My U-Haul Sukkot

Gordon Family U-Haul Sukkah 1976.One of my earliest childhood memories was Sukkot of 1976, when I was 3.5 years old. I remember sitting in the family Sukkah, looking up through the branches that formed the roof, at the clouds as they whisked across the sky. We lived in a 17-story condominium and there was no obvious place to build a Sukkah. My father (of blessed memory), an Orthodox rabbi, asked permission to build a Sukkah in his designated parking space. When his request was turned down by the condominium board, my mother came up with the idea of building our Sukkah on the back of a U-Haul trailer. Continue reading

Sukkot (Feast of Booths)

On Chag Ha-Sukkot, Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) we are commanded to build a Sukkah (Booth) using as building materials the "4 species" listed in Lev 23:40. Rabbinical tradition teaches that a bundle of these building materials must be ritually waved in the air during the festival. Continue reading

The Truth About Shavuot

Joshua 5:11 in the 1611 King James VersionShavuot is a biblical festival known in English as the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. Shavuot is a pilgrimage-feast, in Hebrew chag. As a chag, Shavuot is one of the three annual biblical festivals on which every male Israelite is commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple. Shavuot is also referred to in the Torah as Chag Ha-Katzir, the Feast of Harvest (Exodus 23:16) and Yom Ha-Bikurim, the Day of Firstfruits (Numbers 28:26). Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #47 – A Disastrous Misunderstanding of the Name Yehovah

A Disatrous Misundestanding of the Name Yehovah with Nehemia GordonIn Hebrew Voices, A Disastrous Understanding of the Name Yehovah, Nehemia Gordon explains the meaning of Yehovah, the mistake people make thinking it has to do with “destruction”, and how Yahweh in Gnostic sources is the god of chaos. Listen to the short podcast, and then check out the detailed grammatical explanation below, of how we know Yehovah has nothing to do with the Hebrew word for “destruction”. Suzette wrote: "Forgive me, I was one of those people who knew just enough Hebrew to be dangerous… Thanks for the article!" Continue reading

Hanukkah: Fact and Fiction

In this special Study, Hanukkah: Fact and Fiction, Nehemia Gordon explains that the real story of Hannukah, where the Rabbinic tradition of lighting candles for eight days comes from, and how the victory should be celebrated today. Sandra wrote: “This is excellent information! Thank you for your dedication in getting the truth out and helping to dissolve fiction so that fact can shine through!” Continue reading

Tefillin (phylacteries)

Popular legend has it that the Karaites, and the Sadducees before them, interpreted the words "and they shall be for Totafot between your eyes" literally, and as a result wore Tefillin (Phylacteries) right above their noses.  One version of the story claims that the Sadducees were wiped out because of this practice.  The legend goes that they kept bumping into walls and since their Tefillin were between their eyes (instead of on their foreheads), their noses were sent shattering into their brains, killing them instantly.  The Karaites and other deniers of the "Oral Law" are portrayed as bumbling idiots who through their foolish practices wiped themselves out.  The message of this story is that it is impossible to live (literally) as a Karaite, and therefore we need the "Oral Law" to save us from this savage extinction. Continue reading