Nehemiah 8 Yom Teruah and Sukkot

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In this new study, I dive into the history of the Torah community in Judea in the 5th century and the Persian era. I discuss the place of the community during this time and the function of Ezra and the Torah of Moses. 


Persian agendas and treatment of social groups.

Torah and Torah keeping.

Ezra and Nehemiah- Men and the history of the books. 

The seventh month.

Nehemiah 8 and Leviticus 23. 

A Kid in Its Mother’s Milk

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This paper will discuss the meaning and context of the law regarding cooking/boiling a kid in its mother’s milk. The paper will examine the different interpretations and will present the most reasonable interpretation of the commandment. 

  1. Verses and context

The commandment not to cook a kid in its mother’s milk appears three times in the biblical text with the exact same wording. It is important to note that the MT reads ḥălēv (milk) and not ḥēlev (fat). If anyone wants to argue that the prohibition is about fat and not milk one has to prove without a doubt that the MT uses the wrong reading (Some Egyptian Karaites who didn’t read Hebrew very well made this mistake in the past). However, Jewish reading traditions, Samaritan, and Greek traditions show it is milk. Hence, the discussion will only be based on this common reading and not the speculation of what may have been (Propp, 2006, 286).

The Fasts of Zekharyah 7-8

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In this in-depth discussion, Yoel dives into the Hebrew text of Zekharyah (Zechariah) 7-8 which talks about a question sent to the prophet about a private practice of fasting. This practice expanded throughout time and became a common public fast in Judea.

Ezekiel 44:20

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There is an interesting question raised in the laws about the Kohanim in Ezekiel 44:20

וְרֹאשָׁם לֹא יְגַלֵּחוּ וּפֶרַע לֹא יְשַׁלֵּחוּ כָּסוֹם יִכְסְמוּ אֶת רָאשֵׁיהֶם

“They are not to shave their heads or let their hair grow long, but must keep their hair carefully trimmed”

The above translation uses the traditional Jewish understanding of the verbs כָּסוֹם יִכְסְמוּ which understands that the Kohanim are to have short trimmed hair. This understanding is based on the analysis that the root is כסס which means “to trim, cut very small”. However, this verb is primarily common in Hebrew after the bible and is probably not the root or the meaning. 

It is more likely that the root is כסמ and that contextually it means “to keep fashioned and organized”. This can be understood from the context of prohibiting shaving the head and growing the hair wild. Hence, Ezekiel is presenting laws similar to that in Leviticus 21:5&10

לֹא (יקרחה) יִקְרְחוּ קָרְחָה בְּרֹאשָׁם

אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ לֹא יִפְרָע וּבְגָדָיו לֹא יִפְרֹם

“They are not to make bald spots on their heads…”

He is not to make his hair wild (i.e., stop grooming his hair), and he will not tear his clothes”.

The above verses are used for regular kohanim and the high kohen, but Ezekiel has enhanced laws that expanded the rules to both types of kohanim and are based on Torah law. Why this is done is unclear to me, but it is clear that Ezekiel knows the laws of the Torah and the prophecy uses them. 

Haftarot Tazri’a-Metzor’a

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Torah Portions Tazri’a-Metzor’a

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Parashat Shmini Teachings

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Torah Portion Shmini

Haftarah Shmini

Haftrah Shabbat Chag Hamatzot Ezekiel 37:1-14

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In this new teaching Yoel dives into the subject of resurrection of the dead and common beliefs about the subject.

Passover? A Mistranslation.

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Very commonly we find that the word פסח is translated as “Passover”. This translation carries with it not only a translation value but also an interpretation of the term. The basis of this translation is found in the dual use of the verb פסח which can both mean “to limp” and “to protect”. Due to the fact that in later Hebrew the meaning of limping was more common, the translation was adopted based on a partial understanding of Hebrew verbs. The idea of a person limping leads to the idea of skipping over a step, hence “Passover”. 

The translation of Pesaḥ as “Passover” was coined by Tyndale in the 16th century as an interpretation of the term. This translation has been adopted by most English speakers as the correct meaning of the ceremony done during the exodus. This interpretation by Tyndale was probably based on common Jewish etymology found in late antiquity in the Mekhilta Pascha chp.7 and medieval commentaries such as Rashi who based himself on Midrashic sources. 

Barley Conditions in Israel March 2023 (Adar 5783)

Yoel Halevi 2 comments

Definitions related to barley development observations according to the following:

Stages of Growth after Heading



            Soft Dough


First Edible Stage for Humans

            Aviv Stage (אָבִיב) –          Filled with Starch/Firm, can be parched in fire

            Karmel Stage (כַּרְמֶל)?

            Harvest Ready –              Kernal Hard (not dividable with thumbnail)


  1. Primary remarks are based on observations of wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum). Modern agricultural barley (Hordeum vulgare – two and six row) and wheat fields were also checked and compared.

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