Torah Pearls #46 – Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

Torah Pearls - Eikev, 40 days, 40 nights, abominations, arrogance, awesome, bees, Birkat HaMazon, blessing, blot out, Circumcised heart, collective blessing, cows, curse, cursed thing, eikev, fasting, first person, God of gods, gods, golden calf, grace, grace after a meal, hornet, idolatry, Jesus quotes Torah, Karaism, karaite, Karaites, land flowing with milk and honey, meal, Moses intervened for Aaron, name, on the heels of, plagues, Prophecy, search scriptures, seven species, staple crops of Israel, tablets, tablets of stone, Ten Commandments, Tetragrammaton, Torah, Torah Pearls, walking the landThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Eikev covering Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25. Using language, history, context and common sense, Gordon provides insight into Hebrew slang as well as certain words from the portion, including “because,” “disease,”  and “hornet.” The question of when to say grace leads the trio to discuss the powerful implications of lifelong learning—“little by little.” Johnson relates how Jesus’ intimacy with the books of Moses draws him to the Torah. The trio answers: What Hebrew word describes both “God” and “desert?” Does God set time limits on wickedness? What things are abominable? What is the danger of arrogance? Who hewed? And who wrote? Gordon discusses the irony that scripture and Jewish tradition consider the blotting out of a name to be a curse. And in contrast to the practice of only using the Tetragrammaton, Gordon reads Deuteronomy 10:17 in Hebrew to reveal the alliterative beauty of the verse and the power unleashed when the great, mighty and awesome name is spoken. 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 PearlsThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of 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

Torah Pearls #48 – Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)

Torah Pearls Shoftim, abominable practices, abominations, atonement ritual, authority, bribes, cities of refuge, forbidden worship, grace, Harry Potter, Hebrew collective singular, Jacob’s pillar, judges, justice, king, Messiah, Pontius Pilate, prophet, prophet like Moses, prophets, rabbinical authority, sacred pillar, shoftim, skiviti, skiviti plaque, standing stone, supernatural, three witnesses, Torah Pearls, two witnessesThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9). As the trio begins this portion focusing on judgment and law, Gordon shares the origin of the Hebrew word for “grace.” Discussions include: Must we always have two or three witnesses? Who has the authority today? Are we guilty of rejecting Yehovah as King? What of the Harry Potter question and how far do we take Deuteronomy 18:9-14? Who is the prophet likened unto Moses? Was God’s eye sparkling when he accepted Jacob’s pillar—a thing he hates? Who now has the authority to judge difficult things? What first-century Roman is infamous for mocking an atonement ritual? Who’s the original tree-hugger? With differing views, the trio debates whether certain cultural practices are abominations and Gordon provides an eyewitness account of Deuteronomy 19:1. Showing no fear, the trio concludes by examining the weirdest thing in the Bible. Continue reading