Author Archive Yoel Halevi

Aaronic blessing, birkat kohanim, priestly blessing

Hebrew In Israel | Priestly Blessing By A Stranger – Learn Torah

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On occasion when I meet a group not from Jewish descent, I get asked to give the Priestly Blessing after I talk.  The first time this happened I asked why, and the answer was that this was a common practice, and that teachers do this all the time.  I will admit I was surprised because this is unheard of in the Jewish world.  When I declined, I was asked why.  My answer is based on wording in the text.

Hebrew In Israel | Yovel, Shofar and Freedom- Learn Torah

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When you try to find a meaning of a word, sometimes the meaning cannot be found in a dictionary, but in a book of a different nature.  I was reading M. Weinfeld’s book on justice in the ancient world and found an interesting interpretation of the word יובל Yovel– Jubilee. 

in the evening, passover, passover feast, passover in the bible, pesach, what time is evening, when does passover start, when is passover

Hebrew In Israel | Beyin Ha’arbayim – When Is Pesach Done? – Learn Torah

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The term בין הערביים –Beyin Ha’Arbayim is temporal construct form used to describe a specific time of day, and found in several places in the Bible.  One of the most important places it is used is in connection to the time of the Pesach sacrifice as prescribed in Exodus 12:6.  This term has created many arguments over when to do things, and in fact has raised the question of how does the Torah understand time in overall.

Biblical Hebrew, paschal lamb, passover, passover lamb, pesach, pesach lamb

Hebrew In Israel | How Old Am I? – Learn Torah

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A question which I deal with every year, but do not have a conclusive answer:  How old did the Pesach lamb have to be?

exodus 30, half shekel, temple tax,

Hebrew In Israel | The Half Shekel Temple Tax – Learn Torah

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During the second temple period a custom developed to give a half shekel to the temple.  The act is known as “The half shekel temple tax”.  Little do people know that this tax was not agreed upon by all.

King Ahab, ahab, jezebel bible, jezebel in the bible, elijah king, ahab and jezebel, naboth,

Hebrew In Israel | King Ahab – Learn Torah

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Very rarely do we find direct references to characters who appear in the bible in extra biblical material.  However, some very prominent characters do have a reference in the inscriptions of the Assyrian and Babylonian kingdoms.  These references are usually in relation to war or taxes.  The Assyrians specifically mention one great king of Israel, Ahab, son of Omri, who belonged to one of the longer reigning families (however, very short in comparison) of the North.

Hebrew In Israel | Horns – Learn Torah

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Many words in Hebrew can have several meanings which are based on context.  Here is a case of one word which in time became a symbol for bad things, such as demonic powers and the devil, when originally it was used to describe good things.

Worship, bow down

Hebrew In Israel | Worship? – Learn Torah

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Probably one of the more misunderstood Hebrew verbs is להשתחוות.  This verb has been translated as “to worship”, which has spun many ideas which are not true.  The verb’s root is debated, varying from שחה to חוה.  The main issue is the context this verb appears in.  It is true that as a general idea the verb can be used as “to worship”, however it actually means “to bow down”.  Cases where the verb would mean “to worship” are only if it is used as a lone verb of worshiping, and when it is directed to God.  Any other case only means “to bow down”.

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