This episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20). The trio revels in this portion containing the five verses that sum up the entire Bible—the wonderful and terrible responsibility given to mankind to choose. But what qualifies one to choose the life-giving covenant? Social status? Being in the camp? Does the name of God provide a clue? And how is this covenant sealed—with a kiss or a curse? Is comprehension of the covenant too difficult for stiff-necked mortals? Whose name do we call on for help? Gordon concludes with a Hebrew word study that reveals what true prosperity looks like for those choosing Torah—a radiant bride with a loving and joyful groom. Continue reading
This episode of The Original Torah Pearls is Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8). After revealing the identity of the “wandering Aramean,” we discuss the name commanded to be spoken seven times during the first fruits offering. A vivid picture is painted of the tribes standing on Mounts Ebal and Gerizim declaring the blessings and the curses across the bowl-shaped valley. But why are the curses so complicated and the blessings so simple? Gordon lets us in on marginal notes that direct how some of the more graphic phrases in the Torah are to be read in public. He also proposes an explanation for the statistically insignificant Jew becoming a byword among the nations. Could the exile and its miseries be as much of a sign as the miraculous ingathering? And while our heavenly Father many times commands the whole hearts and souls of his people, to what one cause does he pledge his? Continue reading
This week, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Eikev covering Isaiah 49:14-51:3. The gender rules of Hebrew grammar are explored in this portion as well as Isaiah’s (and Moses’) metaphorical references to God as a mother. We learn that the suffering servant’s message is one of great hope—that we can fully trust and lean on God. In addition to grammar goodies, word studies include “gather/kibbutz”—as we see nations gathering in the Land—fulfilling God’s word to Isaiah. Continue reading
This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayigash, covering Ezekiel 37:15-28. Gordon and Johnson set the stage by describing the pivotal time in the history of Israel and Judah when Ezekiel lived and prophesied. They also share the life-changing encounters they've each had with the writings of this prophet. Word studies include:“son of man,” “join,” the plural of “one,” “settlements,” and the rare context of “save” in this Portion. At center stage are the ten lost tribes of Israel. We learn what Josephus knew about the tribes, as well as the opposing views of Rabbis Akiva and Eliezer regarding their ingathering. Proving one of the rabbis in error, Gordon recounts the day he was driving a tractor on an Israeli kibbutz and witnessed a convoy of Ethiopians traversing the highway—fulfilling Ezekiel’s prophecy as they made Aliyah. Gordon and Johnson close with a prayer that light be shed on all 12 tribes, and that the day soon comes when there is one nation, one temple, and one king. Continue reading
In Part 3 of the Open Door Series, Nehemia Gordon explains how the name of God, sacred to both Jews and Christians, has become hidden by time and tradition. Beginning with Roman persecution forbidding Jews to speak the name through rabbinical adaptations, translation errors and other misunderstandings, the one and only name of the Lord was superseded over time by titles—like “El Shaddai,” or “Adonai”. As the exiles of Israel and the others joined with them to return to the Promised Land, the name of the Lord Yehovah is again being sanctified and exalted.
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