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

Hebrew Voices #50 – My Favorite Bible Verse (Rebroadcast)

In Hebrew Voices, My Favorite Bible Verse, Nehemia Gordon talks about the first verse his father ever taught him, and why he suspects his favorite verse might have also been one of Yeshua’s favorites, and quite possibly the last words on Yeshuah's lips. This episode is available as a video and as a podcast. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #45 – Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)

This episode of The Original Torah PearlsVa'etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)  is perhaps the crown jewel of Torah portions. It contains the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4. But what do the Hebrew words “Shema” and “Echad” mean and why is this single verse so important? Also in this program: Is Jesus/ Yeshua a victim of character assassination? What are the Noahide laws? Was the covenant made with us or our fathers? What is the 1st commandment? Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #45 – Va’etchanan (Isaiah 40:1-26)

This week, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Va'etchanan covering Isaiah 40:1-26. ”Nachamu, nachamu, / Comfort, comfort ye my people” begins this portion as well as the theme of Haftarah readings for the next seven weeks. Gordon explains the history and symbolism for these “Haftarot of consolation” and why they are read from Tish’ah b’Av (the ninth of Av) until Rosh Hashanah.  We also learn the remarkable story of Herbert Samuel—whose reading of this portion at the Hurva Synagogue in 1920 was seen as the official pronouncement of the end of the third exile. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #23 – The Temple Floor Lady (Rebroadcast)

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, The Temple Floor Lady, I meet with The Temple Floor Lady, Frankie Snyder. Frankie works at the Temple Mount Sifting Project in Jerusalem, reconstructing ancient floors. Frankie explains how she pieces together the pieces of floor discovered in the archaeological excavations. I got excited when she showed me, and let me touch, the ancient paving stones that covered the surface of the Jerusalem Temple in the 1st century CE. Unlike a Mosaic, which makes use of uniform cubes, the "opus sectile" floors of the Temple were made up of light and dark stones from all over the ancient world, cut into diverse shapes and sizes, and fit together into a grand puzzle to form intricate patterns. As I was speaking to Frankie I realized the floor tiling of the "House of Prayer for All Nations" was a picture of God's people. Made up of diverse colors and shapes, coming from far off lands with different backgrounds and ideas, the nations flowing unto Jerusalem will prophetically fit together into Yehovah's plan of salvation for mankind! Continue reading

Preview of The Four Fasts of Zechariah (Rebroadcast)

The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.Enjoy this special preview of my Support Team Study, The Four Fasts of Zechariah, then listen to the full episode, with accompanying source sheet, in which I discuss the four fasts found in the book of Zechariah, and whether the fasts commonly referred to as "Shivah Asar B'Tammuz" (17th of Tammuz), "Tisha B'Av" (9th of Av), and "Asarah B'Tevet" (10th of Tevet) should be observed today. Abraham wrote: “This was an amazing study…” Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #44 – Devarim (Isaiah 1:1-27)

Prophet Pearls Devarim, abominations, abominations to the lord, babylonian talmud, Devarim, haftarah, isaiah, Isaiah 1:1-27, Isaiah 1:18, Isaiah series, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Prophet Pearls, prophets, prophets portion, red ribbon scapegoat, thread of crimson, yoma 39, yoma 39bIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Devarim, covering Isaiah 1:2-27. Devarim kicks off the “Isaiah series” of haftarah readings—the preacher-prophet with a flair for the poetic. Word studies include the pun surrounding “stranger/zareem”; Isaiah’s frequent use of “hoy,” and the word-of-the-week, “HaAdon/the owner-lord-master” (hei,aleph, dalet, vav, nun). Gordon provides three witnesses that the prayers and sacrifices of the wicked are abominable to the Lord—confirming Isaiah’s message that it’s all about obedience. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #44 – Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

Torah-Pearls-44-Deuteronomy-01-DevarimIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22), we begin by noting how the Greek mistranslation of the title of Devarim as “Deuteronomy” muddles its meaning. With the book’s title settled, a puzzle appears in the very first verse: How could Moses have spoken from the “east side” of the Jordan? And the hits just keep on coming as they expound on giants and ghosts; on which is worse—a thief in the night or a highway robber; on the one thing that could not be found in all of Canaan, and exactly whose idea was this anyway? Gordon closes with an example from the Portion of the über-diligence of the scribes who preserved these wonders for us. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #43 – Masei (Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4)

Prophet Pearls Masei ,anatot, cisterns in israel, E’evod, Ein Perat, haftarah, jeremiah, Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4, Keith Johnson, makor, makor hebrew foundation, masei, Masei – Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Prophet Pearls, prophets, Qere Ketiv, Tetragrammaton, Yehovah, אעבדIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Masei covering Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4. Gordon gives eyewitness accounts of the springs and cisterns of Israel—springs that are sources and fountains of living water and man-made cisterns that can be rendered worthless. We learn that the “makor” (mem, qoof, reish), the “spring” with which Jeremiah was most familiar, still exists today. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #75 – Understanding the Difficult Words of Yeshua

Understanding the Difficult Words of Yeshua with Dr. Roy BlizzardIn this episode of Hebrew Voices, Understanding the Difficult Words of the New Testament, Nehemia Gordon talks with Dr. Roy Blizzard, a pioneer in understanding the Jewish roots of Yeshua. Dr. Blizzard explains how one momentous trip to Israel in 1966, turned his outlook on Christianity upside down and started him on a new path of discovery. Dr. Blizzard also shares what it was like to be one of the first excavators of the Temple mount, how we know Yeshua spoke Hebrew, and confirms the name of God is Yehovah. Continue reading