My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew Podcasts (audio)

Agag, Haman the Agagite, Gog, Magog, Gag — What binds them all together? (Podcast)

On the general concept of “Roof” in the Hebrew Bible, and what does it really signify:

Historical Coincidences My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew

Agag, Haman the Agagite, Gog, Magog, Gag — What binds them all together?

Gag in Hebrew is roof. For example:

“I lie awake; I have become like a bird on the roof (Gag)” (Psalm 102:8; 102:7, in some English translations).

Agag was king of Amalek. The latter, throughout the Bible, serves as epitome for the disconnect between the Heaven and the Earth (Genesis 1:1). Therefore, the Israelites are explicitly commanded, in no ambiguous terms:

“Remember what Amalek had done to you on the way, when you came out of Egypt…you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under the sky; thou shall not forget” (Deuteronomy 25:17,19).

The Bible tells us about king Saul, and what he did to Agag, king of Amalek:

“He took Agag king of Amalek alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the sword” (1 Samuel 15:8).

Haman, a central figure in the Book of Esther, was the first historic figure to conceive and then attempt to implement a “Final Solution” on the Jewish people (during the reign of the Persian Empire, as expounded in detail in the Book of Esther). Haman was a descendent of Agag, namely, of Amalek seed:

“Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he devised against the Jews” (Esther 8:3).

Gog and Magog are well-known names, central to Ezekiel’s prophecy of End-Time final war:

“Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (Ezekiel 38:2).

What binds together all these names?

Answer: The double appearance of a single letter of the Hebrew Alphabet, the third letter, Gimel (corresponding to the English g).

In Biblical Hebrew, as well as in modern Hebrew, a double appearance of Gimel forms the Hebrew word Gag (written with two Gimels, גג). This combination has a single meaning — “Roof”.

The roof is that part of a house, which protects its residents from harm that may befall them from the sky.

In biblical terms, the roof attains a much wider meaning, indeed a gigantic symbolic significance:

As a roof of a house disconnects earth from sky, the biblical “Roof” symbolizes disconnect between “The Heaven” and “The Earth”, as these are alluded to in the first verse of Genesis:

“In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

The most concrete biblical allusion to this interpretation is given by the command, given to the Israelites, to build booths (Sukot) during the Feast of Tabernacles:

“You shall dwell in booths for seven days; All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so that your descendants will know that I made the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 23:42).

There is no solid protective roof for the booths, where the Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated. Traditionally, the roof must be made from natural elements that have grown from the ground. Most people use either palm fronds or bamboo with wooden beams as support. The roof also must be thick enough to provide significant shade, but thin enough to let the stars shine through.

Why does the Sukkah not have a solid roof? What does this signify?

The answer is simple: Lack of solid roof signifies complete faith in Divine Providence, in Divine protection against harm that may befall us. Conversely, relying on the symbolic “physical roof” as protection, perhaps sole protection, signifies a deep faith that “The Earth” (Genesis 1:1) is all that there is. There is no heaven. There is no God.

The roof of a house generates a disconnect from the sky. Symbolically, sitting in the booth during the Feast of Tabernacles, while removing the roof, signifies faith in Divine protection that would protect against any harm (from the sky or otherwise). And more generally, complete faith in the connection between “the heaven” and “the earth”.

Amalek embodies the opposite: There is no heaven, no system of Divine justice, no God. There is only “the earth” (the observable physical reality, ruled by law of nature). Everything else, which looks random, is indeed random. There is no Divine Providence.

Agag, Haman the Agagite, Gog, Magog — they all represent the Amalekite philosophy of life: “No God, no heaven, all is coincidental”. The biblical concept of “Roof” symbolizes exclusive reliance on our own ability (and capability) to understand nature, rule nature, and construct the needed “Roof” that would protect us.

“Roof”, consistently throughout the Bible, is an integral part of names of historic figures, past (Agag) or future (Gog), and of names of lands (like the mysterious Magog), which represent a philosophy diagonally opposite to that of the Bible, a philosophy central to current Western Civilization (see here) — the Amalekite philosophy of life.

