Torah Pearls #24 – Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26)

Torah Pearls Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26, bull, burnt, dove, goat, offering, pidgeon, sacrifice, sacrifices, sheep, sin-offering, sino ffering, bloodIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26), we share our recommendations of English translations and how to use them responsibly. What is really going when we see Leviticus chapter 5 ending with verse 19 in the gentile translations, while in the Hebrew and Jewish translations it ends with verse 26. We review the five primary types of sacrifices, which correspond to the first five chapters of the book Leviticus. We discuss whether there is atonement and forgiveness without blood. What “to lean his hand” means.  Whether if you sin can you just bring a sacrifice and receive atonement. What fats we are and aren’t we allowed to eat. The difference between intentional and unintentional sin. If one becomes unclean, have they done something which makes them guilty? Are we really expected to ring the neck of the bird? And so much more. Let me know in the comments what your favorite pearls in this Torah portion are. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #22 – Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20)

Torah Pearls Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20, Torah Pearls, torah portion, Nehemia Gordon, tabernacle, wilderness, Jewish, hebrewThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20). We begin with asking what it means to "kindle a fire" on the Sabbath.  Then they ask what it means for someone's heart to be stirred, and how the various traditions understand this, leading to a wonderful discussion on how and why we give to God. There is a fascinating discussion of the nature of Polygamy in the Torah, which leads to an exciting examination of the nature of Paleo-Hebrew. 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 GordonThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls in on the Torah portion of 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

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

Kohen GadoThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of 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

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

Torah Pearls #17 – Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23)

Torah Pearls Yitro, Exodus 18:1-20:23, Caleb, Calev, canine, didgeridoo, dog, Georgia, Jethro, Kelev, puppy, Ridgeback, Torah PearlsThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on Torah portion of Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23). This week’s program is dedicated to Nehemia’s faithful canine companion, Georgia the Rhodesian Ridgeback, who sadly passed away the day of this recording. In her honor, the trio has a fascinating discussion on the character of Caleb and the nature of canine loyalty. They also discuss Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, and challenge the common understanding of the process of Mosaic revelation. This leads to a powerful discussion of the events at Mt. Sinai and culminates in a powerful reading of the Ten Matters that will bring you to your feet. The closing music of this program was specially written in honor of Georgia. It features Yoel ben Shlomo on didgeridoo and Jono Vandor on guitar, and is entitled “Memories of Georgia”. May we all display the faithfulness of Yehovah’s servant, Caleb. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #16 – Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16)

Torah Pearls Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16, Egypt, Exodus, Miriam, Nuweiba, Pharaoh, Red Sea, Sinai, Song of the Sea, Torah Pearls, Yam SufThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16). We get some fascinating insights from the Hebrew in the story of the Exodus from Egypt and digs up a pearl regarding the poetic form of the Name of Yehovah.  There follows an interesting discussion of the meaning and origin of Shabbat and the understanding of Manna. 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

Torah Pearls #14 – Vaeira (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

Torah Pearls Vaeira, Exodus 6:2-9:35, Egypt, Exodus, Jono Vandor, Keith Johnson, 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 Vaeira (Exodus 6:2-9:35). At face value, the first sentence of Vaeira appears to contradict other Scripture but several common-sense explanations clear things up. We learn why Moses’ lineage was important—particularly to the original audience—and that his “why me?” attitude was a sign of greatness. Gordon reveals a key verse for understanding the month of Aviv and the significance of its place on the Hebrew calendar. He also reads a poetic passage from the Portion that contains God’s name and where the rhyme of the divine is evident. As the trio examines each plague, Gordon translates the three Hebrew words for what was done to Pharaoh’s heart. Johnson speculates if the livestock taken to a place of shelter—a “migdal-oz”—hints at the mixed multitude and wonders if any Egyptians took shelter in the wondrous redemption to be found in Goshen. Continue reading