Hebrew Voices #29 – From Slavery to Freedom (Rebroadcast)

Nehemia Gordon and Rabbi Dr. Avraham J. Twerski talking about going from slavery to freedom on Hebrew Voices.In this episode of Hebrew Voices, From Slavery to Freedom, Nehemia Gordon speaks to Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski. Nehemia draws on Rabbi Twerski's vast experience as a world-renowned Rabbi and psychiatrist to explain why it is important to get out of our comfort zone in order to achieve true spirituality. The author of over 70 books and a canonical Jewish prayer sung in every synagogue, Rabbi Twerski's stature in the Jewish world parallels that of Billy Graham in the Christian world. Rabbi Twerski opens the episode singing a Psalm, shares how he once saved a man by getting a special dispensation from the Pope, and describes a practical plan to break the chains of spiritual slavery in order to attain true freedom and maximize our full potential and purpose in life. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #24 – Vayikra (Isaiah 43:21-44:23)

Prophet Pearls Vayikra, haftarah, isaiah, prophets, jeshurun, israel, poetic name, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, obedience, sacrifice, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, vayikra, portionThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayikra covering Isaiah 43:21-44:23. This portion parallels the Torah’s central section on sacrifices. Gordon and Johnson delve deep into the issues of sacrifice, obedience and idolatry.  Word studies include:  “blot out” (with its historical context of a debt certificate), “first father” (with Jewish and Christian perspectives on original sin), and “bow down” (with its exclusive connection to idolatry). Continue reading

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

Hebrew Voices #39 – Hebrew Manuscript of the Book of Revelation: Part 1

Hebrew Manuscript of the Book of Revelation This episode of Hebrew Voices is one of the most exciting things I have ever discovered: A Hebrew Manuscript of the Book of Revelation! This 17th century manuscript in the British Library contains the name Yehovah with full vowels and refers to "Yehoshua Mashiach". Torah-loving Methodist pastor AJ Bernard and the mysterious "T-Bone" joined me for a lively discussion of the Hebrew text and English translation. We unpacked topics such as the "Aleph Tav", the Jewish understanding of the Messiah coming on the clouds, and the meaning of Yehovah's holy Name. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #22-23 – Vayakhel Pekudei (1 Kings 7:40-8:21)

Prophet Pearls Vayakhel Pekudei, 1 Kings, arafel, thick darkness, araphel, Beit HaMikdash, haftarah, hiram, Parsha, prophets, portion, torah, solomon’s temple, Yehovah, Vayakhel, PekudeiThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portions for the double portion of Vayakhel-Pekudei covering 1 Kings 7:40-8:21. Gordon and Johnson examine the major concepts in this week’s double-header—primarily what the Tanakh calls the “House of Yehovah” and how history, tradition, and cultures have clouded the world’s view of the place where God chose to put his name forever. 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

Prophet Pearls #21 – Ki Tisa (1 Kings 18:1-39)

Image courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Prophet Pearls Ki Tisa, 1 Kings 18:1-39, 1 kings, ahab, Elijah, elijah confronts ahab, fire from heaven, haftarah, identity of obadiah, jezebel, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, obadiah, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Prophet PearlsThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Ki Tisa covering 1 Kings 18:1-39. True to their word to do “whatever it takes” to complete Prophet Pearls, Gordon and Johnson convene in Jerusalem to examine the brassiest display of prophetic prowess in the Tanakh. We are drawn into Elijah’s confrontation with Ahab as if for the first time. Hebrew word-plays jump off the page and demand attention. Gordon connects puzzle pieces to propose a fascinating and completely plausible reading of Obadiah’s back story. Who was he and what great news for mankind does he represent? 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

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