Hebrew Voices #90 – The Hebrew Error of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, The Hebrew Error of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nehemia Gordon looks at the promise of the Democratic Party's "Green New Deal" to pay money to those "unwilling to work". Nehemia shows how this unbelievable statement can help us understand medieval Hebrew Bible manuscripts and even shed light on the true pronunciation of the holy name of God. Nehemia also employs some classical Jewish techniques of Bible interpretation to find out whether this truly is a modern-day scribal error or part of a radical agenda to create a bloated welfare state.

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Feb 5, 2019 - Original Green New Deal FAQ published with the words “unwilling to work”.
Feb 8, 2019 - Robert Hockett (Cornell Law Professor and Green New Deal Advisor) was on Tucker Carlson stating "That's not part... that's erroneous... I t's the wrong document, Tucker... That's not us. We certainly don't believe in anything like that."
Feb 9, 2019 - 10:03am Saikat Chakrabarti (AOC representative) states “Mistakes happen when doing time launches like this coordinating multiple groups and collaborators.”
Feb 9, 2019 - 8:33pm Saikat Chakrabarti – “coal miners”
Feb 9, 2019 - Robert Hockett admits this was AOC’s document, but claims to have been unaware of it.

משנה, מגילה ב:ד (קויפמן)
הַכֹּל כְּשֵׁירִים לִקְרוֹא אֶת הַמְּגִילַּה חוּץ מֵחֵרֵשׁ שׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן ר׳ יְהוּדָה מַכְשַׁיִר בַּקָטָן

Mishnah, Meg. 2:4
“All are valid to read the Scroll, except for a deaf-mute (חרש), an idiot, and a minor. R. Judah declares valid in the case of a minor.” (Neusner)

ירושלמי, ברכות ב:ד (ד,ד); תרומות א:א
אמר רב חסדא לית כן חרש השגרת (אשגרת) לשון היא.

“Rav Chisda said, “Deaf-mute should not be there. It is a familiar idiom.”
Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 2:4 (4d); Terumot 1:1

Vatican, ebr. 2, Numbers 27:15 “And Moses spoke to Yehovah saying,”
Saint Petersburg, Russian National Library, Evr II. B. 983, page 6, col. 2, line 7, Jos 10.10 highlighted - “that which Moses commanded”
Aleppo Codex—Yeh(?)vah - Yehovah Is 61:9
Aleppo Codex, 2 Kings 20:9

  • daniel says:

    I actually found the New Green Deal cumbersome reading as the style was quite sophomoric, and the content idealistically over the top. Grading for Economics 101 fetched a big, fat F.

  • Sheila Price says:

    A simple thank you, Nehemiah for keeping us up to date and helping understand more about the modern day technology in conjunction with ancient manuscripts… and always with the main focus being on Yehovah.

  • A coal miner who has worked for forty years would be at, or over sixty years of age and in poor health as a result of prolonged exposure to coal dust. I see nothing wrong with giving him a decent pension at that point; he probably won’t live that much longer anyway.
    Fossil fuels are a finite resource. As time goes by they will become harder and more expensive to extract and as a result more expensive overall. This will likely make Saudi Arabia even more rich and powerful than it already is. That would be bad news for all of us, as S.A. funds every Islamic terrorist group in existence!
    Automation is coming, and it won’t be like the transition from horse and buggy to car. The number of jobs it will eliminate will be far more numerous. The coal miner won’t be picking up garbage because robots will do that. By that time maybe even the coal miners will be phased out by automation too.
    AOC’s plan is impossible to implement in the short term, by pure government fiat, but “time and chance” will force our hand down the road. We will inevitably have to adapt to some sort of “new normal” or else. The Saudis have already bought half of planet Earth as it is! The thought of them having a windfall, once oil becomes more precious than diamonds, is something I find REALLY scary!

