But they recently started a new segment where they make fun of gematria values of words that correspond to the number of shows they have done. Now the thing that is hilarious is that these two call themselves scholars every 30 seconds, and one claims to have a degree in near east languages, yet he butchers the Hebrew every time he makes an attempt to say a word. I played the most recent clip of theirs to an orthodox friend of mine, who was born and raised in Israel and he had to laugh at how bad Rob's Hebrew was yet says he has a degree in the Hebrew language. But the thing that really exposed them was their goofing on gematria values claiming that the Hebrew letters do not have numerical equivalents. WHAT!!?? I know it is rather shocking, such a claim. But a self professed "scholar" claims that Hebrew letters do not hold numerical values. Well, I would have to ask Mr Rob Vanhoff how do you get numbers in Hebrew? The fact is, he doesn't know, yet he is a "scholar" in the Hebrew language which is laughable. Out of all the Hebrew classes I have taught and have taken in the past 11 years, one of the first things an instructor will tell you is that the letters also represent numbers. This is a known fact If you wish to say the number 1 in hebrew you say Aleph, if you wish to say the number 2 it is Bet, this is very basic stuff.
This is not the first time I have heard ridiculousness from these two individuals. A year and a half ago, they railed against me for supporting Andrew Gabriel Roth's Aramaic English New Testament and being an Aramaic primist. Now anyone who has read any Jewish literature, knows that in every piece of Jewish literature (including the Tanach) you will find words that are from another semitic language and even greek at times. Greek words are found a half a dozen times in the Hebrew Scriptures and Aramaic chapters are found all through the Hebrew Scriptures. This is how everything from the Tanach to the Mishna to the Gemara to the Zohar has been written. So Mr Vanhoff being the "scholar" he thinks he is, finds a greek word and a Hebrew word in the Khabouris Codex and uses that to say "see see it cannot be originally in Aramaic because there is a greek word here pointing to greek primacy". When actually such a thing fortifies the Aramaic primacy because the Hebrew Tanach follows the same model. If they had a basic understanding, barebones basic, they would know that their "scholarly textural criticism" causes them to get egg on their face as they do every week.
These two are the model of babies on Messiah and Torah. The babies in Messiah and Torah, don't realize the basic premise of "the more you learn you start to realize the less you actually know". When someone is self professed scholar, I can tell you that is the first indication one should run for the hills because an actual scholar i even quicker to say, he knows much less than he realizes. When a person is young in their walk they think they have it all figured out. They may get onto youtube and do podcasts each weak attacking Christian ideals or other teachers and these two kids do just that every week. As you all know it is rare I ever speak out against anyone. I just teach instead what I believe. But I am writing this not so one goes out and attacks these two babies in Messiah, but instead to show you guys what to look out for and to realize the internet is not the best place for research.
Look,when I started out, I would attack each week just like these guys did. A lot of my time was spent behind the keyboard and then talking about it on the radio. I thought I was a renegade out there speaking "truth" to the masses. In all honesty I was feeding nobody, and helping no one. I had an ego almost as big as these two. When a person matures that ego is shed, and they strip that ego away. A person then realizes what they don't say is actually more important than what they do say. They realize bringing the body together by teaching "why it is we do what we do as Jews" helps the body much more than finding a target every week. And we find out it is intellectually lazy to look for enemies and to "expose" than it is build. Babies in Messiah, I get it, they feel like they have been lied to by their former religious institution and they then have a lot of anger but hopefully after appropriate mourning that anger goes away and a person looks to build bridges and not burn people at the stake. It is basic spiritual maturity.
We have a problem in the internet age, of people who get a little bit of knowledge and then think they are ready to teach. And the internet sadly gives them an avenue to do just that and they can change their name without consequence and make up credentials which a majority of their listeners, they know, are too lazy to check. Brethren, let me give you some pointers on furthering yourself in your walk.
- Turn off the computer for researching purposes. Buy tons of books from scholarly sources. I tend to suggest the publishing companies Artscroll, Feldheim, Vine of David and Metzorah Publications
- Learn from a Rabbi in your area, check his credentials and look at his family life to see what his relationship is like with Hashem because it is a direct reflection.
- Sacred Name theologians do not know the basics of Biblical languages, run from them.
- Anyone who pushes one translation on you and says it is inerrant is clueless. Any Bible translation you have is fine. When you learn a little Hebrew you will see why.
- Any teacher you may subscribe to podcasts of, look for a progression of maturity from their early recordings and the most recent ones, if there is no progression of knowledge and gentleness towards their listeners then they are incapable of maturity because of their own ego and haughtiness.
- Free courses are ok, but when you invest in a teacher they are held to a higher standard and will provide you a better theological education, check their track record and look over their previous works before investing so you can be sure of your investment.
- Have a healthy respect for rabbinics but don't jump into major study of rabbinics without the watchful eye of rabbi, and do not study rabbinic until you are atlas 5 years in your walk. At that time, dip your toe in and slowly walk in the water, do not cannonball off the high dive.
- If it is more about knowledge and less about "doing mitzvos for the sake of Hashem in shalom and ahavah" then the ego will never be stripped away.