General My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew

“Thou shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk” (Exod. 23:19) — Why??

(Related podcast:  “Thou shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk” (Exod. 23:19). Why? (Podcast-audio))

This verse appears thrice in the Bible (additionally in Exod. 34:26; Deut. 14:21). It serves cornerstone for a large portion of Jewish dietary Kosher laws (regarding cooking and eating), forbidding mixing together meat with dairy products.

What is the logic behind this seemingly non-sensical fundamental tenet of Jewish way-of-life, setting the latter apart from all other peoples of the world (including followers of Islam, which comes closest to the Jewish Kashrut rules)?

The succinct answer is this:

Judaism is extremely strict about total separation of Life from Death.

And whenever an eventuality may occur, that the two may even remotely overlap or intermingle — a tall separating wall is constructed in Jewish law to ensure that this never happens. In that sense, Jewish Kashrut laws are just one instance in a sea of like-wise laws, ensuring that a Jew, strictly pursuing Moses Law (as specified succinctly in the written Torah and explicated in Oral Torah, later expounded in the Talmud), will never be exposed to scenarios, where Life and Death accidentally intermingle.

The origin for this total and strict separation is probably best articulated in the Divine commandment:

“I call this day to witness against you the heaven and the earth — I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore, choose life that both you and your seed may live” (Deut. 30:19).

And the choice of Life over Death requires strict separation between the two, as reflected in numerous Jewish laws (we will elaborate on some soon).

Why eating meat with dairy products, with no time separation between the two, implies intermingling of life and death?

The answer is straightforward:

  • Eating meat is the result of killing an animal; This means Death;
  • Dairy products are derived from milk, originally created to assist life, namely, the growth of the just born; This means… well, Life.

Therfore, meat and dairy, associated with death and life, respectively, cannot be mixed and concurrently consumed.

Finally, we note that killing animals, in order to eat meat, had been permitted by the Divine only after realizing that “the impulse of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21). Following Noah’s own initiative to sacrifice some of the animals that kept him company just now, for the last hundred and fifty flood-days (Gen. 8:20), God concludes that “the impulse of man’s heart is evil”; Consequently, a permit is now granted: “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; As green herb have I given you all” (Gen. 9:3).

Where else do we see the same underlying principle of Jewish life, total separation of Life from Death, so that one may more easily be led to “choose life that both you and your seed may live “?

Here are some examples:

  • “But flesh with its life, which is its blood, you shall not eat” (Gen. 9:4); This requires, by Kashrut laws, washing away all traces of blood from the meat prior to cooking; An egg with stains of blood inside likewise is not edible;
  • A Jewish cemetery is surrounded all around by a tall wall, strictly and explicitly separating the living from the dead; and when a Jew leaves the cemetery, he washes his hands, demonstrating symbolically and stating in no unclear terms that spiritually no “traces” of the dead remain on his body when he departs the cemetery;
  • There is a set time for a mourning period (“Shivah”); This ensures that subsequently the deceased would not psychologically and spiritually intervene with the living;
  • Judaism strictly forbids contacts with the dead via spiritualistic conferences; The living are not supposed to talk to the dead: “A man or a woman that is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death; they shall be stoned with stone, their blood-guiltiness is upon them” (Leviticus 20:27);
  • A woman at the end of her menstrual cycle is forbidden sexual contact with her spouse; The former (menstrual period) marks life-potential not realized, the departure process of a potential life-generating egg, not consumed, now dead; The latter (sexual contact) is associated with live sperm, marking potential for generating life; The two are strictly forbidden from unholy mixture via time-concurrency: “Also thou shalt not approach to a woman in the impurity of her menstrual flow to uncover her nakedness” (Leviticus 18:19).

All these examples, regarding Jewish living in accord with Moses law, point to a deeper principle, prevalent throughout the Jewish faith:

Everything that one thinks and speaks (orally or by other means), everything that one does, our behavior in its totality – these are all spiritually meaningful. They have a spiritual effect on our soul, and they ultimately return like a boomerang to affect our lives (favorably or otherwise). In Hebrew, the arbitrary, seemingly meaningless, “Thing”, is Davar, deriving from same root as “speak” (Daber). All that we encounter in life “speak” to us— no “Thing” is insignificant.

Jewish laws, at first looking arbitrary, devoid of any rational justification, like “Thou shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk”, now acquire new very deep meaning:

We realize that violation of these laws, implying intermingling of Life and Death in our own every-day life, may affect our spiritual well-being; Ultimately, this will also be affecting our well-being physically.


Free Will— The Act of Separating and Choosing

The essence of being human is exercising free will. This is the act by which we continuously create ourselves and form our personality and character.