  • Angela Logan says:

    Shame on you for bashing this young politician and the democrats. Use the plight of the poor at the southern borders and the selling out of the poor and environment by the current administration in your discourse or use more balanced arguments and you will earn the respect of listeners like me to your discussion. If I wanted to listen to Fox News or other right wing agencies and their agenda I would tune in to the their program. Yes, those scribes made a mistake but this political didn’t. Have you considered that it maybe just a repetition of the initial “slip of tongue”?
    Judging people’s hearts or intentions is always a dangerous thing. This is the worst program you have put out so far..A nation that looks after its poor and downtrodden is socialist in nature. I respect your knowledge of the Torah and your Hebrew studies but I literally cringe when I listen to most of your political views. Sad state..

    • Dorcas Stein says:

      I agree with Angela. I am thankful AOC is bringing attention to this urgent need to go green and becoming less dependent on fossil fuels. Living up here in the Arctic near the oil fields, we can see “yellow haze” in the air and our Inuit people starting to suffer from respiratory problems and other ailments caused by greed for oil, and more oil. Go, AOC!

    • JCLincoln says:

      I don’t agree with Angela …. and the millions of people who came to America LEGALLY agree with me. Scripture tells us that a time will come when LAWLESSNESS will be rampant …. it appears THAT time is upon us.
      Oh yes, and let’s consider the Demoncrats supporting legislation to allow the murder of a human life AFTER birth.

      • Angela Logan says:

        The Torah is quite clear on how to treat the stranger. I suppose if Canadians of European descent were at our Northern border, seeking refuge from situations similar to that in Central America, their kids would not be taken from them. The situation would be treated differently. My bad, I forgot that the Norwegians are more desirable, as well.

        • Angela Logan says:

          Btw I am against all forms of injustice and murder. Aligning ones self with political parties makes one partakers in their evil ways. On the other hand as followers of Yehovah we follow His rules. Politics blinds the eyes and often times cause the righteous to sin by ignoring the plight of the poor because a certain issue is not supported by their political party.

  • ColoradoShel says:

    Nehemiah, I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation on this topic! You recognized the similarity between true “scribal errors” and a political “oops” in our times, in the US. And I don’t mind at all hearing your perspective on what the communication error might possibly mean. Thanks! This was fun to listen to, and thought-provoking. Honestly, I enjoyed it, and I would give your analysis far greater value than anything coming through the MSM (main stream media).

  • Stephanie Shiflet says:

    Great take on this subject. The bottom line is the USA already has too many socialistic programs that are not designed as a helping hand up but a debilitating way to ultimately control the population. Join one program and there is another and another that just promotes… I mean demotes the human ambition to attain or achieve anything because things are given instead of earned. The amount of sheer joy of accomplishment when you actually create or finish a project is so great that you almost can’t express it completely in words. I have yet to see a nation that was fully socialistic and be successful. Venezuela is a prime example of why NOT to endorse a socialist society. I was surprised that Nehemia did not mention the scripture about not working…. It is clearly scriptural for people to work in order to eat.

    2 Thessalonians 3:9-11 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

    9 It was not that we hadn’t the right to be supported, but so that we could make ourselves an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: if someone won’t work, he shouldn’t eat! 11 We hear that some of you are leading a life of idleness — not busy working, just busybodies!

    • Janlyn Gosse says:

      That was profound, Stephanie, and so true. I can say a big Amen! to the joys of accomplishing something that involved taking a risk and putting out effort as opposed to being given things.

  • To be honest with you Nehemiah, That’s if you can take constructive criticism. I believe you should not use your ministry to express political views, you should just keep it biblically based. That would do be to your benefit to what your doing and achieving in your web site. I am sure there are other avenues for you to express your politics.

    • Ilse Fogelgren says:

      Thank you Peter! My thoughts exactly. I was disheartened and hope Nehemia will consider going back to his diplomatic way of communicating truth.

      • JCLincoln says:

        I feel quite comfortable with Nehemiah showing the relevance of scripture to current events. In fact I would say it’s necessary.

        • Robert Kennedy says:

          You’re absolutely right. It is quite necessary to show the relevance of scripture to current events. Especially, since it has so much to say about the times in which we now live.

          Speaking for myself (in agreement with Peter and Ilse) We do not subscribe to Hebrew Voices to hear political viewpoints. Like Peter mentioned, there are plenty of other platforms out there for one to express his or her political views.

    • Sandra W. Allen says:

      I agree with Peter, Ilse, and Robert’s comments.

