Hebrew Voices #57 – The Chinese Discover Hanukkah

Nehemia Gordon with two of his high school students he taught Hanukkah to in China.In this episode of Hebrew Voices, The Chinese Discover Haunukkah, Nehemia Gordon explains how he found himself teaching about Hanukkah, Christmas, and the ban on the Name, to hundreds of atheist high school students in China.

Diana wrote: “Loved the stories that Nehemia shared...could have listened for hours more.” Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #6 – Toldot (Malachi 1:1-2:7)

Prophet Pearls Toldot, Malachi, toldot, altarpiece, angel, messenger, haftarah, Keith Johnson, Kohen, Name of God, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, Priests, prophets, Temple Mount, Tetragrammaton, YehovahThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Toldot, covering Malachi 1:1-2:7. If context is key, Gordon and Johnson have opened the door. We learn the exact historical context of Malachi’s message, a specific event at Sinai to which he referred, and the current events on the Temple Mount that prove the Prophet’s words to be as relevant as ever. Gordon tracks down a lost root to clarify the job description of a “messenger” and sets the record straight on “Levites,” “priests” and “cohanim.”  Regarding Malachi’s prophecy, “my name is great among the nations,” Gordon tells of Icelanders and Filipinos who have gathered themselves with Yehovah and encourages listeners to be ready to do likewise. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #6 – Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9)

Torah Pearls Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9, Issac’s wells, jacob and esau, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, satan in tanakh, toldot, Torah PearlsThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9). God’s desire and ability to establish a universal and eternal plan within three generations of a mere human family comes to the forefront in Toldot. Discussions include: Are three related nations depicted among these generations? What is the symbolic significance of Isaac’s wells? Word studies include: “red,” “heel,” “trembled,” and how the KJV back-tracked to render a personified view of “satan.” We see familial patterns continue as Isaac echoes, “she’s my sister,” and Rebecca steps away from the daily grind to “seek Yehovah.”  The trio explores Jacob and Esau’s differences—a shepherd with a plan and a hunter in the moment—as well as the defining difference that altered their destinies. As Jacob sets off with the double portion, God’s mixed-multitude plan is set in motion—a plan to bring his covenant to all mankind. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #56 – The Battle for the Six Day War

Michael Oren discussing the Six Day War on Hebrew Voices with Nehemia Gordon.In this episode of Hebrew Voices, The Battle for the Six Day War, I speak with Michael Oren, the greatest living historian of modern Israel, to learn about the fight against Fake News, his adventures in the Zionist Underground, and how President Obama helped laid the foundations of a new Iranian empire. Michael Oren is an important member of the Israeli government who also holds a PhD in history from Princeton University. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #5 – Chayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31)

Solomon Crowned King - Prophet Pearls - Chayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Chayei Sarah, covering 1 Kings 1:1-31. With clues from Gordon and Johnson, the ancient story of King David’s old age and the ensuing struggle for succession seem as modern as any HBO political drama. The portion opens with a brow-raising account of a woman “warming” the king. But which provides the best explanation—eisegesis or exegesis study methods? The word play between “Adonijah” and “Adonai” provides a virtual romp through the portion, and we learn how Amnon-Absalom-Adonijah and Solomon fit the Hebrew thought pattern of “three and four.” Gordon explains why it’s a big deal to swear by Yehovah as well as why it was dangerous to live in an ancient culture and claim to be a king. Pearls aplenty, but it’s hard to top the one little word that Bathsheba adds when proclaiming l’chaim to King David—“olam.” Continue reading

