Ari Lamm Profile picture
Host of Good Faith Effort, a podcast on the Bible and society @gfaitheffort. Co-Founder, @soulshopstudios. CEO, Bnai Zion. I read the Bible in Hebrew.
John Smith⚛ (ananthropocentric purposivism) 🌎 Profile picture Listo Lyman ( Dude/Duder/El Duderino) Profile picture canon glenn e davis Profile picture Randy Hickey Profile picture Didier J. Allende ❤️‍🔥 ن ☧ 🇵🇾 Profile picture 25 subscribed
May 17 21 tweets 7 min read
Why Read the Bible in Hebrew?

In the Bible, Noah's nudity is a consequence of drunkenness—a thing two of his sons need to shield from the gaze of the third (Gen 9)

So why, in the Sistine Chapel, does Michelangelo paint them ALL naked?

A thread (for non-Hebrew readers too!)🧵 Image Maybe the answer lies in Michelangelo's reverence for classical artistic ideas about the human body. The Sistine Chapel's ceiling and altar wall, after all, are positively saturated with nakedness...prompting Pope Adrian VI to refer to the chapel as "a bathroom full of nudes". 2 Image
Sep 22, 2023 47 tweets 13 min read
Why Read The Bible In Hebrew?

Ever wondered why the Bible spends so much time mentioning tons of names? All those "begats"?

What if I told you reading those names in Hebrew can hold the key to understanding entire Biblical stories?

A thread (for non-Hebrew readers too!) 🧵1 Image Let's look at the Book of Genesis. It starts off with some crazy amazing set pieces: Creation! Garden of Eden! The first sin! Murder! And tons more action is still to come (The Flood! Tower of Babel!).

But smack in the middle, in Genesis 4-5, is a boring list of names. Why?! 2 Image
Aug 18, 2023 50 tweets 13 min read
Why Read the Bible in Hebrew?

Let's talk about one of the most common questions I get about the Bible: Why does God care about a particular land?

If God is everywhere and created the whole world, why is there a "holy land"?

A thread (for non-Hebrew readers too!) 🧵 1 Image The best way to answer the question is to look out for the very first time that the land appears in the Bible. And that brings us to Genesis 12.

God tells Abram: "Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land (eretz) that I will show you" (12:1). 2 Image
Jul 28, 2023 9 tweets 3 min read
Here’s a video going around that moved me to tears:

A bunch of kids gathered yesterday to sing in Hebrew around some arch. “Who cares?”, you might ask.

Well, that’s the Arch of Titus in Rome

And yesterday was the anniversary of the events it was constructed to commemorate. 🧵 The Arch of Titus was built by the Roman emperor Domitian to honor his older brother and predecessor, Titus.

It portrays the central achievement of Titus’s life—his suppression of the 1st century Jewish revolt against Rome, and his destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem. 2 Image
Jun 16, 2023 46 tweets 12 min read
Why Read The Bible In Hebrew?

Let's talk about the most famous murder in human history—the story of Cain and Abel.

In order to understand it, we'll need to unpack one of the most mysterious words in the entire Bible.

A thread (for non-Hebrew readers too!) 🧵 1 Image Just a refresher:

We have two brothers—Cain, the older, and Abel, the younger. They each bring an offering to God.

But while Abel brings his best stuff, Cain does not. And when God favors Abel's, Cain gets jealous and kills his brother. He tries and fails to hide his crime. 2 Image
Apr 3, 2023 5 tweets 1 min read
Preparing a shiur on the impact of Jewish scholarship on the debate over Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

Convinced that literally no one has yet appreciated the importance of the fact that Henry's most crucial Jewish source was...a grandson of the Maharik! Scholars have noted the genealogical connection as a curiosity and moved on. No one really makes a thing out of it.
Mar 24, 2023 20 tweets 6 min read
Compare Abraham and Sarah's expulsion from Egypt...

"And they sent away [va'yeshalechu] him and his wife and all that he had"

...with Adam and Eve's expulsion from Eden:

"The Lord God sent them away [va'yeshalechehu] till the ground from which they were taken."

Short 🧵 This is part of a larger theory I have about the Bible directly modeling Abraham's origins in God's land upon humanity's origins in God's creation. But we'll save that for a longer thread.

For now, just note the parallels between the Eden (Gen 1-2) and Egypt (Gen 12) stories! 2
Feb 10, 2023 19 tweets 6 min read
Bob Dylan is one of the most celebrated artists in the history of popular music.

He was also an incredibly perceptive reader of the Bible.

A 🧵 of Dylan's 5 best uses of the Bible: 1. Talkin’ World War III Blues

Dylan's describing a post-apocalyptic dreamworld in which cynicism and suspicion rule. The world's been bombed back to pre-Creation chaos.

For Dylan, the question humanity faces at that point is: should we try again?
Feb 3, 2023 51 tweets 13 min read
Why Read The Bible In Hebrew?

Let's talk about one of the most iconic villains in world history—the Serpent from the Book of Genesis.

Why exactly was the Serpent out to get Adam and Eve?

A thread (for non-Hebrew readers too!) 🧵 1 I know what you're gonna ask. Isn't the serpent just Satan—or the inclination to do evil—given flesh?

I do think there's truth to this!


The Bible doesn't say this. In the text itself, the snake is just...a snake. So why does it bother trying to get Adam and Eve to sin? 2
Dec 9, 2022 19 tweets 15 min read
Why Read The Bible In Hebrew?

Let's do a thread on Noah's Ark, unpacking this important @elonmusk tweet.

