Hebrew Voices #96 – Marriage, Illegitimate Children, and Smoking

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, Marriage, Illegitimate Children and Smoking, Nehemia Gordon tells the story of a young man who accidentally got married with a cookie, how the Biblical definition of an illegitimate child differs from the Christian one, and how cultural bias can blind us to the Torah definition of holiness. Abraham wrote: “The Truth of the Scriptures is absent from so many congregations here. Thank you for speaking the Word of truth!”

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Hebrew Voices #96 - Marriage, Illegitimate Children, and Smoking

You are listening to Hebrew Voices with Nehemia Gordon. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Le ma’an Zion lo ekhesheh, u’l’ma’an Yerushalayim lo eshkot. (For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest. Isaiah 62:1)

Michael: And this is a real heartfelt letter that comes from a woman. She says that her husband, David - we'll leave out their last names - they were married before Yehovah and Yeshua on April 2, 2016. "We had our Messianic teacher marry us. We had two witnesses. We all wrote in and signed in the King James version Bible for our marriage. We were going to do the state wedding in June, and all the churches around here said, ‘You're not married. You are a whore.’” This hurts more than ever, because my husband, who is a retired army veteran, died at age 46, five days after we were married.

I'm also now 26 weeks pregnant with this unborn soul. So, according to the church people, I'm a whore and my son is a bastard. Question, “Am I his wife before Yehovah?” And we have with us, ladies and gentlemen, Nehemia Gordon. Nehemia’s going to give us his perspective, a Jewish perspective, a Biblical perspective on this as well as I have. But I'm going to ask you your perspective, because I've asked you to be the guest on this.

Nehemia: That's a heart wrenching… I'm almost in tears. The woman, her husband died after five days of marriage and they're calling her a whore because she didn't get a piece of paper from the government? I mean, what are we even talking about?

Michael: This is a great example to a Jew of how Christians treat each other. I mean, this is the stuff I hate.

Nehemia: This is Christian love, how you treat a widow?

Michael: Yeah, that's how we treat widows in churchianity.

Nehemia: I'm so disgusted by that, you know. The US has a specific system where to get married you need a piece of paper from the government. But if you go back to England not that long ago, and even some states today in the US, if you live with a woman as your wife and you make it known to the community that she's your wife, you don't even have to have a ceremony in many US states.

And in English common law she is your wife. And if you look at Biblical law, it's basically the same thing. In the Biblical law the phrase is "to take a woman as your wife.” What that means is, you take her home, you live with her as your wife and you let the community know, “This is my wife.” At that point, for her to be single again she needs a piece of paper. She can't just say, “Well, he's not my husband anymore.” She needs a certificate of divorce in order to be no longer in that marriage. That's what Deuteronomy 24 is all about.

Look, follow the laws of your government, I'm not saying don't do that. But according to Torah law, if you take a woman and live with her as your wife and make it known to the community, you are married. And that's not just the Karaite saying that. All Jews would agree with that.

When I was in high school, I went to a Jewish high school, and there was this couple, a boyfriend and a girlfriend. And in a joke, he handed her a cookie. And he says, “With this cookie…” in Hebrew, he said, “Harey at mekudeshet li kedat Moshe veYisrael,” which means, “Behold, you are sanctified to me according to the Torah of Moses and Israel.” And this was in front of other people, and it got back to one of the Rabbis and they said, “According to the Torah, he's got to give her a get.” There’s a certificate of divorce, they're married. They are married according to Torah law, even though they've never lived together, even though they've never consummated the marriage. If you do that act - even with a cookie, is the point - you give the person something of any value, you know, a ring is just something of value. You perform an act and proclaim that person to be your wife and she accepts it, she accepted the cookie and ate it, by definition, they're now married. It's a legal act, and these things have to be taken very seriously. And for someone to call her a whore is just... That's disgusting. I'm sorry, you know, these are people who are saying the Torah is done away with, they're more legalistic than anybody who follows the Torah.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. Is it rather to follow the Torah of God than the Torah of men? I mean, what have we got? Their instructions, their understanding...And I'll tell you who the bastard is, and it's not that child. But no, I won't tell you who it is. I'll leave it up to your own imagination.

