Prophet Pearls #26 – Shemini (2 Samuel 6:1-7:17)

Image courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University.This episode of Prophet Pearls is on the Haftorah for Shemini, covering 2 Samuel 6:1-7:17. Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson provide background and insight into this portion focusing on the Ark of the Covenant. Gordon tracks the movements and uses of the Ark from the time of Saul to the last we hear about it, during David’s reign. We learn possible meanings for the unique word “shal” - the reason that Uzzah was slain. Johnson draws prophetic parallels for Obed-edom’s relationship with the Ark and David’s decision to return it to Jerusalem. We learn of  two other instances in the Tanakh where God refers to himself as a father to Solomon, and to Solomon as his son. Gordon closes with a prayer of thankfulness to be in the Land of his fathers and to be part of an era of blessing in which the Torah is going forth from Zion. All this and more in this week's Prophet Pearls! Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #22-23 – Vayakhel Pekudei (1 Kings 7:40-8:21)

Prophet Pearls Vayakhel Pekudei, 1 Kings, arafel, thick darkness, araphel, Beit HaMikdash, haftarah, hiram, Parsha, prophets, portion, torah, solomon’s temple, Yehovah, Vayakhel, PekudeiThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portions for the double portion of Vayakhel-Pekudei covering 1 Kings 7:40-8:21. Gordon and Johnson examine the major concepts in this week’s double-header—primarily what the Tanakh calls the “House of Yehovah” and how history, tradition, and cultures have clouded the world’s view of the place where God chose to put his name forever. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #20 – Tetzaveh (Ezekiel 43:10-27)

Prophet Pearls Tetzaveh, Ezekiel, ariel, prophecy, zadok, haftarah, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, God’s name, prophets, yehovah, templeThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Tetzaveh covering Ezekiel 43:10-27. In this Portion, Ezekiel describes the sin offering and the building plan for the Temple. Gordon and Johnson consider whether a spiritual or literal interpretation fits best with the minute details of the plan. We learn the iniquity for which Ezekiel’s listeners were (and we are) to be ashamed as well as the literal meanings of “temple” and “synagogue” and that word choice indicates world view. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #14 – Vaeira (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

Torah Pearls Vaeira, Exodus 6:2-9:35, Egypt, Exodus, Jono Vandor, Keith Johnson, migdal-oz, mixed multitude, month of aviv, Moses, Name of God, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Pharaoh, plague, plagues, Tetragrammaton, Torah Pearls, Torah Portion, vaeira, YehovahThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Vaeira (Exodus 6:2-9:35). At face value, the first sentence of Vaeira appears to contradict other Scripture but several common-sense explanations clear things up. We learn why Moses’ lineage was important—particularly to the original audience—and that his “why me?” attitude was a sign of greatness. Gordon reveals a key verse for understanding the month of Aviv and the significance of its place on the Hebrew calendar. He also reads a poetic passage from the Portion that contains God’s name and where the rhyme of the divine is evident. As the trio examines each plague, Gordon translates the three Hebrew words for what was done to Pharaoh’s heart. Johnson speculates if the livestock taken to a place of shelter—a “migdal-oz”—hints at the mixed multitude and wonders if any Egyptians took shelter in the wondrous redemption to be found in Goshen. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #13 – Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)

Torah Pearls Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1, burning, burning bush, bush, Egypt, Exodus, Moses, moshe, Nile, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Pharaoh, shemati, slavery, Tetragrammaton, Torah PearlsThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1). From the supposedly “well-known” stories in this portion, Gordon and Johnson clear away centuries of clutter left by mistranslations, Halacha, and Cecil B. DeMille’s version of events. In the spotlight is the burning bush scene where very clearly God revealed his one and only name to Moses. With instructions for present and future use, he left no room for misunderstanding. Gordon and Johnson explain how we got so messed up and what to do about it. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #8 – Vayishlach (Obadiah 1:1-21)

