Torah Pearls #7 – Vayeitzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3)

Torah Pearls Vayeitzei, Genesis 28:10-32:3, Bethel, dream, dreams, Jacob’s ladder, mandrakes, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, stone of scone, Torah Pearls, Torah Portion, vayeitzeiIn this episode of The Original Torah PearlsVayeitzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3), everything old is new again in as Gordon and crew release the vacuum-seal and allow the fresh air of language, history and context to inform Jacob’s time in Haran. Jacob’s servitude to his trickster father-in-law smells sadly familiar even in English, but the echoes of reciprocal justice appear most poignant in Hebrew. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #81 – The Origins of Yaweh

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, The Origins of Yaweh, Nehemia Gordon talks about what the Samaritans call God, how they understand His name, and what the pronunciation “Yahweh” may truly mean. This episode is available as a video as well as a podcast.

Lowel wrote: “This is an excellent teaching. To understand any idea or concept it is always best to go back to the furthest root, and this is what Nehemia has done so meticulously. Being familiar with the academic world, I know that just because “Super Academics” or everybody says something, that does not make it right... Keep up the good work!” Continue reading

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

In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Toldot (Malachi 1:1-2:7), if context is key, Nehemia Gordon and Keith 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)

In this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, 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. 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. Jeannette wrote: “The discussion was amazing as usual. So many good Torah pearls today.” Continue reading

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

Solomon Crowned King - Prophet Pearls - Chayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31)In this episode of Prophet PearlsChayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31), Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss 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)

In this episode of The Original Torah Pearls Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18) learn about 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

Hebrew Voices #80 – Fake Dead Sea Scrolls Explained

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, Fake Dead Sea Scrolls Explained, find out what led the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. to announce this week that some of its “ancient” fragments were actually modern forgeries. Nehemia Gordon speaks with top Dead Sea Scroll expert Prof. Eibert Tigchelaar about how even specialists can easily be duped and some of the scientific methods used to determine whether a scroll is authentic. Gordon and Tigchelaar also discuss how a rogue scholar may have conspired with international smugglers to fabricate theology-changing Dead Sea Scroll-like fragments.

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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, yhwhIn this week's episode of Prophet Pearls, 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)

In 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