Surprisingly and unexpectedly, all these names include the Hebrew “Gag” (Roof).

And how will the future Gog and Magog war end?

Quote from prophet Zechariah:

“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations, which have come against Jerusalem, shall go up, every single year, to bow before the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16).

Personal confession: Amazing!!


The Israelites, on their way to the promised land, committed two major sins, both being testimony to lack of faith in Divine protection:

  • The sin of the Golden Calf (in Hebrew, sin of the Egel);
  • The sin of the spies (sin of the Meraglim).

Both sins are considered, in Jewish tradition, to have fateful consequences to Jewish history.

The first sin caused Moses to smash the first tablets with the Ten Commandments. This required of Moses going up Mount Sinai to receive the tablets the second time.

The second sin occurred, in Jewish tradition, on the ninth of the month of Av. In Jewish tradition, this was the date when the two temples in Jerusalem had been destroyed. Other catastrophes in Jewish history are also known to occur on that same date.

Surprisingly, Hebrew names of both sins have, as their middle letter, the second most rare letter in biblical Hebrew, the letter Gimel.

With these two sins, combined, the Israelites, on their way to the promised land, formed their own particular version of GAG (“Roof”).


My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew Podcasts (audio)

Is Torah Divinely Inspired? (Podcast)

Three research efforts that have found shared patterns between scientific models of physical reality, the Hebrew Bible and biblical Hebrew.

How are these associated with the critical question of whether Torah is divinely inspired?

YouTube addresses of all three videos are given below (on

Fibonacci Numbers in Biblical Hebrew

Physical Properties in Biblical Hebrew Words

Genesis 1:1 and Pi

My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew Shorties Videos

Is Torah Divinely Inspired?

The first verse of Genesis reads:

“In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth”.

This means that there are two worlds apart: The heaven and the earth.

Two cultures prevail over Planet Earth:

Culture 1: There is only “The earth” (namely, the observable physical world). There is no heaven.

Culture 2: There are two worlds, and our duty is to connect the two.

The first, Culture 1, prevails in current Western Civilization.

Culture 2 is cornerstone in Judaism, and probably also in other monotheistic faiths.

The question of whether Torah is divinely inspired is tightly linked to the choice between the two cultures (as succinctly outlined above):

According to Culture 2, Torah is divinely inspired. Therefore, it represents the Divine moral code, the spiritual dimension of our physical existence on Planet Earth, with the Ten Commandments at its center, and details scattered throughout the Five Books of Moses (Torah). If Torah is divinely inspired, we are here to connect the heaven and the earth.

According to Culture 1, Torah is a historic relic of human writings from ancient times. In view of the scientific progress, made over recent centuries, in understanding how the physical world is structured and how it is functioning, Torah is no more relevant to our lives. Torah can only serve in academia as a subject of scientific research of ancient cultures.

How do we decide between the two cultures?

How can we lend scientific validity to the truth of one culture over the other?

In other words: How do we scientifically prove, or disprove, that Torah is divinely inspired?

Numerous words and lectures, nowadays also videos, have been produced to address this extremely critical question. Endless number of words of persuasion, one way or another, have been put forward.

We believe that there is a single method to scientifically address this question:

To find out whether certain patterns, recently discovered by science to widely prevail in scientific models of the physical world, whether these same patterns also prevail in Torah and in its original language, namely, biblical Hebrew.

Can we scientifically demonstrate that, indeed, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth”?

Three such research efforts have been carried out in recent years (expounded in three meticulously-produced videos by Oren Evron):

  • Rav Ginsburgh, on Fibonacci numbers in biblical Hebrew (Hebrew; English subtitles, please activate):
  • Professor Haim Shore (me), on the reflection of numeric values of physical reality in corresponding biblical Hebrew words (English):
  • Oren Evron, on the associations between numbers, relating to the first verse of Genesis (in its original biblical Hebrew) and constant Pi, cornerstone and frequent-visitor in numerous scientific models of physical reality (English):
My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew Shorties

Values of Hebrew Day-Names in Genesis 1 Represent Ordinal Positions

All week-days in Genesis 1 have specific names.