The Divine has created mankind (“So God created mankind in his own image…”, Genesis 1:27); but He has also formed it (“And the Lord God formed mankind of the dust of the ground…”, Genesis 2:7). We, human beings, whether we wish it or not, are doomed throughout our lives to repeat, via exercising free will, the two acts of creating (establishing a solid link between soul and body, while we grow) and forming.

What is the needed environment for human beings to be able to exercise their free-will?

There are two conditions (necessary and sufficient):

[1] Existence of “Good” and “Bad” mixed together (as in “The Tree of Knowledge, good and bad”, Genesis 2:9);

[2] Hidden-ness of God and the concealment of God’s hidden-ness.

Prophet Isaiah delivers succinct and stunning expression to the existence of the first condition:

“That men may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides me— I am Jehovah and there is no one else; Forming light and creating darkness, making peace and creating the bad, I Jehovah am doing all these” (Isaiah 45:6-7).

Note that creating (“something from nothing”) precedes forming ((“imprinting form on the created”), just as forming precedes making. Yet prophet Isaiah sets absence of light (darkness) and the bad (the harmful, the evil) at a level higher than that of light— the former were created, the latter was “just” formed.

Existence of the second condition, a daily human experience revealed in countless debates on whether God exists, is evidenced both by biblical Hebrew and by the Bible. In biblical Hebrew, “World” (Olam) derives from same root as all Hebrew words pointing to concealment. Examples: Ta’aluma (Mystery); He’almut (disappearance); Ne’elam (unknown (noun), as in an algebraic equation); Alum (secret, adj.). In other words, the whole world is testimony to the hidden-ness of God. Prophet Isaiah repeats same motive:

“Indeed, thou are a God who hides thyself, O God of Israel, savior” (Isaiah 45:15).

Concealment of God, however, is itself concealed (“Does God exist?”):

“And I will surely hide my face on that day…” (Haster Astir; Deuteronomy 31:18).

The repeat of same root twice (in two consecutive words) is traditionally interpreted by Jewish scholars as implying concealment of the concealment, an integrated fact of life that we all have probably experienced at one time or another throughout our lives (“Does God exist?”).

Having studied the two conditions for the existence of free-will, the next question to ask is:

What are the limitations to exercising free-will and what does the latter entail?

We continuously live in two worlds, intermingled and most often inseparable and indistinguishable from one another: “World of Law-of-Nature” and “World of Randomness”. We can exercise free-will only in an environment that allows choice, namely, in the “World of Randomness”. Unlike in the “World of Law-of-Nature”, where external constraints force us to behave in certain ways (and not others, namely, no free choice is available), in the “World of Randomness”, where randomness prevails, we are free to exercise whatever our heart desires. It is only then, in the “World of randomness”, that we become an agent of our own free will.

What exercising free-will is comprised of? It comprises two actions:



We need to separate “Good” from “Bad”, before choosing. Most often in our daily lives, the good and the bad are intermingled to a degree that the two can rarely be told apart; Therefore, we need to separate before choosing. God created darkness (per prophet Isaiah), thereby allowing the good and the bad in our world to co-exist, mixed. Consider the biblical Hebrew word for “evening” (as in “…and there was evening and there was morning…”; Genesis 1:5, for example). The Hebrew word derives from same Hebrew root used for mixing (as in “mixture”). The “Tree of Knowledge good and bad” also implies mixed together. In biblical terms, one may allegorically assert that we all have eaten of “The Tree of Knowledge, good and bad”, where “Good” and “Bad” are mixed together in the same fruit. And since then, “Good” and “Bad” have become intermingled in our body and soul, delivering us our mission in life to grow and mature and create ourselves and form our personality and character, all via the process of separating (“Good” from “Bad”) and then choosing.

The act of separating (good from bad) is two-folded and it is expressed differently in the two worlds we inhabit:

  • In the “World of Law-of-Nature”, we need to separate “good” from “bad” because absent this separation we may choose the “bad”, thereby harming our well-being and possibly even endangering our life. Thus, buying fruit in the supermarket, we are careful to separate good apples from the bad ones (rotten apples) so that we can then make the correct choice of purchasing good apples only, benefiting our health and well-being. Separation is also inherent to many of our bodily processes (like in the kidney);
  • In the “World of Randomness”, the act of separating good from bad (or “good” from “evil”, as commonly used in biblical parlance) is a much harder task. Unlike in the “World of Law-of-Nature”, where science assists us in forming clear distinction and separation between the good and the bad, we do not easily, clearly and immediately differentiate between the two in the “World of Randomness”. Let us demonstrate with a simple example. I am selling a used car, aware that the car carries a certain defect. I can inform the buyer about it or I can inform her not. In the latter case, the thinking goes like this: “I have allowed the buyer to inspect and check the car thoroughly, have I not? However, the defect was not exposed. It is the buyer’s responsibility to identify the defect, not mine, is it not?”. Such thinking testifies to the daily blurring, in the “World of Randomness”, of “good” and “bad” (or “good” and “evil”, in biblical terms). Therefore, Jewish Torah explicitly instructs: “Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor GIVE a stumbling block to the blind…” (Leviticus 19:14). In other words, one cannot hide behind an argument like the one just articulated. It is the seller’s responsibility to turn the blind into non-blind by alerting the buyer to the car’s defect.

