Torah Pearls #31 – Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23)

In this episode of The Original Torah Pearls Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23), we discuss the standards and conduct of the Priests and acceptable offerings, as well as the appointed times of Yehovah and the issue of the Lunar Sabbath. Lastly, we address the stoning of the blasphemer!

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Torah Pearls #31 - Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23)

You are listening to The Original Torah Pearls with Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson, and Jono Vandor. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at

Jono: G'day to Gale and Esther in Georgia, and Thomas in Ohio, Rebecca in Texas, and Yvonne in Queensland, Catherine in Michigan, and Jeannette in Nebraska. Wherever you may be around the world, it is good to have your company. It is time for Pearls from the Torah Portion with Keith Johnson and Nehemia Gordon. G'day, fellows.

Keith: G'day, Jono

Nehemia: G'day, Jono

Jono: G'day. Hey! Today we’re in Emor, which is Leviticus 21, verse 1, to 24, verse 23. Are you ready?

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Yes.

Jono: Okay. This is the way it starts; it starts with the regulations in regard to the conduct of the Kohanim, right? It says, “And Yehovah spoke to Moses, 'Speak to the priests and to the sons of Aaron, and say to them, ‘None of them shall defile himself for the dead among his people.'” Now, first of all, what does that mean? Does that mean, like, none of them shall go out and take care of the burial?

Nehemia: Not just take care of a burial. When we get to Numbers 19, remember the different sections of the Torah aren’t in chronological order when they were revealed, so Numbers 19 gives us more details about how you become ritually impure. The Hebrew word is tamei, how you become tamei from the dead. The way you become tamei is…there are several ways. One is you touch a dead body; actually, being in the same room, or it says in scripture, “as the same tent as a dead body,” will actually make you ritually unclean, will make you tamei from the dead. Then actually touching a grave will also make you tamei from the dead. So, you don’t have to actually bury the person in order to become tamei from the dead; even being in the presence, essentially, or in the same room as the dead body can make you ritually unclean.

What it’s saying here is the priests, the Kohanim, the sons of Aaron, are not permitted to become ritually unclean from a dead body. Which is, in a way, kind of surprising because certainly we have, in the Western world, the image that the priest is the one who stands at the funeral and officiates. But the Biblical priest isn’t actually even allowed to really do that. Now, their ways of burial were different, obviously, so to touch a grave back then meant to actually touch an open tomb. But you wouldn’t have a Biblical priest standing in, essentially, the presence of this open tomb and officiating at the burial.

Jono: Keith, in your position, in your history, in the tradition where you’ve come from, have you ever had to…

Keith: What do you mean? This is, we marry, bury, and baptize. Those are the three things that…

Jono: Marry, bury, and baptize.

Keith: What are you talking about? I mean…but no, the thing that really is interesting about this is the idea that, at least in my tradition, the point is these very important things that happen with people in their lives, and one of them is death. That the idea is that is…they’ve always taught us, as I went through school and that sort of thing, is that if you want to be able to get people’s attention, one of the places that’s best able to do that is at a funeral. And one of the reasons is people are in touch with the fact that there’s an end to all things. So, you know, you pick the scriptures and that sort of thing.

But what I think is interesting about this is, specifically we’re talking about the sons of Aaron, the priests. My question really kind of is, so then are there other categories of people that would be in sort of places of, how can I use the word, "spiritual journey" that wouldn’t be the sons of Aaron, but that would be seen as those that would be at an event like that? So that if there was a “burial” of somebody, who would be the people that would be there?

Nehemia: Well, I think the most natural people to be there, certainly in the ancient Hebrew context, would be the family. That’s really what the next two verses talk about how…well, there’s the exception to the rule which is, he is allowed to be at the funeral of his close kin; his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, his brother, and his unmarried sister. So, the natural people to be there at the funeral are the family.

Jono: Okay.

Keith: Don’t you guys think that it’s interesting that it’s almost like this exception to the rule, again; don’t be in the presence of a dead body. However, as it pertains to this group of people, I won’t expect you to go by that. So, what’s the bottom line?

Jono: And it also seems that when someone passes away it’s solely a family affair. It’s not as if a priest has to be there or a Levite has to be there or anyone’s there in an official sort of way, outside of what is the family affair. Is that fair, Nehemia?

Nehemia: Yeah, pretty much that’s the way it seems.

Keith: So, we don’t have anything here where we can talk about the funeral passages for the priest. We don’t…

Nehemia: So, the priests are allowed to go to the funeral of their close loved ones, but then that’s the exception to the rule for them. But then the exception to the exception is then, the high priest in verse 10. It starts talking about the high priest, and in verse 11, it says, “And he won’t even go to the funeral of his father or his mother.”

Jono: “Or his mother,” yeah.

Nehemia: Then it says in verse 12, “And you shall not go out from the Temple that he not desecrate the Temple of his God.” If you just read verse 12, you’d think he was stuck in the Temple all the time. Which doesn’t actually make sense because he’s definitely got to do certain things which you can’t do in the Temple, certain bodily functions that, you know, they didn’t have indoor plumbing.

Jono: Sure.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: What it’s saying is, if we look back at the story of Aaron when his sons died, God said "Okay, now you stay in the Temple. Don’t go to the funeral. You stay in the Temple for the next seven days." I think that’s what the context here, in verse 11, for the high priest is. “He must not leave the service of the Temple in order to go bury even his mother and his father,” which is kind of shocking. Then it goes on, and if we can skip ahead to verse 13, or did you want to do some more…

Jono: No. I was just going to say that the bar is set very high, isn’t it? And it kind of shocks me in some ways, particularly in this politically correct world in which we live, that the verses that you’re going to, and particularly from 16 and on, but I suppose we’ll get there. Thirteen, “And he shall take a wife in her virginity. A widow or a divorced woman or a defiled woman or a harlot, these he shall not marry; but he shall take a virgin of his own people as wife.”

Nehemia: Now that’s the high priest. Now, we had earlier…

Jono: Right.

Nehemia: …in verse 7, where it talked about the regular priest, regular son of Aaron, who isn’t the high priest. He is not allowed to marry a divorced woman or a prostitute. The high priest is not allowed to marry a divorced woman, a prostitute or even a widow; he has to marry only a virgin. That is a very high standard for him. Well, what’s interesting is, if you compare this to Ezekiel, chapter 44, there’s a famous controversy here concerning specifically chapter 44, verse 22. Which, to some people, seems to contradict what we just read in Leviticus chapter 21. So maybe you can read for us 44:22?

Jono: "They shall not take as wife a widow or a divorced woman but take virgins of the descendants of the house of Israel, or widows of priests." Ah, okay.

Nehemia: Well, okay, so this is something that only applied of the high priests in the Torah, and here it’s being applied to some other group. Specifically, if we look at what group is being talked about, it’s in verse 15. It talks about the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, that is, the line of the high priests. So, this is a standard that’s essentially being imposed upon the line of the high priest, which the Torah only applied that to the high priest himself. Here there’s a whole sub-category of Kohen, a whole sub-category of priests, who is from that family, direct line of the high priest, who also has to follow these things. What do I make of it? I don’t know. It says what it says.

Keith: Can I say just one thing, just one step back? So I think it is important, though it may be obvious to us as we’ve been reading through this, but for someone that would be listening that it could be helpful for them to understand when he speaks about the high priest being in the Temple, going about the business of what it means to be a high priest at that point. The significance of that, which they can sort of get information about - in other words, it would be like this: I’m just a regular person out there, Nehemia is from the line of King David, so he’s got the kingly job, but then Jono is the high priest. So, in this situation, Jono, if you were a regular Levitical guard at the door and your mother died you would be able to go to that funeral, correct?

Jono: Correct.

Keith: However, if you’re the one who’s spreading your hands out over the people as the high priest, you’re in that function, and it’s your time to be functioning within service of the Temple and your mother died, then you would not go.

Jono: I wouldn’t be allowed.

Keith: Okay. Now that seems really simple but, as Nehemia said, if you just read one verse you’d say, "Okay, is this relating to everyone, or is this relating to everyone that serves in the “Levitical realm” or are they a specific person?" We’re talking about someone who’s functioning specifically as the high priest.

Jono: Yeah.

Keith: Okay.

Jono: That’s right.

Keith: Got you.

Nehemia: Can I say something controversial?

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: I won’t say it because there’s children listening.

Jono: Parents, cover your children’s ears. Nehemia…

Keith: Okay, Nehemia's about to do his thing.

Nehemia: This is what I do. So, one of the things that I’ve had some people say to me is… people who are new to the Torah, you know, and they’re single and they’re convinced that they’re only allowed to marry a virgin. They’ve got this idea in their head that, “I’ve got to marry a virgin,” and that’s fine if you’re dealing with an 18-year-old or something like that. But if you’re dealing with a 30-year-old man or a 40-year-old man, good luck with that.

Actually, what this proves is, not only are you not required to marry a virgin, unless you’re…really, it’s only the high priest that’s required to marry a virgin. Actually, if we think of the implication here, it says here that the regular priest isn’t allowed to marry a prostitute. I think it’s safe to assume that it means a former prostitute, because if she’s currently a prostitute, you’re probably not going to want to marry her. But the implication here is that a regular person, who isn’t a priest, is allowed to marry a former prostitute. Which is kind of shocking, but there it is. If the woman repents, she can marry any Israelite who is not a priest, who is not a Kohen.

Jono: Look, Nehemia, if a Kohen falls in love with a divorced woman and they get married, is he forgoing his position as a high priest?

Nehemia: That’s a really good question. So, read me your translation of verse 7, just the first few words of verse 7.

Jono: “They shall not take a wife who is a harlot or a defiled woman, nor shall they take…”

Nehemia: So, the term “defiled woman” is somewhat of a controversial term. Rabbinical tradition teaches that a “defiled woman” is a woman who comes from the line of being a Kohen, but her father married someone he wasn’t allowed to marry. So, her father was a Kohen who married a divorced woman, or her father was a Kohen who married a former prostitute, or her father was someone who committed adultery, and she’s the product of adultery. In all of those cases, she would be considered a “defiled woman,” and the Kohen wouldn’t be allowed to marry her.

Now the question is, is that what it really means? And it’s not clear if that’s what it means. You could maybe say that from verse 15, because verse 14 talks about the high priest not marrying these various people; the widow, and the divorced woman, and the defiled woman, and the prostitute. Then it says, “And he shall not defile his seed among his people for I Yehovah sanctify them.” So that’s really where they get that from, from understanding verse 15 as being the outcome of verse 14.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: But that’s not entirely clear if that’s the case. It’s possible that a “defiled woman” is simply a woman who has defiled herself through prostitution. In other words, you could read verse 7 as, “they shall not take a defiled prostitute,” and that’s actually very common in Hebrew, where it’ll say the same thing in two different ways. It’ll say, “void and without form,” and really that’s the same thing; it’s one amplifying the other. So that’s one possible interpretation of it; she’s not defiled by something her father did, because you don’t punish the children for what the parents did, but that she’s defiled by something she did.

