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Ki Savo - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)
The nation of Israel's purpose for being in the land of Israel is literally written on stone and made into an altar to G-d, designed to broadcast to the world that there is One G-d and that He is the Master of all creation.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Ki Seitzei - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)
Just as G-d's presence fills the world but G-d is not the world, so too, G-d's mercy fills creation but G-d can't be defined by His attribute of mercy. Some commandments, such as shiluach haken - the chasing away of the mother bird before taking her eggs or chicks - are expressions of G-d's mercy. Other commandments, such as the commandment to utterly destroy Amalek, come to show us that mercy alone cannot sustain the world, and that the revelation of G-d's mercy alone cannot define our commitment to perform His commandments.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Shoftim - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)
G-d promised the land of Israel to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, and He intends to keep His promise. All that He requires is that Israel shows courage in the face of implacable enemies far more numerous and seemingly far more powerful than she.

To help encourage and fortify Israel, G-d commands that a kohen (priest) from the Holy Temple, the abode of G-d's indwelling (Shechinah), will prepare Israel for battle only after rallying the nation, letting them know that G-d is leading them in battle, and weeding out individuals whose inability to focus on the holy task at hand might weaken the resolve of the others.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Re'eh - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)
Who is a prophet of the One True G-d? A fortune teller? A soothsayer? One who sees tomorrow's events today?

A rock star? A devastatingly clever pundit? A charismatic player with idolatry in his heart?

A prophet of the One True G-d of Israel is trained and disciplined, dedicated and devoted, a speaker of G-d's will exclusively, of one heart with G-d.

Beware the false prophet. G-d is testing you!

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Eikev - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)
G-d is uncompromising in His intention to bequeath the entire land of Israel to His beloved people Israel, the sons and daughters of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. But G-d is equally insistent and uncompromising in His intention that Israel not only fulfill G-d's Torah in the land of Israel, but that Israel conquer and inhabit the land without mercy or distraction. Fulfilling G-d's Torah in the land of Israel is literally Israel's raison d'etre, and Israel's only lasting claim on the land.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Va'eschanan - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)
Moshe beseeches G-d simply to be allowed into the land of Israel where he can see "this good mountain and the Lebanon," understood by our sages as referring to the mountain of Jerusalem and the cedars of Lebanon of the Holy Temple. When Moshe later states the Shema declaration of G-d's unity and absolute Oneness, it is with the same clarity of love and devotion that informed his prayer to see the Holy Temple.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Devarim - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)
How poignant, yet sweetly hopeful that this year the Torah reading of Devarim falls precisely on Tisha b'Av - the 9th of Av. On the very day of the destruction of the Holy Temple, Moshe rabbenu - Moses our master - speaks for the first time his own words of gentle rebuke. The failings of past generations become our own failings when we fail to correct them. Until we build the Holy Temple we are guilty of allowing its destruction.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Mattos-Masei - (Bamidbar/Numbers 30:2-36:13)
On the eve of their entry into the land of Israel, the children of Israel undergo intensive spiritual preparation in order to merit the settlement and occupation of the land set aside for them by G-d. Life inside the land of Israel is a reality unparalleled by life anywhere else on earth, and requires and integrity and sensitivity unmatched elsewhere. This is exemplified by the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest, whose life and spiritual rectitude is inexorably bound with the well-being of his brothers and sisters.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Pinchas - (Bamidbar/Numbers 25:10-30:1)
True Torah leadership, that which parashat Pinchas extols, serves the people by standing before G-d and seeking His council in leading the nation. All the players in this week's Torah reading, Pinchas, the daughters of Tzelaphchad, Moshe and Yehoshua, exhibit qualities of leadership, putting the people and G-d before themselves. The concluding mention of the Temple offerings, from the daily Tamid, to Rosh Chodesh, and including all the festivals and holy days, are a final message emphasizing the centrality of the Holy Temple to true leadership.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Balak - (Bamidbar/Numbers 22:2-25:9)
They struck terror in the hearts of Balak and Moav. They threatened to "lick up the earth like an ox licks up the green fields." Their very presence signified the end of the old order, their very existence augured a change in the way things are. Why? Because "they have covered the "eye" of the land, and they are stationed opposite me." Who is this frightful 'horde'? Meet the "assembly" of Israel, 'a people [that] has come out of Egypt!'

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Chukat - (Bamidbar/Numbers 19:1-22:1)
The red heifer is the symbol of the reality of life, as opposed to the illusion of death that can grip us and render us unfit to stand in the presence of the Shechinah which fills the Holy Temple and its courtyards. The lives of Moshe, Aharon and Miriam, whose deaths occur or are foretold in this week's parasha, are emblematic of the message of the red heifer, whose power transcends life and defies human comprehension.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Korach - (Bamidbar/Numbers 16:1-18:32)
Brilliant, wealthy, influential, and tasked with transporting the Ark of the Covenant, Korach had it all. But it wasn't enough. He wanted more. Korach wanted to usurp Moshe's leadership and he wanted to commandeer Aharon's role as Kohen Gadol. Like all who reach too far, Korach was ultimately buried by his own perfidy, avarice, and unbridled ambition.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Shelach - (Bamidbar/Numbers 13:1-15:41)
The generation of the desert paid a high price for their lack of belief in themselves, but received the sweetest and most profound affirmation of G-d's belief in them: the promise that their children will indeed enter the land, build the Holy Temple, and share time and space in the promised land and at the chosen place with the one true eternal G-d of Israel.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Beha'aloscha - (Bamidbar/Numbers 8:1-12:16)
Beha'alotcha and the art of complaining: The professional complainers in the desert turned complaining from a spontaneous response to discomfort into a premeditated attempt to change fate and flee from destiny, grumbling about everything from "my feet hurt" to 'I don't wanna eat my manna!'

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Nasso - (Bamidbar/Numbers 4:21-7:89)
Out in the desert the nation of Israel is instructed to set up her encampments around all four sides of the Tabernacle. This is not merely to provide equal access for all the tribes to the Tabernacle, nor is it merely for the purpose of defending the Tabernacle from outside threats, as essential as each of these things are. The Tabernacle was stationed at the heart of the nation so that the entire nation and all its individuals would embody its principle of holiness and embrace the challenge of making holy our lives even when outside the courtyards of the Holy Temple.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Bamidbar - (Bamidbar/Numbers 1:1-4:20)
G-d knows your name. He's got your number. Torah is His to share with you. All its paths lead to Him. And all you've got to do is ask? No! All you've got to do is dedicate your every moment to living a life of Torah, and He will open each and every door. It's your birthright. This is what we learn from parashat Bamidbar, the opening chapters of the book of Numbers, and this is the message of the holiday of Shavuot - coming up this week!

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Behar-Bechukosai - (Vayikra/Leviticus 25:1-27:34)
Equality, justice, freedom for all: these noble themes are all rooted in the recognition that G-d created the world and to G-d the world belongs. The shemittah sabbatical cycles and the Jubilee 'Sabbath of sabbatical years' which are prerequisites for dwelling in the land of Israel, are declarations that the land itself belongs, not to us, but to G-d. As tenants and caretakers we are equal to one another. Our recognition of G-d's exclusive ownership of the land of Israel is expressed in the Jubilee declaration of equality, justice, and freedom for all.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Emor - (Vayikra/Leviticus 21:1-24:23)
Holiness enters our life as a "still small voice" and will utterly transform every aspect of who we are and how we perceive and relate to the world around us, if only we allow that still small voice to to emerge and fill our reality.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Acharei Mot-Kedoshim - (Vayikra/Leviticus 16:1-20:27)
We merit to live in the land of Israel, promised by G-d to His people, because of the supreme sacrifice of those who defend the land, the people and the Torah of Israel with their lives. 'You shall be holy, for I, HaShem, your G-d, am holy.' (Lev. 19:2)

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Tazria-Metzora - (Vayikra/Leviticus 12:1-15:33)
A spiritual affliction with physical symptoms which occurred over a circumscribed time period thousands of years ago and was limited only to the land of Israel, tzarat is more relevant than ever today here in the land of Israel. Learning to accept and include, to share and to give, is the antidote to the root cause of tzarat, and the key to Israel's role as a light to the nations.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Shemini - (Vayikra/Leviticus 9:1-11:47)
Nadav and Avihu wanted to serve G-d in their own way, disregarding the way G-d wanted to be served, as clearly expressed in Torah. The sons of Aharon were righteous men and the arrogance they expressed is a failing common to many of even the most humble and dedicated observers of a Torah life. Critics and skeptics of the korbanot animal offerings in the Holy Temple service who question the place of korbanot in "today's world" are being motivated by the same tragic transposition of
G-d's will and man's will that befell Nadav and Avihu.

The recent korban Pesach (Passover offering) practice conducted by the Temple Institute provoked much consternation among some critics, but the onus of coming to grips with what Torah describes as "an eternal statute" rests with the critics and not with those seeking to perform a positive commandment central to the identity of Israel. Soul searching is called for.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Tzav - (Vayikra/Leviticus 6:1-8:36)
Confusion reigns in our modern world, and every aspect of modern society seems to feed on this confusion, fanning the flames of man's existential disconnect with his own true self. The Holy Temple, and more specifically, the offering of animals on the stone altar in the Holy Temple, is designed to banish man's confusion by compelling him to focus on who he is and to Whom he is answerable. Are we just a link on the food chain, or is our G-d given soul that which determines who we can be?

