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

Hebrew Voices #102 – The Scribe’s Toolbox

Nehemia Gordon and Jewish scribe Mordecha Pinchas (Marc Michaels) discussing the methods used to hand write a Torah scroll. The explore the different types of parchment, how a quill is turned into a precise writing implement, and the surprising ingredients in scribal ink. They also explains the ritual observance involved in writing the name of God and how to fix scribal errors.In this episode of Hebrew Voices, The Scribe's Toolbox, a Jewish scribe explains the ancient methods used since the time of Moses to hand write a Torah scroll. We explore the different types of parchment, how a quill is turned into a precise writing implement, and the surprising ingredients in scribal ink. He also explains the ritual observance involved in writing the name of God and how to fix scribal errors. If you have been following my research of thousands of Hebrew manuscripts and have been wondering what exactly goes into writing one, you need to watch this episode! Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #50 – Ki Tavo (Isaiah 60:1-22)

Prophet Pearls Ki Tavo, glory of Israel, haftarah, Isaiah 60:1-22, Keith Johnson, ki tavo, ki tavo haftarah, ki tavo prophets portion, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Temple MountIn this episode of Prophet Pearls,  Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Ki Tavo, covering Isaiah 60:1-22. Gordon and Johnson revel in this sixth in a series of seven “Haftarot of Consolation,” as the prophet Isaiah details the future glory of Israel. Gordon and Johnson provide eyewitness accounts of the fulfillment of some of the prophecies—such as walls built by foreigners and the ingathering of exiles. Word studies include uri/wake up, kavod/glory leaving, netzer/branch and hamas/violence. We learn that signs of a hastening are going on right now and that eternal life on Earth is a Jewish concept. In closing, Johnson prays for the day when there are no coups and no confusion and Messiah reigns from Jerusalem. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #50 – Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

In this episode of The Original Torah PearlsKi Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8), after revealing the identity of the “wandering Aramean,” we discuss the name commanded to be spoken seven times during the first fruits offering. A vivid picture is painted of the tribes standing on Mounts Ebal and Gerizim declaring the blessings and the curses across the bowl-shaped valley. But why are the curses so complicated and the blessings so simple?  Gordon lets us in on marginal notes that direct how some of the more graphic phrases in the Torah are to be read in public. He also proposes an explanation for the statistically insignificant Jew becoming a byword among the nations. Could the exile and its miseries be as much of a sign as the miraculous ingathering? And while our heavenly Father many times commands the whole hearts and souls of his people, to what one cause does he pledge his? Continue reading

The Tower that Still Stands – Nehemia Gordon (Open Door Series – Part 11)

The Tower That Still StandsIn The Tower That Still Stands, Nehemia Gordon tells the story of how he found the name of God with full vowels as the Twin Towers were falling on 9/11, and how we can find strength in the Migdal Oz, the “strong tower” that still stands. Sarah wrote: "This episode gave me chill bumps, again and again! I just had to stand up and shout!" Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #49 – Ki Teitzei (Isaiah 54:1-54:10)

In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Ki Teitzei covering Isaiah 54:1-54:10. Gordon and Johnson revel in the glorious promises to Israel, explore the various ways the Tanakh allegorizes her, and stand firmly on common ground concerning the messianic promise as Yehovah connects his eternal covenant with Israel to the seed of David. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #49 – Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)

In this episode of The Original Torah PearlsKi Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19), an uninformed reading of the archaic civil and domestic laws in this portion might leave one scratching the head, but the trio deftly removes cultural and language barriers so that the principles behind these pearls can be applied to the modern age. Discussions reveal what is at the heart of: Torah fashion statements, plowing with a donkey and an ox, installing parapets and taking millstones. Ki Teitzei underscores that the Torah is for all people, for all time—as its laws not only remedied ancient Canaanite traditions but also reached ahead to 20th century America when women’s rights finally began to get with the program. The portion concludes with the mind-bender of remembering to forget—and a reminder from Gordon that it’s a curse to have one’s name blotted out. Continue reading

Torah Trekking in the Himalayas

Torah trekking in the HimalayasShalom Support Team! In my Support Team Study, Torah Trekking in the Himalayas, I share a  profound revelation I had while hiking in Nepal, shortly after leaving China. I was high up in the foothills of the Himalayas at the height of the monsoon rains when I encountered a young Israeli trekker. Ha-Ikar She-ata Neheneh, she said to me, “The main thing is that you’re enjoying yourself.” Enjoying myself?! I was soaking wet from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes. Every muscle in my body screamed for rest. I was utterly miserable. So what exactly about this experience was I enjoying? The conversation from this chance encounter got me thinking about why we sometimes love a challenge more than a neck massage and more importantly—what sacrifices does God want from us? In this special message to my Support Team, I explore the prevalent Jewish mindset that the most burdened is the most blessed-a mindset that pervades many religious traditions. Continue reading