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The Rich Roll Podcast

Rabbi Mordecai Finley: A Jiu-Jitsu Blackbelt On Moral Philosophy, Virtue & The Inner Pharaoh

Our time is defined by a crisis of consciousness and broken spiritual connection. Driven by a materialist, zero-sum approach to everything, we seek answers in ego, money, power and consumption. It’s an addiction that’s wreaking havoc on the planet—and ultimately leaves us empty.

Short of a spiritual reconciliation or outright revolution of the heart, I fear for the future well-being of humanity.

It is this terrain that today we tread with spiritual psychologist, historian, philosopher, and the world’s only rabbi with a black belt in jiu-jitsu, Rabbi Mordecai Finley, Ph.D.

The co-founder of Ohr HaTorah Synagogue in Los Angeles, Rabbi Finley holds a doctorate in Religion and Social Ethics from the University of Southern California. He’s taught Holocaust Studies, Talmud, Rabbinic Literature, Jewish Law and Ethics, and other courses at USC, USC School of Law, and Loyola Law School. And he is a founder and the former president of the Academy for Jewish Religion.

Rabbi Finley’s gift lies in wisdom counseling, and today we are gifted just that.

This is a rather extraordinary deep dive into the teachings of moral philosophy, spiritual psychology, skepticism, and stoicism. We deal with anger & fear, the relationships that divide ourselves and others, and what Rabbi Finley calls The Inner Pharaoh, the internal oppressor who keeps us trapped with the crushing persistence of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. In addition, Rabbi Finley helps answer questions like:

  • what does it mean to pursue a life of virtue, wisdom, depth, purpose, and meaning beyond the material?
  • how do we parse our inner voice from the ego?
  • how do we connect our inner consciousness to the divine?
  • how do we end cycles of anger, disappointment, and dissatisfaction? 
  • and most importantly, what is the role of spirituality in 2021?

But the most powerful lesson imparted is the importance of thinking well. Exploring the depths of your motivation. And understanding that only you can heal yourself.

To read more click here. You can also watch our exchange on YouTube. And as always, the podcast streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Rabbi Finley is a beautiful soul. I sincerely hope you find this conversation as powerful and fascinating as I did.


Peace + Plants,


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Thank The Team: I do not do this alone. Send your love to Jason Camiolo for audio engineering, production, show notes and interstitial music; Margo Lubin and Blake Curtis for video, & editing; graphics by Jessica Miranda & Daniel Solis; portraits by Ali Rogers, Davy Greenberg & Grayson Wilder; copywriting by Georgia Whaley; and theme music by Tyler Piatt, Trapper Piatt & Hari Mathis.


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