These are (Hebrew, left to right):

Echad (“One”; Sunday); Sheni (“Second”; Monday); Shlishi (“Third”; Tuesday); Reviee (“Fourth”; Wed.); Chamishi (“Fifth”; Thurs.); Yom Ha-Shishi (“The Sixth Day”; Friday); Yom Ha-Sheviee (“The Seventh Day”; Sat.) or Shabbat (Sabbath).

Each of these biblical Hebrew names has a specific numerical value, the sum total of the numeric values of the Hebrew letters comprising the name.

Do these values represent the ordinal position of the days they represent?

Pursuing the same method used by me throughout my research of the Bible and biblical Hebrew (namely, “linear plot indicates same set of values, represented by two different scales”), the attached plot, with the explanatory comments that follow, seem to support the claim expressed in the title of this post:


My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew Shorties

“Shamayim” — The Most Counter-intuitive Yet Scientifically Accurate Word in Biblical Hebrew

The word Shamayim in Hebrew simply means Sky (Rakia in biblical Hebrew; Genesis 1:8):

“And God called the Rakia Shamayim, and there was evening and there was morning second day”.

Rakia in biblical Hebrew, like in modern Hebrew, simply means sky.

So why, in the first chapter of Genesis, is the sky Divinely called Shamayim?

And why, according to the rules of biblical Hebrew, is it fundamentally counter-intuitive, yet, so scientifically accurate?

The word Shamayim comprises two syllables. The first is Sham, which simply means there, namely, that which is inaccessible from here. The second syllable, ayim, is a suffix, namely, an affix added to the end of the stem of the word. Such suffix in added, in Hebrew, to words that represent a symmetric pair of objects, or, more generally, to words that represent objects that appear in symmetry. Thus, all visible organs in the human body that appear in pairs have same suffix, like legs (raglayim), hands (yadayim), eyes (einayim) and ears (oznayim). However, teeth, arranged in symmetry in the human mouth, though not in pairs, also have same suffix. Teeth in Hebrew is shinayim. Other examples may be read in my book at Chapter 5.

Let us address the two claims in the title:

  • Why Shamayim is counter-intuitive?
  • Why is Shamayim so scientifically accurate?

The answer to the first claim is nearly self-evident. When one observes the sky, at dark hours, the observed is far from symmetric. So much so that the twelve Zodiacal constellations had to be invented, in ancient times, to deliver some sense to the different non-symmetric configurations of stars that to this day can be observed by the naked eye in the sky.

Yet, despite the apparent non-symmetry observed in the sky, the Divine chose to grant the sky a word indicative of the most fundamental property of the sky, as we have scientifically learned it to be in recent times, namely, its symmetry (as observed from Plant Earth), or its uniformity (as preached by modern cosmology).

To learn how fundamentally uniform (or symmetric) the universe is, the reader is referred to Chapters 5 and 7 of my book, and references therein. Another good source to learn about the uniformity of the universe, as observed via telescopes and as articulated by modern science, is the excellent presentation by Don Lincoln at Wondrium channel:

Note the term Desert, addressed in the lecture. The term is used, in modern cosmology, to denote the uniformity of the universe at the Big Bang (“In the beginning”).

Surprisingly, the words, Tohu Va-Vohu, describing the universe “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:2), are also associated with desert, as they are employed elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible.

Consider, for example Jeremiah (4:23, 26):

“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was Tohu Va-Vohu…I beheld and, lo, the fruitful land has become the desert…”.

Refer also to Isaiah (34:11).


  • Shamayim is counter-intuitive and at odds with the picture, revealed in ancient times to the naive observer, our pre-science ancestors;
  • Shamayim yet accurately describes current scientific picture of the universe, as formed in the last hundred years or so, based on cumulative empirical data (gathered via telescopes), and based on modern theories of the evolution and structure of the universe.

Articulated more simply:

Whatever direction in the sky you point to, Shamayim states that it is all the same, contrary to what the naked eyes are telling us, in conformance with what modern science is telling.

