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Mishpatim - (Shemos/Exodus 21:1-24:18)
We can liberate ourselves by recognizing that G-d is all there is and that all the world belongs to Him. The lofty ideals and transcendent experience of the Sinai revelation need to be translated into action and transformed into a "G-d conscious consciousness" that informs and animates our every thought and deed.

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


Yisro - (Shemos/Exodus 18:1-20:23)
The encounter at Sinai between man and G-d, the giving and receiving of Torah, the welcoming of Israel into G-d's world and the welcoming of G-d into our world, this is what G-d had in mind, this is what He intended and this is why He created the world all those many years ago. From this moment on Israel has a mission: To share G-d's Torah and the knowledge of His Oneness with all the world.

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


Beshalach - (Shemos/Exodus 13:17-17:16)
Post-parting of the Sea of Reeds depression nags the children of Israel, as they question whether G-d is still with them, just days after the greatest miracle in history leaves them giddy with prophecy. The cure, they learn, is not in the reliving of past heights, but in embracing the day, with all its bitter-sweet reality.

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


Bo - (Shemos/Exodus 10:1-13:16)
The ability to renew ourselves is hard-wired into our being. It is the active ingredient of our "Tzelem Elokim" - the Divine image in which we are created. This same ability for self-renewal is built into the universe and is reflected in the renewal of the moon every lunar cycle. When G-d presented to Israel the tracking and determining of the new moon each month as Israel's first commandment to perform as a new nation still in Egypt, He was hard-wiring the propensity for self-renewal into the DNA of the national character of Israel. Israel's monthly celebration of renewal will be shared with all the nations in the rebuilt Holy Temple.

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


Va'eira - (Shemos/Exodus 6:2-9:35)
"Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better!" Thus spoke Pharaoh to Moses. "I Can Do Anything Better Than You!" Thus spoke Pharaoh to the G-d of the Hebrews. Moses held the staff of HaShem. Pharaoh had necromancers and soothsayers, magicians, wizards and spell-for-hire sorcerers. But you don't need sleight-of-hand when G-d's will runs through your veins.

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


Shemos - (Shemos/Exodus 1:1-6:1)
In the darkest depths of the Egyptian exile, Torah introduces us to a ray of redemptive light by the name of Moshe (Moses). Even though Moshe the prophet and servant of G-d will accompany us throughout the entirety of the next four of the five books of Torah, the Torah divulges precious little information about Moshe. But what it does provide is all we need to know, not only about Moshe, but also about our own potential role in the redemptive process of Israel.

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


Vayechi - (Bereishis/Genesis 47:28-50:26)
The righteous Yosef was the right person in the right place at the right time. Not only did he masterfully negotiate all the setbacks and challenges that came his way, and not only did he rise to a position of power and leadership in Egypt, saving not only Egypt, but all of humanity from a deadly famine, but his adherence to modest behavior and speech, and his love for his father and loyalty to his brothers would prove to be the road-map to surviving and ultimately emerging victorious from the approaching exile.

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


Vayigash - (Bereishis/Genesis 44:18-30)
The most compelling story ever told, the saga of Yosef and his brothers spans the generations. Its drama, its pathos and its tenderness not only speak to us, but it speaks about us. The story of estrangement and reunion, of coming clean and making amends is our story. "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers also to dwell together!" (Psalms 133:1)

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


Mikeitz - (Bereishis/Genesis 41:1-44:17)
The Chanukah connection: 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)
"Hineni - Here I am!" - without question or condition, full of readiness for self sacrifice, to go beyond the call of duty, to perform the word of HaShem. This is the response of Yosef to Yaakov's instruction to him to seek out his brothers in Shechem, and this guileless willingness to throw himself whole heartedly and without reservation into G-d's great plan for mankind in order to do his part - this is what distinguishes Yosef from his brothers at the outset of Vayeshev, and this is what propels him to a position of great prominence and power in the land of Egypt and the royal court of Pharaoh.

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)
Believing is seeing: seeing G-d's presence in the world, in sickness and in health, (the opening verses of Vayera), in the good and the bad, (the destruction of Sodom), and even when G-d seems to place an impossible task before us, (the binding of Yitzchak). Avraham's open-eyed faith in G-d led him to Mount Moriah, the place of the future Holy Temple, the place Avraham named "'HaShem will see,' as it is said to this day: On the mountain, 'HaShem will be seen.'" (Genesis 22:14)

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)
A generation so evil, so corrupt, decadent, violent, so self centered that G-d, Who created and loved their forefather Adam, could not suffer their depravity and swore their utter destruction. This is the generation of the flood, the generation of Noach.

Fast forward five thousand years to the present and you will witness a generation every bit as iniquitous as that of Noach. Is man preparing his own extinction? Where is today's ark that will rescue the righteous?

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


Bereishis - (Bereishis/Genesis 1:1-6:8)
The yearly cycle of reading the Torah, which concludes and then begins again on Simchat Torah, is a never-ending mobius strip of ever increasing self knowledge and exploration. The Torah's concluding words, "before the eyes of all Israel," point to an incident which occurred midway through the Torah narrative, one in which Moshe's laser-sharp response to a gathering spiritual crisis changed everything in life since then, enabling us to begin the adventure of Torah anew each year, with new eyes and pure hearts.

May G-d inscribe us all in the Book of Life and bless us all with a good and sweet new year!

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



 


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