      May I respectfully say that your connection made to scribal errors and the context of AOC’s New Green Deal was very loose and not justifiable. Instead, it seemed a way in to express your own opinions and political views.

      Personally, I have never thought Rabbis, Priests, Ministers, Preachers, etc., should ever use the podium to spread their own political opinions thereby influencing the minds of those that follow them. Unfortunately, it is so common these days, which concerns me greatly.

      How many people truly know and trust that Yehovah is completely in control? Proverbs 3:1; 3:5; 3:19-20 and Psalms 37:39-40.

      I believe your desire to spread the name of the Creator of the Universe as well as Biblical truths were inspired by Yehovah. How wonderful! We must trust in the Creator, our Teacher, as our relationship with Him develops and matures–especially when it come to loving others as we love ourselves. Everything else is secondary.

      • Susan Lein says:

        Yehovah IS in charge of everything, including who our leaders are. There is no division between “religious” thoughts and “secular” thoughts — we should be guided by Yehovah in ALL our thoughts and actions. So if Yehovah put a message to share on Nehemia’s heart, even if the message is something that can be defined as political, then I am thankful he did so! Why should we humans keep trying to put other humans in boxes? Why should we tell someone “we trust you to speak on topic A, but you can’t be trusted to speak on topic B?” We still retain our right and responsibility to evaluate the words being said.

        Also, since we are all human beings, I am actually very thankful when people whose teachings I listen to talk a little bit “off topic.” When they talk about politics or their personal history or how they like to spend their downtime, we get a better picture of who they are as a complete person. And since I don’t agree 100% with anyone I have ever met, knowing more about their history / politics / thoughts / taste in movies helps me to better evaluate their teachings. It helps me be alert to areas where they might have a blind spot or areas where I think they have an especially precious testimony. Just because someone doesn’t talk about the fullness of their humanity / thoughts / worldview doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and it doesn’t influence their teaching, it just makes it harder for me to recognize it’s effects.

  • Robert Kennedy says:

    Shalom Nehemia,

    I must say this episode seemed quite sensationalized, and for good reason because otherwise it would have come across as dry and academic. So, I must confess I found it challenging to give your podcast my undivided attention.

    Also, I was quite distracted by the defamatory cartoon image of AOC (who already has such an infamous reputation, which may or may not be an accurate reflection of her character). So, aside from AOC’s current celebrity status, does this article include her because she is also a Hebrew Voice? It also begs the question, What is your goal for Hebrew Voices? Who is your target audience?

    If it is to present the diversity of Hebrew voices everywhere, then it opens up an amazing opportunity for the Hebrew Voices platform, A platform where you can celebrate all the positive people that call Israel their home. Such awesome treasures you have right in your own backyard!

    For example, the Dolphin Reef in Eilat and the people dedicated to the conservation of the local marine life. Or the Israeli artists and musicians who also have a voice worth hearing, e.g. Michal Rovner and Offer Nissim. If you can get enough traction with features of such creative people, who knows, you might even have the opportunity to interview a celebrity figure like Gal Gadot : )

    You could also present posts featuring some of the local shopkeepers, as in the Mahane Yehuda market or people who frequent the city center in Jerusalem (where the daily rhythm of life is evident). (all of this is Instagram worthy, wait a minute, don’t you already have an Instagram account? So, yes your Instagram account is Hebrew Voices worthy)

    Anyway, these are just some thoughts that I felt the need to share. With all this said, I do appreciate the work and dedication you bring to your posts and recognize your genuine desire to get people fired up for understanding the scriptures and applying them to our daily lives.



    • In this episode the Hebrew Voices came from me and from the Hebraic texts I was discussing.

      • Reyes Nava says:

        Nehemiah you truly are the Hebrew voice in this episode, blessed be Yehovah who has given you the sagacity which enabled you to see through this abstruse subject making the connection between an error and the true pronunciation of the Holy Name of God. May you not be swayed by the emergence of an overly sensitive population that looks at life through racial and political lenses by which the truth is twisted and perverted. Blessed are those whose eyes are uncovered.

