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Nitzavim/Rosh HaShana Blessing - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20)
We are all standing before HaShem today, as we reaffirm our covenant with Him and our commitment to life: " ...love HaShem, your G-d, walk in His ways, and observe His commandments, His statutes, and His ordinances, so that you will live and increase, and HaShem, your G-d, will bless you in the land... " (Deut. 30:16)

Shana Tova! Blessings for a good year to all!

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


Ki Savo - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)
The people of Israel enters the land of Israel by virtue of the Torah of Israel and thereby becomes the nation of Israel, beloved by the G-d of Israel. This is the message, the entire message, of parashat Ki Tavo, from beginning to end, a message for Israel today, and a message for the world.

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


Ki Seitzei - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)
74 of the Torah's 613 commandments, which are, in fact, G-d's sage suggestions for us to live life by, are found in parashat Ki Teitzei - "When you go out to war against your enemies... " Living by this code keeps G-d close as we make our way through life in the world G-d created.

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


Shoftim - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)
'Be wholehearted with HaShem, your G-d,' we are told. We need to be comfortable with our selves and confident that G-d has blessed us with all that we need for the moment that we are in. Tomorrow, when it arrives, will carry the same blessing we enjoyed today.

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


Re'eh - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)
As Moshe readies his people for their entry into the land of Israel and the establishment of a Torah-based just society, he introduces the concept of "the place which HaShem your G-d shall choose," suggesting that the location of the future Holy Temple is unknown. yet, from the days of Adam, Avraham and Yaakov, the location of the Holy Temple has been known. Has G-d really not yet chosen the place of His Chosen House? or is G-d simply waiting for Israel to choose likewise, and build the Holy Temple?

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


Eikev - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)
The promised land - the land of Israel - the land where Torah, the covenant between G-d and His people Israel, is fulfilled in the deeds and the hearts of the people, in the soil and the rivers and the mountains and the valleys of the land, the only land where all this is possible, the land G-d chose to place His people to inherit and inhabit forever: Zionism, direct from the Creator of all and the G-d of Israel.

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


Va'eschanan - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)
Shema! The six word (in Hebrew) Jewish perception of Who G-d is to us is openly revealed for the first time in this week's Torah reading of Va'etchanan, as Moshe continues to ready his people for their future in the land of Israel. What is the message behind Torah's inclusion of the Shema each year in the Torah portion read immediately after the 9th of Av?

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


Devarim - (Devarim/Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)
Moshe rabbenu, (Moses our master) was a man totally dedicated to his G-d and his people. He had no private life. His every moment was preoccupied with serving the G-d of Israel and the people of Israel, which he did faithfully, to his final breath.

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


Mattos-Masei - (Bamidbar/Numbers 30:2-36:13)
Moshe rabbenu, (Moses our master) was a man totally dedicated to his G-d and his people. He had no private life. His every moment was preoccupied with serving the G-d of Israel and the people of Israel, which he did faithfully, to his final breath.

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


Pinchas - (Bamidbar/Numbers 25:10-30:1)
Don't mistake his zealotry for jealousy, or the violent nature of his act which defended G-d's honor, and simultaneously put an end to Israel's licentious behavior and the plague that was decimating the nation, for the sign of a violent nature in his soul. G-d Himself testifies to the purity of Pinchas' motives and to the peaceful, loving nature of his soul, saying "I hereby give him My covenant of peace. It shall be for him and for his descendants after him as an eternal covenant of kehunah, because he was zealous for his G-d and atoned for the children of Israel."

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


Balak - (Bamidbar/Numbers 22:2-25:9)
Bilaam, the heathen prophet and curser for hire, whose motto was 'anything you can do, I can do badder,' was the negative twin of Moshe, and as our sages teach us, was the exact opposite of our father Avraham. Avraham, referred to by G-d as 'my love,' was a righteous man of loving kindness who sought peace and friendship in the world. Bilaam was a disgruntled evil-doer, who sought to increase anger and strife in the world, a destroyer of all that is good.

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)
Twas arrogance and jealousy, pride and a lack of faith in either Moshe or HaShem which swallowed up Korach, causing his precipitous demise. Brilliant and charismatic, he could have been a contender instead of a poster boy for the sin of self aggrandizement, which is his sole claim to fame to this very day.

