Torah Pearls #24 – Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26)

Torah Pearls Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26, bull, burnt, dove, goat, offering, pidgeon, sacrifice, sacrifices, sheep, sin-offering, sino ffering, bloodIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26), we share our recommendations of English translations and how to use them responsibly. What is really going when we see Leviticus chapter 5 ending with verse 19 in the gentile translations, while in the Hebrew and Jewish translations it ends with verse 26. We review the five primary types of sacrifices, which correspond to the first five chapters of the book Leviticus. We discuss whether there is atonement and forgiveness without blood. What “to lean his hand” means.  Whether if you sin can you just bring a sacrifice and receive atonement. What fats we are and aren’t we allowed to eat. The difference between intentional and unintentional sin. If one becomes unclean, have they done something which makes them guilty? Are we really expected to ring the neck of the bird? And so much more. Let me know in the comments what your favorite pearls in this Torah portion are. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #22 – Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20)

Torah Pearls Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20, Torah Pearls, torah portion, Nehemia Gordon, tabernacle, wilderness, Jewish, hebrewThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20). We begin with asking what it means to "kindle a fire" on the Sabbath.  Then they ask what it means for someone's heart to be stirred, and how the various traditions understand this, leading to a wonderful discussion on how and why we give to God. There is a fascinating discussion of the nature of Polygamy in the Torah, which leads to an exciting examination of the nature of Paleo-Hebrew. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #20 – Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)

Kohen GadoThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10). We begin with a discussion of how modern day synagogues and churches attempt to emulate the commandments for the decoration of the Biblical priests and the Temple.  This leads to an enlightening discussion on the interpretation of Scripture, and who has the right to decide what the scriptures say. Other topics include Josephus's statement that the name of God has four vowels and whether David sinned when he ate the Bread of the Presence. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #19 – Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

Torah Pearls Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19, candelabrum, Menorah, tabernacle, Temple, Torah Pearls, torah portion, Temple Institute, menorahThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19). The episode opens with a lively discussion on the difference between tithes and offerings.  There follows a brilliant discussion of the "Mercy Seat" of the Ark, and what that means to different cultures and faiths.  What could have been a boring discussion of the "furniture" in the tabernacle becomes a passionate discussion of the implements what is really contained within the Ark. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #11 – Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27)

Torah Pearls Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27)This episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27). In this climactic Portion in which Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, Gordon critically examines the Midrashic explanation for Jacob’s spirit reviving upon seeing the wagons Joseph sent for him. Does this benign example of Talmudic gymnastics portend other dangers of not being rooted solely in the word of God? The trio debate why Jacob described his 130 years on earth as “few and evil” and parse the following words and phrases: “the one you sold,” “made a father to Pharaoh,” “seventy,” “shepherds,” “silver” and “servants.” In closing, the trio rejoice that their disparate paths led to common ground and a place to witness the worldwide revival of people waking up to the truth and joining themselves to the preserved remnant. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #4 – Vayeira (Genesis 18:1-22:24)

Torah Pearls Vayeira, Genesis 18:1-22:24, abomination, abominations, Abraham, angels, angels messengers, cheeseburger, dead sea, dietary laws, grafted, homosexuality, human sacrifice, Isaac, Ishmael, Ishmaelites, kid, Lot, meat, meat and milk, milk, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, rape, sacrifice, salt sea, seed, Sodom, Torah PearlsThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Vayeira (Genesis 18:1-22:24). The trio sheds light on interpreting the words and actions of “messengers” by comparing the three men who visited Abraham with other examples in scripture. They debate which of the many depravities of Sodom left it covered in salt to this day. With information about Abraham’s place and time, Gordon brings understanding to the more baffling events in this portion—particularly Lot’s approach to hospitality. Other Torah pearls include: the significance of Abraham bargaining with the number ten, Ishmael’s “mocking” of Isaac, and word puns that prove the Creator not only has a keen sense of humor but that he’s willing to work with us.  The trio ends by exploring the “blessing” that Abraham bequeathed to the world—the opportunity to be grafted in. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #3 – Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)

Original Torah Pearls - Lech Lecha - Abraham's Journey from Ur to Canaan - Molnár_Ábrahám_kiköltözése_1850In The Original Torah Pearls, Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27), we revel in the extraordinary drama of Abraham’s epic: a call from heaven, famine, war, plagues, dreadful and great darkness, bisected animals, flaming torches, battles with vultures, sister wives and kings. Then the cliffhanger—the God-who-sees promises to make an everlasting covenant with a yet-to-be-conceived son, and to make him the father of 12 princes. Continue reading

Torah Pearls #2 – Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

Pieter Bruegel the Elder's The Tower of BabelThis episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Noach (6:9-11:32). The trio discusses the following questions and more: While Noah was a righteous man—relatively speaking—what spiritual disease was the rest of the world infected with?  Is doing what comes naturally the best answer for our bad selves? Does the post-flood diet really include the “all”-you-care-to eat buffet?  What was the sign of the curse and what is the sign of the covenant? When the whole earth spoke one language, what language was it? What are the implications of the 70 nations that sprung from Noah’s three sons? In closing, Gordon discusses the belief that Adam was a Talmudic scholar as well as other historical views concerning what we knew and when we knew it. Continue reading