Hanukkah: Fact and Fiction

Photo by Nehemia Gordon featuring Georgia posing in front of an olive oil Hanukiyah in Jerusalem. Her look of confusion is over the benediction Orthodox Jews make when lighting Hannukah lamps.In this 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

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, yhwhThis week 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)

Torah Pearls Vayeira, Genesis 18:1-22:24, abomination, abominations, Abraham, angels, angels messengers, cheeseburger, dead sea, dietary laws, grafted, homosexuality, human sacrifice, Isaac, Ishmael, Ishmaelites, kid, Lot, meat, meat and milk, milk, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, rape, sacrifice, salt sea, seed, Sodom, Torah PearlsIn 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

Hebrew Voices #6 – Biblical Sites with an LA Screenwriter (Rebroadcast)

"Fun Joel" Haber in Nahal HaShofetIn this episode of Hebrew VoicesBiblical Sites with an LA Screenwriter, Nehemia Gordon speaks with Joel Haber, a licensed tour guide in Israel whose tours are so enjoyable that he earned the nickname “Fun Joel.” Haber shares powerful examples of how reading the Bible, in the land of the Bible, brings the verses to life —sharing details from the binding of Isaac, the Valley of Elah, the routing at Mt. Hermon, and the broad wall in Jerusalem. Joel explains in-depth how the roads, the riverbeds, and the typography all help to clarify events—as well as how matching historical and archaeological records with biblical accounts proves the Bible is clearly not a made up book. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #3 – Lech Lecha (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)

Prophet Pearls - Lech Lecha (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Lech Lecha, covering Isaiah 40:27-41:16. As Isaiah spoke consolation to invaded Israel, Gordon and Johnson console the listener with the deep wells contained in the original Hebrew—nuances that bring even greater comfort from the promises of the Creator. Word studies include: “renewed” strength, “first and last,” “righteousness,” and “eternity”—with the significance of its second root. Gordon and Johnson consider the options concerning “who stirred up from the east” and discuss how the ancient Israelites knew who was speaking in this Portion’s fast-paced dialog. Gordon concludes with the comforting news implied by the winnowing process—not all nations will be carried away. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #3 – Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)

Original Torah Pearls - Lech Lecha - Abraham's Journey from Ur to Canaan - Molnár_Ábrahám_kiköltözése_1850In The Original Torah Pearls, Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27), we revel in the extraordinary drama of Abraham’s epic: a call from heaven, famine, war, plagues, dreadful and great darkness, bisected animals, flaming torches, battles with vultures, sister wives and kings. Then the cliffhanger—the God-who-sees promises to make an everlasting covenant with a yet-to-be-conceived son, and to make him the father of 12 princes. Continue reading

Ten Rabbis Speak Out on the Name of God – Part 2

Ten Rabbis on the Name of God - Part 2I’m excited to finally share with you Part 2 of my epic study Ten Rabbis Speak Out on the Name! In this Support Team Study, I bring Jewish sources, never seen before by the English-speaking world. Gentile scholars have plumbed the depths of every pagan and heathen text for centuries to reconstruct the pronunciation of God's holy name. It's time to let the Jews speak! Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #2 – Noach (Isaiah 54:1-55:5)

Prophet Pearls - Noach (Isaiah 54:1-55:5)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Noach covering Isaiah 54:1-55:5Gordon and Johnson revel in the glorious promises to Israel and explore the various ways the Tanakh allegorizes her: as a barren and abandoned woman, a maidservant, a slave, an owned animal, and yet, wholly and eternally a beloved wife. Original language brings insight to the following words: “foaming” anger, Yehovah of “hosts,” mercy, kibbutz, and “brief” moment. Despite differing views on some issues, Gordon and Johnson stand firmly on common ground concerning the messianic promise as Yehovah connects his eternal covenant with Israel to the seed of David. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #2 – Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

This episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Noach (6:9-11:32). The trio discusses the following questions and more: While Noah was a righteous man—relatively speaking—what spiritual disease was the rest of the world infected with?  Is doing what comes naturally the best answer for our bad selves? Does the post-flood diet really include the “all”-you-care-to eat buffet?  What was the sign of the curse and what is the sign of the covenant? When the whole earth spoke one language, what language was it? What are the implications of the 70 nations that sprung from Noah’s three sons? In closing, Gordon discusses the belief that Adam was a Talmudic scholar as well as other historical views concerning what we knew and when we knew it. Continue reading