle, the second night, two candles, up to eight nights on the eight candles. So add all that up, there’s thirty-six total. So we got thirty-six people that signed up and a gelt drop. “Gelt” means money, because literally it means money in Yiddish and in several Germanic languages. So, each night on the first night, we gelt drop some eight thousand Sats to one person. Last night, eight thousand Sats to two people. Tonight, to three people, et cetera.
[08:08] Leigh: That’s incredible. Did you need to collect any kind of like information from people? Did people need to coordinate to sync anything at the same time? Like, how do you do something with so many different people around the world?
[08:18] The Bitcoin Rabbi: We just collected thirty-six received addresses from people. I made a form and pass it around to some people and DMs and stuff and collected over the course of like 24 hours. I actually collected about five thousand received addresses, including all the spam that we got, but I was able to whittle it down to thirty-six legitimate ones.
[08:43] Leigh: That’s so cool. I always find it so interesting the way that Bitcoin enables people to transact around the world without needing to verify or know anything about anyone. They can just do something together, in this case, something that’s celebratory and sentimental even.
I saw that in your tweet. So Jeremy, you said something about candle lighting in the mempool. I have zero idea how the concept of mempool applies to this experiment or maybe it’s a totally different experiment. Can you explain to me a little bit what mempool means in this specific context of this experiment?
[09:14] Jeremy: Yeah. Sure. So, every night, we have to submit a transaction to the mempool at the appropriate time. When you submit a transaction to the mempool, it’s not fully confirmed, which means it could be undone still. Somebody could double-spend it, for example. I’m not an expert on the halachic. That means like the comparables for what would…
[09:37] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Jewish legal rules.
[09:41] Jeremy: Yeah. Basically, like if it’s kosher or not, if it’s good. So I’m not really an expert on that, although I can speculate the Hanukiah would not really be considered lit until there are six confirmations or at least one confirmation, but maybe three is a good number. Traditionally, on Hanukkah and many Jewish holidays, you wait until you can see three stars in the sky. So maybe it makes sense to wait until you see three confirmations on the transaction before you consider the Bitcoin Hanukiah fully lit.
[10:18] Leigh: That’s so cool.
[10:18] The Bitcoin Rabbi: That is awesome. That is great point, Jeremy, that you mentioned that yesterday and I didn’t fully get that connection. But, yeah, so it just means that the transaction is submitted but needs to get confirmed. Last year, I also wanted to do a Bitcoin gelt gift, which I do every year to my kids. So just the simplest way that I was able to do it last year was doing it to my six kids, but I did a six output, one input, six output transaction of gifting all of the kids. Just a one-time thing. That was my experience.
Just like you, Leigh, I like to go into my Electrum app and play around with it.
[11:06] Leigh: Oh my gosh, the torture. Yes.
[11:07] The Bitcoin Rabbi: [inaudible] great thing, and if I don’t wreck myself. But that was what I was able to figure out last year, how to send a six in one transaction to give some Hanukkah gelt to my kids. Like a month ago, I messaged Jeremy. I was like, Jeremy, Hanukkah, smart contract, stick, go, figure what we are going to do. So he took it to the next level.
[11:38] Jeremy: So I want to make a special announcement, which is that my mom is in this Twitter space.
[11:43] Leigh: Oh my gosh, welcome, Jeremy’s mom.
[11:46] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Happy Hanukkah, Mrs. Rubin.
[11:46] Jeremy: She sent me a text message saying, I don’t really understand what you’re talking about but I’m trying to follow. So, is it CK running the Bitcoin Magazine account? Can you bring her up? Then she can maybe ask, because I want to make sure that everybody is able to follow what’s going on. So, maybe if my mom’s not too shy, she’ll come up in and ask some clarifying questions. She understands Bitcoin.
[12:18] Leigh: Yeah, I’ve accepted some people. Really quick, before she gets to ask her question and we dig deeper into both this and all the different kinds of things that people are doing to celebrate Jewish holidays related to Bitcoin or in ways that it relates to Bitcoin, I’m curious if anyone else also, if anyone wanted to really briefly share how it is that they’re celebrating tonight. Jay or Youssef, are either of you celebrating tonight and wanted to share really quick how you’re celebrating before we dig deeper into more Bitcoin technical stuff?
[12:45] Jay: I am celebrating tonight. My girlfriend and I just lit some candles and it’s something that I’ve kind of always done. I always really love Hanukkah. Yeah, this year, I gave her a book.
[13:03] Leigh: Awesome. I’m really glad to hear that you’re having a good holiday. Youssef?
[13:07] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Wonderful. Have a Happy Hanukkah to you, too.
[13:10] Leigh: Yeah.
[13:11] Jay: Yeah, Happy Hanukkah.
[13:12] Leigh: Approving someone named Jacob, so I’m assuming you’re celebrating. Mr. Jacob.