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


Shelach - (Bamidbar/Numbers 13:1-15:41)
The reality which exists all around us reflects the reality that we create within our own selves, based on our trust in G-d and our openness to let Him into our hearts. A lesson learned the hard way by the spies who searched out the land of Israel.

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


Beha'aloscha - (Bamidbar/Numbers 8:1-12:16)
Torah's account of the resolve and purpose which informed Aharon's performance of the commandment to 'raise up' (kindle) the seven lamps of the Tabernacle menorah, teaches us that minding G-d's will and leading a life of meaning and constant renewal, go hand in hand.

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


Nasso - (Bamidbar/Numbers 4:21-7:89)
Torah embraces the beauties of this world and exhorts man to serve G-d in this world by cleaving to the middle road, avoiding excessive piety and asceticism no less than impiety or hedonism. The additional restrictions adopted by the nazirite, for a limited time only, is best not done so as an act of piety for its own sake, but as a spiritual corrective intended to redirect the nazirite back to the middle path, the golden path, the way of moderation.

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


Bamidbar - (Bamidbar/Numbers 1:1-4:20)
The Israelite encampments in the wilderness at Sinai form a perfect "soul system" in which the twelve tribal encampments are arrayed around the Mishkan/Tabernacle which resides in their center, housing the Shechina, the presence of G-d, the gravitational force around which the nation revolves.

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


Behar-Bechukosai - (Vayikra/Leviticus 25:1-27:34)
The life force that G-d bestows upon all creation transcends time and space and invests all creation with holiness. By the laws of shemittah (7 year sabbatical cycle) and Yovel (49 year Jubilee cycle), Torah commands Israel to take possession of both time and space in order to reveal and make visible the holiness in G-d's creation.

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


Emor - (Vayikra/Leviticus 21:1-24:23)
Parashat Emor, in its entirety, from its rules concerning the fitness of kohanim, to its roster of the annual festivals and holy days, and right to the commandment to kindle the golden menorah and place freshly baked show-bread upon the golden show-bread table, and concluding with the incident of the blasphemer, is a lesson in how we are to live our lives, day by day, in the presence of G-d in the world.

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


Acharei Mot-Kedoshim - (Vayikra/Leviticus 16:1-20:27)
'You shall be holy, for I, HaShem, your G-d, am holy.' What does it mean to be holy? How are we to achieve it as individuals? And how are we to achieve it as a nation?

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


Tazria-Metzora - (Vayikra/Leviticus 12:1-15:33)
The three Torah readings of Shemini,Tazria-Metzora, which form the heart of the book of Leviticus, which itself forms the heart of the Five Books of Moses, reveals a heightened spiritual consciousness, which emanates from the Shechinah - G-d's Presence - which dwells within the Tabernacle/Holy Temple, and spreads forth throughout the land of Israel, lifting up its inhabitants, their self-awareness, and, ultimately, their self-esteem and esteem for one another.

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


Tzav - (Vayikra/Leviticus 1:1-5:26)
G-d calls upon us to draw closer to Him, and commands us as to how to do so. The book of Leviticus opens with a call to Israel to draw closer by bringing offerings. Only when we have decided to do so do the commandments enumerated in this week's parashat Tzav, (literally, 'command'), kick in.

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


Vayikra - (Vayikra/Leviticus 6:1-8:36)
The book of Vayikra ('And He called...') is nothing less than the book of life, for it describes G-d's gift to man, the inner workings of the Tabernacle/Temple, the Divine service at whose center are the korbanot offerings, whose proper performance enable us to maintain and perfect our delicate and oft challenged humanity.

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


Vayakhel-Pekudei - (Shemos/Exodus 35:1-40:38)
The Tabernacle, (whose work is brought to completion in this week's double Torah reading of Vayakhel-Pekudei), and Shabbat, are the twin pillars of our existence. Sanctifying the dimensions of time and space in which we live, the Tabernacle/Holy Temple and the Shabbat grant us the ability to raise up our own selves and live our lives in full recognition of G-d's inescapable presence in the world.

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


Ki Sisa - (Shemos/Exodus 30:11-34:35)
The root cause of the sin of the golden calf are our own self-imposed expectations and resultant disappointments, the persistent self-delusion that it is we who set the rules and run the world. Making room for G-d in our world and seeing His presence in our lives is the only antidote for our golden calf-like follies.

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


Tetzaveh - (Shemos/Exodus 27:20-30:10)
What is the meaning of Moshe's mysterious disappearance from this week's Torah reading of Tetzaveh? What is its connection to month of Adar, the upcoming celebration of Purim and to our lives each and every day?

