Hebrew Voices #78 – Chinese Origin of the Sukkot Etrog

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, Chinese Origin of the Sukkot Etrog, Nehemia Gordon talks with ordained-rabbi Dr. David Moster about the "fruit" we are commanded to use on the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:40). They discuss how the Citron or "Esrog" arrived in the Land of Israel in the Persian Period, how it played an important role in the rise of the Pharisees, and how it eventually became the distinctive symbol of Judaism - replacing God's holy name. Their conversation explores the Orthodox, Samaritan, and Karaite interpretations of Lev 23:40, its function in the Feast of Booths, and why a southeast Asian-Jewish fruit is a key ingredient in traditional Christmas cakes. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #53 – Ha’azinu (2 Samuel 22:1-51)

Prophet Pearls - Ha'azinu (2 Samuel 22:1-51)In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Haazinu, which covers 2 Samuel 22:1-51. As Gordon and Johnson compare this portion to its parallel in Psalm 18, we learn more about the contexts of these living, breathing prayers and prophecies and the families of Levites who read and sang them in the Temple and in synagogues. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #53 – Ha’azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52)

Original Torah Pearls - Ha'azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52)In this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Ha’azinu (Deuteronomy 32), the song of Moses provides a lyrical backdrop for discussing the beauty and message of Moses’ last words to the people. Nehemia Gordon explains poetic structure and rhythm as well as how poetic names are formed in Hebrew. The trio explores the repeated references to the “rock” in this song and clarifies who “they” refers to—Israel or the nations. Johnson expounds on the beauty inherit in the Tanach for Christians—with no retrofits needed—while Gordon highlights the passage equating “calling out the name of Yehovah” with “giving greatness” to the Name. The trio concludes with all the conviction of Moses—that there simply are not any other gods out there. Continue reading

Hope from Despair on Yom Kippur

Centurion on Booster Overlooking the Valley of TearsIn this Support Team StudyHope from Despair on Yom Kippur, Nehemia Gordon explains how modern Israel nearly came to an end, how the hand of God turned imminent defeat into victory, and how the hope of a little-known Hebrew "saint" burns in the heart of every Jew for the coming of the King Messiah. In this episode, Nehemia also tells about the most controversial prayer he has uttered in his life! Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #2 – The Origin of Sin (Rebroadcast)

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, Nehemia Gordon discusses with Dr. Miryam Brand the origin of sin and her book, Evil Within and Without: The Source of Sin and Its Nature as Portrayed in Second Temple Literature. Gordon keeps the gems accessible to non-scholars as they track revelations about the origin of sin through the centuries. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #52 – Vayelech (Isaiah 55:6-56:8)

Prophet Pearls Vayelech, everlasting name, everlasting name not cut off, foreigners israel, isaiah, Isaiah 55:6-56:8, jewish soul, joined to israel, Keith Johnson, lavah joined, nehemia gordon, outcasts of israel, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Prophecy, Prophet Pearls, prophets, Vayelech, Vayelech haftarah, vayelech prophets, yad vashemIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayelech, covering Isaiah 55:6-56:8. Gordon and Johnson rejoice in this portion that heralds good news for the wicked, the unrighteous, the outcasts of Israel, the eunuch and the foreigner. And if none of these describe you, feel free to check “other.” Continue reading

Torah Pearls #52 – Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30)

In this episode of The Original Torah PearlsVayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30), we discuss traditions we were taught concerning the Torah—a Law so simple ancient Israelites were expected to obey just by hearing it every seven years. They examine how religious traditions can stray from the intent of Torah—to hear, to learn, to fear, and to do. Regarding who “crossed over,” God or Joshua, Gordon discusses the Hebrew concept of dual causality—where the actions of the sender and the messenger are equal—a perk when partnering with the Creator of the universe. Gordon also provides Hebrew word studies that both boggle and thrill the mind—God “puts on” the suit on a man? All nations will be grafted in? The trio concludes by discussing the livability of Torah and the strength and courage required to keep it. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #51 – Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20)

Torah Pearls Nitzavim, alah, bitterness, choice of life or death, Circumcised, Circumcised flesh, Circumcised heart, Circumcision, covenant, curse, David, Deuteronomy, drunkard, exile, Ingathering, Joshua, kibbutz, mysterious, nehemia gordon, Nitzavim, oath, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, prosperity, repentance and forgiveness, revealed, root, secret, secrets, sober, Torah Pearls, Torah Portion, wormwoodIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20), we revel in the five verses that sum up the entire Bible - the wonderful and terrible responsibility given to mankind to choose. But what qualifies one to choose the life-giving covenant? Social status? Being in the camp? Does the name of God provide a clue? And how is this covenant sealed—with a kiss or a curse? Is comprehension of the covenant too difficult for stiff-necked mortals? Whose name do we call on for help? Gordon concludes with a Hebrew word study that reveals what true prosperity looks like for those choosing Torah—a radiant bride with a loving and joyful groom. Continue reading