[13:17] Jacob: Chag sameach, Leigh Cuen.
[13:20] Leigh: Chag sameach. Happy holiday, everybody.
[13:22] Guest 1: Hello?
[13:23] Leigh: There you go. Now, you’re on.
[13:24] Guest 1: Yeah. So what is the group? What are we doing over here?
[13:31] Leigh: We are celebrating a Jewish holiday. Actually in just a few minutes, I think I’ll ask The Rabbi to explain what’s going on with the holiday, because he will do a much better job explaining the story than I ever could. Yeah, we were just celebrating the way that people use Bitcoin in celebrating this Jewish holiday.
[13:47] Guest 2: I’ll just say Happy Hanukkah. This is my first time being a speaker for many times in the space of Bitcoin. I did receive the magazine and it is a true gift to be able to read it every Shabbat. So, thank you for making it, and I look forward to continue getting it.
[14:08] Leigh: Awesome. Thank you so much. Yeah, it’s really fun to read stuff offline sometimes. You can just really soak it up in a different way.
So I’m going to as really quick, because if I’m understanding correctly, the entire point of Bitcoin, right, is it’s a ledger. So the way that you’ve organized something is a very simple phrase that maybe she can understand, is that like you’ve made it this thing of time locking. So transactions happen in a certain way that will create a certain pattern and that pattern is representative of the Hanukiah. So the candle holder. Did I, in a very, very simple term, explain what you did correctly?
[14:42] Jeremy: Yep.
[14:43] Leigh: Cool.
[14:47] Jeremy: Oh, yeah, I mean, and I think that it just generally in Judaism, people really love symbolism and representations of other things or maybe like more in the abstract and finding some of these patterns. So, that’s why I think it’s particularly fun to be able to represent the festival of life on Bitcoin.
[15:09] Leigh: Yeah.
[15:10] Jeremy: I think that what’s also interesting, too, is from a properness view is that because Bitcoin is like energy money, all of these Satoshis kind of like contain a little bit of fire in them, right?
[15:22] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Yeah. Each one of these transactions is pretty much like a nuclear bomb over in the Atlantic Ocean in the amount of energy it’s consumed. So it is as we know. So, that’s why it really is like lighting a candle to each one of them.
[15:41] Leigh: I’ve been really impressed with the different ways that you’ve incorporated Bitcoin into how you’re raising your family, the way that you celebrate certain traditions. For a different holiday, I recall for Passover, you had a hidden afikoman. So, like in the tradition of Passover, you hide a small piece of matzah that the kids get to find and they can get rewards when they find it. The Rabbi here hid a small QR code that whoever found it in a VR world would get Sats.
[16:08] The Bitcoin Rabbi: It just so happened to be that Jeremy Rubin is the one that found it.
[16:12] Leigh: What? I did give you credit but it’s Jeremy who does all the cool things. Well, I’m proud of you, Jeremy.
[16:16] The Bitcoin Rabbi: No, I hid it. I’m the one who hid it. Jeremy is the one…
[16:19] Jeremy: Yeah, he hid it.
[16:20] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Jeremy is the one who found it. We had about maybe ten or so people.
[16:25] Jeremy: I was just being a nuisance in VR and running around the table so I happen to noticed it.
[16:29] The Bitcoin Rabbi: We had like 10 or twelve people that were in a virtual Passover Seder and the afikoman, the hidden prize at the end of the Seder was a SAT QR code and Jeremy happened to be the one to snatch it up, it’s a good thing.
[16:46] Guest 2: So, Rabbi, does this mean that the Bitcoin maximalist is venturing into the meta world?
[16:55] Leigh: Metaverse.
[16:55] Guest 2: Into the metaverse?
[16:57] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Listen, there’s definitely [inaudible]. If you don’t think there’s going to be Bitcoin maximalist in the metaverse, of course, there are. So, don’t worry.
[17:07] Leigh: I just think it’s really cool that we’re able to use this new technology in order to do very old school things, things we’ve been doing literally for thousands of years, and it’s a really fun way to teach kids and teach family members, whether it’s the time-locked menorah that Jeremy is doing or the hidden Bitcoin treasure of afikoman. I just think these are really innovative and fun and…
[17:29] The Bitcoin Rabbi: The funny thing is, is that I kind of got perspective from my senior rabbi that I work under, that he made, like in the ’70s, he started making a mock like New York Times headline newspaper that was Torah stories placed as if they were like newspaper articles and things. Then in my classes that I’ve been doing over the past few years, I do like tech classes at our Jewish Day School. So then we took the same ideas and we made them like a CNN style new show. So, it’s kind of an ongoing theme of Jewish educator trying to bring these stories, because the Hanukkah story happened about 2,200 years ago. Even though it’s an extremely compelling and powerful story just to read it, but there are so many different people that are bringing this kind of things to life and making them alive and, you know, a fun experience for kids, because there are so many alternative experiences that are just popping out at you and are taking up so much of our attention that you have to compete at that same level.