The Edomite City of Petra, Prophet Pearls Vayishlach, Obadiah, day of the lord, edom, edomites, haftarah, Keith Johnson, measure for measure, mount zion, negev, nehemia gordon, obadiah, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, petra, Temple Mount, Tetragrammaton, Vayishlach, yom YehovahThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayishlach, covering Obadiah 1:1-21. To the single-chapter vision of Obadiah, Gordon and Johnson bring volumes of insight. We learn how the eschatological views of preterism, historicism and futurism apply to this Portion. We also learn that Obadiah’s identity has been determined by a rabbinical method of interpretation known as “make-it-up.”  Word studies include:  “hamas,” “Sepharad,”  “yom Yehovah,” “Edom,” “measure for measure,” and “drinking from the cup.” While we are warned by the sins of Edom, we are encouraged by Gordon’s eye-witness account of prophecy fulfilled in the Negev. And we look forward to the day when saviors ascend Mount Zion and the kingdom is Yehovah’s. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #6 – Toldot (Malachi 1:1-2:7)

Prophet Pearls Toldot, Malachi, toldot, altarpiece, angel, messenger, haftarah, Keith Johnson, Kohen, Name of God, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, Priests, prophets, Temple Mount, Tetragrammaton, YehovahThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Toldot, covering Malachi 1:1-2:7. If context is key, Gordon and Johnson have opened the door. We learn the exact historical context of Malachi’s message, a specific event at Sinai to which he referred, and the current events on the Temple Mount that prove the Prophet’s words to be as relevant as ever. Gordon tracks down a lost root to clarify the job description of a “messenger” and sets the record straight on “Levites,” “priests” and “cohanim.”  Regarding Malachi’s prophecy, “my name is great among the nations,” Gordon tells of Icelanders and Filipinos who have gathered themselves with Yehovah and encourages listeners to be ready to do likewise. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #27 – True Jew Singing (Rebroadcast)

True Jew Singing, Yitzchok Meir, Nehemia Gordon, Hebrew Voices, Jewish Unity Project, Rabbi Schlomo Carlebach, zionism, Shema, Tetragrammaton, Cantor Yitzchok Meir, halakhaIn this episode of Hebrew Voices - True Jew Singing - Nehemia Gordon visits the Judean Hills, home of Yitzchok Meir. Musician, artist, and cantor—Meir is also the founder of the Jewish Unity Project. When asked to explain how he combines music with a message to unify people, Meir answers eloquently with his version of a song by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach about little candles—the candles of one God. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #3 – Lech Lecha (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)

Lech lecha (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Lech Lecha, covering Isaiah 40:27-41:16. As Isaiah spoke consolation to invaded Israel, Gordon and Johnson console the listener with the deep wells contained in the original Hebrew—nuances that bring even greater comfort from the promises of the Creator. Word studies include: “renewed” strength, “first and last,” “righteousness,” and “eternity”—with the significance of its second root. Gordon and Johnson consider the options concerning “who stirred up from the east” and discuss how the ancient Israelites knew who was speaking in this Portion’s fast-paced dialog. Gordon concludes with the comforting news implied by the winnowing process—not all nations will be carried away. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #2 – Noach (Isaiah 54:1-55:5)

Prophet Pearls Noach, Isaiah 54:1-55:5, davidic covenant, Yehovah, Yehovah of hosts, hebrew root words, Hebrew roots, isaiah, Keith Johnson, lord of hosts, messianic promise, nehemia gordon, noach, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Prophet Pearls, root words, seed of davidThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Noach covering Isaiah 54:1-55:5. Gordon and Johnson revel in the glorious promises to Israel and explore the various ways the Tanakh allegorizes her: as a barren and abandoned woman, a maidservant, a slave, an owned animal, and yet, wholly and eternally a beloved wife. Original language brings insight to the following words: “foaming” anger, Yehovah of “hosts,” mercy, kibbutz, and “brief” moment. Despite differing views on some issues, Gordon and Johnson stand firmly on common ground concerning the messianic promise as Yehovah connects his eternal covenant with Israel to the seed of David. Continue reading