Nehemia: Look, Michael, you used that word, the “illegitimate” child. So, in the Torah, or let's say in Judaism to be more specific, a child born out of wedlock is not considered illegitimate. Only a child born to an incestuous relationship or an adulterous relationship is considered an illegitimate child. If a child is born out of wedlock, they're just a child.

This concept of bastard, or “mamzer” in Hebrew, the way it's interpreted in Judaism is not the way it's interpreted in Christianity. And the Christian interpretation really goes back to, I guess, to Roman, and more accurately European law of inheritance, you know. And what they're doing is imposing these things on people that have... There's just no concept like that, in that respect, in the Torah. So, to say to this woman that she's a whore and her child is illegitimate, that has no connection to the Torah whatsoever.

Michael: Or anything in the Bible.

Nehemia: Nothing whatsoever in the Bible. I bet even under many US state laws she would be considered married.

Michael: Now, I would say that if there’s an issue as far as legality, you can go with the one who performed the wedding. You can go with those that were the witnesses. You can take the Bible, you can go to a court of law and it will be sanctified by the state retroactively, if that is even an issue. But this isn't an issue Biblically, whatsoever. And, of course, most of what goes on in churchianity today is not a Biblical issue. It's the rules and regulations that men have made up to go along with that.

Nehemia: Unlike my father, I'm not a lawyer, and I don't really know for sure what the law is. And it would vary from state to state.

Michael: Right, it would.

Nehemia: But the real issue here, Michael, is this false sense of piety that they have in these churches. The Torah defines holiness for us. It tells us in Leviticus 19, and really what the whole Torah is about is Yehovah says, “I am holy and therefore you be holy.” And here is what holiness is. But what the church has done is created this different definition of holiness. So, Jesus turned the water into grape juice and if you want to be holy, you know, I mean, these are definitions of holiness…

Michael: Right, yes.

Nehemia: …that have no connection to what it says in the Torah. I shared with you recently an incident that happened where I was traveling with this Southern Baptist man. And he met this person who introduced himself as a Christian as he was smoking a cigarette. And later, the Christian turns to me and says, “That man wasn't a Christian. He wasn't saved, he's going to hell.” He didn't say he is going to hell, he said he's not saved. And I said, “Why do you say that?” He said, “Because he smokes.” That proves to me he's not... And look, I don't smoke. I've never smoked in my life. But to tell me that has anything to do with being holy and living according to the Torah...

You know, in Judaism, actually the people who are considered at least the greatest Rabbis, they're chimneys, they're chain smokers. Go to those yeshivas, and these guys are smoking. And if you would say to them, “Oh, well, if you smoke, you're not holy,” they have no idea what you're talking about, you know? And I'm not saying you should smoke or not smoke. I think it's unhealthy, I don't do it, I have asthma. But the point is, it has nothing to do with holiness, it's just not connected.

Michael: Yeah. I had a rude awakening. I was raised, you know, as a Baptist you might say, in an independent Baptist church up in Michigan. And you went to hell if you smoked.

Nehemia: Did you really?

Michael: Yeah.

Nehemia: This is just a false sense of piety. It’s just ridiculous.

Michael: I joined the Marine Corps, went down south, and was invited over to the pastor's house. He had three daughters about my age. He was interested in me for his daughters. I went over there, and you know, he has all the bells and whistles. After a sumptuous meal, everyone kicked back, the pastor and all the deacons and elders lit up cigars and cigarettes. I said, “You go to hell up north for smoking. Down here everyone is smoking, it's the same denomination.”

Nehemia: Yeah, well, it's cultural.

Michael: That's it. That’s it.

Nehemia: And don't confuse your culture with the holiness that is given to us in the word of God in Scripture. That's the point.

Michael: Well, we have more questions along this line. Nehemia, you gotta be with us next week, because we've got another one on this…

Nehemia: All right, I’ll come back.

Michael: …I think are very important. So, my condolences, our condolences to the widow of David, and we are thankful that he served his country. You know, you don't pay the price when you're 20 years old, and you jump out of helicopters laden with too many, you know, 81-millimeter mortar rounds and all. You recover pretty fast, but later on is when you pay the price for this.