If you want to be compelling, you want to be exciting, you have to do that. Actually, my friend, the Tech Rabbi, he’s a blue check guy in the listener here, he does this also in his school and I’ve seen some of the work that he does. So this is just the way, this is how you keep things alive and we keep things going and fresh. So, yeah, it’s what you got. You have to do it, and it’s the right thing to do also to make learning and make tradition fun and relevant to people.
[21:28] Leigh: Speaking of that, I want to kind of go over, you’re talking a little bit, both you and Jeremy about some of the core values and concepts that are very similar between the Bitcoin ethos and Judaism. I want to explore that with you a little bit more and maybe we should start with just a very basic for anyone who doesn’t already know it telling of the Hanukkah story. So what is it that we’re celebrating tonight? Rabbi, can you tell us an abbreviated and kid-friendly version of the Hanukkah story?
[21:55] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Sure. So, this is about 2,200 years ago, the Jewish people lived in the Holy Land in Israel. It was during the times of the Second Temple period. So, there was the first temple of King David, and King Solomon, which was then destroyed and rebuilt. So this was actually after Alexander the Great conquered the entire Middle East and conquered most of the world. So, when we say that the war of Hanukkah was against the Greeks, it was actually the whole world was called Greek. So it’s actually a Syrian king. So they were called Greeks because they had the Greek culture and they were part of the Greek Empire. But, basically, there was a Syrian Greek king named Antiochus, and he began to oppress the Jewish people. In most of the Empire, the Greek culture was just naturally spreading, it was making its way through the Middle East. It was making its way through Northern Africa, but Israel had its own distinct culture and own religion.
For much of the time that Israel was colonized by Greece and Rome and other empires, they just kind of left Israel alone pretty much, they collected their taxes, but there was one king named Antiochus III and he was a madman. He was a tyrant and he was very opposed to the Jewish people having their own culture and their own society, and he wanted to colonize them to turn them into Greeks. So he actually removed the Jewish leaders from their religious positions and replaced them with Greek loyalists, and he had temples of idol worship built throughout Israel and tried to enforce, particularly the leaders of the Jewish people, to try and get them to worship idols and to adapt Greek culture. Although there were some that went along with it, the Jewish leadership, at some point, they rose up and there was a person named Matisyahu, he was the high priest and he and his sons, at one point, they were as an idol put in their town square and they said, enough is enough, and they started a rebellion.
They fought back against, and they were the priestly class. So they were not soldiers. They were not trained. They did not have weapons. They did not have a huge army, but they used, basically, guerrilla warfare. They fought back against the Greeks. They pushed off back a huge army and reclaimed Jerusalem, which had been totally captured and taken over. The Holy Temple in Jerusalem had been completely defiled, idols had been built, and everything was pretty much destroyed or defiled. After months of fighting, they arrived into the temple, they found it in basic ruins, and they wanted to reestablish the prayers and the service and the daily worship, which one of the primary practices of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was lighting this menorah, this golden candelabra every single day.
So they got there, they set everything up and then they realized that they couldn’t find any of the oil. The oil had to be special. It had to be pure. It had to be made by the priests and set up. They couldn’t find any, and they were distraught, but they kept looking and they found one little jug of oil. One small jug of oil, which only had enough to fill the candelabra and light it for one day. They said, we have enough for one day, we’re not going to be able to get more oil until eight days from now. It will take us that long either to produce it or to procure it, or to deliver it, or whatever it was, that they wouldn’t have more oil for eight more days. So they said, well, we only have enough oil for one day. Let’s just light it and we’ll do the best that we can. Then in eight days, then we’ll get the other oil. So they lit this oil and it didn’t just burn for one day, it burned for all eight days.
So, on top of the miracle of them surviving and winning this war and reclaiming their native homeland and their Holy Temple, the fact that this extra miracle of finding this pure oil and then the oil lasting for eight days, was a sign for them that that their spirit of strength and their spirit of dedication was true and was accepted by God. So they established this holiday that all Jewish people, for all time, should light these candles every year to remember this miracle that happened. The miracle of the victory of the small against the many, the weak against the strong, the pure against the defiled, and of the oil that represented that pureness and that it was a little jug that was found, it kind of represented them. It represented their spirit that they were the last holdouts and that they were put to the test and they stood up, and then they did what they needed to do. So that’s a story on one foot. That is what we are celebrating on Hanukkah, that the little bit of oil and a little bit of light was able to banish the great darkness that was trying to persecute them at that time.
[27:47] Leigh: There’s so many themes that are relevant. Oh, sorry, Meni, were you going to say something?