Personal confession, mind boggling…

My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew Shorties

In biblical Hebrew — “Yom” is not necessarily “Day”

In a recent post (and an accompanying podcast), we have shown that Erev and Boker, in Genesis creation narrative (Genesis 1), do not represent “Evening” and “Morning”, as commonly interpreted, and as traditionally assumed. Rather, these two words represent, respectively, two states — one of “Mixture”, Erev, the other of its opposite, Boker (outcome of sorting out the mixture into its constituents, namely, a state of “non-mixture”).

Does Yom in Genesis 1 mean “Day” (as commonly translated into English)?

Or perhaps the word, as used elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, has a more general meaning, denoting, simply and non-specifically, “Period of time”?

To answer this intriguing question, we inspect verses in the Jewish Hebrew Bible, where Yom is used. The latter appears therein, with variations, no less than 2291 times. Naturally, in most cases Yom, and its variations, represent “Day”.

But…not always and not necessarily so.

We find out that in a considerable proportion of the verses, Yom simply denotes “Period”, whether in the future (future period, “in/on that day”) or currently (present period, “to this day”). We note that “Time”, in the common sense, does not appear at all in the Bible (where it rarely does appear, it means exclusively a specified point in time, like in “appointment time”). Therefore, “Day” is used instead to denote unspecified period of time. No other meaning can possibly be attached to the word, as it appears and being used in those verses.

Here are a few examples:

[1] “…he is the father of Mo’av to this day” (Genesis 19:37-38);

[2] “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and Jehovah alone shall be exalted on that day” (Isaiah 2:11);

[3] “And it shall come to pass on that day that Jehovah shall beat out his harvest from the strongly flowing river to the Wadi of Egypt, and you shall be gathered up one by one, O Children of Israel” (Isaiah 27:12);

[4] “In that day shall the Lord of Hosts be a glorious crown, beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people” (Isaiah 28:5);

[5] “For the day is near, the day of Jehovah is near, a day of clouds, a time of doom it shall be for the nations” (Ezekiel 30:3);

[6] “In that day people will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, even from Egypt to the river, and from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain” (Micha 7:12);

[7] “On that day Jehovah will be one and His name One” (Zechariah 14:9).

General My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew

“And There was Evening and There was Morning” (Gen. 1) — A Different Interpretation

The known verse from the first chapter of Genesis appears therein, not surprisingly, six times.

The two central words of the verse, which confer on it its meaning, are Boker (morning in biblical Hebrew) and Erev (evening). However, their order of appearance in the verse is bizarre:

“…and there was evening and there was morning one day” (Genesis 1:5).

This is logically flawed (and same applies to all other five variations of the verse). The correct articulation should be:

“…and there was morning and there was evening one day”.

Perhaps the verse is misconstrued by us? Is there an alternative interpretation that may remove the logical flaw, inherent to current interpretation?

In this post (and the allied podcast), we offer a new interpretation. The latter integrates well with the creation narrative, as unfolding in Genesis 1, and, astoundingly, it also comports well with current scientific knowledge of the Big-Bang and its aftermath.

Ultimately, the new interpretation also explains why the same two words, Erev and Boker, stand for “evening” and “morning”, respectively, in traditional interpretations of the verse.

We base the new interpretation on a basic root analysis of the two words, and support it by numerous other verses in the Jewish Bible, where same roots appear in a context utterly divorced from the traditional meaning as “evening” and “morning”; yet, in context that is consistent with the new interpretation.

Therefore, both Erev and Boker, and their respective roots, are hence forth discussed with no relationship whatsoever to their acceptable meanings as evening and morning, respectively.

We start with Erev.

This word, and other words of same root, appear over 150 times in the Bible. The Hebrew root of Erev corresponds to E.R.B, in English. Most times, the root is associated with “evening”, but not uniquely so. Another common usage relates to mixing, or mixture. Thus, Erev-Rav (literally, “much mixture”) stands for a mixture of tribes, Arov stands for a mixture of animals (one of the Ten Plights of Egypt), and Le-itarev means to mix together.

In other words, Erev, in biblical Hebrew, simply means mixture.