The other possibility, of course, is that, like I said, tradition certainly says that it’s the line that becomes defiled then, which then raises the question of, can anyone really serve as a Kohen today? Because we don’t know who, ten generations ago, or twenty generations ago, married a widow.

Keith: That’s why we wait for the Kohen to be set up and that’s why we wait…

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: …for the Mashiach to come.

Nehemia: Well, so there is a possibility…you had to get the Mashiach in there, didn’t you, Keith? You always work him in there somehow, don’t you? But there is a passage that talks about…if we can turn over to Malachi…

Jono: Malachi!

Nehemia: …Malachi chapter 3, verse 3. God talks about how he’s going to send the messenger. It says, “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto Yehovah an offering in righteousness.”

So, the implication there is that really no one, up until that time, until that happens, can offer the offerings in righteousness and in purity. So, one possible reason of why they can’t today, until the messenger comes, is because of this issue of the defiled women.

The other possibility, of course, is the issue of Numbers 19, which we’ll get to, which is the whole issue of purity of the dead. Or impurity; being tamei from the dead. The only way to purify from that is the ashes of the red heifer…

Jono: …of purification and so on and so forth.

Nehemia: Exactly.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Brilliant. Thank you, my friend.

Nehemia: But the messenger will come, and he will purify…

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Yes, he will.

Nehemia: …the sons of Levi, and then they’ll be able to offer the sacrifices. Can I get an Amen?

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: From Keith Johnson?

Keith: And then the Mashiach, the Messiah…

Nehemia: There it is!

Jono: He’ll be there. And we’ll be stoked. Okay, verse 16, “And Yehovah spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron, saying, No man of your descendants…’”

Keith: I’m sorry, Jono, just two seconds. This is really interesting. Normally up until this point, and I think we could do a quick search with our living Bible search-man, Nehemia Gordon, but, you know, usually what’ll happen in verse 16, so “He will not defile his offspring among his people,” and then it says, “I am Yehovah.” And then it says not who makes y’all holy, but it says, “Who makes him holy,” or sanctifies him, or causes him to be holy.

Jono: Yehovah says “y’all”?

Keith: Usually when he says “you,” he means “y’all.”

Nehemia: Americans think that y’all is the plural of you.

Keith: Yes, the plural of you, so he speaks in Southern, he says “y’all.” But I want to ask this question, and this is for Bible-Search Man. You guys, I got to give you a secret; I know a lot of people think that Nehemia is just a walking…I mean he’s got all this stuff in his head, but he’s got the fastest computer program.

Jono: Bible-Search Man.

Keith: He can search so quick it’ll make your head spin.

Jono: He needs like a superhero outfit, “Bible-Search Man.”

Keith: Yeah, so what I want him to do is to do a very quick search, if you can, Nehemia, in record time, how many times does he use the words “I who make him holy.”

Nehemia: Well, so we’ve got Exodus 28:3.

Keith: I told you! You see that! I keep telling him this is amazing.

Nehemia: There it also talks about…well, it doesn’t say “I”, but he talks about "le-kadsho le-Kahonim.” It talks about Aaron, to sanctify him.

Keith: Yes

Nehemia: So, there it’s referring to Aaron. Exodus 29…and you already do this search beforehand, and you already know what the answer’s going to be? Exodus 29:36 says, "and you shall anoint him, to sanctify him,” talking about the high priest, or it’s talking about Aaron and his line, rather. Leviticus 8:12, “and he anointed him, to sanctify him.” Let’s see, what other ones do we have.

Keith: Exactly. Speaking of this future, or this person, as this high priest, is there any other…

Nehemia: It’s interesting. So, it’s not referring to the priest in the Torah, that’s all for the Torah. I can now look in other parts in the Bible.

Keith: No, just in the Torah.

Nehemia: No, that’s it.

Keith: Ah.

Nehemia: That’s all she wrote.

Keith: So, this here…hey, guys, ladies, I just wanted to have a reason to stop because here is where He does this and He says, “I am Yehovah who makes him holy.” And this is a special thing here, this is something where we can slow down a little bit because He speaks of, you know, again, “I am Yehovah who makes you all holy, who consecrates you all."

And then He’s specifically talking about him, and, again, this idea about the standard, as you said, Jono, the high standard for the high priest. I think if we were there and we saw how the high priest was being dealt with, I don’t know when we see that sort of thing right now. I know in my tradition we have the bishops, and of course I just came back from Rome where I got to see Pontifex Maximus himself…

Jono: Aye!

Keith: The Pope. And they treat, certainly Pontifex Maximus the Pope, as if he is the high priest. And when I tell you about the pomp and the way that the people kiss and bow and speak and talk, and simply all he’s trying to do, and you two can correct me if I’m wrong, is what he’s trying to do as the Pope and what the Catholic church is trying to do is say, "look, we’ve taken the high priest role, we’ve read enough of it to understand that there’s something special about the high priest, we’re now going to put it upon Joseph, who we’re going to call the Pope, and he’s going to be the high priest, and then we’re going to do everything we can to sort of treat him that way. But what’s interesting is about the standards of scripture and the standards of who is made holy or what happens. And in this verse, it says, “I make him holy.” Now, controversy; who makes anyone holy?

Jono: Yehovah makes them holy, right?

Keith: So, you’re telling me you can’t organizationally decide who’s going to be holy?

Jono: I don’t know that we see that in the Torah. In verse 10 it says, “He who is the high priest among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated.”

Keith: Okay. Now, what the Pope says is that he’s got lineage all the way back to Peter, who was given the keys. Now here’s my question…and please, Nehemia you keep your ears shut, as I keep my ears shut when you and Jono do your under-age discussions. I want you to keep your ears shut. And I want to ask this question, Jono. So, the lineage, and I’m just bringing this up because this is important, so the lineage for the Pope, who considers himself Pontifex Maximus, he claims lineage to Peter. Why? Because Peter was given keys. Now, where does it speak of Peter being in the lineage of Aaron?

Jono: I don’t believe it does, Keith, off the top of my head. Are you aware of it?

Keith: I’m calling for accountability regarding lineage.

Jono: Okay, if you want lineage, the only thing that comes to my mind, Keith, when you say Pontifex Maximus…it was my understanding that that was the title of the high priest of Mithra.

Keith: Uh-oh.

Jono: Am I right?

Keith: All I’m saying is this; Nehemia I appreciated you pushing buttons and Jono letting me do this. When I see this line, there’s a certain level of fear and trembling that falls upon me, coming from a tradition, and we brought this up before, where you pick a person who picks a person and they pick a person who picks a person who's lineage is all the way back to what we consider to be the first high priest in the New Testament, where I don’t see that anywhere in the New Testament. But my point is it’s the creation of man’s ability to try to get false authority. And yet in this verse what clearly happens is this: he says, I’m talking about the man now, I’m talking about him, I’m talking about the high priest, “I am Yehovah and, guess what, I am the one who makes him holy.” Now we can move on.

Nehemia: You said that his lineage is not from Aaron, and you questioned about whether his lineage is really from Peter, and I know you’re going to be excommunicated now from the Catholic Church. That’s a joke - Keith’s not Catholic - but I want to offer another explanation on where I think his lineage really might be from.

Jono: Please.

Nehemia: It’s a possibility. So, there’s an interesting inscription that is actually embedded into the Southern wall of the Temple Mount. You know, most people know it as the Western wall, but there’s actually a southern wall as well, that’s been preserved. Embedded in the wall, actually upside down, is an inscription that mentions one of the Roman emperors, and it describes his different titles, and actually, this is one of the things that I have posted in my…I post these beautiful pictures from all over Israel on my Facebook page.

Jono: Israel Places.

Nehemia: It’s called Israel Places. You can go to my Facebook page Nehemia Gordon and you could see the Israel Places, this is one of the ones. And the inscription, it says, it mentions, Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus, that’s what we know as the emperor Hadrian. And then it mentions his various titles, the first one is Pius. Say “Pius.”

Jono: Pius.

Keith: Pius.

Nehemia: He’s the “Father of the Fatherland.”

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: And then calls him high priest. So that’s one of his titles, Pontifex Maximus. And this is the Roman emperor. So, you’ve got a man, standing in Rome, who calls himself Pontifex Maximus. When the original one did that, was he claiming to be the emperor or was he claiming to be a high priest of the line of Aaron? He’s called Father, “the Father of the Fatherland,” and he’s the high priest.

Keith: There it is. So that’s why I wanted to slow down, to see if I could draw Nehemia into this conversation again, and it worked. So, ladies and gentlemen, you’re getting information that you don’t normally get here. I think it’s a reason for us to stop; I would like to say the prayer.

Jono: Say the prayer, my friend.

Keith: The reason is, again, I think throughout the pages of scripture, and I mean it could be every single line, and you know, I know there are a lot of people who want to go through scripture and say, "Okay, I’m going to make it be this, I’m going to force this, force this theology." But here it is, right here, where the one who is the high priest has been made holy by One, the only One, the One who sanctifies. And so, I pray, Father, we thank you so much for this program. I thank You for Jono’s willingness to host us and to be such a wonderful person, who just wants Your word to go around the world. And I thank You for Nehemia. And for just the opportunity to be in this relationship with both of these men where we're all trying to have our eyes opened, that we might see the wonderful things that are hidden, that are beautiful, that are amazing, that are magnificent in Your Torah. May those that are listening also have their eyes opened that they might see these wonderful things. In Your name, Yehovah. Amen.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: Thank you, Keith.

Keith: Can I use this question, and I want to know this word, Nehemia, if you would also check it, as this issue, and I’m just going to use this verse, and I’m not stepping ahead…we could certainly go back, but I want to go to verse 13, of chapter 22, for just a second. It says here, “But if a priest’s daughter becomes a widow or is divorced, yet has no children, and she returns to live in her father’s house as in her youth, she may eat of her father’s food.” Then it says this, “No unauthorized person.” So, this word ‘unauthorized’, is this what you find in your version? And then Nehemia, what word would you find in the Hebrew?

Nehemia: Well, the word there is ‘zar,’ and ‘zar’ literally means stranger. What that means is, anyone who’s not of the category of Kohen, or from the family of the Kohen, is not allowed to eat of this holy food that they’re eating. This is sacrificial food that, essentially, they’re taking and they’re eating. Remember, some of the food they were required to eat in a holy place, and other food they were required to eat in a clean place. Which really could be their living room, a clean place, or their backyard where they’re barbequing it. So, the food that they can eat in a clean place, the daughters could eat, unless they get married. But then, even if they are widowed or divorced, they don’t have children, and they can come and be part of their father’s house again and eat of the bread and the food in the clean place.

Jono: And actually, I seem to recall that you highlighted these verses when we discussed the event when David ate, and his men, ate the holy bread. And we were discussing whether or not that he broke from Torah.

Nehemia: Right.

