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

Sukkot (Feast of Booths)

On Chag Ha-Sukkot, Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) we are commanded to build a Sukkah (Booth) using as building materials the "4 species" listed in Lev 23:40. Rabbinical tradition teaches that a bundle of these building materials must be ritually waved in the air during the festival. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #103 – A Jerusalem Sukkot Encampment

Nehemia Gordon with David and Emily Verela discussing the laws of Sukkot in Jerusalem.In this episode of Hebrew Voices, A Jerusalem Sukkot Encampment, Nehemia Gordon speaks with an American couple who sparked a worldwide Sukkot-movement by pitching a tent in Jerusalem with their seven children. They share the story of their humble beginnings studying the Bible, which led them to discovering the name of God and forgoing pagan holidays. Years later and hundreds of people, from all over the world, join them in fulfillment of prophecy of Zechariah 14:16 about the nations of the world celebrating the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem. 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, Haazinu  (2 Samuel 22:1-51), Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson compare this portion to its parallel in Psalm 18, so we can 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 inherent 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

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

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, The Origin of Sin, 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

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

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 of 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