Torah Pearls #48 – Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)

Torah Pearls Shoftim, abominable practices, abominations, atonement ritual, authority, bribes, cities of refuge, forbidden worship, grace, Harry Potter, Hebrew collective singular, Jacob’s pillar, judges, justice, king, Messiah, Pontius Pilate, prophet, prophet like Moses, prophets, rabbinical authority, sacred pillar, shoftim, skiviti, skiviti plaque, standing stone, supernatural, three witnesses, Torah Pearls, two witnessesThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9), begins focusing on judgment and law and Nehemia Gordon shares the origin of the Hebrew word for “grace.” Discussions include: Must we always have two or three witnesses? Who has the authority today? Are we guilty of rejecting Yehovah as King? What of the Harry Potter question and how far do we take Deuteronomy 18:9-14? Who is the prophet likened unto Moses? Was God’s eye sparkling when he accepted Jacob’s pillar—a thing he hates? Who now has the authority to judge difficult things? What first-century Roman is infamous for mocking an atonement ritual? Who’s the original tree-hugger? With differing views, the trio debates whether certain cultural practices are abominations and Gordon provides an eyewitness account of Deuteronomy 19:1. Showing no fear, the trio concludes by examining the weirdest thing in the Bible. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #47 – Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

In this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Re'eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17), We focus on Moses’ command to “see”—to clearly understand that life gives us only two choices—to create a god from our own hearts or to obey and worship the true God—His place, His time, His way.  The trio explores the following questions: Where did God choose to place his name and can a GPS get you there? What’s the biblical way to dispose of an idol? What does it mean to be without the yoke of the Torah and does the New Testament refer to this malady? What’s an “evil eye”? Why were Jews in the Middle Ages forced to choose between begging and banking?  Who are the sons of Yehovah? Do some translations attempt to make bacon kosher? What’s at the heart of the issue of boiling a kid in its mother’s milk? What’s so dangerous about high mountains and green trees? Ten times three equals thirty... right? Is night time the right time for a Passover sacrifice? In addition to many other insights into the original Hebrew language and context, Gordon provides an example of the meticulousness of the scribes who preserved for us an imaginary bird that we couldn't eat even if we tried. Can one worship the true God without adhering to His commandments? What of the altars other than the altar? Who exactly were the corrupt men of “beliya’al”? Where is the son of God mentioned in the Old Testament? What kind of birds are the Ra’ah & the Da’ah? How can we possibly understand the deep & complex riddle, “Do not boil a kid in it’s mother’s milk”? Are there three tithes or only one? When did the Israelites leave Egypt, by day or by night? Continue reading

Torah Pearls #46 – Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

Torah Pearls - Eikev, 40 days, 40 nights, abominations, arrogance, awesome, bees, Birkat HaMazon, blessing, blot out, Circumcised heart, collective blessing, cows, curse, cursed thing, eikev, fasting, first person, God of gods, gods, golden calf, grace, grace after a meal, hornet, idolatry, Jesus quotes Torah, Karaism, karaite, Karaites, land flowing with milk and honey, meal, Moses intervened for Aaron, name, on the heels of, plagues, Prophecy, search scriptures, seven species, staple crops of Israel, tablets, tablets of stone, Ten Commandments, Tetragrammaton, Torah, Torah Pearls, walking the landIn this episode of The Original Torah PearlsEikev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25), using language, history, context and common sense, Nehemia Gordon provides insight into Hebrew slang as well as certain words from the portion, including “because,” “disease,”  and “hornet.” The question of when to say grace leads the trio to discuss the powerful implications of lifelong learning—“little by little.” Johnson relates how Jesus’ intimacy with the books of Moses draws him to the Torah. The trio answers: What Hebrew word describes both “God” and “desert?” Does God set time limits on wickedness? What things are abominable? What is the danger of arrogance? Who hewed? And who wrote? Gordon discusses the irony that scripture and Jewish tradition consider the blotting out of a name to be a curse. And in contrast to the practice of only using the Tetragrammaton, Gordon reads Deuteronomy 10:17 in Hebrew to reveal the alliterative beauty of the verse and the power unleashed when the great, mighty and awesome name is spoken. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #45 – Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)

This episode of The Original Torah PearlsVa'etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)  is perhaps the crown jewel of Torah portions. It contains the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4. But what do the Hebrew words “Shema” and “Echad” mean and why is this single verse so important? Also in this program: Is Jesus/ Yeshua a victim of character assassination? What are the Noahide laws? Was the covenant made with us or our fathers? What is the 1st commandment? Continue reading

Torah Pearls #44 – Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

Torah-Pearls-44-Deuteronomy-01-DevarimIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22), we begin by noting how the Greek mistranslation of the title of Devarim as “Deuteronomy” muddles its meaning. With the book’s title settled, a puzzle appears in the very first verse: How could Moses have spoken from the “east side” of the Jordan? And the hits just keep on coming as they expound on giants and ghosts; on which is worse—a thief in the night or a highway robber; on the one thing that could not be found in all of Canaan, and exactly whose idea was this anyway? Gordon closes with an example from the Portion of the über-diligence of the scribes who preserved these wonders for us. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #43 – Masei (Numbers 33:1-36:13)

Torah Pearls MaseiIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Masei (Numbers 33:1-36:13), we reach the final portion for the Book of Numbers! Among the topics we discuss is, how are the gentiles who join themselves to Yehovah (Isaiah 56) assigned to one of the twelve tribes, as Calev was assigned to Judah? Continue reading

Torah Pearls #41 – Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)

Torah Pearls PinchasIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1), we discuss what is the qualification of the first born? Who inherits the land if a father has no sons but only daughters? Did Pinchas impale a princess of Midian? Double portion or two thirds – what did it mean for Moses to impart some of his glory to Joshua, or Elijah’s spirit to Elisha? Continue reading

Torah Pearls #40 – Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9)

Torah Pearls Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9) with Bible Scholar Nehemia GordonIn The Original Torah Pearls, Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9), we discuss was Yehovah Balaam’s God? What kind of prophet was Balaam? Why did God seek to kill Balaam? Does Numbers 22:22 really say that the angel of Yehovah was Satan? Did Balaam announce the first recorded messianic prophecy in the Torah? Continue reading

Torah Pearls #39 – Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1)

In this episode The Original Torah Pearls, Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1), we discuss, is there a red heifer in Israel? What is the water of menstruation for cleansing? Does a corrupt priesthood invalidate the water of purification and are we cut off without it? Is the site of the Temple off limits today? What exactly did Moses do wrong when Yehovah brought water from the rock? How did the snake on the pole cross the line into idolatry? Continue reading