        This brings to mind the encounter Elijah had with the prophets of Baal. These false prophets had a “New Green Deal” of their own as they were determined to eradicate the name of Yehovah from the lips of the people through the force of government (Ahab & Jezebel). Thankfully Elijah wanted true environmental justice and repentance when the name of Yehovah was being polluted in the presence of the people of Israel.

        And even though the people initially made a mistake when they were unable and unwilling to speak the name of Yehovah due to their stiff necks, Elijah would make it right as he mocked the prophets of Baal and exposed their erroneous words, and as their heads rolled the people proclaimed “Yehovah, He is God; Yehovah, He is God.” and besides Him there is no other.

        Shalom shalom.

  • Geoff Robinson says:

    I liked this presentation. It hits two topics that I appreciate input on. The scripture side was great; thanks for including the notes as I would have had to go through Snunit or some other on-line tool to look up your references. On AOC and the “New Green Deal”, I appreciated your comments. It was great use of a reliant modern day example. I am very conservative and am worried with where the socialist thinking is going. You did a good job gently presenting the political stuff. I doubt I would have been anywhere as diplomatic.
    Geoff in Colorado

  • Gnarlodious says:

    Ever since the industrial age technology has been used and abused to force people into desperate poverty and low wage jobs. In severe cases children were chained to milling machines because they were “unwilling to work”. I hope you are not advocating returning to that kind of forced labor.

  • Israel says:

    Great example of a modern day scribal error, Nehemia!

  • Susie Lein says:

    Thank you for this episode! It was very interesting and we deeply value your perspective on both the historical scribal errors and the modern political situation in America. We fully support the sentiment that the future of our country is intricately linked to a need for us to repent and return to Yehovah and his ways! Thank you for having the courage to call out a warning, even though it is unpopular.

  • Kenneth Tarlow says:

    Your criticisms are based on your unwillingness to understand that the Planet is in a critical time in terms of pollution, species loss, changes in the PH of the ocean causing the death of the plankton ( source of 70% of earth’s oxygen). the exact policy to reverse these trends is a compilation of different ideas. It has not distilled into a single concept yet.

    Bernie Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist. Many of our government function are socialistic in nature. It took government to win WW2 or build the Highways, or provide Social Security. Medicare provide good service at 1/3 the cost of private insurance.

    • Geoff Robinson says:


      I know you mean well and are responding with heart-felt emotion based on media or media publish “Scientific Statements” , but I need to caution you about buying into the “Global Warming” hype.

      I am very much a credible scientist with degrees in Forestry, Natural Resources and Engineering. Climate change happens all the time. History acknowledges a series of warming and cooling period documented in known history and beyond based on such measurements as Ice pack cores. The problem is interpretation of the data.

      I have the advantage of personal friends that have taken the temperature measurements on the Colorado State University campus for the USDA. (Part of the data the “Global Warming” concept is based on.) One friend has more recently been involved in ice pack core measurements and research. We discuss climate change pretty regularly. Here are too issue I am fully knowledgeable of and qualified to comment on.

      There is not enough room here to go into much detail, but from a scientific data collection perspective, the temperature measurements are difficult at best to quantify. Just one example is that from 1890 +/- up til about 1993 the thermometers used world wide for were not cross calibrated nor were they even read to any level of accuracy below 0.5 degrees of accuracy. Given that limitation by scientific research standards, predictions of temperature modeling should not be made for less than 5 degree intervals of accuracy. My early career heavily involved data collection, data accuracy, interpretation, modelling methods and predictions based on data. A claimed change of 0.75 degrees in data based on a 0.5 degree accuracy is essentially a flat line. Two of my friends at the USDA are uncomfortable with the data they collected being misused to create a panic to implement government policy.

