Category Archives: bookclub

Chofetz Chaim – A Lesson A Day –

Praise in The Presence of The Adversary…

The issue of loshon hara (wicked speech) continues to arise lately. I have not spoken on the topic of loshon hara in a long time. I have had to wrestle with my own flesh in order to subdue this deadly, destiny destroying behavior. The temptation has been rearing its ugly head with several people lately, including myself, which tells me it’s time to address it again.

“Never offer praise in the presence of an adversary” (Page 118).

The Chofetz Chaim teaches that it is forbidden to praise someone in the presence of anyone who is known to dislike them. They are just waiting to pounce!

It opens the door for anyone listening who dislikes them, to seize an opportunity to say something negative about the persons shortcomings.

There are times when you are acutely aware that the person in question has enemies all around. There are also times when you may not know. They best course of action is to constrain your tongue, even if you want to offer praise. Why?

Because it leaves a pit for the adversary to fall into and this pit dies damage to their own soul. It’s just something that we do not want to be a party to.

The Praiseworthy Person…

The praiseworthy person can wait for you to seek a better moment in time to extend your gratitude or praise when the adversarial soul will not be in ear shot and tempted beyond their ability to resist speaking loshon hara.

So, What Do We Do About Philippians 4:8?

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

cute rabbit with eyeglasses
Photo by Anna Shvets on

Be wise. Pay attention in the moment. Be vigilant. We always need to remember that we have to know those that we labor among. Paul tells us to, “Think on these things…“, which means we can save those lovely things for another time. We do not always have to blurt out everything we think at the time.

Be aware of the atmosphere you are in at the time and be slow to speak. The right time for praise will present itself and the person to whom you would offer praise will not have to suffer their moment being snatched away by negativity, insults or another person’s pride or enmity.

woman discussing with her colleagues
Photo by Christina Morillo on

Remember: loshon hara affects the souls of at least 3 people… In this case Yourself, the person you’re speaking about (or trying to praise), and the people or persons that are listening.

We are in the business of caring for souls. Let nothing come between you reaching the highest pinnacle of power in your comprehension of GOD and His Word. Especially, our own tongues.

This Book is a Masterpiece! A torahisteaching for your library must have!

If you do not own a copy, I strongly recommend it.

Thank You for Asking me about it my friend!

Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. Psalm 34:13-15

Key Words:

  • Chofetz Chaim: seeker of life
  • shmiras haloshon – guarding the tongue

Related Blogs:


Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus ~ How the Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your Life by Lois Tverberg

Pirkei Avot 1:4

Let thy house be a meeting house for the wise;
and powder thyself in the very dust of their feet;
and drink their words with thirst.

Our most cherished goal in bible or torah study is to follow so closely behind Jesus that we are covered by the dust of his feet, as we follow after him. This imagery is not just literal. We are easily like Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus while he taught (Luke 10:39), or we might envision Paul, as he stated in his own words that he was, “…educated at the feet of Gamaliel” (Acts 22:3).

Many times, I have heard a number of Christians say that the “Old Testament was replaced by the New. I have seen too many treat the Hebrew Scriptures as if their only purpose is that of a reference book. Simply as if we are carrying around 39 books of outdated info. It’s not their fault. This is a fallacy that any Christian could easily fall victim to. But we do not have to remain that way, and you do not have to spend another day in the dark.

You can draw much closer to GOD when you accurately know what He was actually saying.

Fortunately, Tverberg’s work brings to light many teachings that were overlooked in our earlier biblical studies in the church. She does a great job of reconnecting us with our Hebrew Roots in the Scriptures. Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus highlights key words, phrases and expressions from the Hebrew that are misunderstood through the lens of our western mindset. We have some catching up to do!

I’m sure you have noticed that I am continually setting before you a series of books that increase your knowledge of the Hebrew language. This is because I earnestly desire that you hear the Word from its Hebrew origins, culture and times.

I hope you take hold of these insights as they have the power to increase your wisdom, knowledge understanding. This is essential, because this is the kind of wisdom that has the potential to increase your power in prayer… If by hearing you hear, and by seeing you see.

I hope you read this book with our book club and leave a reply or grace us with your comments below as you read. I would love to hear from you!

The Book is available from many retailers and publishers as well as


The Jewish Gospel of John: CLOSING DISCUSSION

The Jewish Gospel of John by Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

Before we move onto our next Book Club read for April, let’s review a few essential concepts posed by Dr. Eli Lizorkin in The Jewish Gospel of John. Th author brings up so many good points in his book, but one that I am particularly in favor of approaching with students.

First, there are two terms that we have to become familiar with as soon as we enter into a any class on Biblical Hermeneutics:

Eisegesis: Interpretation of the Bible by reading into it one’s own ideas and belief systems.