Jono: So, yeah, interesting. There it is.

Nehemia: Right.

Keith: What I was going to say was, in light of that, Jono, I was wondering, and I certainly, I will take a rebuke, but this issue in chapter 22, the first part speaking of this idea of the “unauthorized” person. But the next section, and I do have a bit of an agenda so I’m going to slow down, I’m going to make sure that I slow down…

Nehemia: There it is, the agenda.

Keith: I have an agenda, ladies and gentlemen. The unacceptable sacrifice is the next section that I have, which actually is verse 17. I want to know if, Nehemia and Jono, would be willing to skip to that? Or…

Jono: We can do that.

Nehemia: Let’s talk about it.

Jono: Let’s do it because I mean, you know, all the way back here in regards to the priests, it says, if he’s got a broken foot or a broken hand, or if he’s a hunchback or a dwarf, or a man who has a defect in his eye, or he’s got eczema or a scab, or is a eunuch or any of these things, there’s a limit as to how he will serve. And over here in verse 17, you see a similar thing in regard to offerings that are accepted and not accepted. Keith?

Keith: Okay, so here’s what I want to just bring up to both of you and to those that are listening. In verse 17, I want to know if I can spend a card and just read this verse. It says, "The LORD said unto Moses,” Yehovah said, “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them, If any of you, either an Israelite or an alien living in Israel, presents a gift for a burnt offering to Yehovah, either to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, you must present a male without defect from the cattle, sheep or goats in order that it may be accepted on your behalf. Do not bring anything with a defect because it will not be accepted on your behalf. When anyone brings from the herd or flock a fellowship offering to Yehovah to fulfill a special vow or as a freewill offering, it must be without defect or blemish to be acceptable. Do not offer to the LORD the blind, the injured or the maimed, or anything with warts or festering or running sores. Do not place any of these on the altar as an offering to Yehovah by fire. You may, however, present as a freewill offering an ox or a sheep that is deformed.”

So, here’s why I’m reading this, guys. I’m trying to get to this issue of when it’s acceptable to bring an offering that is not, can I use the word, the best offering, is that a fair category? In other words, here’s this idea that it can’t be deformed, it can’t be this, it can’t be this, as it pertains to these categories. But then it says, “You may, however, present as a freewill offering an ox or a sheep that is deformed or stunted,” but I don’t know if it says that in your translation, Jono, and what it says…

Jono: What verse are you now?

Keith: Verse 23.

Jono: Okay, so what I’ve got in 23 is, “Either a bull or a lamb that has any limb too long or too short you may offer as a freewill offering, but for a vow it shall not be accepted.”

Keith: Okay. Then verse 24, and now I’m going to close my ears for this, what does yours say in verse 24, Nehemia?

Jono: It starts with a giggle?

Nehemia: Yeah. Well, I’m going to let Jono read that for me this time.

Jono: It says, “You shall not offer…”

Nehemia: So, I don’t get the blame for always bringing up this topic.

Jono: "You shall not offer to Yehovah what is bruised or crushed or torn or cut; nor shall you make any offering of them in your land."

Keith: Okay. So that’s a nice…

Nehemia: That’s interesting. That’s a very diplomatic translation.

Keith: Yeah, a very diplomatic translation. Well, I’m actually…here’s what I wanted to talk about…

Jono: I’m just curious.

Keith: …before we get into Nehemia’s version, is, when is it acceptable to bring something that’s not, can I use the word, "perfect"?

Jono: Sure.

Keith: That’s not whole; that's not deformed, and why is there a difference between the kind of offering? So, if I’m an ancient Israelite and I say, "Listen, I want to bring a freewill offering and I’ve got a deformed goat over here, or something, I could pick that goat for a freewill offering." Am I getting this right?

Jono: It seems like if you got a goat that’s hopping along because one of his legs is a little too short or whatever it may be, it seems like you can offer that as a freewill offering.

Keith: And so, the question becomes, why as a freewill offering and not as a burnt offering?

Jono: I honestly…

Nehemia: My answer…

Jono: Please Nehemia.

Nehemia: My answer would be "kacha".

Jono: Okay.

Keith: There it is.

Nehemia: Because God says.

Keith: So, listen…

Jono: It is in both the kacha.

Keith: So, listen, I have one of those…Nehemia.

Nehemia: Kacha.

Jono: Because…

Nehemia: So, verse 24, we’ve got four things that you can’t offer as a sacrifice to Yehovah. What does your translation have in verse 24, Johnson?

Keith: “You must not offer to the LORD an animal whose…are bruised, crushed, torn or cut.”

Nehemia: But what is bruised, torn, or cut?

Jono: Okay. So that’s what I’ve got as well. I’ve got, “bruised, crushed, torn or cut.” What have you got, Nehemia? Go on, we’re all on the edge of our seat.

Nehemia: So that’s what it says, but these terms in Hebrew are specific to problems…

Jono: You’re making me cringe.

Nehemia: …with the male genitalia.

Jono: Ah! I knew that was going to be bad.

Nehemia: That’s very significant because the end of verse 24 says, “And you shall not do this in your land.” Which is kind of significant. So, the way this reads, you’re not supposed to “fix” your dog, or “fix” your bull or your goat. And I say “fix,” with air quotes around it.

Jono: Alright. Wait a minute.

Nehemia: Now I got your attention goatherder!

Jono: You have got my attention because let me tell you, let me tell the audience…if you’ve never, ever, ever smelled a buck in season, take that as a blessing. If you don’t know what I’m talking about…

Nehemia: What’s a buck? Because I don’t really know.

Jono: Well, then you’re a very, very blessed man. But if you have ever smelled a buck in season you know you never want to do it again.

Nehemia: Well, is a buck a male goat? Or what is a buck?

Jono: A goat, a male goat.

Nehemia: Called a buck…

Jono: Oh, my goodness. It is one of the most putrid, incredibly putrid smells you can ever smell because the male goat, you know, his own urine is like his cologne and the ladies like it, right. But as far as humans are concerned…

Nehemia: To each their own, no judgment here.

Keith: TMI. Let’s move on.

Jono: And so, to remedy this, because you only want, you know, at the most, one. And to remedy this situation you ring them. But are you telling me that that is against Torah?

Nehemia: You ring them?

Jono: Well, you put, it’s like a little rubber band when they’re young, when they’re really young, and it’s just kind of…

Nehemia: It gets rid of their…

Jono: It just drops off eventually.

Nehemia: …ring them.

Jono: There it is. And I suppose that would come into the category of “bruised or crushed or torn or cut.”

Nehemia: I guess it is.

Jono: Kind of, so now, what are you telling me is that, what are you saying? That I can’t do that? What are you saying?

Nehemia: You see what it says. I mean, how do you read it in a different way?

Jono: Alright, it says, “nor shall you make any offering of them in your land.”

Nehemia: Ah. Okay, well it doesn’t say…that’s funny. It doesn’t say anything about making an offering. It says, literally, “and in your land, you shall not do,” meaning…

Keith: “You must not do this in your own land.” So, wherever your own land is, and this is why I wanted to…

Jono: Does it say your own land or “in your land”?

Nehemia: Well, no, it says “and in your land, you shall not do.”

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: And presumably in the context it means not to do the crushing and the cutting and the…

Keith: And here’s the point for those farmers that are listening, and those like Jono. So, we were kind of getting to this verse and kind of jumping around, so we’re specifically talking about the very thing that is done to keep the bucks…

Jono: The bucks at a low population level.

Keith: …at a low population. And I just think that that line is quite interesting. In your version, Jono, if you could, just read one more time - verse 24.

Jono: Verse 24 "You shall not offer to Yehovah what is bruised or crushed or torn or cut; nor shall you make,” and this is in italics, “any offering of them,” end italics, “in your land.” So really what it does, Nehemia, you’re right, “nor shall you make…in your land.”

Nehemia: They added the words any offering of them…

Jono: That’s right.

Nehemia: …because the people translating this said, "well, we know it can’t be that, because we do that every day. So, we can’t very well have people reading that and not fixing their ox, because then we'd have all these oxen running around goring people," like in Exodus 21.

Jono: Right.

Nehemia: And exactly so that’s why we had that problem…

Jono: So, the solution obviously is the sacrificial system, right?

Nehemia: I don’t know that’s necessarily…what do you mean? How is that a solution?

Jono: Well, I mean, because when you…

Keith: You offer those guys up as an offering.

Jono: They’re first on the list, right?

Nehemia: Or get used to the smell.

Jono: No. There are two solutions; either you offer them up, but you know…so there’s no Temple at the moment, and so the people would…

Nehemia: So, eat them.

Jono: So, eat them.

Nehemia: You can still eat them, can’t you?

Jono: That is the solution.

Nehemia: There it is.

Jono: You got to eat them young. Get them young.

Keith: Here we go, folks.

Jono: Well, come on! I mean you’re not going to wait until they’re on because, believe me, you don’t want to eat them then. Oh, man.

Nehemia: Okay.

Jono: Anyway.

Nehemia: Yeah.

Nehemia: Okay. I think I only ever had goat once since it didn’t taste good.

Jono: You probably had one too late. Okay, “here we are in the feast of Yehovah,” can we move on to chapter 23? Is there anything else here we want to pull out?

Keith: Okay, well that was my big...

Nehemia: Just real quick, verse 28 I think is really interesting.

Jono: Yeah it is, isn’t it; that a cow or a ewe, “do not kill both her and her young on the same day.”

Nehemia: You know, one of the applications of that is that it’s forbidden, based on this, the way I read it, to slaughter a pregnant animal.

Jono: Oh!

Nehemia: Because then you’re killing the animal and its baby on the same day.

Jono: Right. I didn’t read it that way. I just thought, you know, if it’s got a young, if it’s nursing or whatever, then you don’t do them on the same day. Perhaps it means both of those.

Nehemia: I think it includes both of those.

Jono: Yeah. Interesting.

Keith: That is interesting.

Jono: It’s a good point.

Keith: And then after all of this difficulty, and you’re sitting and you’re squirming on your chair, if you’re a farmer and you’re thinking, and then He says, just in case you think I’m kidding around here, in verse 31 “Keep my commands and follow them. I am Yehovah.”

Jono: Amen.

Keith: You mean these commands? Yes. “Keep my commands and follow them.” You mean the ones about the priest? Yes. “Keep my commands and follow them.” What about the male goats? Yes. What about who I marry? Yes. I mean, again, I just love the way that this reads if I’m listening to it and I’m not reading it and picking apart every single word, if I’m listening to this, if I’m an ancient Israelite and I’m listening to the Torah just when I’m getting uncomfortable, he says “Keep my commands.” As I’m whispering to my neighbor, hey, but what about those goats? “Keep my commands.” I mean can you imagine the farmers that are sitting here hearing this for the first time, what are you talking about? I put a rubber band on them. “Keep my commands.”

Jono: Don’t ring them, eat them.

