Hebrew Voices #91 – The Aramaic Name of God

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, The Aramaic Name of God, Nehemia Gordon discusses a cache of papyri written by a garrison of Jewish soldiers on the southern border of Egypt in the 5th century BCE. Hebrew University Professor Emeritus Bezalel Porten explains how these Jews arrived in Egypt as mercenaries in the time of King Menasheh, offered sacrifices at their own local Temple, and called on the name of the God of Israel. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #21 – Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35)

Torah Pearls Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11-34:35, Mount Sinai, stone, tablets, Ten Commandments, Torah Pearls, torah portion, Nehemia GordonIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35), we begin with a passionate discussion on "Tradition" vs. Scripture, which leads to the golden calf of the Exodus event.  Who was the calf supposed to represent? There follows a fascinating discussion of God's appearance to Moses, and what we can learn about God from it.  Finally, the trio discuss the very sensitive matter of whether or not Jewish people really do have horns. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #21 – Ki Tisa (1 Kings 18:1-39)

Image courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Prophet Pearls Ki Tisa, 1 Kings 18:1-39, 1 kings, ahab, Elijah, elijah confronts ahab, fire from heaven, haftarah, identity of obadiah, jezebel, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, obadiah, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Prophet PearlsIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Ki Tisa covering 1 Kings 18:1-39. True to their word to do “whatever it takes” to complete Prophet Pearls, Gordon and Johnson convene in Jerusalem to examine the brassiest display of prophetic prowess in the Tanakh. We are drawn into Elijah’s confrontation with Ahab as if for the first time. Hebrew word-plays jump off the page and demand attention. Gordon connects puzzle pieces to propose a fascinating and completely plausible reading of Obadiah’s back story. Who was he and what great news for mankind does he represent? Continue reading

The Hidden Meaning of Purim

Purim, Esther, Yehovah, miracle, Meaning of Purim, Message of PurimIn The Hidden Message of Purim, Nehemia Gordon gives an overview of the story of Purim. Nehemia discusses the concept of this holiday being a national day of celebration, as opposed to a holiday ordained by Yehovah. He also explains the word “purim” and Haman using superstition to try and find an auspicious day to exterminate the Jews. How Haman underestimated Yehovah’s desire to protect His people and His ironic sense of humor. And Yehovah creating this elaborate miracle, which makes for a riveting fast pace story with a twist. Nehemia also looks at some possible explanations of why Hadass was called Esther. And he stresses, what he thinks is one of the most important lessons of the story, that Yehovah has the power to act behind the scenes and uses us to do His will. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #90 – The Hebrew Error of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, The Hebrew Error of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nehemia Gordon looks at the promise of the Democratic Party's "Green New Deal" to pay money to those "unwilling to work". Nehemia shows how this unbelievable statement can help us understand medieval Hebrew Bible manuscripts and even shed light on the true pronunciation of the holy name of God. Nehemia also employs some classical Jewish techniques of Bible interpretation to find out whether this truly is a modern-day scribal error or part of a radical agenda to create a bloated welfare state. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #20 – Tetzaveh (Ezekiel 43:10-27)

Prophet Pearls Tetzaveh (Ezekiel 43:10-27) with Nehemia Gordon and Keith JohnsonIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Tetzaveh covering Ezekiel 43:10-27. In this Portion, Ezekiel describes the sin offering and the building plan for the Temple. Gordon and Johnson consider whether a spiritual or literal interpretation fits best with the minute details of the plan. We learn the iniquity for which Ezekiel’s listeners were (and we are) to be ashamed as well as the literal meanings of “temple” and “synagogue” and that word choice indicates world view. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #20 – Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)

Kohen Gado, Torah Pearls Tetzaveh, Torah Pearls, Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10, torah portion, Nehemia Gordon, priest, temple, incense, tabernacleIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10), we begin with a discussion of how modern day synagogues and churches attempt to emulate the commandments for the decoration of the Biblical priests and the Temple.  This leads to an enlightening discussion on the interpretation of Scripture, and who has the right to decide what the scriptures say. Other topics include Josephus's statement that the name of God has four vowels and whether David sinned when he ate the Bread of the Presence. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #19 – Terumah (1 Kings 5:12[26]-6:13)

Prophet Pearls Terumah, 1 Kings, temple, d’veer, haftarah, hewn stones, Keith Johnson, month of ziv, mythical shamir worm, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, prophets, shamir, shamir worm, solomon’s temple, terumah, terumah haftarah, terumah prophets, YehovahIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Terumah covering 1 Kings 5:12[26]-6:13. Gordon and Johnson provide volumes of contextual insight into this seemingly straight-forward “How to Build a Temple” portion. We learn the importance of the “480 years” date given in this passage, that the forced labor used to build Solomon’s Temple compares favorably to modern practices, and how the coloring of the “hewn stones” beautified the Temple. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #19 – Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

Torah Pearls Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19, candelabrum, Menorah, tabernacle, Temple, Torah Pearls, torah portion, Temple Institute, menorahThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19). The episode opens with a lively discussion on the difference between tithes and offerings.  There follows a brilliant discussion of the "Mercy Seat" of the Ark, and what that means to different cultures and faiths.  What could have been a boring discussion of the "furniture" in the tabernacle becomes a passionate discussion of the implements what is really contained within the Ark. Continue reading