[27:51] Meni Rosenfeld: Yeah. Hi, everyone. Yeah. I wanted to add a bit to The Bitcoin Rabbi’s story because usually in Hanukkah, I tell basically the same story that The Bitcoin Rabbi just told about in the modern language terminology that is familiar to us Bitcoiners. So, I’d like to add that we usually do it in Hebrew. I hope I’ll make it okay in English. So, like you said, we were living in the holiday, we followed the words of the Bitcoin protocol but then the evil Greek king wanted us to do a half [inaudible] region. He wanted us to worship Judaism cash SV. He said many things that we can’t do. We can’t read the white paper. We can’t keep the difficulty of target. We can’t mine blocks and the great soldiers are just DDoS attacks and double spending and things. That’s why the [inaudible] named the soft fork and that we managed to win.
So, yeah, we took back Jerusalem and the temple. We have all the fallen statues and there was a menorah made of pure Bitcoin, which we needed to light to do the proof of burn. Yeah. So we needed enough Bitcoin to light the menorah and we couldn’t find any, we just found one cold wallet, one digitally signed cold wallet, which had only enough Bitcoins for the transaction fee for one transaction. So what we did, we used this tiny amount of Bitcoin to open a Lightning channel and using it, we were able to light the menorah every day. All right. So for one transaction, we managed to make many, many payments to the menorah. So that was the miracle of the Lightning Network that allowed us to use one Bitcoin wallet to light the menorah for eight days. Yeah. So that’s basically…
[30:08] The Bitcoin Rabbi: I have to say Meni is the real original Bitcoiner. Pretty much all the ideas that I thought that I was so clever, Meni has been doing this for, like, 12 years. So I have to say that is fantastic and…
[30:23] Leigh: Very much appreciate you interpreting that in modern terms we can all understand. Buck, I can see we made you a speaker here, and I was curious if it stuck out to you the way it stuck out to me how this attempt to force centralized rules on a local community that it just wasn’t relevant too. It’s kind of like an underlying theme of something that we are fighting against and a lot of different Jewish stories. I’m including Hanukkah. When you’re listening to the story, again, after, maybe not listening to it since last year, was there anything that stuck out to you, Buck, in terms of values that jumped out as a moral of the story?
[30:57] Buck: Hey, yeah. Actually, I was going to comment on that exact thing. I think they’re like the popular image of Hanukkah is just this kind of like, you know the menorah, you know the dreidel and then the present is if it’s kind of competing with Christmas type of thing. But I think there’s this very unique story that’s going on and a big part of that is the kind of anti-forced assimilation, right? There’s like a deep story there about to what degree do you assimilate but then, of course, like the big problem of what happened was the kind of forced assimilation and not just like you must behave this way, but we are going to do something that actively desecrates which you consider holy. I think holy can mean a lot of things to different people and it doesn’t just have to be in the Godly sense or I think secular people will sometimes also treat things in a Godly sense without necessarily realizing it, but you can see you don’t need to necessarily force those types of practices on people, because I think that’s when you start overstepping. I think to kind of Meni’s part of the story there with the light soft fork, right, maybe that’s kind of what a soft fork is. It’s not forcing people to assimilate into a certain way, but allowing people to, you know what, if you don’t want to use SegWit, you can keep on using your old pay-to-public-key-hash addresses and be just fine.
Maybe in the future if we have smart contracts with covenants and up CTV, and you want to use that, you can do that, too. We’re all one big happy Bitcoin global family here.
[32:40] Leigh: Yeah, it’s a really good point. I appreciate that opinions on soft forks. I hadn’t thought of it that way.
[32:45] The Bitcoin Rabbi: I want to hear my friend, the Tech Rabbi, you’re up, and I know that, definitely, you take this kind of things and also bring them to life for your students as well.
[32:56] Tech Rabbi: Yeah. Thanks for sending me a DM, letting me know this is happening. I’m actually on my way to NFT Basel events in Miami. But, as I’m driving, I was more enjoying just the conversation, the dynamic between the deep culture and identity of Hanukkah. It’s very different than every other holiday because the other holidays are much more rooted in certain religious practices related to the leaving of Egypt and in Mount Sinai. But Hanukkah is more about the idea that no one can come and try and destroy your identity and your culture. I think that without forcing too intensive a relationship between that concept of Hanukkah and the greater crypto scene, and specifically Bitcoin, I think that what Bitcoin is doing right now is it’s showing the world that you do not have to conform to the gatekeepers of the internet, of the finance world, of investment and prosperity, and actually show that together, as a community, regardless of how “well-equipped” we are, we are able to triumph because we have that communal connection.