Torah Pearls #5 – Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

Torah Pearls Chayei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18, Chevron, Hebron, Hevron, hospitality, Machpelah, matchmaker, Mearat, Midian, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, patriarchs, sarah’s tomb, Tomb, Torah Pearls, Torah PortionThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18). Love, romance, marriage, death, laden camels, and the power of specific prayers—Chayei Sarah unfolds dramatically as the trio examine its many pearls. The portion begins with Abraham securing a burial place for Sarah and ends with his death. In between, we get to relive one of the world’s best stories, not once, but four times, as Abraham’s servant makes a match for Isaac. But far from stale repetition, Gordon explains that being able to analyze word choices in a repeated story is pay dirt for the linguist. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #4 – Vayeira (2 Kings 4:1-37)

Elisha and the Shunnamite's Son by Timothy Welchel, Prophet Pearls Vayeira, 2 Kings 4:1-37, elisha, elijah, keith johnson, nehemia gordon, parsha, prophet, tanakh, resurrection, Shunnamite, yehovah, yhvh, yhwhThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayeira covering 2 Kings 4:1-4:37. The miracles of Elisha yield fascinating pearls as Gordon and Johnson discuss the similarities and differences of Elisha’s and Elijah’s stories, the measure of spirit that Elisha really asked for, whether the Shunammite was full of faith or just evasive—and why her travels on Shabbat present problems for both rabbis and Karaites. Gordon looks at other instances of resurrection in the Tanakh and gives chapter and verse explaining how the books of the Tanakh are grouped according to three fields of knowledge. We also learn that whether the prophets are considered “classical” or “literary,” these guys completely expected to be kept in the loop. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #4 – Vayeira (Genesis 18:1-22:24)

Torah Pearls Vayeira, Genesis 18:1-22:24, abomination, abominations, Abraham, angels, angels messengers, cheeseburger, dead sea, dietary laws, grafted, homosexuality, human sacrifice, Isaac, Ishmael, Ishmaelites, kid, Lot, meat, meat and milk, milk, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, rape, sacrifice, salt sea, seed, Sodom, Torah PearlsIn The Original Torah Pearls, Vayeira (Genesis 18:1-22:24), the trio sheds light on interpreting the words and actions of “messengers” by comparing the three men who visited Abraham with other examples in scripture. They debate which of the many depravities of Sodom left it covered in salt to this day. With information about Abraham’s place and time, Gordon brings understanding to the more baffling events in this portion—particularly Lot’s approach to hospitality. Other Torah pearls include: the significance of Abraham bargaining with the number ten, Ishmael’s “mocking” of Isaac, and word puns that prove the Creator not only has a keen sense of humor but that he’s willing to work with us.  The trio ends by exploring the “blessing” that Abraham bequeathed to the world—the opportunity to be grafted in. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #6 – Biblical Sites with an LA Screenwriter (Rebroadcast)

"Fun Joel" Haber in Nahal HaShofetIn this episode of Hebrew VoicesBiblical Sites with an LA Screenwriter, Nehemia Gordon speaks with Joel Haber, a licensed tour guide in Israel whose tours are so enjoyable that he earned the nickname “Fun Joel.” Haber shares powerful examples of how reading the Bible, in the land of the Bible, brings the verses to life —sharing details from the binding of Isaac, the Valley of Elah, the routing at Mt. Hermon, and the broad wall in Jerusalem. Joel explains in-depth how the roads, the riverbeds, and the typography all help to clarify events—as well as how matching historical and archaeological records with biblical accounts proves the Bible is clearly not a made up book. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #3 – Lech Lecha (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)

Prophet Pearls - Lech Lecha (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Lech Lecha, covering Isaiah 40:27-41:16. As Isaiah spoke consolation to invaded Israel, Gordon and Johnson console the listener with the deep wells contained in the original Hebrew—nuances that bring even greater comfort from the promises of the Creator. Word studies include: “renewed” strength, “first and last,” “righteousness,” and “eternity”—with the significance of its second root. Gordon and Johnson consider the options concerning “who stirred up from the east” and discuss how the ancient Israelites knew who was speaking in this Portion’s fast-paced dialog. Gordon concludes with the comforting news implied by the winnowing process—not all nations will be carried away. Continue reading