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Pesach
The Passover Seder and holiday is a beautiful remembrance of the miracles G-d performed for us in Egypt and a warm and joyous time for families to get together and give thanks to G-d. But the central and most essential part of the holiday has been missing for two thousand years: the Passover offering itself. The very act of performing the offering is an act of defiant independence, a strike for freedom from the idolatries that lead us from our true purpose: making way for G-d in our world. Chag Pesach Kasher veSameach: A happy Passover to all!

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


Metzora - (Vayikra/Leviticus 14:1-15:33)
Thinking proper thoughts, intending proper intentions, effects every molecule of the environment in which we live, at least here in the land of Israel. With pure and proper intentions we can imbue our physical world with the Holy Shechinah of HaShem.

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


Tazria - (Vayikra/Leviticus 12:1-13:59)
If parashat Shmini comes to tell us that we are what we eat, then parashat Tazria tells us that our fate will follow what comes out of our mouth. Nega Tzarat, the spiritual affliction described in this week's Torah reading affects people guilty of evil-speech, slander and conceit. Words intended to isolate and repudiate others cause the bearer of those words to find themselves isolated and ostracized.

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


Shemini - (Vayikra/Leviticus 9:1-11:47)
"You are what you eat." This modern catchphrase finds its most perfect expression in the concluding verses of parashat Shmini: "For I am the Lord your G-d, and you shall sanctify yourselves and be holy, because I am holy." (Lev. 11:44) This is the only reason offered for the long list of living creatures that we can and can't eat that precedes it. We can bring a taste of the Holy Temple to our own tables by regarding every morsel we place within our mouths as no less real than an offering upon the altar.

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)
From the moment of creation it has been leading up to this: The "face to face" reunion of man and G-d in the intimacy of the Tabernacle. But, jaded by lifetimes of exile and wandering, we are required to re-attain the purity and guileless innocence of untainted youth. If you are brave enough to shed off some layers of cynicism and skepticism and are ready to take on the you you were meant to be, the book of Leviticus is the perfect place to rediscover the original self you left behind long ago.

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


Pekudei - (Shemos/Exodus 38:21-40:38)
Welcoming G-d into our neighborhood and making this world a better place - this is the simple yet profound reason Israel has been commanded to build for G-d a Sanctuary on this earth. Israel is a nation whose destiny is to live and act in G-d consciousness, thereby uplifting man and perfecting G-d's creation.

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


Vayakhel - (Shemos/Exodus 35:1-38:20)
Within two days only Israel brought to Moshe all the gold and silver and copper and blue techelet and purple argaman and crimson shani and goat skins and tachash skins and precious stones needed to make the Tabernacle, all its vessels and the priestly garments. Giving hearts brought all this to the wise hearts who fashioned from these raw materials the Tabernacle, all its vessels and the priestly garments. Nothing can stand between Israel and G-d and the Holy Temple if wise and giving hearts are willing.

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


Ki Sisa - (Shemos/Exodus 30:11-34:35)
That the incident of the golden calf was a mega-debacle is beyond the shadow of a doubt. But what was it all about? What was the sin? Who was behind it? Why did G-d swear Israel's destruction, then back off? Why did G-d "go easy" concerning the sin of the golden calf, in contrast to the sin of the spies, in which G-d condemned an entire generation to death in the wilderness? Why do our sages say the sin of the golden calf recurs in every generation, and why is Israel poised today to put an end for once and for all to this enduring snare? The answers to all these questions, and more, found within.

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)
G-d's plan for mankind: Raising up the world via the reality of the Holy Temple.

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.

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


Yisro - (Shemos/Exodus 18:1-20:23)
Who was Moshe, the "man of G-d?" Agitator for justice, freedom fighter, radical activist who led his people out of Egypt, Moshe is called to the mountain to "ascend to G-d." He attained a level of G-d awareness unattained by any other before or since, and at Sinai elevated the entire nation with him.

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


Beshalach - (Shemos/Exodus 13:17-17:16)
Bread from heaven: What a beautiful way for G-d to show His people how much He loves them! The manna which sustained Israel for forty years in the desert was replaced upon entering the land by bread which sprouts from the earth, a process no less miraculous than manna, and an expression no less poignant of G-d's love for Israel.

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


Bo - (Shemos/Exodus 10:1-13:16)
Are you afraid of the dark? Take comfort, fear of darkness afflicts many. But what if you are afraid of the light? The darkness that enveloped Pharaoh and his Egyptian subjects in the penultimate of the ten plagues was nothing more nor less than their all-consuming fear of the light of G-d's truth.

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


Va'eira - (Shemos/Exodus 6:2-9:35)
The multifaceted message of the ten plagues was to drive home the truth that there is but one G-d in the world, that He is concerned with every facet of His creation, and that He is the master of all that he has created. All the Pharaohs in the world can't hold a candle to G-d's great light.

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


Shemos - (Shemos/Exodus 1:1-6:1)
The book of Exodus is called in Hebrew the book of Names, (Shemot). Why? What's in a name and why does Torah repeat the names of the seventy souls of Israel who descended into Egypt when their names were already mentioned earlier in the book of Genesis? Torah has come to teach us a deep and essential lesson in self-knowledge.

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


Vayechi - (Bereishis/Genesis 47:28-50:26)
When Yaakov was reunited with his beloved son Yosef, he understood it as the confirmation of G-d's Oneness, and recited the Shema proclamation of G-d's unity. His twelve sons would later reconfirm G-d's Oneness by reciting the Shema, as Yaakov prepared to reveal to them his vision of the end of days. By this very affirmation of G-d's Oneness in our world, Yaakov fulfills the promise of his other name, Yisrael, and his children, throughout the generations, fulfill their role as witnesses to G-d's abiding and eternal unity.

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


Vayigash - (Bereishis/Genesis 45:28-46:7)
The seismic shocks, the tectonic rumblings, the pulsating magnetic fields could all be felt from one end of creation to the next when Yehudah drew near to Yosef in their battle for custody of Binyamin. Neither brother was willing to abandon Binyamin and that's what G-d wanted to know! When Yosef revealed his true identity to Yehudah and the others, they all realized that they could lay down their arms: It was all in G-d's hands!

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


Vayeishev - (Bereishis/Genesis 37:1-40:23)
Have you ever felt utterly and completely alone? Yosef must have. He was separated from his loving father and his brothers wanted to kill him. Ultimately he was thrown in a pit filled with scorpions and snakes and then sold to some passing Ishmaelites, who in turn sold him into slavery. Yet we're never alone, and if our hearts are turned to G-d, we will identify His fingerprint upon our lives.

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)
The classic tale of deception and intrigue. But who is deceiving who? and who is really being fooled? Ya'akov dons precious garments and goat skins, but by doing so is he deceiving his father Yitzchak, or is he opening Yitzchak's eyes for the first time to a lifetime of deception he has suffered at the hands of Esau, the real master of the bluff?

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


Chayei Sarah - (Bereishis/Genesis 23:1-25:18)
"The life of Sara" teaches us that through their deeds the righteous live on even after their bodies are interred in the ground. The first person to be mourned, wept for and eulogized in Torah, Sara's death and burial in the Machpelah cave of Hevron established Israel's permanent presence in the land of Israel.

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


Vayeira - (Bereishis/Genesis 18:1-22:24)
Every newborn baby is a miracle. Yet the birth of Yitzchak, (Isaac), defied all the rules of reason and biology. Rather than bow their heads in awe of the enormity of the miracle that G-d wrought, the pundits and gadflies of the day cast doubt upon the veracity of Yitzchak's origins. Fast-forward to today, replace "Yitzchak" with "the state of Israel" and gain some insight into Israel's contemporary denigrators and their pathetic denial of truth and reality.

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


Lech Lecha - (Bereishis/Genesis 12:1-17:27)
To bless and to be a blessing: When G-d told Avraham to leave all he knew and go to Canaan, it was for much more than simply Avraham staking out his future progeny's claim to the land of Israel. It was so that Avraham could be a conduit and a portal for G-d's blessings for the family of man.

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


Bereishis/Noach - (Bereishis/Genesis 1:1-11:32)
In this epic teaching of the opening two parashot of the book of Genesis, B'reishith and Noach, Rabbi Richman reveals what went wrong with a world so perfectly created that G-d Himself declared "It was very good," and how that world, within a span of ten generations descended into a miasma of human depravity, and the role that water played in the creation of the world, in the punishment of the wicked and in the redemption of the pure at heart.

What was King David's connection to the hidden waters of the tahom - תהןם - buried deep within the bowels of the earth, what is the role that these hidden waters will play in the future redemption of all mankind, and how is this redemptive process presaged and choreographed in the awesome celebration of the Water Libation enacted each day of the Sukkot pilgrimage festival in the Holy Temple?

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


Sukkot Building Special, Part 1, 2 & 3
There is no time better spent than the time we spend in the sukkah, and this remarkable spiritual odyssey begins with the building of the sukkah. Join Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven as they build their classic Jerusalem sukkah. Along the way the Rabbi shares his pearls of Torah wisdom. Chock-full of adventure, breathtaking insights, and occasional mishap, you will not want to miss a minute of this timeless documentary. Truly a must-see!

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


Yom Kippur 5774: The Power to Change
Man has the ability to loose the bonds of time and change his past, his present and his future! The gift of teshuva - repentance - and the blessing of atonement - given by G-d to man, liberate us from our own self imposed shackles and enable us to return to our true selves and better serve G-d. Gmar Chatima Tova - May We be Sealed in the Book of Life!

Gmar chatima tova - May we inscribe ourselves in the Book of Life!

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



 


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