Keith: So anyway, if we can get to chapter 23…

Jono: Actually, before we get to 23, I’m going to read the last two verses because we’re going to be revisiting this a little bit later in the Torah portion. It says, verse 32, “You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. I am Yehovah who sanctifies you,” verse 33, the last verse of chapter 22, “who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am Yehovah.”

Keith: Yes. Amen

Jono: Amen. We’re going to be revisiting that soon.

Nehemia: Amen. Praise God.

Jono: But first Keith, we’re talking about his time!

Keith: Look, I’ve been waiting for this chapter…

Nehemia: No, I…

Keith: …since the beginning of Genesis chapter 4.

Nehemia: Isn’t Keith doing some kind of little video on this concept?

Keith: I won’t let Nehemia speak.

Jono: Yeah, you did, you’re doing a project, right? Come on tell us about it.

Keith: No, no I’m not going to let Nehemia…

Nehemia: Tell us about the project, the little video.

Keith: Well here’s why I’m excited about this chapter, and I know people have heard many stories, and I’m going to take my time on this because this coming Shavuot is the actual ten year anniversary, and it was really within just about a week or so, or two weeks or so from now, where I actually was in Israel and the first time I met the great Nehemia Gordon.

And so chapter 23 has always been an extremely special…but the reason is because of the invitation to Israel, which I, again, I don’t mind talking about it, but it really did come through revelation of a dream, and then in the dream I knew I was to be there. But to be there for His appointment, for Shavuot, which we’re going to talk about this in just a few minutes in this chapter, really has been a long, long line of connections with this idea of time which, as a Methodist, I really didn’t know about the significance of time.

I knew about sacred time, in the Methodist tradition, which is based on the life of Jesus, two important feasts: Christmas and Easter, and in between it, certain things that happened. We got Pentecost, which is the birth of the church, and we’ve got the Ascension. But basically, time was based on these two events. Well, when I get to Leviticus, chapter 23, which I didn’t even know about Leviticus 23 until I met Nehemia, it really changed everything. So, I just returned from Israel, doing a project on time, or what’s called rediscovering God’s clock from the land of Israel. And within that project, I got a chance to really dig deep to understand why this chapter is so important in the Bible and why the Creator of the universe has got this clock.

So that’s the backdrop for Leviticus 23, for me. And then when we get to the section that we’re going to read, I’m going to actually ask Nehemia to reread it just the way he did ten years ago. So now you can start reading in Leviticus 23, and I might stop you every-once-in-a-while and shout.

Jono: Please. “And Yehovah spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: The feasts of Yehovah, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.’” Number one, we have the Sabbath in verse 3.

Keith: Hold it.

Jono: Six days!

Keith: Hold it! So Nehemia, come on, work with me on this. This is important. “Yehovah said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: These are my,’” and then in my version it says, “‘My appointed feasts,’” Jono what does yours say?

Jono: I’ve got, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘The feasts of Yehovah, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.’”

Keith: Does it say “appointed”?

Jono: No.

Keith: Ah! Really? Okay, good. So Nehemia, could you read it in Hebrew for us?

Nehemia: Sure, “daber el bnei-Israel ve-amarta a-le-hem mo-adei Yehovah asher tikreu otam mikraei kodesh el-leh hem mo-adai.”

Keith: Now before you translate, I bet most people that if they heard that…say it slowly one more time, and I bet a lot of people that are listening, even if they don’t know Hebrew, are going to have heard this. So, say it one more time, nice and slow, verse 2.

Nehemia: I’ll read the key part slowly, “mo-adei Yehovah asher tikreu otam mikraei kodesh el-leh hem mo-adai.”

Keith: Ah! Boy, oh, boy. “Mo-adei.”

Nehemia: “Mo-adei,” so the keyword is mo-adei, which is a form of the word mo'adim, and mo'adim are appointed times. It’s the same word in Genesis 1:14 where it says that God created the sun and the moon for among other things mo'adim, for the appointed times. Then we have Psalms 104, I believe it is, where it says, “va-asa yar-eh-ach le-mo'adim,” he created the moon for the appointed times. So, we’ve got…mo’ed is the singular and mo'adim is the plural, and we use the word ‘feast,’ or Jono’s translation uses the word feast, but if you wanted to be more specific, Hebrew has two words: one is mo’ed, or plural mo'adim, appointed times. The other word is ‘chag,’ and ‘chag’ is the word that you see more often translated as feast. ‘Chag’ is a more specific term; among the mo'adim you only have three chag, only three that are chagim or chag. Chag is the term that could be translated as feast, but more specifically it’s a pilgrimage feast. Can we do a quick rundown on what the feasts are and everything and on the appointed times, or…

Keith: Yeah, we’re going to read them, aren’t we? They’re right here in the chapter.

Nehemia: Okay. Well, can I give an overview first, or are we…

Keith: Sure, why not?

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: …going to read the whole passage. Okay. So, first of all we’ve got Shabbat. By the way, there’s another term, which is mikra kodesh, that was also in the passage we read; mikra kodesh is usually translated as holy convocation. Which is really interesting because the word ‘convocation,’ in English at least, implies that there’s a gathering, but in Hebrew it doesn’t necessarily mean that. It can mean that, but it can also mean “a holy proclamation.” That’s another way of translating that, and that actually makes sense. You could legitimately read this as, “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, the appointed times, the mo'adim of Yehovah, which you shall proclaim them as holy proclamations. These are my appointed times.” So, what you are to do to the holy convocations isn’t to convocate on them, but to proclaim them. That is, to proclaim them to be days of proclamation; that you proclaim them to be holy.

So, first of all we have Shabbat, which is, you work for six days and rest on the seventh. I think that’s pretty self-explanatory to most people. Then you’ve got Chag HaMatzot, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. A lot of people confuse that with Passover because, in later Hebrew, we refer to the whole feast as Passover, but in the Tanach, or in the Torah specifically, in the Old Testament, throughout the Hebrew Bible, Chag HaMatzot is the name of the holiday Feast of Unleavened Bread, and pessach is the name of the sacrifice; it’s not the name of the feast. It’s the name of the sacrifice that’s brought at the beginning of the feast.

That’s seven days, and of those seven days, the first and the seventh day are mikra kodesh; mikra kodesh, that’s holy proclamation. The significance of mikra kodesh is, you’re not permitted to work on the mikra kodesh. So first and seventh day of the seven days of Unleavened Bread, the days of rest, then during those seven days, you’ve got the day of the Waving of the Omer. Then we have the 50 days of the counting of the Omer, the 50th day then is The Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost in Keith’s tradition. In Hebrew it’s called Chag HaShavuot, or simply Shavuot, the feast of Shavuot. Here the word Chag, again, implies pilgrimage feast.

It also has two other names in the Torah. The other word is Chag HaKatzir, the Feast of Harvest, and the other is Yom HaBikkurim, the day of first fruit. Now, this is something I see a lot, especially in Hebrew roots movement, where they confuse the day of first fruits; they think that that’s the day of the Waving of the Omer. The day of the Waving of the Omer is during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The 50th day counted from that is called, in the Torah, Yom HaBikkurim, the day of the first fruits, also Chag HaShavuot, Feast of Shavuot, and the Feast of Harvest.

And then the third feast is in the seventh month, along with two other days. We’ve got Yom Teruah, also called Zichron Teruah, which is the day of teruah, really, I would translate it as noise making, but it could also mean…sometimes it means trumpeting, or shouting, so day of shouting, or day of trumpets. Also Zichron Teruah, which could be translated as “memorial shouting,” or it could be a “Mentioning Shout.” Some people explain that that means to be…the Yom Teruah, the day of mentioning the name of Yehovah, mentioning God’s name because it’s from the word “zicharon.”

Keith: I know some people who think that way.

Nehemia: Okay. I’ll let you talk, I’m almost done. Yom Kippur; we call it Yom Kippur in common speech but actually it’s called Yom Kippurim, the Day of Atonement. That’s the tenth day of the seventh month. Yom Teruah is the first day, Yom Kippurim is the tenth day of the seventh month. And then we have Chag Ha-Sukkot, the Feast of Booths, or some people call it a Feast of Tabernacles. Sukkot, that’s the third of the feasts and that’s also called Chag HaAsif, the feast of ingathering, and that’s a seven-day feast.

The eight day of that feast, which isn’t technically part of the feast, is also a mikra kodesh, day of rest. So, in Chag Ha-Sukkot you have the 1st and the 8th day as days of rest, are mikra kodesh, and the intervening days, the 2nd through the 7th day, are actually days you’re allowed to work, just as in the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The 2nd through the 6th day of the feast are days, unless they’re Shabbat, that you’re allowed to work.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: And those are all of the feasts…

Jono: Here they are.

Nehemia: …and appointed times of Leviticus 23.

Jono: That is an excellent summary. Thank you, Nehemia Gordon. Keith, can I be a little bit controversial, can I jump right back to the beginning and ask you a question? Because…

Keith: Well, now let’s go to chapter 24.

Jono: No.

Keith: There it is, Jono.

Jono: I’ve got to start again because, you know, and I’d like to say g’day to all the learnees that are listening, good day to Ken, good day to Esther, and because these are the main things, right? Come on, now! Come on, we can’t just jump over this because this is a prime passage for them. They’re going, “come on, give it to us, explain it to us, or do something with it!”

Nehemia: What are you talking about?

Jono: Lunar Sabbaths.

Nehemia: Oh, the Lunar Sabbatarians. Oh, boy.

Jono: Hey! Look, there’s a lot of them that listen, and g’day to you guys and thank you for listening.

Keith: Wait.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: So, you said “Keith,” what now? You said my name, I’m excited, what did you say?

Jono: Because we’re…now, come on, we highlight the word mo'adim, right, in the second verse. And the first thing that comes up is the Sabbath. Now…

Nehemia: So that’s really interesting. Notice how verse 2 and verse 4 are almost identical word for word, and the reason is that…and this is something that we’ve seen before, it’s called resumptive repetition. It’s when scripture goes on a tangent, then when it returns from the tangent it repeats the last thing it said before the tangent. So verse 2 starts off, he says, “Okay, now I’m going to tell you about the mo'adim and you shall proclaim them as holy proclamations,” and then He talks about Shabbat and then in verse 4 He goes, “these are the mo'adim of Yehovah, holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their appointed times.” So why does verse 4 repeat verse 2? The reason is that verse 3 is a tangent. It was a tangent that was inserted there because of the association; that’s another thing we see very often, that there’s this principle of association that when you…

Jono: Yeah, we’ve highlighted a lot of those throughout the Torah portion so far.

Nehemia: Yeah. Well, so here’s an example of a principle of association. “Okay, we’re talking about the holy proclamations, I’m just going to quickly mention Shabbat, and then I’m going to get back to the mo'adim.” And that’s why in verse 4 He has to actually repeat himself, word for word, almost.

