This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayeishev, covering Amos 2:6-3:8. With seven rhetorical questions and a very straight stick, the shepherd prophet draws an unwavering line between cause and effect. Amos’s rebuke of those who “sell the righteous for silver” provides the connection to the Torah portion. But could the sins of Joseph’s older brothers have reaped a 20th century whirlwind? Gordon explains this controversial theory related to ancestral sin. Gordon and Johnson also take a look at Amos’s question of two people walking together. An accurate translation of “agreed” confirms the value of common ground while a faulty translation leads to rampant denominationalism. With cause and effect so tightly woven, we’re reminded that it is a sobering calling to minister the counsel of Adonai Yehovah to the world. Continue reading
This episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19). An uninformed reading of the archaic civil and domestic laws in this portion might leave one scratching the head, but the trio deftly removes cultural and language barriers so that the principles behind these pearls can be applied to the modern age. Discussions reveal what is at the heart of: Torah fashion statements, plowing with a donkey and an ox, installing parapets and taking millstones. Ki Teitzei underscores that the Torah is for all people, for all time—as its laws not only remedied ancient Canaanite traditions but also reached ahead to 20th century America when women’s rights finally began to get with the program. The portion concludes with the mind-bender of remembering to forget—and a reminder from Gordon that it’s a curse to have one’s name blotted out. Continue reading
In this episode of Hebrew Voices, Nehemia Gordon discusses with Dr. Miryam Brand the origin of sin and her book, Evil Within and Without: The Source of Sin and Its Nature as Portrayed in Second Temple Literature. Gordon keeps the gems accessible to non-scholars as they track revelations about the origin of sin through the centuries. Continue reading
This episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Tazria (Leviticus 12:1-13:59).What is the meaning of the term, tazria, do women “produce seed”, why is there a difference in the time of uncleanness concerning the birth of a boy versus a girl, and is it a sin to be unclean. Also in this program, regarding leprosy, the stories of Miriam and Naaman.