Torah Pearls #50 – Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

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

Torah Pearls #49 – Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)

Torah Pearls Ki Teitzei, Amalekites, bastard, ben sorer, blot out name, civil laws, collateral, cursed, Deuteronomy, divorce, dog, domestic laws, donkey and ox, fidelity, hanged on tree, hanging, harlot, inheritance, Ki Teitzei, levirate marriage, Malachi, mamzer, Methodist, nehemia gordon, parapets, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, plowing, presence of the Lord, presence of Yehovah, prostitute, prostitution, puppy, rape, rebellious son, repossession, rights of firstborn, sexual immorality, shechinah, shekhinah, slavery, sowing, tassels, tenth generation, Torah Pearls, Torah Portion, tzitzit, uncleanness, weaving, women’s rights, wool and linenThis 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