Prophet Pearls #34 – Bamidbar (Hosea 1:10-2:20[2:1-22])

Prophet Pearls Bamidbar, betroth, Yehovah, Hosea, Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson, Prophets, Northern Kingdom, Jezreel, Jeroboam, Gomer, prostitute, Lo-ruhamah, Lo-ammi, Israel, syncretism, hishbati, aras, symbolic, spiritual, Torah, torah portion, torah pearlsIn this week's Prophet Pearls Bamidbar, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion covering  Hosea 1:10-2:20 [2:1-22]. Gordon and Johnson begin by establishing a place and time: The Northern Kingdom, its capital Jezreel and the days of Jeroboam II. Enter Hosea, a prophet who offers his whole life as a witnessing tool, his wife Gomer the prostitute, their children: Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah (Not Pitied), and Lo-ammi (Not My People). We learn that the rebuke to Gomer/Israel for “adorning herself with jewelry” is an example of the dangers of syncretism—the spiritual mixing of seed (see link below). Word studies include “hishbati / I will cause to cease” and its root shin-bet-tav and “aras / I will betroth you” with its symbolic spiritual meaning. Gordon and Johnson close by discussing the legalities of betrothal in the Torah as well as the wonderment of being eternally betrothed. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #34 – Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20)

Torah Pearls BamidbarThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Bamidbar (Number 1:1-4:20). We talk about the meaning of the terms Bamidbar and Shaddai, decipher the names Schlemiel and Schlimazel, and uncover the the secret of Hasenpfeffer Incorporated. We also explore the questions: Who is the mysterious Gamaliel in the Book of Numbers? Is there a problem with the numbers in Numbers? What are the emblems and standards of the twelve tribes? Why is it that the tribe of Levi is selected? How does currency and money differ? What does it mean to be the redeemed of Yehovah? The answers to all this and more in this week’s Torah Pearls! Continue reading

Torah Pearls #33 – Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34)

This episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34). In this week’s Torah Pearls we discuss the ifs and buts of blessings and curses, as well as the meaning and gravity of vows and dedications. Lastly, how does one redeem their tithe? Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #32 – Behar (Jeremiah 32:6-27)

Prophet Pearls - 32 - BeharThis week, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion of Behar covering Jeremiah 32:6-27. To shed light on Jeremiah’s purchase of a field in this portion, Gordon provides information about archaeological discoveries and how they substantiate and clarify the ancient deeding practices Jeremiah details in this portion.  But of course, the portion isn't solely about the challenges of conducting business while imprisoned in a besieged city; Gordon and Johnson expound on and revel in Jeremiah’s epiphany, “There is nothing too hard for thee.”  (Which brings us to the word-of-the-week: “yipale,” from the root pei-lamed-aleph—that which is wonderful, hidden, or difficult.) The duo debate their differing interpretations of Jeremiah’s catchphrase, “Aha” and Gordon closes in prayer that captives will continue to return to Israel and that rejoicing will increase in the streets of Jerusalem. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #32 – Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2)

Lemon orchard in Upper Galilee of Israel.This episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2). After discovering our original recording for Behar was missing we quickly reassembled to discuss topics such as: How is one to observe the Sabbatical year and when is it anyway? Is the Jubilee year 49 or 50 years? We also proclaimed the “Lord of sabaoth” our Redeemer! Oh, and somewhere in there we mentioned Martin Luther. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #44 – The Rebirth of Israel and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Nehemia Gordon speaking on Israel Independence Day 2017In The Rebirth of Israel and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nehemia Gordon explains why he is a "Zionist", and how the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls parallels the rebirth of Israel as a nation. You can watch the video of his address at the public celebrations of Israel's 69th Independence Day in Huntington, West Virginia or listen to the audio as part of his Hebrew Voices podcast. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #31 – Emor (Ezekiel 44:15-31)

Prophet Pearls EmorIn Prophet Pearls Emor, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion of Emor covering Ezekiel 44:15-31. Apparent contradictions about linen garments, wild hair and blue dye are overshadowed by a more challenging textual variance concerning marriage. But should contradictions (apparent or otherwise) cause divisions, excommunications, or worse—the loss of faith? Despite opposing interpretations, Gordon and Johnson think not, as they settle comfortably with the Jewish method of inquiry where questions are as important as answers and where apparent contradictions only drive understanding. They prove it’s a beautiful thing to interact with the word of God—with the goal of knowing him intimately. That being said, the word-of-the-week is “yarah” (yud-reish-hei). They shall teach. They will torah. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #31 – Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23)

Torah Pearls Emor, Nehemia Gordon, Torah portion, Leviticus, Priests, offerings, appointed times, Yehovah, Lunar Sabbath, chagThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23). We discuss the standards and conduct of the Priests and acceptable offerings, as well as the appointed times of Yehovah and the issue of the Lunar Sabbath. Lastly, we address the stoning of the blasphemer! Continue reading

Torah Pearls #30 – Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27)

Torah Pearls Kedoshim, kedoshim, Leviticus, Nehemia Gordon, Torah portion, name of God, the Lord sabaoth, Love God, love your neighbor, Torah Pearls, yhvh, yehovahin this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27), we discuss what it means to profane the name of the Lord, who is “the Lord sabaoth”, the difference between rob and steal, lie and deceive, and the origin of “Love God, love your neighbor” as the summary of the Torah. All this and more in this week’s Torah Pearls. Continue reading