Not surprisingly, the time of day when darkness starts crawling over earth, is also called Erev in Hebrew.

Let us next consider Boker.

Traditionally, the word means morning. We might be astonished to learn that its root is tightly linked to Erev, when the latter is interpreted as mixture. Furthermore, as we shall soon realize, the root of Boker diametrically represents the opposite of Erev, when the latter is interpreted as mixture.

Let us analyze usage of the root of Boker (B.K.R) in various biblical Hebrew words.

The grammatical structure of Boker is the same as Chodesh (month, in Hebrew). The verb associated with Chodesh is Le-Chadesh, meaning to renew. One may understand why month in Hebrew implies renewal, since the Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar (moon-based) month, with some periodical adjustments to keep it in tune with the solar calendar (sun-based calendar).

Similarly, the respective verb, associated with Boker, is Le-Vaker. Among other related meanings, Le-Vaker in biblical Hebrew means to seek out, namely, to make something that is mixed distinct and separate. For example (from Collins Concise Dictionary): “She sought out her friend from among the crowd”.

A typical example for the use of Le-Vaker, sharing same root with Boker, is found in Leviticus. The verse describes donation of an animal to be sacrificed to Jehovah. The verse addresses the donor and relates to his animal donation (Leviticus 27:33):

“He must not seek out (Lo Ye-Vaker) the good from the bad or make any substitution. If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.”

In other words, if the donated animal is defective, impaired in some way, the donor must not distinguish the good from the bad, or make substitution, so that the sacrifice includes only good parts of the animal. The latter must be sacrificed in its totality.  

Similarly, refer to Leviticus 13:36, or Ezekiel 34:11-12.

We realize that, according to the new interpretation based on root analysis, Erev and Boker are inherently connected, diametrically representing two opposite states. Erev describes a state of mixture; Boker describes a state that is the outcome of sorting out the mixture into its individual constituents, rendering them distinct, “separate from the crowd” (the mixture). In short, Boker describes a new state, where constituents of the mixture stand each on its own, materializing to full fruition as a result of the act of bakarah (seeking out the ingredients of the mixture).

With this new insight, based on root analysis of the two words Erev and Boker, the well-known verse, “and there was evening and there was morning”, acquires a completely new meaning. It may more precisely be re-articulated as follows:

”There was mixture (Erev), and then there was non-mixture (Boker)”, a new state where the mixture is dissolved, sorted out into its individual constituents.

We again note that the traditional interpretation, “And there was evening and there was morning one day” (and other versions of same verse) are logically flawed. The morning appears before the evening (to define a day), not the other way around. With the new interpretation, this logical flaw disappears since time is appropriately preserved.

Is the new interpretation consistent with the general description of creation, as unfolding in Genesis creation narrative?

Indeed, very much so.

In Genesis creation narrative, as unfolding in the first chapter of Genesis, the word “create” (Bara), appears not six times, as might be expected, but only twice. It first appears in Genesis 1:1 as an overall statement of all that have been created:

“In the beginning Elohim created the Heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1).

The second time creation is mentioned in Genesis creation narrative relates to the human species (Genesis 1:27):

“So Elohim created Mankind, in His own image, in the image of Elohim created He him, male and female He created them”.

One may wonder:

If creation had happened “In the Beginning” (Genesis 1:1), and then on the sixth day (Genesis 1:27), what has the Divine being engaged in the rest of the six days, where creation is not at all mentioned?

The surprising answer is embedded in the two words, Erev and Boker, based on their new interpretation, based on their root analysis.

In the other days, when no creation is specified, Genesis creation narrative describes, individually for each day, how Elohim, by Divine utterance, has turned Erev (a state of mixture) into Boker (a state of non-mixture, individual parts sorted out from the mixture).

In other words, in most of the creation narrative of Genesis 1, the Divine separates the mixture, created “in the beginning”, into its distinct individual elements, materializing them from the uniform mixture, into which they were initially embedded.

How does this interpretation comport with modern science?

Indeed, surprisingly well.

The two words, Erev and Boker, as newly interpreted, are extremely consistent with how the Big-Bang and its aftermath, in the first few seconds of existence, are currently described by science.