That communal connection is what makes Hanukkah so powerful. The [inaudible] Rabbi actually makes it clear that the menorah is not a religious symbol. It’s a symbol of revealing light in the face of darkness, and it’s about showing the prosperity that can come with freedom and being strong and connecting to who you truly are. So I enjoy the connections between and how everyone is sharing from a different angle, but there’s so many different facets to how we can relate to this holiday, this miracle. As far as what I do, I don’t want to bore anyone, but I’ll just say that, if I could say it in one line, I’m on a mission right now to show Gen Z and Gen Alpha, which is basically like anyone from age six to twenty-five, that they have the greatest opportunity of a lifetime right now. If they can just focus on their critical thinking and analysis skills, they can acquire any other technical skill to create just absolutely incredible possibilities and outcomes. If anyone is really curious, you can just connect with me and go through the dribble of my timeline and stuff I do on the day to day.
So thanks so much for bringing me up to share and happy Hanukkah to everybody.
[35:56] Leigh: Yeah. Happy Hanukkah. Thank you so much for joining. I really appreciate you bringing that perspective.
[36:01] Guest 3: That really spoke to me, frankly. Kind of growing up in a maybe a little bit more secular kind of Jewish home, background is more Ukrainian, so kind of [inaudible] settling in Western Canada. So I feel very disconnected to that. The way that sort of you put that, it really connects with me. Thank you.
[36:31] Leigh: Victoria, I’ve also invited you up to speak here, and I’m curious to hear what you’ve been thinking about. If you’ve been hearing about all these analogies, connecting Bitcoin to the Hanukkah story, how are you celebrating and what have you been thinking about these stories so far?
[36:43] Victoria: Hey, thanks for inviting me up and Happy Hanukkah. I’m actually on the way to my parents’ house right now. Now that I live kind of local with them, we go and light the candles together every night. I have never thought about it this way so it’s been really, really interesting to listen to the one thing that has always stood out to me that I have felt, I guess, being Jewish is just like, for me, it’s a lot more about community. It’s like a very welcoming community and that’s, I guess, the one thing that I’ve always related to getting to Bitcoin is like there’s such a strong sense of community that you really could do anything and we’re going to be very resilient and we have such a positive value system, a lot of us, that it’s really what resonates with me.
So, yeah, I appreciate all of this deep thought, though. This is really interesting to listen to.
[37:39] Leigh: Yeah. Jeremy, what have you been thinking about as they’ve been talking about the story as well? Have you thought about other values or even like threads in that story that relate to the ways that we think about things that’s self-sovereign individuals when it comes to Bitcoin?
[37:53] Jeremy: Yeah. Well, I mean, I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently about different sort of Jewish philosophies and ethics and things like that. One of the things that I learned a little bit about is the virtues of Abraham and how, in the Torah, he is described as rushing to do everything. So I can’t recall the specific things that he was rushing to do, but it would be like his guests were thirsty and he rushes to go get water from the well, and somebody is cold and he rushes to get them a blanket, that kind of stuff.
[38:38] The Bitcoin Rabbi: I’ll just say it says particularly for The Binding of Isaac, it says, he arose early and it was the most difficult challenge in his life. It says, he arose early in the morning and that’s where the source of that comes from is that to do the most challenging thing that he ever came to in his life, he didn’t push it off and wait until later. He went straight at it and he arose early in the morning. So you’re right on target. That’s where that comes from.
[39:13] Jeremy: Yeah. Yeah, I think there are also some other anecdotes where it was remarked to sort of build that narrative that he wasn’t someone who waited around to do a good deed. I mean, The Binding of Isaac is, obviously, a very controversial, emotional story, but I think the principle reduces down to more generally like when you have an opportunity to do good in the world, it’s incumbent on you to do that as soon as possible. I see that as it pertains to Bitcoin advocacy in a sense of, I see that in the Bitcoin community of, are you really going to try to pay your waiter at the restaurant a tip in Bitcoin? It’s like, well, maybe you’re going to be doing a good deed and sort of helping them protect their wealth and assets, again, some inflation or something like that. So I see sort of a parallel of Bitcoiners having this virtue around the urgency with which they view the good work there.
The place where I see some potential conflict between the way that Bitcoiners work and the way that Jews work is to use our non-vangelical. So, when we have something that we believe in, we generally believe that it should speak on its own merit, the quality of these things. It’s very libertarian that anyone is free to learn about the things that we do as Jews and to participate in our rituals. If you strongly identify with them, even become Jewish and be fully welcomed, but with regards to evangelism, it’s not so much a door we’re trying to push people through. I see that maybe in contrast with Bitcoiners, where sometimes people really want to push it in context where it’s not something that’s necessarily being welcomed fully. So that’s something that I see interesting.
I guess I’ll just wrap up by saying in my own work, I view there being like potential problems with Bitcoin that people will be facing down the line and I try not to delay in trying to fix those issue structurally, because I think that the work is good now, and if we can do the good thing today, it’s much better than if we wait to do it tomorrow.
