Torah Pearls #53 – Ha’azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52)

Original Torah Pearls - Ha'azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52)This episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Ha’azinu (Deuteronomy 32). The song of Moses provides a lyrical backdrop for discussing the beauty and message of Moses’ last words to the people. Gordon explains poetic structure and rhythm as well as how poetic names are formed in Hebrew. The trio explores the repeated references to the “rock” in this song and clarifies who “they” refers to—Israel or the nations. Johnson expounds on the beauty inherit in the Tanach for Christians—with no retrofits needed—while Gordon highlights the passage equating “calling out the name of Yehovah” with “giving greatness” to the Name. The trio concludes with all the conviction of Moses—that there simply are not any other gods out there. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #52 – Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30)

Torah Pearls Vayelech, Booths, courageous, Deuteronomy, dual causality, grafted to Israel, hakhel, idolatry, John, Joshua, Law, living word of God, living words of God, Moses, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Proverbs, reading of the law, Sabbatical year, Shemitah, strong, strong and courageous, Sukkot, Torah, Torah observance, Torah Pearls, Torah Portion, Vayelech, word of GodThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30). The trio discuss traditions they were taught concerning the Torah—a Law so simple ancient Israelites were expected to obey just by hearing it every seven years. They examine how religious traditions can stray from the intent of Torah—to hear, to learn, to fear, and to do. Regarding who “crossed over,” God or Joshua, Gordon discusses the Hebrew concept of dual causality—where the actions of the sender and the messenger are equal—a perk when partnering with the Creator of the universe. Gordon also provides Hebrew word studies that both boggle and thrill the mind—God “puts on” the suit on a man? All nations will be grafted in? The trio concludes by discussing the livability of Torah and the strength and courage required to keep it. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #51 – Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20)

Torah Pearls Nitzavim, alah, bitterness, choice of life or death, Circumcised, Circumcised flesh, Circumcised heart, Circumcision, covenant, curse, David, Deuteronomy, drunkard, exile, Ingathering, Joshua, kibbutz, mysterious, nehemia gordon, Nitzavim, oath, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, prosperity, repentance and forgiveness, revealed, root, secret, secrets, sober, Torah Pearls, Torah Portion, wormwoodThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20). The trio revels in this portion containing the five verses that sum up the entire Bible—the wonderful and terrible responsibility given to mankind to choose. But what qualifies one to choose the life-giving covenant? Social status? Being in the camp? Does the name of God provide a clue? And how is this covenant sealed—with a kiss or a curse? Is comprehension of the covenant too difficult for stiff-necked mortals? Whose name do we call on for help? Gordon concludes with a Hebrew word study that reveals what true prosperity looks like for those choosing Torah—a radiant bride with a loving and joyful groom. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #50 – Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

This episode of The Original Torah Pearls is Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8). After revealing the identity of the “wandering Aramean,” we discuss the name commanded to be spoken seven times during the first fruits offering. A vivid picture is painted of the tribes standing on Mounts Ebal and Gerizim declaring the blessings and the curses across the bowl-shaped valley. But why are the curses so complicated and the blessings so simple?  Gordon lets us in on marginal notes that direct how some of the more graphic phrases in the Torah are to be read in public. He also proposes an explanation for the statistically insignificant Jew becoming a byword among the nations. Could the exile and its miseries be as much of a sign as the miraculous ingathering? And while our heavenly Father many times commands the whole hearts and souls of his people, to what one cause does he pledge his? Continue reading

Torah Pearls #49 – Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)

Torah Pearls Ki Teitzei, Amalekites, bastard, ben sorer, blot out name, civil laws, collateral, cursed, Deuteronomy, divorce, dog, domestic laws, donkey and ox, fidelity, hanged on tree, hanging, harlot, inheritance, Ki Teitzei, levirate marriage, Malachi, mamzer, Methodist, nehemia gordon, parapets, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, plowing, presence of the Lord, presence of Yehovah, prostitute, prostitution, puppy, rape, rebellious son, repossession, rights of firstborn, sexual immorality, shechinah, shekhinah, slavery, sowing, tassels, tenth generation, Torah Pearls, Torah Portion, tzitzit, uncleanness, weaving, women’s rights, wool and linenThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19). An uninformed reading of the archaic civil and domestic laws in this portion might leave one scratching the head, but the trio deftly removes cultural and language barriers so that the principles behind these pearls can be applied to the modern age. Discussions reveal what is at the heart of: Torah fashion statements, plowing with a donkey and an ox, installing parapets and taking millstones. Ki Teitzei underscores that the Torah is for all people, for all time—as its laws not only remedied ancient Canaanite traditions but also reached ahead to 20th century America when women’s rights finally began to get with the program. The portion concludes with the mind-bender of remembering to forget—and a reminder from Gordon that it’s a curse to have one’s name blotted out. Continue reading

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 is on the Torah portion of Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9). As the trio begins this portion focusing on judgment and law, 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)

Torah Pearls Re'eh, abomination, altar, altars, antinomianism, Asherim, belial, beliar, beliyaal, blessing and curse, clean and unclean, commandments, Do not boil a kid in it’s mother’s milk, Egypt, evil eye, Exodus, feast of booths, feast of tabernacles, Feast of Weeks, idolatry, Israelite, Israelites, Jerusalem, kid mother’s milk, kosher, mount Ebal, mount Gerizim, pagans, Passover sacrifice, Pentecost, re’eh, Sabbatical year, Shemitah, son of God, sons of God, spiritual mixing of seed, Sukkot, tithe, tithes, Torah Pearls, unclean birds, worship, yoke of TorahThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of 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 landThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Eikev covering Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25. Using language, history, context and common sense, 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)

Torah Pearls Vaetchanan, Deuteronomy, astrology, Echad, end-times prophecy, Ezekiel 18, Ezekiel 33, grace, greatest commandment, idolatry, Jesus, listen, monotheism, Name of God, Noahide, Noahide laws, Noahides, phylacteries, pleaded, polytheism, Sabbath, Shabbat, Shema, signs in heavens, Sinai, souls at Sinai, Tefillin, Ten Commandments, ten things, Torah, Torah Pearls, trinity, Yachid, YeshuaThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Va'etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11). Vaetchanan 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-DevarimThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22). The trio begins 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