Torah Pearls #52 – Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30)

Torah Pearls Vayelech, Booths, courageous, Deuteronomy, dual causality, grafted to Israel, hakhel, idolatry, John, Joshua, Law, living word of God, living words of God, Moses, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Proverbs, reading of the law, Sabbatical year, Shemitah, strong, strong and courageous, Sukkot, Torah, Torah observance, Torah Pearls, Torah Portion, Vayelech, word of GodThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30). The trio discuss traditions they were taught concerning the Torah—a Law so simple ancient Israelites were expected to obey just by hearing it every seven years. They examine how religious traditions can stray from the intent of Torah—to hear, to learn, to fear, and to do. Regarding who “crossed over,” God or Joshua, Gordon discusses the Hebrew concept of dual causality—where the actions of the sender and the messenger are equal—a perk when partnering with the Creator of the universe. Gordon also provides Hebrew word studies that both boggle and thrill the mind—God “puts on” the suit on a man? All nations will be grafted in? The trio concludes by discussing the livability of Torah and the strength and courage required to keep it. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #47 – Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

Torah Pearls Re'eh, abomination, altar, altars, antinomianism, Asherim, belial, beliar, beliyaal, blessing and curse, clean and unclean, commandments, Do not boil a kid in it’s mother’s milk, Egypt, evil eye, Exodus, feast of booths, feast of tabernacles, Feast of Weeks, idolatry, Israelite, Israelites, Jerusalem, kid mother’s milk, kosher, mount Ebal, mount Gerizim, pagans, Passover sacrifice, Pentecost, re’eh, Sabbatical year, Shemitah, son of God, sons of God, spiritual mixing of seed, Sukkot, tithe, tithes, Torah Pearls, unclean birds, worship, yoke of TorahThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Re'eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17). We focus on Moses’ command to “see”—to clearly understand that life gives us only two choices—to create a god from our own hearts or to obey and worship the true God—His place, His time, His way.  The trio explores the following questions: Where did God choose to place his name and can a GPS get you there? What’s the biblical way to dispose of an idol? What does it mean to be without the yoke of the Torah and does the New Testament refer to this malady? What’s an “evil eye”? Why were Jews in the Middle Ages forced to choose between begging and banking?  Who are the sons of Yehovah? Do some translations attempt to make bacon kosher? What’s at the heart of the issue of boiling a kid in its mother’s milk? What’s so dangerous about high mountains and green trees? Ten times three equals thirty... right? Is night time the right time for a Passover sacrifice? In addition to many other insights into the original Hebrew language and context, Gordon provides an example of the meticulousness of the scribes who preserved for us an imaginary bird that we couldn't eat even if we tried. Can one worship the true God without adhering to His commandments? What of the altars other than the altar? Who exactly were the corrupt men of “beliya’al”? Where is the son of God mentioned in the Old Testament? What kind of birds are the Ra’ah & the Da’ah? How can we possibly understand the deep & complex riddle, “Do not boil a kid in it’s mother’s milk”? Are there three tithes or only one? When did the Israelites leave Egypt, by day or by night? Continue reading

My U-Haul Sukkot

Gordon Family U-Haul Sukkah 1976.One of my earliest childhood memories was Sukkot of 1976, when I was 3.5 years old. I remember sitting in the family Sukkah, looking up through the branches that formed the roof, at the clouds as they whisked across the sky. We lived in a 17-story condominium and there was no obvious place to build a Sukkah. My father (of blessed memory), an Orthodox rabbi, asked permission to build a Sukkah in his designated parking space. When his request was turned down by the condominium board, my mother came up with the idea of building our Sukkah on the back of a U-Haul trailer. Continue reading

Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret (Feast of Booths & Eighth Day of Assembly)

Sukkot, Feast of Booths, Chag Ha-Sukkot, Tabernacles, Sukkah, Booth, 4 species, Lev 23:40, Rabbinical tradition, waved, festival, Torah, celebrate, seven days, 15th, 21st, Seventh Hebrew month, holiday, Feast of Tabernacles, work is forbidden, first day, Pilgrimage Festivals, Jewish male, Jerusalem, laws, Talmud, Levitcus 23:40, fruit of a splendorous tree, splendorous fruit tree, date branches, branch of a thick tree, willows of the creek, Tanakh, Biblical, Nehemiah, Yehovah, Moses, Children of Israel, Seventh month, olive branches, oil tree branches, myrtle branches, House of God, Water Gate, Ephraim Gate, Karaites, Rabbis, Etrog, citron, olive tree, olive oil, Israelite, Arvei Nahal, Wadis, Israel, Babylon, Shemini Atzeret, 8th day, Rabbinic, simhat Torah, Celebration of the Torah, Rabbanites, God's lawOn Chag Ha-Sukkot, Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) we are commanded to build a Sukkah (Booth) using as building materials the "4 species" listed in Lev 23:40. Rabbinical tradition teaches that a bundle of these building materials must be ritually waved in the air during the festival. Continue reading