[41:43] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Jeremy, I think that those are all awesome points. I want to just comment on the last point that you made about the evangelism. I think maybe that might be something, like a perspective that could be used and could be appreciated by Bitcoiners that not everybody needs to jump on and be exactly become a full-on Bitcoiner and do it exactly the way that you do it. That’s kind of the way that Judaism works that we’re always willing to share our message to anyone and talk to anyone and are welcoming. There’s things to learn even if somebody doesn’t want to be Jewish, but they don’t need to be. But there are still maybe lessons or values that can be learned and can be more universal. Like, I think the ideas from Hanukkah like we’re discussing tonight and maybe that Bitcoiners, when they are approaching people, can also have that idea of, maybe there’s some ideas that Bitcoin has for everybody, but they might not be all ready to be all in like somebody else. So I think that probably would be a good comparison. It would work well if Bitcoin works like that as well.
[43:06] Meni: Yeah, and I want to add that I think there are seven approaches to Bitcoin Evangelism, and I think one of them is the one qualified by the phrase, have fun staying poor, which I love the phrase, but I don’t really love some of the philosophy behind it, because this is kind of approach that says that to be a Bitcoiner Evangelist, you have to say, you must buy Bitcoin. If you don’t buy Bitcoin, you’re stupid, you’ll be poor. You’ll have first, second and so on. I don’t think that’s correct because I think that at this point, actually buying the Bitcoin is the right choice for everyone. I don’t think it’s our job to try to convince anyone to come. Yeah, like The Bitcoin Rabbi said, that as Jews, we tell people about our religion and so on. Then, yeah, that’s to tell people about Bitcoin and give them all the information they need to make an informed choice, I mean, what they want to do with it, whether to invest in Bitcoins or do something else.
So I don’t think we should come with a predator mind conclusion on what others should do. We should just give the information they need to make their own choice. In this aspect. I do think it’s more similar to Judaism where Judaism doesn’t tell anyone that you should be Jew, right? We like to tell about Judaism stuff and so on. If someone wants to become a Jew, we can help him. I mean, as far as I understand, we are not too encouraging of people to become Jews, but if they really want it, we will offer the tools for it. But we don’t push for it just like we shouldn’t push people to buy Bitcoin to do whatever.
[45:05] Leigh: Yeah, but I want to kind of highlight and bring out one of the things that you’d said there but was a little bit hidden under the surface, which is that there’s no one way to be a Bitcoiner, and the same way that there’s no one way to be a Jew. Like, you can have a Sephardic Jew who maybe eats certain kinds of foods and you have an Ashkenazi Jew that eats foods different way, and they’re both completely Jews and they’re doing things the right way. I think that’s very comparable to being a Bitcoiner and that there’s a lot of right ways to do things. Maybe someone wants to use Specter instead of Electrum. Maybe someone wants to run a Lightning node. Maybe someone doesn’t, and as long as you’re understanding the value of self-sovereign tools, as long as you’re understanding the value of the core story that we’re celebrating here, whether you’re eating the food in one way or a different way, it’s still both Jewish, and I think that’s something that, in some ways, comparable to being a Bitcoiner. Because as long as you’re understanding the core value of what you’re doing and you’re getting the value that you’re seeking from that tool, then there are many ways to be a Bitcoiner and they’re all the correct way, as long as that’s the way that you’re choosing yourself.
[48:05] Buck: I just wanted to add a little bit more on to that point as well. I think it’s interesting. I’m still kind of new to Jewish philosophy and just kind of digging into it. But one thing that I’ve learned or understood from hearing other people is that in Judaism, there’s not this like, if you think in other more evangelical religions, there’s part of the mission is to “save people”, right, where you go after and you try and convert and you try and save them. But I think in Judaism, my understanding is that, really, that by you yourself living a better life, by improving the world through good acts, right, through mitzvot, that’s what you do to improve the world. By doing so as well, you bring everybody, you bring the whole world closer to God. I think there’s an interesting point there to what Jeremy was saying as like maybe another way or a right way to do Bitcoin Evangelism is really just to live a good life, live a good Bitcoiner life and contribute to the community and it will come in time, essentially.
I think another interesting parallel between Judaism and Bitcoin is, if you just think about the time scale of Judaism and just the fact that the Jewish people and the Jewish religion and the culture has been around for X thousands of years, I mean, talk about low time preference, right? So when the Jewish people have gone through so many challenges, there’s always like, well, we will endure, we will persevere, live a good life, improve the world by doing what you can, your mitzvot for God and kind of the rest will come. We’re just kind of contributing a small little bit to perfect the world a little bit at a time.