A central element in this description is the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR). This radiation is a relic of the Big-Bang and its immediate aftermath. The uniformity of the radiation across the universe testifies that in the “Beginning” the universe was extremely uniform.

This uniformity is echoed in the Bible, describing the just created physical world (“The Earth”; Genesis 1:2):

“And The Earth was without form and void (Tohu Va-Vohu)..”.

Using root analysis of the two Hebrew words, Tohu and Vohu, let us make sense of this verse and find out what it really conveys.

Science describes the first few seconds after the Big-Bang as extremely uniform. Nothing is yet distinct, there is no information to observe. This scientific description is reflected in Tohu and Bohu. The Bible describes the just created world as being in a state that whatever an observer at the time would observe, he or she will be bewildered (Li-Tehot, to wonder; Hebrew verb linked to Tohu). Also, the imaginary observer would look around purposelessly (Li-vehot; Hebrew verb linked to Bohu). Both descriptions allude to an observer, bewildered and looking around purposelessly. Why? because there is no information, nothing to observe that might help making sense of the observed (just as in a desert).

We have come to the end of our exploration journey regarding creation of The Earth, as alluded to in Genesis 1. We realized that in most days of creation, the Divine sorted out, by uttering a Divine command, that which was created “In the beginning”.

We address the second creation, that of humankind (on the sixth day of creation; Genesis 1:27).

Humankind was not created when God created “The Heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1), or the word “created” would not be repeated describing creation of Mankind (Genesis 1:27).

Since creation first alludes to “The Heavens and the Earth”, and only later to Humankind, we, human beings, are doomed to repeat, in our own life, the same process, as described regarding The Earth in the first five days of Genesis creation (and some also on the sixth day) .

According to the creation narrative, the physical world (The Earth) has moved, from one day to the next, from a vague mixture (Erev, Tohu Va-Vohu) into its visible distinct constituents (Boker), turning the potential into observable reality.

We, human beings, who were separately created, are doomed to repeat the same process as The Earth.

Exercising free will, we are doomed to sort out the hidden faceless mixture, residing within us from infancy, into observable, distinct and separate personality and character.

Once we do that, transforming the potential, lurking within us in a mixture form, into the “I”, or “Me”, which we have grown up to become;

Once we do that, then, and only then, may we offer our own creation, our own non-mixed unique self, to the world, to be of benefit to the rest of humanity, and to all other creatures living on the surface of Planet Earth.

My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew Shorties

“Becoming Holy” — The Bible Prescription

The desire to become holy, as a means to ascend to higher spiritual dimensions, is as ancient as human civilization.

But what does it mean to become holy? How do you become holy?

Several paths to holiness have been offered in the past. These include.

Path 1. Seclusion in an isolated place, disconnected from human beings.

Path 2. Refrain from talk (keeping silent) for an extended period of time.

Path 3. Pursuing the path of a Nazarite (including abstinence from the other sex and from alcohol).

Path 4. Adoption of certain dietary menus to cleanse the body, hopefully leading to holiness.

What is the Bible prescription to becoming holy?

It indeed departs appreciably from all the paths just described.

However, it is exact. And it is specific.

The Bible delivers a prescription to becoming holy in the form of ‘Do’s and ‘Do-not do’s. These are scattered throughout the Bible (particularly, in Torah and the prophets). Yet, it is described in detail, in a concentrated fashion, in a certain segment of the Jewish Torah, generally referred to, in Jewish tradition, as Parashat Kedoshim (Segment “The holy ones”).

The prescription starts with a Divine assertion, repeated, nearly verbatim, close to the end of the Parashah.

Here is the opening verse (Leviticus 19:1):

“And Jehovah spoke to Moses saying, speak to all the congregation of the Children of Israel and say to them: “Holy shall you be because holy am I, Jehovah your God”.

In a verse, prior to the end of the Parashah, the same assertion is repeated (Leviticus 20:26):

“And you shall be holy to me for holy am I, Jehovah…”.