Again, so I’ll read you both verses, this is my translation. “And you shall say to them, ‘the appointed times of Yehovah, which you shall proclaim them as holy proclamations, these are my appointed times,’” that’s verse 2. Verse 4, “These are the appointed times of Yehovah, holy proclamations, you shall proclaim them in their appointed times.”

Well, why do that? Why does verse 4 repeat verse 2? That’s clearly what we call resumptive repetition. What it essentially does is it puts verse 3 as a parenthetical note; it’s in parentheses. So then to say, “Oh, well. It says, the moon is for mo'adim, and then verse 3 has Shabbat; so, therefore, the Shabbat’s based on the moon,” that’s ridiculous. Shabbat is the perpetual cycle that goes back to creation. It’s been kept by the Jewish people perpetually as an unbroken seven-day cycle going back, and that’s why you have in every language of the world, or hundreds of languages of the world, who all have the seventh day of the week.

You know, in English we call it ‘Saturday,’ which is the day of Saturn. But in most languages, it’s not called ‘Saturday.’ In most languages it’s called, like in Spanish: Sabato. In Hebrew it’s called Yom Ha-Shabbat; it’s got nothing to do with Saturn. Yom Ha-Shabbat, in many other languages, and you could look this up, there’s hundreds of languages that preserve the seventh day of the week, and the name of it is Shabbat.

Now, one of the things that they’ll do is, they’ll point to the Jewish Encyclopedia from, I believe it’s 1901. The reason that’s on the Internet is because the copyright has run out so it’s very easily accessible. The problem with the Jewish Encyclopedia from 1901 is it makes all kinds of claims and statements which aren’t necessarily true. That’s actually true of every encyclopedia. If an encyclopedia tells you that the sky is pink, you’ve got to say, well, what’s the evidence that the sky is pink? Just because it’s in an encyclopedia doesn’t mean it’s true. One of the greatest examples is Wikipedia, the notoriously inaccurate and unreliable encyclopedia that literally you, listener, can go into and change and you can say…

Jono: At the drop of a dime you can change anything.

Nehemia: Literally, you can go in the article that talks about the sun going around the earth and change it…or, did I say that right? The earth is going around the sun and change it to say, “the sun goes around the earth,” and it will then be in Wikipedia. Now, it might not be for a very long time, but there’s actually a very infamous example where, I believe it’s the Prime Minister of Norway, someone went into his Wikipedia page, and he didn’t create that page, somebody on the Internet did. But they went into the Wikipedia page that talked about the Prime Minister of Norway, and they changed it to say that he spent two years in prison for a crime that I’m not going to mention. But it’s a very serious crime that is a shameful crime; I won’t mention it because there are children listening, but it had to do with children.

It was only on Wikipedia for less than 24 hours, before someone went and changed it and fixed it. Obviously, it’s not true; we all know he didn’t go to prison for that. It’s a vicious lie that somebody who doesn’t like him made up. But during that time, during that less than 24 hours while it appeared on the Internet, on Wikipedia, it was then quoted by hundreds of news outlets. Now throughout the Internet, it’s reported as fact that the Prime Minister of Norway, maybe by now the former Prime Minister, I don’t know…

Jono: Oh, my goodness.

Nehemia: …that he spent two years in prison for a crime against children. It just goes to show that just because something is inside an encyclopedia doesn’t mean it’s true. So, the Jewish Encyclopedia from 1901 says that the Shabbat used to be based on the moon, but then that was changed.

Now what I challenge the people to provide is a Jewish source, and I don’t mean the Jewish Encyclopedia. I mean an ancient Jewish source that shows that the Shabbat cycle used to be based on the moon; show me a single Jewish source.

Now we talk about the Biblical calendar and how the Biblical calendar was originally…the month, was originally based on the moon. Now it’s based on a calculation that was developed by Hillel the 2nd to the year 359. I can show you that in the Jewish Encyclopedia. But I can also, more importantly, show in ancient Jewish sources, and specifically even more importantly than the Hillel the 2nd thing, I can show you the Jewish sources that predate Hillel the 2nd that talk in great detail about seeing the new moon, and sighting the new moon, and sighting the new moon in the time when the Temple still stood.

So, I can show you those Jewish sources, and there are numerous Jewish sources like that. What I can’t show you is a single Jewish source, anywhere, from ancient times, that says that we Jews are now observing the Shabbat because it is the 8th day of the new moon or the 7th day of the new moon, and the Shabbat is tied to the lunar cycle. There’s not a single source anywhere that says anything even remotely like that. That’s a fiction, that’s a fantasy invented by the Jewish Encyclopedia.

Actually, it wasn’t invented by the Jewish Encyclopedia. We know where it came from, it came from German Bible scholars. In the late 1800s they discovered hundreds, and actually thousands of documents from ancient Babylon. They came to the conclusion that everything in the Bible must come from Babylon because there are so many similarities between the culture of the Bible and what, they believed, was the culture of Babylon.

It started this whole movement that they called “Bibel Und Babel,” which is German for Bible and Babylon. They said, “Okay, well we know that God didn’t create the world in six days and rested on the seventh, so the Sabbath must come from something in nature.” They decided that the closest thing is the lunar cycle. The lunar cycle is between 29 and 30 days, and four Shabbats is 28 days. Apparently, the scholars couldn’t do very good mathematics, they couldn’t count.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: Because actually if you do 28 days you end up, with the lunar cycle, an extra day and a half each month. So, what do you do with that? Well, the Lunar Sabbatarians say, “Well, that’s an extra Shabbat; it’s a 72-hour or 48-hour long Shabbat.” I mean, that’s ridiculous. I don’t know how they would’ve done the ‘manna’ in the desert, where it says that they had a collected double portion on Friday. Well, if the Lunar Sabbatarians are right, it should say that they should collect the triple or quadruple portion.

And then think about counting seven Shabbats from the day of the Waving of the Omer, all the way until Shavuot. Well, if you count seven Shabbats based on the Lunar Sabbath theory, you end up with 52 or 53 days. And why is that? Because the end of each month has a 29th and/or a 30th day, it has other 29 or 30 days, and at least 29 days there’s no such thing as a lunar month with less than 29 days.

Back to “Bibel Und Babel.” They said, ok, it must be related to the lunar cycle. This was a theory; it was speculation. There are lots of things in many encyclopedias. You can look in The Encyclopedia Britannica and there’ll be things in there that are speculation, that are theories, and sometimes they’re presented as fact. That happens; that happens in every encyclopedia, in every field of study. And you always have to ask the question, what is the source?

Well, they were able to point to a source in Babylon, which had a concept called ‘Shabbatum.’ The Shabbatum in Babylon was the 15th day of the lunar cycle. It was considered an inauspicious day; it was a day which was considered cursed. So, they wouldn’t go out to battle on a Shabbatum; they wouldn’t build a house on a Shabbatum.

So, the scholars, these German anti-Semitic scholars in the 19th century, decided, “Oh, Shabbat must’ve started out as a lunar cycle, and the Shabbatum in Babylon proves that it’s actually the same thing as the Jewish Shabbat based on the lunar cycle.”

Now, if you look at the Shabbatum of Babylon and the Shabbat of the Hebrew Bible, they’re two fundamentally different things. The Shabbatum of Babylon is a cursed day, and that’s why you’re not doing work. You don’t want to do work on a cursed day because your work will not turn out well.

In the Bible it’s not a cursed day, it’s a sanctified day, it’s a holy day. It says, “He created the Shabbat and sanctified it,” it’s the holiest day of the week; it’s not a cursed day. We don’t do work to remember that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. It’s fundamentally different than the Shabbatum of Babylon. The reason that they have the similar names is that in Semitic languages the word ‘Shabbat’ means rest. So, the Babylonians rested on the day they considered to be cursed in the lunar cycle. The Hebrews were resting on a perpetual seven-day cycle going back to creation when God Himself rested on the seventh day. And there it is.

Jono: And there it is. Keith, do you reckon he’s a little riled up about it? What do you think?

Keith: Okay, so only one simple thing I wanted to bring up on chapter 23 was just this idea that He says that “these are my appointed feasts.” So the word ‘appointed’; the thing that was so interesting to me was that when I was invited, the only word I heard was that “I’ve not changed my appointment with you,” but I was not studying Hebrew, I did not know about mo'adim, I did not know. And that the communication to me was that there was an appointment. And this idea that there’s an appointment - so addressing the issue that Nehemia just talked about, and what you brought up, Jono, regarding those that are going by the Lunar Sabbath or whatever, think of this: if the Creator of the universe has an appointment book and in his appointment book it’s written ‘meet with my people on this day,’ why wouldn’t we want to do it?

Jono: Amen.

Keith: I mean I’m asking this question…

Nehemia: Tradition! Tradition!

Keith: Tradition has all these…

Nehemia: Tradition! Tradition!

Keith: So basically the thing that… more than anything that I wanted to say, and we did do an overview of chapter 23, but more than anything is that these things that we’re talking about here - these are actually in His appointment book; they’re actually on a calendar in the Throne room. Maybe it says, “Oh, I’ve got an appointment with My people.” And then the people are down here saying that’s not convenient, that doesn’t work for us; we want to use a different calendar.

And that’s why I’ve been focusing on this idea of time, because I think there’s a lot of people that are listening that do know about the Lunar Sabbath, they do know about the mo'adim, they know about this. But there’s a lot of folks that we’re reaching who have no idea what we’re talking about. They just want to know, “Well, what do you mean? Do you mean to say that God actually has a calendar?” Yes, and guess what, it’s not the Gregorian calendar, it’s not based on the edict of Pontifex Maximus.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: It’s not based on Pope Gregory. This calendar is set, it’s hard-wired in the earth, and we can see it. In fact, I want to tell you guys, just as people are going, as they listen to this, there’s a chance for people might actually look up and see God’s clock. And so that’s why I’ve been focusing on this. It’s been ten years on this issue of Leviticus 23, and this chapter is just important because it lays out so clearly when these appointments are and how we’re to meet with Him. So that’s my long and short of it.

Jono: And you were surprised, and I’m not letting you off Keith, I want something else from you on this chapter before we go, but you were surprised that my translation didn’t mention the phrase “appointed times,” and it’s an interesting thing, as you were talking, I just glanced down at the study notes in my New King James Study Bible here and it says in regards to verse 2, “these instructions were for all the people and not just for the priests, the feasts of the LORD literally means ‘appointed times of the LORD.’”

Keith: Aha!

Jono: Well, why not say that if that’s what it literally means?

Keith: Then why not put it in the verse?

Jono: I mean, why not put it in the verse, for Pete's sake? Okay. So, then it goes on to say, “this phrase emphasizes that the these were – past tense – specifically appointed holy days,” let me say they are specifically appointed holy days. So, Keith, give us something else, just one more thing, something that you really liked in this chapter that you want to just focus in on.

Keith: Well the only thing in this chapter is just that in verse, I believe it is, fifteen, that this idea of actually counting from the Feast of Unleavened Bread up until the time of Shavuot and during this time, for me, every single year, every year without fail, for the last ten years it’s always been a special time.