[49:52] The Bitcoin Rabbi: I love that, that point of the low time preference. It’s also like, you don’t need to move fast and break things, you don’t need to adjust every six months to the winds of change. Because the Jews say, every other holiday of Judaism is, they say, they tried to kill us, they didn’t kill us, let’s see. So, Hanukkah is one of those pretty much every holiday, had some aspect of that. We look back at the Syrian Greeks of that age. The Jewish people are still here. They’re not here. The Egyptian Empire that enslaved us, the Jews are here, they’re not here, that through our method of keeping to a tradition and keeping to a core value, that has been the key to our longevity and to being here to this day, even in the most dire straits or the most dire situations. So there’s a value in that of having a conservative path of saying, we have values, and even if the winds are pulling us, one way or another, we should stick to them.
[51:09] Leigh: Awesome. Brekkie, I wanted to give you an opportunity to speak. Are you celebrating the holiday today? And if so, how are you celebrating?
[51:17] Brekkie: Thanks, Leigh. I was actually celebrating last night with my family with whom since left town, but glad to be here with all of you all, and Happy Hanukkah.
I wanted to ask the Rabbi and everyone here. Maybe I have a different analogy for Bitcoin Evangelism. Well, I have two analogies that might work. One is, I almost think of it kind of like when you’re walking by a Shabbat and the Rabbi comes out and presses a drink into your hands, says, come, come drink, like he’s not forcing you to be Jewish. But, he is including you and kind of getting you in there. I also couldn’t help but think of my mother and the concept of Jewish guilt, where she doesn’t actually make me do anything but she’s like, “Oh, you really should, you’d be much better off if you adopted Bitcoin.” So it’s kind of like, I don’t know, something [inaudible].
[52:04] The Bitcoin Rabbi: That’s what your mother says to you? That’s the kind of guilt your mother gives you?
[52:09] Brekkie: No, that was my impression of my mother. My mother doesn’t sound like that, but if my mother were from the old country and a Bitcoiner.
[52:04] The Bitcoin Rabbi: If your mother was an Eastern European, orange-peeled Bitcoiner, that’s how she would sound.
[52:22] Leigh: I will say my mother recently guilted me that after I explained to her the concept of cold storage, she was like, “Oh, well, you’re certainly not doing enough of that, I can tell.”
[52:32] The Bitcoin Rabbi: My wife also, my wife is like, when I buy something, she’s like, could I got a lot of Bitcoin for how much you spent on that pizza oven that you just got or whatever, something like that. So, I also get that Bitcoin guilt. You mentioned Shabbat. Shabbat is a Jewish organization in philosophy that does do outreach but, again, I wouldn’t say that it’s evangelism or it’s not trying to convert people. But the philosophy is that you can help people as Buck was saying earlier.
[53:14] Brekkie: Yeah.
[53:14] The Bitcoin Rabbi: By living your best life and by being the best, which means including other people, being kind to other people, being sharing and being welcoming and teaching other people, you’re not really changing them. You’re not converting them. You’re helping them be the best. By you being the best that you can be, you are helping other people realize more potential that they have.
[53:42] Jeremy: I would say the Shabbat like, have you repped to fill them today is kind of equivalent to the, get your coins off exchanged day holiday or like [inaudible] is a great example. Like, hey, we can all get together and we can create a lot of Lightning channels. Wouldn’t that be great? You do it and you’re joining together in the community and really contributing to the, I think as the rabbi was saying, the potential of everyone, and it’s a group effort to get everyone to do stuff like that. It’s not something that necessarily your own individual incentives will point you to.
[54:20] Jeremy: The Shabbat dinner of Bitcoin.
[54:23] Leigh: We’re coming up close to the end of our time. So I wanted to make sure before we go. Again, I can see you have your hand raised and also Craig. I want to just let you…
[54:30] Jeremy: I just wanted to quickly announce that the transaction finally confirmed. I was going to ask the rabbi what the rules say if the transaction gets stuck, but it just confirmed.
[54:41] Leigh: Nice. I love the fact that Bitcoin is literally data, so you can make that data into shapes and do things with it.
[54:48] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Leigh, I wanted to say two things before we run out of time. One, I want to let everybody know that I’m hosting a VR metaverse of menorah lighting Hanukkah party on Thursday night, you don’t need a VR headset, but it’s ideal. I was hoping that maybe you could pin that here. The VR room says that there’s a fifty-person limit but I don’t know if we can maybe rotate people in or something if we hit that limit. It’s my pinned tweet right now. So I definitely want to invite people to do that.
As far as I know, it’s the first public group menorah lighting in the metaverse in VR, so that’s going to be Thursday night 4 p.m. New York time. Then very quickly, Leigh, do you know about the story of Yehudit on Hanukkah? I just had to bring this up for you. Have you ever heard of this story, Leigh?
[55:51] Leigh: No. What is this?
[55:52] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Okay. The super classic feminist power woman during Hanukkah. She was the daughter of one of the leaders. So, basically, while they were fighting the Greeks, their city was being sieged and she came out. A woman named Yehudit came out to the Greek army that was there, and she was like, “Oh, I’m coming to announce our surrender and I brought gifts for your general,” and she had with her a basket that had cheese and wine.