Throughout the Parashah, the signature of the Divine is repeated, time and again, at the end of a set of ‘Do’s and ‘Do-not do’s, as if to remind the listener (or reader), of their Divine source:

“I am Jehovah”.

(For example, Leviticus 19:16).

In this post (and the accompanying podcast), we concentrate on a certain small segment of ‘Do’s and ‘Do-not do’s. They are not related in particular to the Israelites (as are, for example, dietary Kashrut commandments). These ‘Do’s and ‘Do-not do’s are of a universal value, applicable to all aspiring for holiness in their lives.

We refer to verses 16 to 18 of Leviticus 19. They represent some of the ‘Do’s and ‘Do-not do’s, prescribed by Torah as a path to holiness in Chapters 19 and 20. We start with the ‘Do-not do’s.

Do-not do 1 (Verse 16):

“Do not walk around offering your merchandise of slander”.

(Expressed in four words, in the original biblical Hebrew).

In short, do not engage in slander.

We note that slander, in biblical terms, means telling un-pleasant truths about a fellow human being. This is a profound diversion from modern judiciary systems, where slander exclusively means telling un-pleasant lies, about a specific individual or about a group of people. According to Torah, these do not constitute slander. These are simply lies, or falsehoods. In Torah terms, slander exclusively relates to telling truths, unpleasant or embarrassing as they may be.

Do-not do 2 (Verse 16):

“Do not stand still, while your fellow human-being is in a potentially threatening blood-shedding situation. I am Jehovah”.

(First sentence expressed in five words, in the original biblical Hebrew).

Do-not do 3 (Verse 17):

“Do not hate your fellow human-being in your heart”.

Do-not do 4 (Verse 18):

“Do not do wrong in return for wrong-doing committed unto you”.

In short, do not take revenge.

Do-not do 5 (Verse 18):

“Do not reserve resentment”.

We note, that resentment may lead to revenge. This is comparable to coveting (subject of the Tenth Commandment), which may lead to stealing. The Torah commands, in both cases — Eliminate the root-cause: Resentment that may lead to revenge; Coveting that may lead to stealing.

We proceed to the “To do” list in the same small segment (Leviticus 19:16-18).

Do 1 (Verse 17):

“Reproach your fellow human-being lest you carry his sin, on your account”.

In the original Hebrew text, a different interpretation is also possible.

“Reproach your fellow human-being lest he carries a sin, due to you”.

In other words, because you have refrained from reproach, when one was needed, your fellow human-being may carry a sin, namely, become a sinner.

Do 2 (Verse 18):

“Love thy neighbor as yourself. I am Jehovah”.

Five ‘Do-not do’s and two ‘Do’s in a very small segment of Divine prescription to becoming holy. These are a small representative sample.

To become truly holy, the Divine prescription, as articulated in Torah and in the prophets, need to be learned in depth, and then re-learned, and re-learned again. Until this prescription is practiced on a regular basis.

Once this happens, the prescription is engraved as a way of life, the ‘Do’s and ‘Do-not do’s are absorbed to become like second nature.

In the language of Torah, a ‘Do-not do’, which has formerly been observed as Divine command that needs to be fulfilled, is now replaced with “Not being able to do” (for example, Deuteronomy 21:16).

An aspiring individual, wishing to be holy, then no longer merely fulfills a Divine commandment: “Be holy, for I, Jehovah, am holy”.

Rather, he, or she, becomes God-like.

To become like God is an ancient desire. It had formerly been expressed, in Torah, in a perverted way, by Adam and Eve, who desired to be like Elohim (Genesis 3:5). To be Elohim-like means to resemble the Creator, namely, dominate nature.

This time, same desire, to be like God, is expressed differently, materializing the right way. It is expressed as a desire to become Jehovah-like via becoming truly holy.

Why becoming truly holy, Torah fashion, implies becoming Jehovah-like?


I, Jehovah, am holy”.

My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew Podcasts (audio)

What Do We Know of God? (Podcast-audio)

The detailed answer, based on the Jewish Hebrew Bible (Torah, the prophets), on in-dept analysis of biblical Hebrew words and traditional Jewish interpreters — may surprise you: