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Nitzvaim-Vayeilech - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30)
In this week's parasha the children of Israel are about to enter into a covenant with Hashem, and we are today about to enter into the new year of 5775. The same challenge that stood before Israel as she stood poised to enter the land, stands before us today. We must stand strong in the face of the evil and death that encompasses us all around, and be poised and ready to take a stand and to act for good and life and blessing in the world. Building the Holy Temple, a source of light and blessing and a bulwark against the curse of darkness is this generation's challenge and responsibility. We must stand together as one and build! Shana Tova!

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


Ki Savo - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)
The good, the bad and the blessing. It's all here in parashat Ki Tavo. From the sublime perfect moment of being alive in G-d's Holy Temple, first-fruits in hand, heart overflowing with joy and gratitude, declaring our recognition of G-d's hand in every thing we do and every soul we touch, to the nightmare wasteland of the admonitions. Joy, community, thankfulness? Helplessness, despair, isolation? The choice is ours.

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


Ki Seitzei - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)
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 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)
The great concern Torah evinces for an unsolved murder, as in the case of the 'axed calf' is a harsh contrast to the laws of warfare which precede it and call upon all Israelite warriors to be fearless and merciless when fighting a divinely mandated war. Yet there is no contradiction between these seemingly disparate commandments. On the contrary, it is because Torah holds up and sanctifies the life of every individual that we must be unsparing when fighting enemies who seek our destruction.

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


Re'eh - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)
Who is that false prophet that Torah warns us against? How can he perform wonders if he is false, and if he is false why does he appear? Why does G-d empower him to perform wonders, if not to ensnare Israel? There are many false prophets today in the business of making false promises promising peace and prosperity if only Israel will turn her back on G-d's Torah. We have been warned!

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


Eikev - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)
The land of Israel - every grain of it - belongs to the people of Israel. By virtue of her diligent adherence to G-d's commandments, Israel will come into undisputed possession of the land. No man can take this away - not even the president of the United States.

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


Va'eschanan - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)
How important is the land of Israel? How essential is it to the children of Israel and to the fulfilling of the Torah of Israel? How crucial is it to all mankind that the nation of Israel is sovereign in the land of Israel? How vital is the land of Israel to G-d that He swore it to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov and their descendants forever? Moshe reveals to Israel the land and its beauty.

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


Devarim - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)
Moshe rabbenu opens his final words to the children of Israel with gentle chastisement. Before they enter the land it is important that they be reminded of their past errors in order to guard them against repeating those mistakes. Today's current events remind us that our generation still has much work ahead in order to fully inherit, conquer and settle the land. The current conflict in Gaza is a harsh reminder of the very golden calf and spy-like misconceptions that have misled Israel for many years and lengthened our journey to redemption.

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


Masei - (Bamidbar/Numbers 33:1-36:13)
Life has its way stations. They are part of the plan. Each is a stepping stone along the way to where we need to be, to the final destination G-d has determined for us. As with the life of an individual, so too, with the life of the nation of Israel. Every son and daughter of Israel's personal journey is intertwined with the journey of the nation as a whole. Our final destination as individuals and as a people is here in the land of Israel. Stay the course. Enter the land.

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


Mattos - (Bamidbar/Numbers 30:2-32:42)
When the leaders of the tribes of Reuven and Gad approach Moshe and ask his blessing to settle in the lands east of the Jordan River, Moshe is aghast. He saw a great spiritual failing on the part of Reuven and Gad whose relationship and commitment to the land of Israel was apparently so conditional. What was it that Moshe detected in Reuven and Gad's request that so troubled him, and what changed for Moshe so that in the end he agreed to their settling east of the Jordan.

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


Pinchas - (Bamidbar/Numbers 25:10-30:1)
The war begun by Balak and Bilaam against Israel is still being waged today. This is the war against the Jewish family, the soul and source of Israel's strength. Balak and Bilaam conspired to entrap Israel with idol worship and licentiousness. Today, Israel's enemies kidnap her children and fire missiles into her towns and villages.

Parashat Pinchas contains three responses to the war against the Jewish family: The zealotry of Pinchas, the love of the land of Tzelaphchad's daughters and the increased sanctity and closeness to G-d engendered by the Shabbat and holiday Musaf (additional) offerings in the Holy Temple.

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


Balak - (Bamidbar/Numbers 22:2-25:9)
Three times the heathen prophet Bilaam tried to curse Israel and three times he blessed Israel. Three times Bilaam tried to employ his dark arts against Israel and three times his words bespoke the purity of Israel. Three times Bilaam tried to destroy Israel and three times his words revealed the secret of Israel's eternal life.

We have just buried three pure souls, three young Jews, Eyal, Naftali and Gilad, stolen and murdered by vile Muslim terrorists, who sought to break and crush and destroy Israel. These three pure souls who embody the very best in Israel, will live forever, three beacons revealing the strength and unity of Israel, the victory of good over evil.

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


Chukas - (Bamidbar/Numbers 19:1-22:1)
The Thin Red Line: Parashat Chukat describes so many seemingly unrelated events, yet it is the profound fundamental truth contained in the commandment of the red heifer - parah adumah - that ties all these events so tightly together.

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


Korach - (Bamidbar/Numbers 16:1-18:32)
They say that vanity got the best of him... Korach had it all: He was brilliant, well educated, a smooth talker, well versed in the art of communication. He was an aristocrat, a Levite whose privilege it was to bear the Ark of the Covenant across the desert. He was wealthy and well respected. He had it all but he wanted more. His 'I, Me, Mine' attitude gave G-d no choice, as it were, but to put him out of His world. The earth opened up and swallowed him whole. Always seeking the limelight, 'he sure left here in style.'

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


Shelach - (Bamidbar/Numbers 13:1-15:41)
Twelve righteous men are sent to "spy" on the land of Israel. Ten return with an evil report, slandering the land of Israel. What went wrong? Narrow and short-sighted self-interest? Or was there a fundamental misunderstanding of Torah and G-d's expectations of man in this world? Our generation today has been granted by G-d the opportunity to repair the devastating damage of the evil report and bring His light into the world.

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


Shavuot
Intimately connected to the land of Israel, Shavuot is the festival of the bringing of the first-fruits to the Holy Temple. Shavuot is also the anniversary of the Sinai revelation and the receiving of Torah by Israel, and since the destruction of the Holy Temple the emphasis of Shavuot has been Torah study. Ultimately, Torah study and the bringing of the first-fruits are both expressions of the centrality of Torah in our lives. When we build the Holy Temple we best exemplify the fulfillment of Torah in this world by the bringing of the first-fruits.

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


Sefirat Ha'Omer: Up For the Count!
Every day counts, if we count every day! The seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot provide us ideal time for introspection and spiritual progress. Reflect upon your own soul and burnish your Divine image.

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


Bamidbar - (Bamidbar/Numbers 1:1-4:20)
The twelve flags of the twelve tribes of Israel: From where did they come? What did they signify? Why was Israel so desirous of these twelve flags?

"He brought me to his chamber of wine, and his flag above me was love." Song of Songs 2:4

The twelve flags were expressions of Israel's longing to be focused on G-d and His purpose for us in this world.

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


Behar - (Vayikra/Leviticus 25:1-26:2)
Keeping the Shmitta - Sabbatical - year, and the Yovel - Jubilee - in the land of Israel is an essential element of the nation of Israel's relationship to the land of Israel, and our recognition that the land and all who dwell upon it, belong to HaShem. Recognizing that HaShem is the source of all is the secret of the Jubilee freedom we proclaim throughout the land.

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


Emor - (Vayikra/Leviticus 21:1-24:23)
Being holy by being in this world, connected to and cognizant of G-d's presence in this world, ever ready to do good in this world, is the life of heightened consciousness that Torah exhorts us to live.

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


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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