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


Terumah - (Shemos/Exodus 25:1-27:19)
'As you have been shown on the mountain' G-d tells Moshe three times concerning the commandment to build the Tabernacle and its sacred vessels. To what vision, what plan, what blueprint is G-d referring? Just what did Moshe and the children of Israel see on Mount Sinai, what did G-d show them? And how was that glimpse of G-d's overwhelming Oneness to be embodied and reflected in the Holy Temple and its vessels, renewing and reliving every day our incredible closeness to G-d.

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


Mishpatim - (Shemos/Exodus 21:1-24:18)
Compassion is the key that unlocks the secret of this week's Parashat Mishpatim, which opens with the Hebrew bondsman, and this Shabbat's additional reading of parashat Shekalim, which describes the commandment of the half-shekel.

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


Yisro - (Shemos/Exodus 18:1-20:23)
After 200 years of slavery the children of Israel step into and readily accept upon themselves a new reality - the only reality - the reality of G-d - and the wonderful merit and gift to be His people - His treasure - in this world forever.

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


Beshalach - (Shemos/Exodus 13:17-17:16)
Water, water, the stuff our world is made of, the expression of G-d's love for creation, for man, for His people, the vehicle through which G-d rains his bounty on Israel and teaches them how to walk through history, through life, upright and blessed.

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


Bo - (Shemos/Exodus 10:1-13:16)
A light in the heart of darkness, a new beginning in the frozen wasteland of exile - this is the glad tiding of the very first commandment Israel receives while still in Egypt: "This month shall be to you the head of the months; to you it shall be the first of the months of the year." Taking control of time - the beginning of freedom!

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


Va'eira - (Shemos/Exodus 6:2-9:35)
What's in a name? Absolutely everything and the Only thing: G-d's absolute and indivisible Oneness. The is the answer to Moshe's questioning why his attempt to deliver his people has only caused them greater hardship. "I am HaShem" G-d says. That is the answer.

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


Shemos - (Shemos/Exodus 1:1-6:1)
What is truly chilling about Torah's penetrating description of the Egyptian exile and descent into slavery is not in its revelation of the horrors and dangers that the children of Israel faced in those days, but in the shocking similarity between those days and the times we are living in today. A wake-up call, we pray, for our brothers in exile.

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


Vayechi - (Bereishis/Genesis 47:28-50:26)
In his final moments Yaakov avinu gathered his children round him to reveal to them the end of days. While his words concerning this are not recorded in Torah, he did reveal to his sons the secret of receiving G-d's blessing and bounty in the end of days: unity as brothers. Unity as a people.

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)
For years Yaakov thought that his beloved son Yosef was dead, torn asunder by wild beasts. Or did he? Our sages, basing their insights on a close reading of the Torah verses, have reason to believe that Yaakov knew in his heart that Yosef was alive. But he also knew that as a father he was unable to interfere in the Divine plan that was unfolding.

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


Vayeishev - (Bereishis/Genesis 37:1-40:23)
Just beyond the sound and fury of living life in a world determined by free will and the constant struggle between our lesser urges and our better judgement, is G-d's will and His divine plan, moving behind the scenes, making it happen. That man who just told you how to get to where you need to be going, was he a man or an angel? Or both?

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)
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)
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 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.


Noach - (Bereishis/Genesis 6:9-11:32)
Parashat Bereshit begins by describing how G-d created the world and concludes by describing how man very nearly destroyed the world. Arrogance, licentiousness, egotism ans selfishness just begin to describe the depths to which man had sunk a mere ten generations after begin created and given life by G-d. It took a man, Noach, who believed in his own humanity no less than he believed in G-d to set man back upon a righteous course.

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


Yom Kippur, 5778
Yom Kippur is a chance to start anew and rewrite our own history with G-d's blessing. If only we believe in ourselves as much as G-d believes in us, we can not only change our own lives, but change the world, as well!

Gemar Chatima Tova! May we all be written and sealed in the Book of Life!

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


Rosh HaShanah, 5778
Moshe, prophet and leader of Israel, on the final day of his life delivered a message meant for our ears on "this day" - Rosh HaShana - as we stand together before HaShem: Stay close to G-d, follow His word, and always, always, choose good, choose life!

Shana Tova !  
שנה ט׀בה

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



 


 
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