Exegesis: Interpretation of the Bible based upon the original or intended meaning of scripture.

Dr. Eli Lizorkin uses a quote from a scene in a Sherlock Holmes movie in which Sherlock says to Dr. Watson, “Never theorize before you have all the data.” As a disciple of Jesus, it will never serve us well if we were to, “Draw conclusions without facts.”

While there are many out there that have been told and “automatically believe that Christians operate by leap-of-faith technology alone. As His Ambassadors know, that is not hardly the case.

In fact, this is the assignment of every teacher and student of scripture, “Never draw conclusion before you have all the facts”. That being the case, Dr. Lizorkin poses an indirect challenge to the reader to examine their own approach to the studies of the scripture. “Are we in the habit of drawing conclusions based on a simple, literal or superficial reading of the scripture, without any consideration for the facts?”

Do we look for the facts in our investigation? Do we look beneath the surface or the letter of the word to see whether or not we are operating with what the author calls, “Deficient understandings?”

Lizorkin asks us to consider that there is a tendency for some to arrive at what he calls, “…automatic interpretations that reveal our preconditioning to our long history of interpretations. We think something is right, simply because that’s the way it’s always been taught. Therefore, we assume we absolutely learned everything correctly the first time. But did we? Did you? Dr. Lizorkin points to the danger of suffering an “…imposed theology based upon earlier, more ancient lines of thinking”. Are we missing some information? and if we are, are we willing to consider the facts or do we plant our feet in the mud and stay stuck, refusing instruction? (My words/questions not his).

There are constant daily examples of situations in which someone is observed rehearsing what others have told them or taught them about the scriptures, from the perspective of eisegesis and/or these “ancient lines of thinking” rather than peeling back the layers of the language, context, history, culture or times, etc., learning the coded messages embedded in the scriptures for themselves.

There are also two other terms we should look at that are found within Talmudic Principles:

De’oraita and de’rabanan. De’oraita refers to the traditions of GOD. De’rabanan refers to the traditions of man. It’s basically the same scenario. Do we hold fast to the traditions of man even in light of the fact that these traditions, are not in line with the traditions and the Word of GOD? Are our thoughts, ways, and traditions about the Word we preach, higher than the thoughts, ways and traditions of GOD? I think these are all good questions.

Lizorkin asks us to examine our current patterns of thought.

His book provides an opportunity to consider the patterns detected within our own thought processes and preconceived ideas through a wide variety of examples that he provides. But the questions each one of us must still ask ourselves is, “Have I critically questioned my patterns of thinking and how that applies to my understanding when it comes to scripture?” What could I be overlooking in the scriptures?

You Have a Blind Spot!

Every one of us is born with a scotomoa, a blind spot. There is a place within the visual field of each eye where there are no cones or rods in the optic disk, i.e., there is a lack of light-detecting photoreceptors.

No Light = No Image Detection.

No image detection means the brain fills in the gap, i.e., Blind Spot.

At all times, there is a dark spot between our eyes. We never see this dark spot, because the visual field between our eyes overlap and we fill in the gaps… Your brain fills in the gaps.

In my view, one of the most rewarding moments a teacher could possibly experience in teaching is when the students says, “I never saw that before, I never knew that before, or I never thought of it that way before.” For me, that’s what teaching the Word of GOD is all about, removing blind spots! Adding light, where there was no light.

Are You Nurturing Your Blind Spots?

A teacher of the WORD desires to remove the dark spots in the student’s field of vision by filling in the gaps with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Everything that the rod of GOD represents.

Lizorkin, Founder and Professor of Ancient Cultures at the Israel Bible Center, confirms these rewarding moments as he informs his readers of the discoveries that can emerge when we are willing to look at our blind spots!

We know for a fact as human beings we have a physiological blind spot and our brain compensates for it. How many blind spots might we have in the spirit? and what compensates for that? How do we overcome it?


Our primary objective in the study of the scriptures is to remove the scotomata, the blind spots that exist either from lack of study, lack of wisdom, lack of knowledge, lack of understanding, or lack of light.

If the situation exists in the natural, don’t’ you think it can also exist in the spirit?

As fearfully and wonderfully as we are made, let’s not discount the connection between the lack of light we know exist within our natural design and abilities, and the lack of light that can also exist within our spiritual sight and insight, which is just as real and evident.

Our brains help us to see by drawing conclusions based on the facts made visible from the light that we do receive. Think about that for a moment! The brain acts like a bridge between the eyes, compensating for what we cannot actually see because of this blind spot. By default, we automatically fill in the gaps so that we complete the picture of what we see, or think we see, and we move forward. We are quite the marvel of engineering and design!

