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Vayechi - (Bereishis/Genesis 47:28-50:26)
Sometimes G-d speaks to us in the thunder, sometimes in a 'still small voice.' Sometimes G-d blesses us with the answer we are seeking in a panic-filled nano-second of darkness and disconnect, and sometimes G-d answers us through the united hearts and voice of our children.

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


Vayigash - (Bereishis/Genesis 44:18-47:27)
To be in the moment, to live life in its fullest at any given moment one must recognize G-d's presence in every moment. When Yosef and Binyamin wept on one another's necks they were living in the moment with G-d, even as their thoughts were traversing the generations.

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


Mikeitz - (Bereishis/Genesis 41:1-44:17)
Yosef wasn't a saint who was immune to the same temptations that we all struggle with. He was, however, a tzadik - a righteous man - who was able to overcome his own potential for downfall by staying focused on who he was - a son of the Hebrews - and the plan that G-d had assigned him to fulfill in life.

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


Vayeishev - (Bereishis/Genesis 37:1-40:23)
Yosef inherited his father's spiritual make-up and also possessed the physical presence to stand up to and defeat the way of Esau and his descendants, being the living 'flame' to Esau's 'stubble.' Yosef's spiritual flame is the very flame that kindles the Chanukah lights which drive out the darkness of Yavan!

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


Vayishlach - (Bereishis/Genesis 32:4-36:43)
When Yaakov is about to reenter into the land of Israel he has a nighttime encounter with a mysterious stranger, an angel to be precise, whose identity is shrouded in the very dust their struggle kicks up. But it is not the identity of the angel that we need to know, but the identity of Yaakov/Yisrael, that is of import to us, and our own identities, in the light of his eternal wrestlings with G-d and man: "Your name shall no longer be called Yaakov, but Israel, because you have commanding power with- G-d and with men, and you have prevailed."

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


Vayeitzei - (Bereishis/Genesis 28:10-32:3)
Why was it so urgent for Yaakov to stop at that specific place at that specific moment as he was fleeing from his brother's murderous wrath? Why did G-d warp time and space to make it happen? What happens when our path intersects with G-d's will?

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


Toldos - (Bereishis/Genesis 25:19-28:9)
The struggle between Yaakov and Esav, which began whilst still in the womb, is an eternal struggle between two nations, between goodness and evil, between light and darkness, between a nation that is open to G-d's truth and lives by and teaches that truth, and a nation willing to stoop to whatever subterranean level necessary to deny that truth and prevent its recognition in this world. The festival of Chanukah, which occurs later in this new month of Kislev, celebrates an essential victory of good over evil in this generational struggle.

Even within our own selves this battle is fought, and material temptations constantly arise, attempting to deter us from assuming our responsibility as the children of G-d.

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


Chayei Sarah - (Bereishis/Genesis 23:1-25:18)
Old age, the blessing of wisdom conferred upon one who has lived his life with love and kindness towards others, a true recognition of G-d's presence in the world, is a gift for all of us to acquire, thanks to Avraham, who beseeched G-d to grant him old age and the wisdom to recognize the sublime beauty with which his beloved wife Sara lived her life.

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


Vayeira - (Bereishis/Genesis 18:1-22:24)
Avraham dedicated his entire life to sharing the good news that there is One G-d in the world, and that all we have comes from Him. Avraham sought out wayfarers and passers-by, invited them in, showered them with kindness and insisted that his guests give thanks only to G-d, Creator of the world.

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


Lech Lecha - (Bereishis/Genesis 12:1-17:27)
Avraham wasn't just the biological ancestor of the nation of Israel. He wasn't merely a migrant seeking a new land. And his name wasn't simply chosen out of a hat by G-d to receive the commandment of lech lecha - "go for yourself" - on a journey. Avraham was the world's first and greatest iconoclast and revolutionary, completely upending the way things were and introducing a new, and an ever new and ever renewing way of understanding and living life with the intimate knowledge of and personal acquaintance with the One G-d.

Avraham sought G-d, and G-d took him in: into the land, into G-d's covenant, and into G-d's heart.

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


Noach - (Bereishis/Genesis 6:9-11:32)
"Noach was a righteous man he was perfect in his generations... " Much ink has been spilled over the centuries trying to determine what Torah really intended by that qualifying phrase, "in his generations." An expression of praise? Derision? Perhaps it meant just what it said, no more, no less: Noach was a righteous giant, the right man at the right time, true to his own potential, worthy of G-d's affection, the rescuer of all flesh, and the father of all who have followed.

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


Bereishis - (Bereishis/Genesis 1:1-6:8)
Do you believe that G-d created the world? If you do, then this points to something much more significant: You believe in yourself, your importance to the G-d who created you, and your responsibility to conduct your life in accordance to the spark of the Divine with which G-d has entrusted you.

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



 


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