And I know there’s traditions about this and there are different, you know, maybe Rabbinic tradition and different other areas where people talk about it, but every single year between the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the time of Shavuot has always been special, like, things just happen.

And so, for me, I’ve just been excited, it’s a chance to count the times, to know where we’re at to look forward and then, of course, when Shavuot comes, we celebrate that also. So when I met Nehemia, I told him that I had a dream to be there for Shavuot, and he later said to me the thing that caught his attention is, ok, that’s one of the Chag, that’s the pilgrimage feast, and so he later told me that that was something that caught his attention, and then of course when we got to the Torah Scroll to be able to open it up and it opened up to Leviticus 23 on this particular section in verse 15 and on, regarding let’s see here - yes, I believe it was… aha! So - and this is what we could have Nehemia read, he’s never actually ever read this publicly, but this was what he read, but I’d like him to read it in Hebrew if he could, in Leviticus 23 verse 15 up until verse 16, I believe it is.

Nehemia: “U-safartem lachem meh-macharat haShabbat meyom havi-echem et-Omer ha-tnufa sheva Shabbatot tmimot thiheyena. Ad meh-macharat haShabbat ha-shvi-it tisperu chamishim yom ve-hekravtem mincha chadasha le-Yehovah.”

Keith: And then I ask, Nehemia, the question that you all are asking right now, what are you reading, and what did you say, Nehemia?

Nehemia: So, you want me to translate it? “And you shall count for yourselves…”

Keith: No, practice this…

Nehemia: “And you shall count for yourselves from the morrow of the Shabbat, from the day of the bringing of the Omer of waving,” and ‘Omer’ is a word that means a sheaf, so the sheaf of waving, “seven complete Sabbaths they will be. Until the morrow of the seventh Sabbath, you shall count fifty days. And you shall bring a new offering,” or ‘mincha’ which is a grain offering, “you shall bring a new grain offering to Yehovah.” There it is.

Keith: And so Nehemia says to me, “I’m sitting here, I’m reading here about the celebration of the…” I forgot how you said that, the holy day, or…

Nehemia: Oh, man, are you talking about what I read from your Torah Scroll? Is that the story you’re talking about?

Jono: Yeah.

Keith: Yes. He started reading this section, he read for…

Nehemia: Yeah, it must’ve been that thing. Okay.

Keith: Yeah, and what are you talking about? I’ve been waiting for this show this entire time and now you’re questioning...

Nehemia: No, you’re right, Keith

Keith: No, but both the point was when he read this and then he said, “I’m reading about the holiday of Shavuot.” Well, for me, again, this idea that there’s an appointment and that I was in Israel for that appointment, and you’ve got to be on the southern side of the Temple celebrating on the actual day, though it was different than the Rabbinic date, different than the Christian Pentecost. That particular time Shavuot fell at a time that didn’t match those other dates, but I knew according to scripture and by counting of time when it was.

And so, again, the invitation for us as we go through this chapter, and as people go back and read it is to understand what these are, but then to understand when they are. And the awesome thing is you actually can know when they are, it isn’t as complicated as some people made it out to be. It really is a powerful thing to witness, heaven and earth coming together in orchestration to let us know when the appointments are. And I won’t continue, but I’m just saying it’s exciting to me to know His times and when the appointments are and that we can actually be on His calendar. So, it’s pretty cool.

Jono: Amen. Let me read this, “As Nehemia removed the velvet cover he remarked that it was indeed a genuine Torah Scroll and a very old one at that. And I waited in anticipation as Nehemia began to read from the scroll. ‘What does it mean?’ I asked. ‘It’s the section on the feasts in Leviticus in 23,’ Nehemia explained. I immediately picked up my Bible and turned to Leviticus 23 so that I could follow along. As Nehemia read and translated, it dawned on me that the scroll had opened to the section on Shavuot. When Nehemia reached the end of the section, I let out a loud shout of excitement and jumped for joy, clenching my Bible in my hands. And when I was done dancing with joy, I turned to Nehemia, who had been startled…”

Nehemia: I think we need to recreate that moment. Can we recreate it?

Keith: Yeah, right?

Jono: “…who had been startled by my vocal and physical expressions of enthusiasm, and said, ‘Do you realize the significance of this? I had been called to come to Jerusalem on Shavuot and get the Torah Scroll which everyone told me was impossible. And finally, I got the scroll it opened to the section on Shavuot!’ Nehemia told me that he was impressed but not sure what to make of the…” Oh, dear me, I love this book.

Nehemia: Can we recreate that moment?

Keith: No, let me say something. Can we say something?

Nehemia: We want to recreate that moment.

Keith: No, no, I want say something here. Here we are ten years later, and who shouts more than me?

Nehemia: Whoo! Come on. There it is.

Keith: We don’t need to recreate the moment.

Nehemia: So, we’re standing there in Jerusalem in this apartment and I’m reading, “Ve-henif haKohen otam al lechem habikurim tnufa lifnei Yehovah al shnei kvasim kodesh ihiyu le-Yehovah le-Kohen. U-karatem be-etzem hayom haze mikra kodesh ihiye lachem kol malechet avodah lo ta-asu hukat olam beh-chol moshva-techem le-dor-ot-echem.” And what does Keith say?

Jono: He says, “What does it matter?”

Keith: I don’t know what he’s talking about, I didn’t know.

Nehemia: Whoo! He’s got the Bible, he’s dancing, I’m like, what the…

Keith: Yeah, what is he doing? Anyway, let me say this what’s so amazing about this, really, honestly, if you look at where we’re at, here we are now. Look at just this very moment. I’ve been waiting for this moment. On this very moment, after the reading of the Torah Scroll, after the shouting, after the singing, I said, “Nehemia, you and I are going to be friends.” He said, “No, we’re not.” I said, “Nehemia, you’re going to teach me to read the Torah Scroll.” He said, “No, I’m not.” And we had an argument, and we fought back-and-forth, and ten years later now we’re teaching from this thing around the world - people are hearing this around the world.

And this is a really cool moment for me because I’m sitting here, and I’ve got you, Jono, in Australia; Nehemia in Israel; I’m in the United States, we’ve opened up to the section that was opened up in that Torah Scroll, that’s just around the corner from where I’m sitting right now, and that Torah Scroll is a witness of what I believe the Creator is calling us to now - that his Torah would go forth around the world, that people would understand it, attempt to live it, want to understand it, apply it in their lives, and now that’s what we’re doing. So, ten years later, here we’re actually talking from this chapter, so you got to understand why, for me, I get a little excited.

Jono: It is exciting. And I wanted, just in case there are some people who don’t know what we’re talking about, the book is called, “A Prayer to Our Father.” I just read a little bit of that. “A Prayer to Our Father: Hebrew Origins of the Lord's Prayer,” by Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. It is the whole story. It is a riveting story.

Do you know what? You know, I’ll tell you just quickly, I gave a copy of this book to our karate sensei - you know, all the kids, and Chani as well, they’re doing karate. He also happens to be our accountant; he’s a lovely guy, really, really nice guy. Hopefully, he’s listening to the program, so g’day to David. And so, he just started reading it, and he said, “you know, it’s great, it’s really easy to read and I really like books like this, and I’m finding it hard to put down.”

So, for everybody who hasn’t got this book, you have to get it! I can’t believe you haven’t gotten it and you’ve been listening to the Torah Pearls; get it quickly.

Keith: Awesome.

Jono: Awesome. Thank you, guys. Now listen, we better skip along, and I really want to get to chapter 24. Can I kick off from verse 10 or is there something before that?

Keith: Yes! No, that’s good, you can go with verse 10.

Jono: Let’s go to verse 10. I’m going to read this. You just stop me when you want. “Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and this Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel fought each other in the camp. And the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the name of Yehovah and cursed; and so, they brought him to Moses. His mother’s name was Sh…”

Keith: Shelomith.

Jono: Thank you. “the daughter of Dibri, and the tribe of Dan. Then they put him in custody, that the mind of the LORD, the mind of Yehovah, might be shown to them. And Yehovah spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Take outside the camp of him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him.’” Do you want me to keep going?

Nehemia: Well, we’ve got to stop at “the mind of the LORD.” What do you have there in verse 12, Keith?

Keith: It says, “They put him in custody until the will of the LORD should be made clear to them.”

Nehemia: What it literally says is “ve-iphrosh lehem,” to explain to them, “al-pi Yehovah,” according to the mouth of Yehovah. This is really interesting because, here we have this man who has cursed Yehovah, and they don’t know what to do. And what happens? Moses goes to Yehovah and asks Him, “What should we do in this case”? That’s actually one of four, possibly five, instances in which Moses didn’t know what to do and he went to Yehovah and he asked Him for clarification.

I know for me this was an important passage as I was a young man studying the Torah because I had always been told that Moses went up to Mount Sinai and received the entire Torah, including all the explanation of all the commandments. And it turns out from this that he didn’t. That Moses went up to Mount Sinai and he received the Ten Commandments, and he received certain instructions, visual images of what he was supposed to do with the…

Jono: The Tabernacle.

Nehemia: …with the Tabernacle, but he did not receive all of the commandments in the Torah. So, in this specific instance, they simply didn’t know what to do, and Moses had to go and ask God, “What do we do here?” And the answer comes…

Keith: Yeah, the answer comes. And, of course, the other thing that’s obviously really important is many folks in my tradition, and I’ve heard commentaries, etcetera, will read this verse and they’ll say, “this is an obvious situation where this is based on ‘You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.’” Exodus 20.

Back to the ten years ago, ten years ago I was talking to Nehemia about this very issue. And this was one of the things that led this whole discussion regarding the name and why it was such an important issue. And I remember sitting in the traditional spot, not far from Absalom's tomb, which is not actually Absalom's tomb, but we were in the Kidron Valley walking, Nehemia doesn’t remember this stuff but I remember everything almost moment by moment. And as we were walking, and back in those days Nehemia was about a 100 pounds heavier and he used to take breaks and I used to love when he would take breaks because that would be an opportunity for me to ask him a question. And if you can tell on our radio show, he’s sitting and he’s relaxing right now folks, so he’s ready to roll. But in those days, you know, we’d be walking he wouldn’t be talking too much because he’d be walking and sweating and we’d sit down and he’d open up his backpack and grab his water and I knew it was time to ask a question.

So, this is an important one that you’re bringing up Jono, because I asked a question, according to Exodus 20, “You shall not misuse the name,” and then He says, “He will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses the name.” Then when you get to Leviticus, chapter 23, you see this situation, and the assumption is that this person has basically broken the command from the Ten Commandments, or the ten words. Why is that not the case?