Once we understand the act of separation in the two worlds, and grasp the role of science in assisting us separating in the “World of Law-of-Nature”, how do we separate and choose right in the “World of Randomness”?

Moses, speaking to the Children of Israel on behalf of the Divine, set to them clear separation and clear choice:

* Separation: “Behold, I have given thee this day life and the good, and death and the bad” (Deuteronomy 30:15);

* Choosing: “I call upon heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before thee life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Is free-will an endowment of the human species, granted to it for eternity?

Not according to Scripture. The free-will act bestowed on humankind, that of separating and choosing, has a limited life-span. It is not eternal. Time will come when God will reveal Himself and then free-will, by definition, will be no more:

“For then I will convert the peoples to a non-confounded language that they all call upon the name of Jehovah to serve him shoulder to shoulder” (Zephaniah 3:9);

“And Jehovah will be king over all the earth; on that day Jehovah will be one and his name One” (Zechariah 14:7).

Furthermore, not only the task of separating and choosing no longer be in the hands of mankind; At End-Times, the Divine will conduct a process of separation of His own; However, the separation process will not be between “Good” and “Evil” (as the latter exists in the “World of Randomness”), but rather between the righteous and the evil (who exist amidst humankind):

“I will also turn my hand against thee, and will purge away your dross as with lye and remove all thy alloy” (Isaiah 1:25);

“Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will smelt them and try them…” (Jeremiah 9:6);

“As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall you be melted in the midst of it…” (Ezekiel 22:22);

“I will bring the third part through the fire, and refine them as one refines silver and test them as one tests gold…” (Zechariah 13:9);

“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like the washers’ soap; and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver…” (Malachi 3:2);

“Many will be purged, and purified and refined…” (Daniel 12:10).





My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew Videos

One-on-One with Avi Ben Mordechai and Haim Shore (Three half-hour episodes)

Below are links to three videos, produced by Avi Ben-Mordechai, following our three-hour talk during the meeting that took place at the office of the university:

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Episode 3:

Episode 1 maintains a certain line-of-thought conveyed to the viewer from beginning to end. The other two comprise short excerpts from our talk about various subjects that came up during the conversation.

No pre-publication review of the produced videos had been done on my part.

I am indebted to Avi Ben-Mordechai for kindly allowing me to post these videos in public on my YouTube personal channel.


My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew

The Three Pillars of Truth — Lessons from the Hebrew Alphabet

(Related podcast: The Three Pillars of Truth (Lessons from the Hebrew Alphabet; Podcast-audio)

Truth is a sublime concept. But what does it stand on? What are the required ingredients for something to be “Truth”? The Hebrew Alphabet delivers us three pillars to tell truth from falsehood.

Observing the two words Emeth (Truth) and Sheker (Falsehood/lie), as their letters appear in an orderly sequence of the Hebrew Alphabet, teaches us powerful lessons on what constitute “Truth”.

Emeth is written in Hebrew:       אמת

Sheker is written in Hebrew:       שקר

The letters of these words appear emphasized in the sequence of orderly Hebrew Alphabet below (read from right to left; letters in parentheses are “final letters”, appearing only as last letters of words):


א  ב  ג  ד  ה  ו  ז  ח  ט  י  כ(ך)  ל  מ(ם)  נ(ן)  ס  ע  פ(ף)  צ(ץ)  ק  ר  ש  ת


א  ב  ג  ד  ה  ו  ז  ח  ט  י  כ(ך)  ל  מ(ם)  נ(ן)  ס  ע  פ(ף)  צ(ץ)  ק  ר  ש  ת

Based on these two sequences, three observations are called for that define the three pillars of “Truth”:

Pillar 1: Completeness

The letters of Emeth (Truth) “scan” the whole spectrum, from first to last of the Hebrew Alphabet, with the middle letter appearing exactly as a middle term in the sequence. By contrast, the Hebrew letters for “Falsehood” are concentrated together in a small segment of the sequence, conveying an impression of “Half-truth”, of an incomplete picture.