[56:35] Leigh: Oh, is this the woman who stabbed a man in the head?
[56:37] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Yes. So she was brought into the general’s tent to bring her a gift, and she gave him the salty cheese, and he ate the cheese, and then he was very thirsty, and then he drank the heavy wine. He got drunk. He fell asleep. She took the knife that she had in the basket underneath, chopped his head off, and then left the tent and went back to the city to the great victory, so that was one of the great victories of Hanukkah. So she’s like one of the heroes of the story and actually, because of that, it’s a custom, we have a lot of food customs on Hanukkah. We eat fried foods, things that are fried in oil. So we eat potato latkes, which are potato pancakes fried in oil. We eat donuts, sufganiyot, that are fried in oil and then we also eat cheese and dairy in her honor. So, I just wanted to make sure to throw that out there because I knew you’d appreciate it.
[57:42] Leigh: Thank you. I do appreciate that very zesty war story. I remember that one, I remember that she was like, she gave him cheese and tricked him and then stabbed him in the head. Before I let everyone go and enjoy the rest of their evening, Craig, did you want to just share with us a little bit about how you’re celebrating this Hanukkah?
[58:00] Craig: Yeah. So I have been celebrating with my family and going out to this place in Fairview, North Carolina to do a bonfire menorah ceremony, which has been really fun. I’m also trying to orange peel everybody who comes over to celebrate Hanukkah by playing dreidel and winners get open dimes. So I get to teach them dreidel and also give them open dimes.
[58:32] Leigh: I love this. This is a great idea of playing dreidel for open dimes. I hope that people bring open dimes at any time and do parties in the future, because I would love winning that. It’s very, very cool.
[58:42] The Bitcoin Rabbi: That’s an awesome way to do it. We have done some dreidel Lightning in the party, in the metaverse in the VR, we do have dreidel for Lightning for a Bitcoin. You’re right on target. That’s the way it should be.
[59:03] Craig: Blue wallet or just Lightning rounds too is another great way. Start with a thousand Sats for everybody and then just have a set amount of Sats that you can contribute if you get a shin or ante-up.
[59:19] Brekkie: Rabbi, you know that God made a metaverse called the universe, right? I just need to point that out but it’s very nice. There’s lots of good people there. I try to spend as much time in there as possible.
[59:30] Leigh: He does at least one day a week, guys. I mean…
[59:32] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Yeah, yeah, I know. That’s what Shabbat is for, right? The Shabbat is for that. Those other six days that’s, in six days, thou shalt metaverse and on the seventh day, thou shalt regular verse, right? I believe that’s what the verse says, isn’t it? All right, I know, I know, I couldn’t avoid that one. I’m sorry.
[59:58] Leigh: I love it. Awesome. So, with that, I want to thank everyone so much for celebrating with us tonight. If you happen to be looking for stuff to do on Shabbat, highly recommend getting yourself a Bitcoin Magazine and reading an actual paper. It’s relaxing. It’s lots of fun. I wrote an article there where we talked to a really badass lady, Cynthia Lummis, about Bitcoin mining and all the wonderful things that are involved with how this industry is genuinely opening up new possibilities when it comes to energy sector and to regulation in general.
So, with that, I thank you again.
[1:00:31] Jeremy: Can I show something?
[1:00:32] Leigh: Oh, yeah, please show away.
[1:00:35] Jeremy: I’m going to send out a Bitcoin holiday/Hanukkah card. I’ll retweet the tweet so that you can see it. But if you would like one of those, you have to send me a Bitcoin public key, so you got to generate that on a node, not just an address, and then I’ll send those out at some point soon with instructions on how to claim.
[1:00:55] The Bitcoin Rabbi: What’s an xPub?
[1:01:00] Jeremy: Yeah, exactly. If you send an xPub, I’ll be able to use that. But, if you send an address, unless it’s a Taproot address, I don’t think I would be able to. But I think a Taproot address, I’m not ready for yet. My software is yet to be upgraded.
[1:01:12] Leigh: So I know that in the medium segment, addresses that usually start with like bc1 or something, and that’s how I can usually tell, is there something that public key usually starts with or a way that you can recognize it as different from the thing you couldn’t use?
[1:01:25] Jeremy: It should just be a hex string and it usually starts with 02 or 03.
[1:01:32] Leigh: Perfect. Thank you. That’s really helpful for me. Awesome. Well, thank you so much everybody for joining and I hope that you have a wonderful rest of your evening.
[1:01:42] Guest 4: Happy Hanukkah, everyone.
[1:01:43] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Happy Hanukkah, everyone.
[1:01:45] The Bitcoin Rabbi: Thank you, Leigh. Thank you, Bitcoin Magazine.
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