Because if it would’ve been that, we know what the answer is. But Moses did what Nehemia just talked about, he said, “We need to find out what the mouth of Yehovah is on this. This ain’t that; this is something else.” And so this is another issue that we talk about in depth in the book, “His Hallowed Name Revealed Again,” because this information that I was able to glean from Nehemia really changed my entire view of what was happening in Leviticus 23, versus what had I thought or assumed was happening in Exodus, chapter 20. So, you know, we don’t have to go into great depth, but there’s a difference between what he’s doing here and what the command is regarding…

Jono: That’s a really good point.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: Yeah, I mean…so get more detail in Keith’s book, “His Hallowed Name Revealed Again.” But just a quick answer here is, that there’s two different scenarios that are described in verses 15 to 16. The first scenario says, “Any man who curses his God shall bear his sin,” and that’s a scenario where a person curses using one of the titles, a generic term. He says, “cursed be,” and then he says “God,” or he says, “cursed be the Lord,” something like that. Verse 16 then says, “…and if he explicitly states the name Yehovah he shall surely be put to death.” Now the context here is explicitly stating the name Yehovah, not to praise him, but to curse him.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: That’s actually what the man did in verse 11. It says, “And the son of the Israelite woman explicitly stated the name Yehovah and cursed.”

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: In other words, he said something like, “cursed be,” and then he said the actual name of God. Doing that is what got him executed. It wasn’t that he just spoke Yehovah’s name…

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: …because that’s something that Boaz did when he greeted the harvesters outside of Bethlehem. He said them, “Yehovah imahem,” Yehovah be with you. And they said to him, “Ivarehah Yehovah,” Yehovah bless you. That remained a greeting in ancient Israel, really up until probably the second century CE. Even the Rabbis, by the way, mention that this is how an Israelite greets his fellow using the name.

And then, later on, because of Roman persecution, they had to forbid people from speaking the name. But the original commandment here has nothing to do with just speaking the name; it’s speaking the name in a curse.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: The point is, if you use the actual name in the curse, then you’re put to death. If you use a generic title, that’s horrible; you’re going to bear sin and you’re going to have to be accountable for it before God. But if you speak…if you speak the actual name in your curse, then you’re going to be put to death.

Keith: So this is a big one, and this was something that was just eating away at me for a long, long period of time and able to kind of look at the Tanach and see what the answer is, to get this information, to put it together, and then realize, wait a minute, this ain’t that. And it really is quite freeing to know the significance and seriousness, the reverence for His name, that His name has been, in a sense, taken away from us by tradition and by misinterpretation of very passages like this, wherein in fact we are to have His name and that His name is something to be praised and to be honored and to…

Jono: And revered.

Keith: To revere. Yes.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: And you know what? I want to point out, this isn’t some novel interpretation. If you look at ancient Jewish sources, and interestingly enough, even ancient Christian sources, they both understood what this passage was talking about. The misinterpretation that’s applied to this is something that really is more recent than that.

I don’t think I’ve ever shared this with Keith. There’s a really interesting discussion in the writings of the early rabbis, who talk about what this verse means, and they say, “Well, it’s not only that you curse the name ‘Yehovah,’ but you curse the name ‘Yehovah’ using the name Yehovah.” And they bring the example, and it talks about how they would interrogate a criminal if he were to do this. If he were to actually curse the name using the name, and in place of the name ‘Yehovah,’ they insert a different name for the purposes of the interrogation, because if they don’t, then they end up cursing Him.

By the way, one of the translations there that you read had the word “blasphemy.” The word “blasphemy” doesn’t appear anywhere in this entire passage in Hebrew; the word is “curse.”

Jono: Sure

Nehemia: Absolutely.

Jono: Interesting.

Nehemia: So they’d say to the man who had committed the crime, they’d say to him, “Did you say as follows?” Then they would say “yache Yossi et Yossi” which means “May Yossi,” Yossi is you know a Hebrew name, “May Yossi smite Yossi.” And “Yossi” is being inserted there in place of the name “Yehovah,” because they don’t dare say the name Yehovah in a curse. But they’re saying, “Did you say, ‘May Yossi smite Yossi?’” But with the name “Yehovah” instead of two Yossis. So, they clearly understood that this was about cursing the name “Yehovah,” and they believed it was even cursing the name “Yehovah” by the name Yehovah; it was a double curse. That’s what they understood it to mean to “explicitly state the name.”

So, this idea that we’re not allowed to speak God’s name because of this, and this is the source of the ban on the name, that certainly doesn’t appear in the earliest Jewish sources. That’s something that was concocted somewhat later when the ban on the name was already in effect.

Keith: One thing I would suggest that people do, I mean, you know, look, you don’t have to get the book “His Hallowed Name Revealed Again,” you don’t have to do that. That’s for those that want to go into the many different issues. But one of the things that really is cool, just your normal Bible, do this, for those that are listening, just go to the word “blaspheme” in your English Bible and see how many different words that word comes from. In other words, how many original words are there for the word “blaspheme”? So “blaspheme” is kind of a word that the, we kind of like how it sounds, but where it comes from is…

Nehemia: Blasphemer! He said it again!

Keith: But I do a little study on that on the word “blaspheme,” it’s just…it really is quite interesting. And again, I think that for this story that we’re looking at here is powerful on a number of different levels, one of them being that Moses says, “let’s go find out what the mind of Yehovah, the mouth of Yehovah is.” Two, what he actually did. And then three, how that’s been interpreted, translated…interpreted for us and made many people to think, well look, I don’t want to get stoned, so I’ll just stay away from it altogether, when in fact they’re really missing a blessing, so it really is pretty powerful.

Jono: So, it takes a little bit of a break, a little bit of a twist here, from verse 17 to 22, it says, “‘Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death. Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, animal for animal. If a man causes disfigurement of his neighbor, as he has done, so shall it be done to him.” And here we see, “fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he caused disfigurement of a man, so shall it be done to him. And whoever kills an animal shall restore it; but whoever kills a man shall be put to death.” It emphasizes that, repeated there. In 22, “You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am Yehovah your Elohim.’”

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Okay. And this is the way it ends. This is the last verse, and it’s verse 23 of our Torah portion. “Then Moshe spoke to the children of Israel; and they took outside the camp him who had cursed and stoned him with stones. So, the children of Israel did as Yehovah commanded Moses.”

Keith: Amen.

Jono: There it is.

Nehemia: Wow.

Jono: So that is our Torah portion. There it is; we’re finished. Thank you Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. As I said, their books and DVDs are available from Truth2U. We mentioned “A Prayer to Our Father: The Hebrew Origins of the Lord's Prayer” by Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Also, “His Hallowed Name Revealed Again,” which I highly recommended, by Keith Johnson. And next week we are in Behar, Leviticus 25, verse 1 to 26:2. And until then, dear listeners, be blessed and be set apart by the truth of our Father’s word. Shalom.

You have been listening to The Original Torah Pearls with Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson and Jono Vandor. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon’s Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at

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  • Bob Curfman says:

    Thank you for sharing your understanding. You have helped me understand YeHoVah

  • donald murphy says:

    stay away from all forms of the roman religion.

  • Kay Cee says:

    I hope someday Nehemia and Jono can do the Torah pears only.

  • says:

    They scipped a lot of scriptures.
    Was especially interested in
    21:9:Also the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by harlotry, she profanes her father; she shall be burned with fire.

    Did they skip this on purpose, because they dont like it?

    They also skipped a lot of other parts

  • NLLEx says:

    Shalom Nehemiah, I am so blessed by your insight from a Hebrew perspective on the scriptures. I wanted to know if you have any teachings on Leviticus 21:1-4, concerning how this may pertain to funerals. Is there a correlation or is this referencing something else altogether.

  • Marta Goodrich says:

    Greeting dear brothers. Love the discussion and passion for Our King. You reminded me how wonderful Yahovah was to put a clock in the sky for His people. But alot of people can’t see the sky anymore. Sad. A comment Nehemia made, is also something that I had ascertained, that Yahovah gave the ten commandments and the vision to build the tabernacle. Where did all the ordinances come from? Thanks, Shalom

    Marta Goodrich

  • L. Brooks says:

    For Tabernacles is their a First Fruits offering if there is when is it offered? Thks

  • Kristin Morales says:

    Do you believe the neutering only applies to animals that are used as an offering or to all animals (such as our pets)?

  • daniel says:

    Thanks for another pocket o’ pearls. Worth revisiting. Regarding Ezekiel ch. 44, I recall Nehemia once said that, for the preservation of life, the commands in Torah can sometimes be suspended; ergo, I’m wondering if at the time of Ezekiel’s writing, there may have been a particular strand of Y DNA that the Creator wanted to continue, and had it not been for this particular addendum, would have ceased to exist. I also recall a discussion in regards to letting the fields go fallow in the seventh year “in the land that I have given you”, and is considered a moot point for farmers not in The Promised Land (Israel). So, why wouldn’t that same standard be applied to the castration of young livestock? Just wondering.

  • Bonnie Stever says:

    Wow, every year, I have had the bull calves castrated, this is not to be done?

  • Janice says:

    The best animal offerings, and priest without blemish; Yehovah wants us to know He will return the life forms He created back to their original condition as in Gan Eden.

  • Janice says:

    Seems as though Holy is a legal term, only defined by Yehovah. He is the one who calls for a separation of a person, thing or time as separated, or sanctified, or made close to Him. And the rituals are also legal as defined by Yehovah. There is ONE and only One who makes, determines, decrees what is Holy to Yehovah. Jerusalem is NOT Holy to Christians (Catholics) or Muslims or Jews; but HOly to Yehovah. Many use the term Holy – too casually.

  • Janice says:

    I prefer the practice of the Jewish for burial and time of mourning and the annual rememberance. Sitting sheva is much better than facing all the people who say stupid things at the funeral, allows bereaved to go through mourning process in more natural way. Christian funerals are ablaze with activies, words that do not comfort the mourner or allow for normal feelings. And I may say, yes is possible for the Pastor to take opportune moment to “sell the Jesus” message. Is in appropriate. They do many strange things; like all go eat at the mourners home. It is very tiresome task for the bereaved to entertain guests.

  • Joy Mathew says:

    When the children of Israel left Egypt , Moses ensured that the Bones of Joseph were brought up out of Egypt , which by this Torah portion that the many of the children of Israel who carried the Bones of Joseph would be unclean ???

  • I was just listening to the final portion in the moon and Sabbath cycle. If we were to follow the moon cycle we might not get 6 days of work followed by one day of rest. If the month ends on a Tuesday and begins on a Wednesday then you would not be resting on that Friday at sunset because you would start counting on Wednesday as day one and have to wait until Tuesday of the next week to get the seventh day of rest….this does not align with 6 days work and 7th day rest.

  • Sitting here in my NH home in my favorite study seat blown away with the provision in Ezekiel 44:22… when Israel was given her certificate of divorce she could not marry the priest again but only The High Priest..Yeshua when He died and rose….He could remarry Israel because that was written in Torah for the High Priest only. The High Priest dies and a High Priest can marry her…wow!

  • Erin says:

    It is so enriching to hear the various thoughts on this.
    I find YHVH says,

    Truly we all have much to seek out for clarity in The Spirit of understanding.