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Vayikra - (Vayikra/Leviticus 1:1-5:26)
The book of Leviticus is the very heart of the Torah, as it describes the intimate meeting of man and G-d in the courtyards and inner sanctums of the Holy Temple/Tabernacle. To meet and share the same "space" in creation with man was G-d's intention from even before the very beginning. The establishment of the Tabernacle and the initiation of the Divine service is the completion and perfection of creation.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Vayakhel-Pekudei - (Shemos/Exodus 35:1-40:38)
Painstakingly detailed, the concluding two parashot of the book of Exodus, Vayakhel-Pekudei is the Torah's testimony to G-d's love for Israel and His desire to rest His presence here on earth. The obsessive attention to every aspect of the Tabernacle and the vessels, from G-d's call to the generous of heart and the wise of heart to join together and build a Sanctuary, to the inventory of raw materials, the construction of the Tabernacle and the accounting for of every grain of gold and thread of purple, is G-d's way of telling us today, just as you did it then in the desert, you can do it here and now in Jerusalem.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Ki Sisa - (Shemos/Exodus 30:11-34:35)
Masks, veils, disguises, cover ups, concealment and camouflage: These are words associated with the Purim festival which we celebrate this week. But masks and camouflage also teach a profound lesson of attachment and separation from G-d in this week's Torah reading of Ki Tisa. From the Golden Calf mask of division to Moshe's veil of inclusion we can learn the proper way to conduct ourselves and worship G-d.

Happy Purim!

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Tetzaveh - (Shemos/Exodus 27:20-30:10)
Love and marriage: This is the story of the building of the Tabernacle in the desert. G-d so loved His people Israel that He could not bear to wait until they entered the land before they would build for Him a sanctuary. He ordered a temporary, portable sanctuary that would enable Him to dwell among Israel even during their forty year desert sojourn, so that they could begin at once their life together.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Terumah - (Shemos/Exodus 25:1-27:19)
The sublime beauty, limitless embrace and unifying power of the Tabernacle, and later the Holy Temple, are all contained within the first sacred vessel Israel was commanded to build: the Ark of the Covenant. Just 2.5 cubits long, 1.5 cubits wide, and 1.5 cubits high, made of acacia wood and gold, and constructed by the hands of man, the Ark nevertheless managed to straddle the expanse between our finite world and our endless source.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Mishpatim - (Shemos/Exodus 21:1-24:18)
Circle around G-d: Celebrate, honor and sanctify life by making Him your center. This is the message of Torah from Sinai, from the simplest of commandments to the joyful observance of the three pilgrimage festivals.

Note: Rabbi Richman is currently on a speaking tour in the USA. This video was originally posted in 2014.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Yisro - (Shemos/Exodus 18:1-20:23)
"I am HaShem your G-d." The first of the Ten Commandments instructs us to seek out G-d in our world. One such seeker was Yitro, a former idolater who overcame his doubts and recognized the one G-d, earning him the privilege of being forever associated with the receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Beshalach - (Shemos/Exodus 13:17-17:16)
The crossing of the Sea of Reeds on dry land celebrated by the children of Israel in the Song of the Sea, was not just a passage from slavery to freedom, it was a passage from the past to an ever approaching future. It was a revelation shared by all the children of Israel, a premonition and prophecy and proof of the future resurrection of the dead.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Bo - (Shemos/Exodus 10:1-13:16)
Time: Where does it come from? Where does it begin? Who determines time and what gift does time contain? 'This month shall be to you the head of the months; to you it shall be the first of the months of the year.' Exodus 12:2 marks the beginning of time, as G-d gives the power of time to the children of Israel, and with it, the gift of freedom.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Va'eira - (Shemos/Exodus 6:2-9:35)
The ten plagues that made G-d's name known in all the world happened many years ago in the land of Egypt. The process they began of bringing the knowledge of G-d's presence and power to all humankind for all generations continues till today. They resound and reverberate every time a Pharaoh arises and says "I do not know Hashem."

