Guess Who’s Coming to Seder

Nehemia-at-Tayelet-Small, Seder, Support Team, study, raw stream, Torah, consciousness, discernment, spirituality, emotional manipulation, demonic, deception, Scripture, fruitful, dialogue, versesIn this Support Team study, I share how a Passover Seder when I was eight marked my life and ministry. This Passover experience was a seed that grew and eventually opened a crack in my Litvak intellectualism. It allowed me to recognize that true spiritual encounters can be real, powerful, and life changing. But we need to have discernment between true encounters with our creator, emotional manipulation from others, or from “demonic” deception. While I don't have all the answers, I know what Scripture says—all authentic spiritual experiences must line up with Torah—and I hope this study begins a fruitful dialogue. Please share your thoughts and ideas (along with verses) in the comments—after listening to the study. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #25 – A Sober Purim in Jerusalem (Rebroadcast)

A-Sober-Purim-in-Jerusalem600x521In this episode of Hebrew Voices, A Sober Purim in Jerusalem, Nehemia visits with Rabbi "Big" Mike Gondelman to learn about the Jewish approach to treating alcoholism. The conversation opens with profound insights into the character of the Persian King Ahasuerus whose alcohol-driven binges nearly resulted in the total annihilation of the Jewish People. After hearing this interview, you will never look at Purim, alcoholism, or Alcoholics Anonymous the same way again. Continue reading

The Hidden Meaning of Purim

The-Hidden-Message-of-PurimIn The Hidden Meaning of Purim, Nehemia Godon 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

Torah Pearls #15 – Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16)

Torah Pearls Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16, Torah Pearls Vaeira, Exodus 6:2-9:35, Egypt, Exodus, migdal-oz, mixed multitude, month of aviv, Moses, Name of God, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Pharaoh, plague, plagues, Tetragrammaton, Torah Pearls, Torah Portion, vaeira, YehovahThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16). This week's episode of Torah Pearls begins with the plague of locusts in Egypt.  From the stories of Moses stretching his hands toward Egypt we gain some fascinating insights on the power of prayer.  The discussion then moves to the death of the firstborn, and explore some of the amazing acts of The LORD providing for the Hebrew people prior to their departure.  The group then speaks at length on the determining of the New Year based on the Hebrew calendar, which allows us to determine when Passover comes.  This leads to a wonderful discussion of being humble enough to admit when one is wrong. Continue reading

My U-Haul Sukkot

Gordon Family U-Haul Sukkah 1976.One of my earliest childhood memories was Sukkot of 1976, when I was 3.5 years old. I remember sitting in the family Sukkah, looking up through the branches that formed the roof, at the clouds as they whisked across the sky. We lived in a 17-story condominium and there was no obvious place to build a Sukkah. My father (of blessed memory), an Orthodox rabbi, asked permission to build a Sukkah in his designated parking space. When his request was turned down by the condominium board, my mother came up with the idea of building our Sukkah on the back of a U-Haul trailer. Continue reading

Sukkot (Feast of Booths) & Shemini Atzeret (Eighth Day of Assembly)

Sukkot, Feast of Booths, Chag Ha-Sukkot, Tabernacles, Sukkah, Booth, 4 species, Lev 23:40, Rabbinical tradition, waved, festival, Torah, celebrate, seven days, 15th, 21st, Seventh Hebrew month, holiday, Feast of Tabernacles, work is forbidden, first day, Pilgrimage Festivals, Jewish male, Jerusalem, laws, Talmud, Levitcus 23:40, fruit of a splendorous tree, splendorous fruit tree, date branches, branch of a thick tree, willows of the creek, Tanakh, Biblical, Nehemiah, Yehovah, Moses, Children of Israel, Seventh month, olive branches, oil tree branches, myrtle branches, House of God, Water Gate, Ephraim Gate, Karaites, Rabbis, Etrog, citron, olive tree, olive oil, Israelite, Arvei Nahal, Wadis, Israel, Babylon, Shemini Atzeret, 8th day, Rabbinic, simhat Torah, Celebration of the Torah, Rabbanites, God's lawOn 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

Ushpizin – My Favorite Movie

Ushpizin Movie

One Sukkot tradition I have developed over the years is watching the Israeli movie Ushpizin. This movie is really clever because it takes one of the classic Hollywood movie genres, the "Christmas Miracle," and transposes it to Israel. Of course, in Israel it would not make sense to have a movie about Christmas, so Ushpizin is about a Sukkot Miracle. Continue reading

The Yom Kippur Jazz Singer

Scene from the movie The Jazz Singer (1972).One Yom Kippur I watched a great movie, the original 1927 film The Jazz Singer. This was the first "talkie," containing several scenes with sound, although most of it was still silent. The second “talking” scene in the movie - actually, the second non-silent scene in movie history - features a Jewish cantor singing Kol Nidre, a famous Yom Kippur prayer in Aramaic. This alone makes the movie worth watching. Just imagine an American audience in 1927. The first time they see a "talking" movie. And it’s a Rabbi singing a Jewish prayer in Aramaic! Continue reading