The tendency to make judgements or general assertions based on partial truths produces the worst form of falsehood. Partial truths contain seeds of truth, thus conveying an impression of truth when such is non-existent. This renders it difficult, at times impossible, to tell truth from non-truth. We judge a person based on a single wrong deed or utterance, ignoring a lifetime of righteous and fruitful deeds. We take part of a sentence, or paragraph, to slander someone ignoring the context and the true meaning of the complete pronouncement.

The book of Psalms regards “Completeness” as main feature of truth, which we have to account for observing and attempting to understand Divine righteous intervention in the world:

“Judgments of Jehovah are true (Emeth), they are righteous altogether” (Psalms 19:10).

Only in its totality may one appreciate Divine judgement as righteous. Components of that judgment, on their own, do not constitute righteousness; and only when taken altogether may these components be regarded as Emeth.

Pillar 2: Correct Order

The letters of Sheker appear in a perverted order in the sequence above, unlike the correct order of appearance of Emeth.

Falsehood is often generated, and truth violated, by placing “things” not in their correct order. Violating correct order can appear in all forms and shapes. When two warring parties are engaged in war, and we ignore the correct order of events that have “rolled” the parties into a state of war, or at times portraying real events, however in a perverted order of occurrence – we create falsehood (lie). Interchanging cause and effect, calling cause effect and calling effect cause, displaying thereby an incorrect cause-effect relationship, also obscure truth and generate falsehood. When a person blames his business partner for a certain adverse reaction to his own conduct, portraying his own conduct as reacting to that reaction (rather than as a trigger for the latter), he is engaged in creating falsehood. Preserving correct order is an essential ingredient for preserving truth.

Pillar 3: Supportive Evidence

Observing the two sets of Hebrew letters that constitute Emeth and Sheker, one discerns a major characteristic that tell them apart: The letters of Emeth look stable, well rooted in the ground (as shown by two “legs” or by a horizontal base, as in the middle letter). Conversely, all letters of Sheker seem shaky, not well rooted in the ground, two standing on one leg and a third (the first letter) “prone” to swing from one side to the other. Observing these letters an impression is conveyed of instability, as though the letters do not really have anything to support them. One is led to the conclusion that lack of evidence, grounded in reality, is main feature that distinguishes “truth” from “falsehood”, Emeth from lack thereof.

In conclusion: The Hebrew Alphabet teaches us that to tell truth from falsehood one needs only examine and confirm to what degree do the three essential ingredients of truth prevail; to what degree do Completeness, Correct order and Evidence permeate given descriptions of world affairs.


This post may also be downloaded:



Shorty*: “Speak Hebrew and Be Righteous”

Speaking Hebrew one is led, perhaps unconsciously, to adhere to the basic concepts and tenets of Jewish tradition, in particular “Be Righteous!”. In this shorty, I demonstrate this by addressing seven Hebrew words (having five different philological roots). In all examples, it is assumed that different words sharing same root must somehow be inter-related (even though outwardly the compared words seem not to be sharing anything in common). We emphasize that these examples do not relate to Gematria, which assumes that two words sharing a numerical value must somehow be inter-related.

The first two examples appear in detail in my book.

Example 1: “Sin” is not the result of evil but rather an aberration due to missing the target (“Sin” and “Miss” share same root in Hebrew)

Example 2: There are three modes of standing before God:

“Thanking”, “Acknowledging”, “Admitting” (a sin).

They all share same philological root in Hebrew, giving rise to the single Hebrew verb Le-Hodot (which imparts respective meanings to all three modes of relating to God).

Examples 3 and 4: “Thing” in Hebrew is Davar (derived from same root as “to speak”, Le-Daber); “Object” in Hebrew is Chefetz (meaning also “Will” or “Wish”).

The obvious implication for a Hebrew-speaking user of these “generic” words is unconscious acknowledgment that all that exists is the result of God’s will and speak. Genesis creation narrative could not have been more explicit!!

Example 5: “Resentment” (or “Grudge”) is in Hebrew Tinah ;  Tin is Hebrew for “Silt” (mud that sinks to the bottom of the pool).

The Hebrew language educates: Resentment is like silt. The latter rests silently at the bottom of the pool, nearly undetected, until the pool’s water is disturbed. The mud then rises up to blur and obscure all that shape up under the surface of the water.

Likewise, resentment can be hidden from view (even your own) until triggered into action. Once activated, old grudges rise up to blur and obscure all that is shaping up inside your psyche, rendering your soul non-transparent. This results in distorted vision of reality, in impairing relationships with family and friends and ultimately in poor judgement in decision-making scenarios.

The Hebrew language advises:

Resentment stains your soul, therefore it is impure and unholy; Be righteous by letting go of old grudges; Get rid of resentment!!


* A “Shorty” is a newly invented word for a new idea or thought, expressed as “shortly” as possible..