      The CO2 argument is also BS. Plants use carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce Oxygen (O2). People and animals are in a very sustainable cycle with plants. It is necessary for life. Higher CO2 levels simply mean better healthier plant growth. Why do you think greenhouse owners often introduce CO2 into commercial greenhouses? It is to give the plants a healthier environment. The ocean absorbs and gives off CO2. It is a great balance of atmospheric gases. Yes, pollution is a problem and we need to continue to get better at how we manage natural resources, but the earth is not anywhere near a doomsday scenario that you are presented with by news reporters. For example, here is a reality check. Typical CO2 levels in the atmosphere at sea level and at 10 degrees C are about 450ppm. Some people get a bit drowsy above 1000ppm. Between 30,000ppm and 40,000ppm people start to behave as if intoxicated. Somewhere between 90,000ppm and 100,000ppm CO2 humans loose consciousness and death occurs. From a scientific perspective, it is hard to even imagine how we could increase the CO2 in the atmosphere to a critical level except by killing all plant life so the CO2 and O2 cycle would stop. Cyclic temperature increase shift deserts northward, but overall we know plant life goes more prolific.

      I am not an expert on oceans but I do know enough to know that science is just starting to understand its overall effect. We know atmospheric gases are absorbed and emitted by the ocean. We know pH levels cycle for various reasons driven by natural phenomena. The oceans have a significant effect on weather. Plankton levels in the ocean cycle, but do we really know the big picture yet? No. We do not understand a lot of these subjects at this point. As a scientist involved in natural resources, I have seen lots of speculation, but we still have much to learn before anyone can even define the natural cycles on the earth accurately. Good scientific study takes time and an open mind. Jumping to conclusions on limited data is a form of scientific ignorance.

      Final point…. In the natural resources academic and government realm, you get your papers published and you get funding only if your data presents a perspective that supports a predetermined interest or perspective. In the 1980s, the temperature data interpretation was all about global cooling. In the 1990s, it switched to global warming using the same data. There are many scientist out here that do not buy into the “global warming climate change” panic. The problem is that you don’t get published or recognized for politically incorrect conclusions. Most of these scientist remain quiet to keep putting food on the table.

      Sorry – I did not mean to go off on this tangent but Kenneth… you made a really poor statement about the area of science that I understand. Climate change is a very real issue and good resource management is our responsibility, but it is unfortunate that socialism abuses science to attempt to control people (and cows).

      As for socialism and liberal politics…. I have never seen anything the government does that is more economic than what private individuals can do. I would rather choose who gets my charity myself.


      Geoff – Fort Collins, Colorado

    • ColoradoShel says:

      Kenneth, the planet is in a critical time. No doubt! But the cause of the issues we see is NOT what is presented via the main stream media. We have been sold a bill of goods, propaganda, a “great delusion”. We do have a responsibility to guard and protect the planet as a good steward, a good caretaker – but the problems are not what we’ve been told they are. Thank you for caring about the planet! More should do so! But don’t buy the lies. Just consider the possibility that what we’re told by the “official” voices is not trustworthy. “Pay no attention to the man behind the screen,” bellowed the “wizard of oz”. The wizard has the greatest, loudest, most admirable, auspicious voice, but it’s truly “smoke and mirrors”.

      • Ilse Fogelgren says:

        Perhaps re-think on who is actually lying? The media can’t be trusted? This is exactly what the notorious hater and killer told his German citizens… “But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.” AH (won’t write his name)…
        “The media tells lies about me”. AH & DT

        • The Soviet newspaper Pravda lied to the Russian people, and others subjugated by the Soviet Union, for 70 years. Some media lie, some tell the truth.

          • Ilse Fogelgren says:

            Of course Nehemia! The key is not to fall for the lie that labels all so called ‘mainstream media’ as untrustworthy. Then start believing the fringe reports like our president does, that is dangerous! We are not to follow clever arguments but use wisdom and fact checking, as you do with the info you research. I do appreciate your efforts very much. Best stay out of politics, there’s good and bad on every side. Ps 37:1-3 Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. Trust in Yehovah, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Prov. 3:5-6 Trust in Yehovah with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

      • JCLincoln says:

        Alas, another awake and aware person. They’re never going to fool us again. You should have seen the skies over Phoenix today. I thought they had slowed down on the chemtrails …. but there were at least 20 chemtrails going across the sky today. Funny, if chemtrails weren’t real, there should be that many everyday ….. right?

        • Ilse Fogelgren says:

          Conspiracy theories, not based on true science & provable facts. Believing them comfort the fears of those who are ‘wise in their own opinion’. All free to choose…
          Prov. 3:7-8 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear Yehovah and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.