    For 6 years in study and cultural history, I have been seeking out how the actual intent of YHVH has made things for us in our time to find answers, creation has a pattern which explains the finding of Shabbat.
    Nehemiah just said it here. Creation lays out the way, path, plan. ‘CONFIRMS THE MESSAGE I’M HEARING IN TIME WITH ABBA YHVH.’

    I’m ready to expound with others and here’s my take thus far:
    Day 1 darkness
    Day 2
    Day 3
    Day 4 set in heavens sun and moon [sliver seen]
    Day 5
    Day 6
    A cycle which does not comply with our present system. 30 days in orbit with successive Friday to Saturday Sabbaths…
    The names of days are fashioned after many men in history, YHVH says He will not give His glory to another.

    Isa 48:11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another. Isa 48:12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Isa 48:13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

    Here’s my thought and findings.
    1 – the 4th day YHVH states the lesser light [sliver of moon seen] for the evening, the greater light [sun for daylight]
    three days later is the Shabbat [rest]

    The moon [mo`ed, can be moon, also YHVH’s appointed times to be with Him and fellowship] too many verses to list here, do you homewoirk though, it’s powerful.

    Hebrew meaning of ‘signs’ is for us to realize we look for them,

    Probably from H225 (in the sense of appearing); a signal (literally or figuratively), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.: – mark, miracle, (en-) sign, token.

    seasons in English is ‘mo`ed’

    מוֹעָדָה מֹעֵד מוֹעֵד
    mô‛êd mô‛êd mô‛âdâh
    mo-ade’, mo-ade’, mo-aw-daw’
    From H3259; properly an appointment, that is, a fixed time or season; specifically a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): – appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed).
    Total KJV occurrences: 223

    Gen 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
    Gen 1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
    Gen 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
    Gen 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
    Gen 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

    YHVH in His awesome predestination knew our minds were going to go after things not approved by Him… our sight is specifically in my thought here, so when I heed His word and meditate on them it comes as we need to be straitened out by Our Master, YHVH! Amen!

    Many human minds have made calculations to how the calendar should be to correct it to line up as they thought should be done, what needed not to be correct [Isa 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near;
    Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts; and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have compassion upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
    Isa 55:8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD.
    Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
    Isa 55:10 For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, except it water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, and give seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
    Isa 55:11 So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, except it accomplish that which I please, and make the thing whereto I sent it prosper.

    Without more on this I wait for some expounding thoughts, as YHVH permits!!

    Blessings to all who call upon His NAME [personality, character]
    Shabbat shalom!

  • Neville says:

    I would like to be directed to Hebrew sources that explain why we should read this section as indicating that there should be no intentional castrating of animals, period. I just can’t tease that out of the text here.

    What I see are a set of instructions about what animals are or are not acceptable to be brought as offerings or sacrifices. Every subset of instructions is bracketed by (paraphrasing here) “this is about sacrifices” and “that was about sacrifices”.

    Clearly, Yehovah places great importance on reproductive wholeness. I do agree with that. Priests cannot approach the altar or even enter the holy chambers if they are “damaged in the stones”. Regarding the rest of the people (Deut 23), such a man may not even be a part of the “assembly/congregation” (many different explanations of that one, but there is clearly a limit being instructed). However, I believe we have to always read and understand the scripture in the context in which it is given. For instance, if the Deut. 23 passage (where the explicit context is about men in general) did not exist, then the context of Lev. 21 would govern and that prohibition would apply only to the Aaronic priests.

    So… it is worth noting that of the 33 verses in Lev. 22, all but 7 explicitly declare the context as that of offerings/sacrifices. Of those 7, 5 are establishing the speaker (v17, v26) or his bona fides (v31, v32, v33). Verse 30 implicitly sets the context of the sacrifice (e.g. eat your entire thanksgiving offering, don’t leave any of it uneaten). That leaves only v28, about killing a mother cow/ewe and her baby on the same day, in any question at all. Even that verse, I believe, is likely to be in relation to sacrificing, given that it is bracketed by dozens of verses explicitly related to sacrificing. But I do admit that I don’t really understand v28. If the reason is for consideration for the familial feelings of the pair of animals, then it seems to me that it would be better for them to both leave the world on the same day and limit the duration of their grief. And if this verse is universal in scope, rather than w.r.t. sacrifices, then avoiding butchering a pair of older brood cows that happen to be mother and daughter would require some pretty meticulously kept and archived breeding records and tagging/marking of the animals. Of course, it could be that Yehovah means exactly that – never kill the pair for any reason at any time – but that seems to me to require more of a “stretchy” understanding than the clear limitation of the context.

  • I understand the appointment of the 7th day Sabbath. But what I don’t understand is the appointment of the Feasts. The instructions are for ALL males to travel to Jerusalem. YHVH is very specific about not trying to have this appointment anywhere you want or anytime you want but only where He put His Name and except for Pesach, only at the time He declares. He is specific about the sacrifices. And the sacrifices are presided over by a Levite, not a butcher in the corner market. He is specific about offerings and vows and the commands forbidding us to do this anywhere other than the Temple in Jerusalem. We see that one of the first things they did when released from Babylon, was to consecrate themselves and again, celebrate the Feasts according to YHVH’s instructions. This tells me that the Feasts were not celebrated in Babylon.
    Now, why are people teaching these days, that we can keep these Feasts but disregard all of the instructions that tell us how to keep the Feasts and where to keep the Feasts?
    Jer 17:4 and Hos 2:11 say that while we are in captivity, “vomited from the land”, our inheritance in the form of these Feasts, New Moons, Sabbaths (pertaining to feasts) are “discontinued” or “ceased”.
    Can someone show me where we can change some of YHVH’s instructions and He’s okay with it?

    • Nunya Biz says:

      Correct, all feasts r pilgrimages to Jerusalem. However, if ur close enuf to go but not bring ur sacrifices, u can sell them for money n go urself n buy watever u want in Jerusalem (Deut.14:24). If it’s too far for ur sacrifices AND u, then party at home, invite Pagans, serve clean food (Deut.12:21). Finally, u can invent ur own feast to YHVH, as long as u don’t do it on a pagan feastday as commanded in Deut.12:30+, and follow same, throw a party, invite Pagans, serve clean food (Deut.12:15)….js

  • Sandra Duncan says:

    I enjoyed listening to your Pearls today. I would guess that the problem of the smell of adult (undefiled) male goats in ancient times would be lessened by the fact that so many young goats (males and without defect) were sacrificed through the land before the problem of the odor was manifested. There was a whole lot of sacrificin’ goin’ on back then. We no longer sacrifice therefore…unless we “fix” the problem by bands or dinner, we WOULD have an awful stench throughout the land.

  • John Pretorius says:

    Dear Mr Gordon

    I have been following a few of your teachings and your posts. There are 2 questions regarding parsha Emor. Can you help me with them please?

    1. I battled with the actual time of the Pesach and The Moeid of Chag Matzot but that has been explained to me since. However. Counting the Omer still has me confused. if I understand (read) the Scriptures correct, then the 50th day will be the day after the seventh Shabbat. That is fine. What concerns me though is that our Heavenly Father tells us to eat unleavened bread for seven days, but when we do the first wave offering the morrow after the Shabbat, the scriptures says that we are not to eat any grain before then (this offering should be done with unleavened bread because the seven days are not over yet). This is then my question. Should we then not eat any grain even if the Shabbat falls 5 or 6 days later during the feast and even if the orthodox Jewish people start to count the Omer from the 16th of Nissan, then they should not even eat matza on the 15th. Am I reading the word then correct – I study The Sciptures by the Institute of Scripture Research.

    2. How does one interpret the portion in Wayyiqra 23 verse 3 “in all your dwellings”
    I believe that it means at your home other wise it would have meant – in all your sojournings. Do we have to go to a synagogue on Shabbat or is the appointment with us in our dwellings (meaning as a family in our houses)

    I am not a Christian and I am not a Jew (although I wish I was) but for the last couple of years I am searching for the truth and the pathway which I am following leaves me with many more questions than answers. With all my heart I try to follow (do) the Torah as best my 9 year old daughter and I can. My wife and son rejects it outright. I followed the teachings of Rabbi Ed Nyddle as well as that of Bill Bullock – the last 4 years. Where I am it is difficult to join a Jewish community. What makes my path more difficult is that I know Yahushua of Natzreth existed and that his teachings was real. I do not pray to him though as there is only One Elohim, the Most High, Creator of the world, YHVH

    Excuse me for asking but are you a (or do you want to be called ) Rabbi

    Kind regards

    • Bonnie Stever says:

      Hi John
      The Unleavened Bread would be made from the wheat, as it makes a finer matzah than barley flour. The first of the barley would be waved before harvesting, as Pesach is the time of year barley is in season. As for the wheat harvest that is at the time of Shavuot. One is not to harvest the crop til the priest gets the first sheaf of the crop. Yehovah has to get his slice of the pie, before you can glean your harvest. That’s why the morrow after the sabbath, you give your slice to the priest, then you can go out and harvest your crop.
      Hope this helps, this is in farmers layman terms from what I glean from scripture. Leave the corners of your field for the widows, orphans and foreigners as well. As per torah., and in the book of Ruth, that’s what Ruth was doing in Boaz’s field.

    • Paulette Osbourne says:

      These feasts days are prophetic and are all about Yehshua. He was buried in the earth for three days and three night’s, He fulfilled the prophecy of Passover, Unleveaned bread and Firstfruit. The counting of the Omer started the day we celebrated Firstfruit( the day He was resurrected) as the first day of the count. Count until you get to 50, in your count you must get seven regular seven day Sabbath. Pentecost (Shavuot), Yehshua also fulfilled when the Holy Spirit descends on the disciples who were tarrying in the upper room according to the instructions He gave them before He was taken up. (Read Acts 1: 2- 9.)This was done to unite the church’s in one, There’s no more Jews or Gentiles, but we are all one. There’s no other doctrine preached by which man can be saved. He is the Father of all the people of the world. The other 3 feast days to be fulfilled as stated in Leviticus 23 are, Feast of Trumpets( Rosh Hashanah).Day of Atonement( Yom Kippur) and Feast of Tabernacle( Sukkoth) these will be fulfilled at the second coming of Messiah.

      • Kepha (Matt) Atwood says:

        You are wrong as to when the feast of Pentecost takes place. Acts chapter 2 says that on the day of Pentecost, the prophecy given in Joel 2:31 was fulfilled on that very day. Joel 2:31 says that a blood moon (a full moon) will take place on the night before the day of Pentecost arrives, leading up to the pouring out of the holy spirit. Therefore, Pentecost took place directly after a full moon. Yet your feast of weeks omer count always comes up way short of the mid month full moon on the jebrew calendar. I’m here to tell you that there is a verse that explains why your count is off, and that you are 100% misinterpreting this verse, which is why Peter and the diciples celebrated Pentecost directly after a full moon, while you celebrate Pentecost at least a week prior.