A thread (for non-Hebrew readers too!) 🧵 1 @elonmusk Everyone knows the story:

God brings a mighty flood to punish humanity's corruption. He then recreates the world through Noah, whose family God preserved—along with all the animals—by having them ride out the flood on a massive ark. 2
Dec 2, 2022 37 tweets 9 min read
Why Read The Bible In Hebrew?

Let's talk about the most important work of political philosophy you've never considered:

The Book of Leviticus.

A thread (for non-Hebrew readers too!) 🧵 1 If you pop open Leviticus for a second, you'll see that the whole fourth chapter is about what happens when a person—or even all of society—commits a sin.

We'll get into the details in a bit...but the short of it is: if you sin, you need to offer a sacrifice in the Temple. 2
Nov 30, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
New @gfaitheffort episode out with Rabbi David Fohrman, one of the best contemporary readers of the Bible!

This was like 10 different “Why Read The Bible In Hebrew?” threads packed into a single episode.

Too much to even summarize, just give it a listen!… Here’s a fact: I do these episodes to make my dad proud, and if the rest of you like them that’s just house money ❤️❤️❤️
Nov 1, 2022 9 tweets 2 min read
Can the Book of Leviticus make for great art?

A short 🧵 on George Herbert (1593-1633), perhaps the finest English poet to grapple with Leviticus and its themes. /1 Herbert was a rare genius and a deeply pious man. He was also extraordinarily accomplished for a man who died at 39.

Among the best-known—along with John Donne—of the so-called metaphysical poets, Herbert's work found deep beauty in the power of mundane ritual. /2
Sep 13, 2022 8 tweets 6 min read
@mattyglesias @ArminRosen @StevenGlinert ...And this is even leaving aside the annoying pseudo-literate take on Hasidism as so modern and novel it's basically like an Orthodox version of Reform Judaism.

I mean, sure, Hasidism is revolutionary...but not in the way you all mean, sorry. 29 @mattyglesias @ArminRosen @StevenGlinert But that actually brings me to my closing thought:

This whole episode has, most of all, been deeply depressing to me on several levels.

First, of course, I'm sad for kids (and parents!) whose schools don't give them the basic skills they deserve. 30
Sep 13, 2022 35 tweets 17 min read
A thread of still-evolving thoughts in response to the NY Times report on Hasidic schools: 1… Some initial throat-clearing:

I'm an Orthodox Jew. While I'm what you might call Modern Orthodox (a term I don't like, nor did my grandfather who might be the best known thinker nevertheless associated with it), I see Hasidic Jews as part of the "us" to which I also belong. 2
Sep 9, 2022 47 tweets 11 min read
Why Read The Bible In Hebrew?

Let's talk about the most important figures *in history* for understanding the rise of monarchy—the prophet Samuel, King Saul...and of course, King David.

Why did Saul fail, but Samuel and David succeed?

A thread (for non-Hebrew readers too!) 🧵 1 Image Monarchy is on the mind, of course, as our friends across the pond mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

Now you might assume we Americans, by contrast, wouldn't have much to say about monarchy. The American Revolution and all that...

You would, however, be wrong. 2 Image
Aug 22, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
“How do I learn Biblical Hebrew?”

Well, the awesome folks at @biblingoapp said I can give one of my followers a free 1-year subscription for learning Hebrew!!!

If you want it, like and retweet with your favorite Hebrew Bible verse (any translation works 😉) We’ll pick our fave! So many good ones so far! I love it, keep ‘em coming!

Gonna pick a winner this evening so get your verse in! ❤️❤️❤️
Aug 19, 2022 49 tweets 13 min read
Why Read The Bible In Hebrew?

Let's talk about one of the most influential stories *ever* for thinking about the nature of human progress—the Tower of Babel.

What exactly did Babel's builders do wrong?

A thread (for non-Hebrew readers too!) 🧵 1 It's hard to overstate the historic importance of the Babel narrative.

Great thinkers from antiquity to this very day have drawn upon it to explore everything from the temptations of hubris, to the promise and perils of technological innovation, to political polarization. 2
Aug 17, 2022 14 tweets 6 min read
A 🧵 on John Donne, the Tower of Babel and the Scientific Revolution

In "The Second Anniversary", Donne wrote:

"They who did labour Babel's tower to 'erect
Might have considered, that for that effect,
All this whole solid Earth could not allow
Nor furnish forth materials enow" Donne composed these verses amid the 17th cent. explosion of scientific knowledge—the outset of what we now call the Scientific Revolution. He himself was an early adopter of Copernican ideas...but also insisted on considering what hubris our newfound prowess might instill in us.
Aug 4, 2022 8 tweets 2 min read
Genesis 22 tells the story of the Binding of Isaac—one of the most dramatic narratives in the history of civilization.

So why does the story end with the most dry, boring genealogy for the family of…Nahor, Abraham’s brother?

A short thread 🧵 Image Answer: it enhances the emotional, spiritual stakes of the story. Consider:

Abraham passed God’s test—an immense achievement of obedience and faith—but his relationship with Isaac was never the same afterwards. In fact, the Bible never records the two speaking again after Gen 22
Jul 22, 2022 41 tweets 8 min read
Time for a new "Why Read The Bible in Hebrew?"

...about the most famous phrase in American history: "Four score and seven years ago..."

You can't truly appreciate it without understanding the Hebrew calendar of the Bible.

A thread (for non-Hebrew readers too!) 🧵 1 Remember the opening line of the Gettysburg Address? It's so majestic:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

It's also...weird! 2