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Shemos - (Shemos/Exodus 1:1-6:1)
From the moment of his birth until he came of age, Moshe was nurtured, kept alive and cared for by women of undaunted courage and unshakable fear of G-d. Of these righteous women, none was more striking in her compassion and desire to do good than Bitya, the daughter of Pharaoh, who rescued Moshe, raised him and gave him the name for which he is known until today.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Vayechi - (Bereishis/Genesis 47:28-50:26)
On his deathbed Yaakov avinu (our father Jacob) maps out an end of days prophecy for the children of Israel, reserving a special place for Yehudah, from whose loins will emerge leaders and kings and a messiah who will bring all mankind to G-d and redemption to all mankind.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Vayigash - (Bereishis/Genesis 44:18-47:27)
Recognition and reconciliation. These two words are the key to parashat Vayigash and the key to the unity of Israel. We are all individuals and each one of us marches to a different drum, but it is the recognition of one another's worth that is the glue that binds Israel together. Together as one, the future is bright.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Mikeitz - (Bereishis/Genesis 41:1-44:17)
One Dream, One G-d, One Truth: How a young Hebrew, sold into slavery by his brothers, thought to be dead by his father, and thrown into prison a thousand miles from home, alone and unknown, was able to rise to the top of the Pharaonic ladder in Egypt, liberate the powerful potentate from the bondage of his own societal mindset, rescue the world from famine and reunite with his father and brothers.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Vayeishev - (Bereishis/Genesis 37:1-40:23)
The high drama of parashat Vayeshev comes to teach us two things, which are really only one: We must be ever ready to take upon ourselves the task that G-d has chosen for us, and our time on this earth is not for our own leisure, but to realize the role that G-d has intended for us.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Vayishlach - (Bereishis/Genesis 32:4-36:43)
Yaakov avinu's (our forefather Jacob's) midnight encounter with a mysterious angel: Who was this angel, what was his purpose, and by what name was he known? Yaakov overcomes the angel, and by doing so gains insight into all these questions. He also acquires for himself a new name, a new identity, and a new role to play in establishing the Divine presence here on this earth.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Vayeitzei - (Bereishis/Genesis 28:10-32:3)
Avraham saw his appointed meeting place with G-d as a distant and foreboding mountain, (Mount Moriah), and Yitzchak envisioned the Holy Temple to be a field, accessible and alive. But it was Yaakov who understood the Holy Temple to be a home, a nurturing, loving center in which G-d and all mankind can embrace.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Toldos - (Bereishis/Genesis 25:19-28:9)
Yitzchak avinu (Isaac our patriarch) was a man of vision blinded by the light of G-d's brilliant and hidden presence. He lived, he died, and he lived again to bless his son Yaakov, 'ish tam,' the perfectible man, with the task of bringing G-d's light into the world for all to perceive.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Chayei Sarah - (Bereishis/Genesis 23:1-25:18)
The purchase of the Machpelah cave by Avraham is the first of three incontestable acquisitions of the land of Israel that the holy Torah testifies to. The others are Kever Yosef, the tomb of Yosef, built upon land purchased by our patriarch Yaakov, and the threshing floor of Arvona, purchased by King David, upon which was built the Holy Temple. It is these three places precisely that our enemies currently seek to steal from Israel, using lies and deceptions, knowing full well that these three places are the three pillars upon which the world stands and the three foundation stones upon which Israel's settlement of the land rests firmly and eternally.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Vayeira - (Bereishis/Genesis 18:1-22:24)
Avraham's final test was not just the binding of Yitzchak, but no less crucially, the finding of the 'place' where G-d directed him to do so. For only in this place, the place where man was created, the place of the altar of the Holy Temple, could the binding of Yitzchak be fulfilled and its significance resonate throughout the ages. The journey to the "land of Moriah" was a journey to the true self of man.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Lech Lecha - (Bereishis/Genesis 12:1-17:27)
Avraham avinu (our father Abraham), sought G-d and loved G-d. G-d called to Avraham to leave all behind and journey to a land G-d would bequeath to Avraham's as yet unborn children. Avraham's understanding that the world has a Master and that He rules His world with love and with justice informs Avraham's children to this day.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Bereishis/Noach - (Bereishis/Genesis 1:1-11:32)
Before the beginning, before the heavens and the earth, before darkness and light, night and day, the stars and illuminations, the creatures of the sea, the crawling things, the birds or the beasts... even before the first Shabbat - G-d laid out the primordial foundations for His relationship with man. It is upon these unshakable foundations that all creation is built.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.


Festival of Sukkot 5775
Our yearly rendezvous with G-d, which began in the month of Av, built up steam throughout the month of Elul, left us reeling and breathless from Rosh HaShana and literally out of this world on Yom Kippur, now places us in the only place possible for us to be in our heightened state of close proximity to G-d: in our Sukkot booths. These temporary dwellings are like our own personal Holy of Holies - beyond time and space - a heavenly embrace - seven perfect days.

by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.



 


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