And I will say that my treatment in the VA hospitals has been just excellent, because the people that are there are there because they love the servicemen and women. They know that they paid a high price, and now later on, they are paying the price in their physical bodies. This man died five days after he was married. That son is going to take his place. He's going to take a stand for the truth. And he is not going to be under the thumb of the religious system that disparages the word of God and disparages his mother, who is a true saint.

You have been listening to Hebrew Voices with Nehemia Gordon. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon’s Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

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  • Lucrecia Ortiz says:

    Very enlightening teachings. I learned much about the subjects discussed. Thank you, Nehemia

  • Alberto says:

    The whole marriage license scam is just that, brought to you by foreign law and they are the 3rd party interest in your joint venture, that is how they see it and interpret it because it is about the bottom line. Registrations(regis) is foreign in nature to American Common Law. We, Americans, record/publish on the public record our actions and intent, not register which is giving away your interest in the matter to the black robed administrators of their courts. Licensing is asking for permission to do something that would be illegal in their warped system. Always remember that legal is not the same as lawful, and the LAW(land, air, water) always trumps legalism, albeit in the different jurisdictions.

  • Thom Garza says:

    As spoken by another Baptist Preacher:” Smoking won’t send one to hell , it simply makes you smell like you’ve been there. “

  • Kim says:

    Was there ever any update from the widow how lost her husband? Was she able to get her husbands benefits for her and her son? So sad…

  • donald murphy says:

    pot damages your brain cells. seen in people who use it and even end up with throat or other cancer forms.

  • Neville Newman says:

    I completely reject the idea that a couple must seek the permission of the State to marry. My son and his wife agreed, and did not apply for a Marriage License. They did have a big beautiful church wedding, officiated by a minister friend, but just not the “license”. However, due to the expected difficulties of conducting the business of life as an “unlicensed” couple, they filed an affidavit with the State indicating that they are married.

    We live in Texas, where this is actually very easy. I don’t hold that performance of this step is required in order to be “legally married”, but it makes many things (inheritance, beneficiary status, spousal support if necessary, etc.) go a lot more smoothly later.

    If you are interested, look on the Texas state web site (capitol . texas . gov), under “Statutes”. The document you need is FA.2.htm . It covers many aspects of marriage legalities. The relevant portion is:

    and, of course,

  • Yehoshua ben Russell says:

    Tattoos are non kosher and should not be glorified no matter what the subject matter is associated with.

  • Lia says:

    If the officiating person is not licensed would the widow be able to get her late husband’s benefits?

  • JW Brakebill says:

    I once knew a young Baptist couple years ago, who attended services faithfully for several years. The wife got pregnant, had a baby, that was sick at birth and died just a couple days later. While grieving at the baby’s funeral, their pastor approached them and informed them that because their baby had not been baptized, it went directly to hell! MANY of Christianity’s preachers seem to be literal MORONS. Shame on me. It’s not my place to judge.

  • The messianic leader was there, witnesses were there, they made a public commitment before Yehovah and everybody so I don’t see what the problem was. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that those who make a big deal about the “law” being done away with are the most legalistic of all!

  • So being addicted to a substance is not an issue of holiness? I realize that Torah doesn’t specifically say some of this but putting things in our body or not is the point of Lev 11. What we put in it does indeed affect our holiness because as Jeremiah says, the residence of Yehovah is now in us. We are the temple. Would we light up as a priest in the temple?

  • Neville Newman says:

    For those readers here who are not familiar with the NT/Apostolic writings, the basis usually given for equating smoking with sin is a passage from I Corinthians ch 6, culminating with ch6,v19-20: “19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

    The immediate context of these verses is sexual immorality, but the argument is generally extended to cover many forms of damage to one’s own body.

  • Walter Schwenk says:

    Yhwh enjoys a good smoke once in a while too… (sheep, goats, cows, pigeons… please don’t try it at home). For the rest of us, the choice of what to smoke usually dwells on either cannabis or tobacco. Of course cannabis is by far the healthier.