Hebrew Voices #10 – Lost Tomb of the Maccabees (Rebroadcast)

Maccabee Tombs by Amit ReemIn this episode of Hebrew Voices, Lost Tomb of the Maccabees, Nehemia Gordon visits with Israeli archaeologist, Amit Reem, at the newly-discovered probable site of the Tomb of the Maccabees in Modi’in. Reem and Gordon once studied together at Hebrew University. Reem now works for the Israeli Antiquities Authority and is acquiring a PhD in archaeology. For the first twenty years of his career, Reem excavated the walls, fortifications and palaces of Jerusalem and thought he would be bored when reassigned to Modi’in, but has since become impassioned with the area and finding the lost tomb of the Maccabees. According to Reem, every inch of Israel is filled with marvelous things, and no less so in Modi’in. Reem and Gordon discuss the history of Modi’in, the setting of the Hanukkah story, and why Christian connections to this place gives credence to the site being the elusive tomb of the Maccabees. Reem also shows Gordon the place among the tombs where 23 Israelis created a fox hole in the 1948 War of Independence. Unused ammunition was found there, for like the ancient Maccabees, these Israelis sacrificed their lives for the nation of Israel. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #6 – Toldot (Malachi 1:1-2:7)

Prophet Pearls Toldot, Malachi, toldot, altarpiece, angel, messenger, haftarah, Keith Johnson, Kohen, Name of God, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, Priests, prophets, Temple Mount, Tetragrammaton, YehovahThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Toldot, covering Malachi 1:1-2:7. If context is key, Gordon and Johnson have opened the door. We learn the exact historical context of Malachi’s message, a specific event at Sinai to which he referred, and the current events on the Temple Mount that prove the Prophet’s words to be as relevant as ever. Gordon tracks down a lost root to clarify the job description of a “messenger” and sets the record straight on “Levites,” “priests” and “cohanim.”  Regarding Malachi’s prophecy, “my name is great among the nations,” Gordon tells of Icelanders and Filipinos who have gathered themselves with Yehovah and encourages listeners to be ready to do likewise. Continue reading

War Without End

Acra Fortress - Glacis Slippery SlopeIn this Raw Stream of Torah Consciousness, I went to the newly discovered "Acra" in the City of David. This was an ancient Greek fortress that menaced the very heart of ancient Jerusalem. The parallels to the Maccabean wars 2,200 years ago and the headlines today are uncanny and a living reminder of how the history of Israel repeats itself time and again. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #6 – Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9)

Torah Pearls Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9, Issac’s wells, jacob and esau, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, satan in tanakh, toldot, Torah PearlsThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9). God’s desire and ability to establish a universal and eternal plan within three generations of a mere human family comes to the forefront in Toldot. Discussions include: Are three related nations depicted among these generations? What is the symbolic significance of Isaac’s wells? Word studies include: “red,” “heel,” “trembled,” and how the KJV back-tracked to render a personified view of “satan.” We see familial patterns continue as Isaac echoes, “she’s my sister,” and Rebecca steps away from the daily grind to “seek Yehovah.”  The trio explores Jacob and Esau’s differences—a shepherd with a plan and a hunter in the moment—as well as the defining difference that altered their destinies. As Jacob sets off with the double portion, God’s mixed-multitude plan is set in motion—a plan to bring his covenant to all mankind. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #32 – City of Rockets

A boy in Sderot playing with rocket fired from Gaza.In this episode of Hebrew Voices, City of Rockets, Nehemia Gordon journeys to the Israeli town of Sderot on the border of Gaza. With the help of Hands of Mercy, an international humanitarian organization, Nehemia brings you the real-life experiences of this war-torn community. You will meet the innocent people who have been suffering for over fourteen years from brutal rocket attacks, perpetrated by the radical Islamic militants who rule Gaza. City of Rockets is an inspiring message of hope, faith, and co-existence in the face of brutal terrorism. This episode contains sensitive material, which may not be suitable for young children. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #27 – True Jew Singing (Rebroadcast)

True Jew Singing, Yitzchok Meir, Nehemia Gordon, Hebrew Voices, Jewish Unity Project, Rabbi Schlomo Carlebach, zionism, Shema, Tetragrammaton, Cantor Yitzchok Meir, halakhaIn this episode of Hebrew Voices - True Jew Singing - Nehemia Gordon visits the Judean Hills, home of Yitzchok Meir. Musician, artist, and cantor—Meir is also the founder of the Jewish Unity Project. When asked to explain how he combines music with a message to unify people, Meir answers eloquently with his version of a song by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach about little candles—the candles of one God. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #5 – Chayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31)

Solomon Crowned KingThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Chayei Sarah, covering 1 Kings 1:1-31. With clues from Gordon and Johnson, the ancient story of King David’s old age and the ensuing struggle for succession seem as modern as any HBO political drama. The portion opens with a brow-raising account of a woman “warming” the king. But which provides the best explanation—eisegesis or exegesis study methods? The word play between “Adonijah” and “Adonai” provides a virtual romp through the portion, and we learn how Amnon-Absalom-Adonijah and Solomon fit the Hebrew thought pattern of “three and four.” Gordon explains why it’s a big deal to swear by Yehovah as well as why it was dangerous to live in an ancient culture and claim to be a king. Pearls aplenty, but it’s hard to top the one little word that Bathsheba adds when proclaiming l’chaim to King David—“olam.” Continue reading

Torah Pearls #5 – Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

Torah Pearls Chayei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18, Chevron, Hebron, Hevron, hospitality, Machpelah, matchmaker, Mearat, Midian, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, patriarchs, sarah’s tomb, Tomb, Torah Pearls, Torah PortionThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18). Love, romance, marriage, death, laden camels, and the power of specific prayers—Chayei Sarah unfolds dramatically as the trio examine its many pearls. The portion begins with Abraham securing a burial place for Sarah and ends with his death. In between, we get to relive one of the world’s best stories, not once, but four times, as Abraham’s servant makes a match for Isaac. But far from stale repetition, Gordon explains that being able to analyze word choices in a repeated story is pay dirt for the linguist. Continue reading

Thanksgiving to Yehovah

thanksgiving-350x200In this Thanksgiving Raw Stream of Torah Consciousness, I share about my journey from wallowing in my own misery, to being thankful every day for the gifts that Yehovah has given me. In the study, I explore the complex and expressive root for “thanks”—yod-dalet-hay—and the profound changes understanding this has brought to my life. In this special message, I remind my Support Team that the best time to give thanks is not during the best of times. I encourage those standing with me on the wall to express thanks and trust in Yehovah, knowing that that when we call upon Him in truth, He will answer. It’s going to be an awesome Thanksgiving! Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #4 – Vayeira (2 Kings 4:1-37)

Elisha and the Shunnamite's Son by Timothy Welchel, Prophet Pearls Vayeira, 2 Kings 4:1-37, elisha, elijah, keith johnson, nehemia gordon, parsha, prophet, tanakh, resurrection, Shunnamite, yehovah, yhvh, yhwhThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayeira covering 2 Kings 4:1-4:37. The miracles of Elisha yield fascinating pearls as Gordon and Johnson discuss the similarities and differences of Elisha’s and Elijah’s stories, the measure of spirit that Elisha really asked for, whether the Shunammite was full of faith or just evasive—and why her travels on Shabbat present problems for both rabbis and Karaites. Gordon looks at other instances of resurrection in the Tanakh and gives chapter and verse explaining how the books of the Tanakh are grouped according to three fields of knowledge. We also learn that whether the prophets are considered “classical” or “literary,” these guys completely expected to be kept in the loop. Continue reading