This week, 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.
God’s promise to cleanse the stains of sin lead Gordon to examine the Talmudic teaching that a red string in the second Temple turned white each Yom Kippur—until 40 years before the Temple was destroyed. While some Christians and Messianics receive this teaching as gospel, Gordon and Johnson reason together about the Isaiah passage and the Talmudic passage—and weigh the words of man versus the words of the living God. Gordon closes by thanking Yehovah for his righteousness and justice that make our scarlet sins like snow.
"though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." Isaiah 1:18
The Original Torah Pearls - Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)
Artwork for this week's episode is a painting by Mara Hofmann, artist.