There are several lessons here for us. Both within the message in the book and our physiological design. In terms of scripture, we do not have to just fill in the gaps and replace exegesis with eisegesis. We do not have to make something up or take leaps of faith because we have gaps in our knowledge or understanding of the Word. Prof. Lizorkin is showing us by an examination of scripture in his book that, filling in the gaps with what we think should be there, or what we think the scripture is saying, is not how we learn and grow in the Word of GOD. (Besides being unnecessary, it is conduct unbecoming for the disciples of Christ).

In the natural, our brains fill in the gaps based on what our minds expect to see, much like the “automatic interpretations” some defer to according to Lizorkin. We just come up with our own conclusions, much like the Inspector Lestrades’ of the world who twist the facts to fit their theories.

A Lifestyle of Study Fills in the Gaps!

Just like our brain help us to see, our spirit helps us to see as well! We have been given a gift called spiritual insight which is the bridge between what we cannot see and what is actually there. Spiritual insight is one of the key ingredients that fuels the light within us. It is enhanced by our dedication to, and the disciplines of service, selflessness, consecration, prayer and study. (Our Five Smooth Stones).

Prof. Eli Lizorkin offered a little light to help us bridge the gap between what we know and can see in the scriptures, and what we did not see and did not know. I hope you enjoyed this book and that you will join us for our next book club read coming April 12th.

We always have the option of study, to show ourselves approved!

Enjoy this Season of Study,

I hope you join us in the upcoming read in the Book Club. The Book Announcement will Post on April 12th.


The Jewish Gospel of John by Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

The book is a well-rounded verse-by-verse illustrated rethinking of the fourth gospel. Here is the catch: instead of reading it, as if it was written for 21 century Gentile Christians, the book interprets it as if it was written for the first-century peoples of ancient Israel. The book proves what Krister Stendahl stated a long time ago: “Our vision is often more abstracted by what we think we know than by our lack of knowledge.” Excerpt from description available on

I invite everyone to take this journey with us. It will reward you greatly as you expand your knowledge of teachings on this body of scripture.

The Book is available from many retailers and publishers as well as


Chofetz Chaim – A Lesson A Day

A torahisteaching Book Club Recommendation

The Power of Compassionate Speech!

In response to an excellent question, I am posting this book as my strongest recommendation that it be added to your library for anyone who wants to improve their ‘Power of Compassionate Speech!’ Along with the link for the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s website:

Training our tongue (which is all flesh) to cooperate with our spiritual desire to frame our words with kindness, justice and compassion – for starters… will result in far more improvements gained in our spiritual life, than we may have set out to accomplish!

This is very disciplined work for which a person must be “dedicated unto death” in order to achieve! Especially, if we should have the occasion to begin with a very stubborn little spirit.

This is what the Chofetz Chaim says, “Loshon hora is a weapon manufactured solely from words, yet the Torah considers the harm those words create to be massive. So sharp a wedge does loshon hora set between a Jew and Hashem, that it even deprives him of Divine assistance in a time of need…. Because people speak many times a day, every day of their lives, and most of what’s said appears to create no discernible consequences, it becomes easy to perceive speech as a relatively benign force.”

A few key points jump out at me here.

“Most of what’s said appears to create no discernible consequences

“…it becomes easy to perceive speech as a relatively benign force.”

This is so true, and so very destructive to our own souls. For the most part, we behave as if nothing is happening when we speak negatively or say some unkind, mean or horrible thing. The world never seems to end, and the sun still rises and sets. So it is very easy to deceive ourselves into believing that our speech is absolutely benign— having no force or effect.

On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be much going on at all. Yes, we may have hurt someones feelings, but they will get over it, right?

Yes, they might.

But we are left with a much greater problem than we can see in the natural.

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

Just as GOD’s Words live in and transform the atmosphere and us, possessing both spirit and life… We, being created in the image and likeness of GOD have to understand, that our words live in and transform the atmosphere and others, as well.

Your words are both spirit and life!

Your words have the ability to define and redefine reality. This is why our thoughts carry the same weight as our words.

Words can actually fly out of our mouths…words that we intentionally and/or unintentionally released, with or without cause. I am speaking from personal experience, so I am very familiar with the situation.

Guarding the tongue, is a full time occupation. One that requires a constant companion and mentor. The Chofetz Chaim can assist us with that, 179 days of the year, which is 6 months at a shot.

Prescription: Remain steadfast daily in prayer and take 1 brief page for a lesson a day, for 179 days (6 months).

You don’t have to be Jewish to benefit from the wisdom and daily reinforcement of good spiritual behavior and constant focus and repetition.

This Book is a Masterpiece! A torahisteaching Book Club Must Have!

If you do not own a copy, I strongly recommend it.

Thank You for Asking me about it my friend!

Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. Psalm 34:13-15 King David

Key Words:

  • Chofetz Chaim: seeker of life
  • shmiras haloshon – guarding the tongue

Related Blogs: