Faith and the Founders: The Hebrew Bible and American Independence

A limited series podcast with Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik

More than most other peoples, Americans have long been fascinated by the history and ideas behind our country’s founding. From the debates that led up to the Revolution to the Constitutional Convention to the presidencies of Washington, Adams, and Jefferson—the dramatic story of the Founding Era continues to educate and inspire.

Of special interest to American Jews are the many ways in which Hebrew Scripture, Jewish ideas, and Jewish patriots played a role in the fight for American independence and the nation’s early dedication to religious liberty.

In his many essays, podcasts, speeches, and lectures, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik has brought these Jewish elements of the founding to the forefront of his teaching. Now, in this special 4th of July limited series podcast, Tikvah is bringing together some of Rabbi Soloveichik’s most interesting and exciting teachings from Bible 365, his online courses, and other talks he’s given to enhance and invigorate your celebration of Independence Day.

You can listen to every lecture right on this website below.

Or if you prefer, you can subscribe to the course as a podcast on:

 Apple Podcasts


Episode 1: Thomas Paine, Yeruba’al, and the Concept of Kingship

A passage in the story of Gideon helped launch the American Revolution. Text: Judges 8-10

Episode 2: American Exodus: Franklin, Jefferson, and the Seal of the United States

The story of a committee formed on July 4, 1776, shows us how the founders read the Exodus story, and how they saw in it two separate and essential themes that they wished to impress upon America. Text: Exodus 13-16

Episode 3: George Washington’s Favorite Verse

A verse in Micah appears many times in George Washington’s words—including one of the most famous letters in American Jewish history. Text: Micah 1-4

In this episode, Rabbi Soloveichik discusses two of George Washington’s letters to Jewish communities in America.  Click here to read Washington’s letter to the Hebreww Congregation in Savannah, GA. Click here to read Washington’s letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, RI.

Episode 4: Jonas Phillips and the Sabbath Witness

Ezekiel has a unique emphasis on the way in which Jews testify to the world through Sabbath observance. Text: Ezekiel 20-23

In this episode, Rabbi Soloveichik quotes an article by Yehuda Avner. You can read it here.

Episode 5: Washington, Adams, and the Israelite Monarchy

A letter by John Adams about his presidential predecessor allows us to better understand the beginning of Saul’s story. Text: Samuel 7-12

Episode 6: The Thanksgivings of Solomon and Roger Sherman

The Book of Kings figures in a fascinating debate from the first session of the House of Representatives. Text: 1 Kings 4-5, 8

Episode 7: Adam’s Family and the “Adams Family”

How the lives of John and Abigail Adams shed light on the meaning of the biblical Adam and Eve to America and the world. Text: Genesis 1-6

Episode 8: Adams, Jefferson, and the Jews

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams—the founding generation’s preeminent intellectual leaders—differed mightily about the value of the Jews and Judaism. Download the study guide here.

Episode 9: July 4th, 1976

On America’s bicentennial, a remarkable Israeli rescue mission spreads the message of liberty throughout the world. Click here to read Rabbi Soloveichik’s essay about the Liberty Bell.

Episode 10: The Bible, the Founders, and the War on American History

American history is under siege today. Rabbi Soloveichik explores how can we make sure our children learn and appreciate the American story, and thinks about the role Jews have in this mission.