One Day. One G-d. One Venture.

BRHA’ALOTCHA – ShabbatVideo Commentary

Numbers 8:1 – 12:16 || Zechariah 2:14 – 4:7

Commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman for The Temple Institute, Jerusalem, Israel:
«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»…more:

Shabbat Shalom

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Parashat EKEV Readings and Video Commentary

©  Lencer, Wiki Commons

© Lencer, Wiki Commons

Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25 || Isaiah 49:14 – 51:3

Video Commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman, The Temple Institute, Jerusalem:

    „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“, more:

Shabbat Shalom

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Parashat Shabbat Mishpatim Readings and Video Commentary

Exodus 21:1 – 24:18 | | Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26

Commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman, The Temple Institute, Jerusalem, Israel

„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:“

Shabbat Shalom

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Shabbat Mishpatim Readings and Commentary

Exodus 21:1–24:18; 2 Kings 12:1-17
in addition: for Shabbat Shekalim read Exodus 30:11-16

by Michael Schneider, Jerusalem

Commentary:
After the Ten Commandments were given, the Children of Israel were given the laws of how to practice their everyday lives. Order and precepts were given to a people who were former slaves who had just been delivered.
That’s why, the first of these laws deals with the freedom of a Hebrew slave on the seventh year. Instead of freedom, the slave has a choice to become a servant forever in his master’s household. He does this “because he loves him.” To signify this, his ear was pierced. Another sign on flesh as circumcision. Spiritually speaking, he then dedicated his life to God and will hear only His voice. (Germany Circumcision Ban: Israeli Parliament Slams Decision By Cologne Court.)

Then there were another three basic laws, which actually is a secret to a successful marriage with commands we find in Genesis 2. The three duties of a husband we find although in our reading and are also mentioned at a Jewish marriage. “He may not reduce her food, her clothing, and her conjugal rights” (21:10-11).

Punishment for breaking the law also had certain measurements, sometimes he paid with his life, sometimes he paid back five times what he owed and other times he paid double.

Almost every case had a legal covering so that the person “could not take the law in his own hands.”

Having a renewal of the mind, away from the Egyptian ways and thinking was the name of the game. Everyone should read those passages.

Other laws included dealing with immorality, such as extra-marital affairs (22:15), which sadly we find more and more believers falling into this sin. We should take the Word of GOD seriously and make it our guide for life.

Concerning strangers, we need to treat them fairly and justly because “we were also strangers in the land of Egypt” and “we know the heart of a stranger.” If we treat them unjustly, God will hear their cry and act with death on those who abuse the weak (22:20-23)! This is because he also heard our cries when we were strangers in Egypt!

Chapter 23 teaches of the three national feasts, but we first read about the Sabbatical year. This is where in the seventh year one rests from working in his fields.

“You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just.” (23:8) – sadly, you can find it more and more in our society!

Interesting, that from a portion of the verse in 23:19 became a whole study on kosher-foods in separating meat and dairy. The original law says, “You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of its mother.” Literally it speaks about a young goat boiled in the mother’s milk, which was forbidden because it was an idol ritual of the neigbor nations. Today, Rabbinical law made it much stricter even forbidding chicken meat eaten with milk.

After hearing the new ordinances the people agreed answered Moses and GOD: “Na‘asse ve-nishma – we will do and we will hear!” (24:7) This way of obedience is so strange to the world, it is so godly. A man normally first listen and then (if it suits him) he does!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Insert of the GSI editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman, The Temple Institute, Jerusalem:

“All that the L-rd spoke we will do and we will hear.” (Exodus 24:7) The very essence of our relationship with HaShem: We will do even before we fully understand G-d’s word. The secret of Israel.

So, let as live godly and obey Him by doing first what He asks of us and then listening to the whys! – as a good servant.

Shabbat Shalom

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TOP MANAGER JETHRO or YITRO – Conversion to Judaism

Exodus 18:1–20:26; Isaiah 6:1-7; 7:1-6; 9:5-6
By Michael Schneider, Jerusalem

Commentary:
Our Torah portion “Jethro” is one of the six readings named after a person. The others include Noah, Sarah, Korah, Balak and Pinchas (Phinneas). Our reading was named for the heathen and pagan priest of Midian who eventually became Moses’ father-in-law. It is here, we read in the heart of the Torah the most important scripture in the Jewish faith with the giving of the law and here it is named after a heathen (goy).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Insert of the GSI editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On 15 Shevat was the New Year of Trees → Tu B’Shvat.
More or less a whole new life began.
Also in the first sentence of this week’s Torah portion which begins with the three main personality traits of a person (here Jethro) in relation to his Creator:
your own name,
to take the Exodus from Egypt for true,
believe that this God, alone, Israel has brought out there.

In fact, we meet in this sentence the name of the three top managers of Judaism: Israel (Yisrael people), Jethro and Moses. Strikingly, however, is the middle one, because he – Yitro (Jethro or Yethro) – was not a Jew. Rather the complete opposite: CEO of an idol nation. It is this aspect opens up a particular perspective of God to the non-Jewish people, and far beyond to look beyond for all top leaders of these nations to do THEIR job, an order that they and only they can do alone. Dear Sir Top Manager: Leave, firstly yourself, your idol gods – convert to the God of Israel, then get your people out there (Egypt) and bring them into the position that they can receive and understand the Commandments of God (Chapter 20), blessed be He, by choosing people able to bring them all in a holy row, “moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them”
by Jethro’s prototype and according to his instructions here → click Exodus 18
and Moshe’s model there → click Ex. 12,38-49 “And a mixed multitude went up also with them” (49 “One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you”) . . .

. . . for this is (forever) how the Bible ends (2 Chronicles 36,23): “Whosoever there is among you of all His people – the LORD his God be with him – let him go up.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

For his conversion to Judaism the non-Jew Jethro, Moses‘ father in law, just “took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses‘ father in law before God” (Exodus 18:12), while the conversion of the non-Jewish woman Ruth was just the statement to her Jewish mother in law: “for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16). In the Torah an instruction for the giyur cannot be found, except, of course, this one in Exodus 12:48: „And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you“ …in principle saying: You are welcome! More about conversion to Judaism today, read here »

This shows us again that God’s Word was made available to all of mankind.

Moses described ‘all the hardship that had befallen them on the journey’ but never ceased to give honor and praise to God Almighty! This is not a story filled with complaints, but rather one that is encouraging. We can learn from this when we encounter the hardships of life – give praises to God!

The heathen priest recognized God for who he was: “The LORD is greater than all the gods; indeed” (18:11).

Jethro gave Moses advice in changing the justice system, as a loving father-in-law, from one judge (Moses) to 70 – with one rationale: “You will surely wear out (naval), both yourself and these people who are with you…” (18:18).

The verb ‘naval’ was given in the verse twice, emphasizing the weight of the word that means ‘to wither, to wilt and to dry-out’ like the leaves (Psalm 1:3). He meant that Moses’ antithesis could slowly dry-out. But, it also meant that naval is a vile person, a miscreant, scoundrel (see Nabal, the evil and harsh husband of Abigail in 1 Samuel 25). Therefore, it was the last thing that Jethro desires for his son-in-law.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Insert of the GSI editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman, The Temple Institute, Jerusalem:

„I am Hashem your G-d.“ (Exodus 20:2) This is the first commandment and it is essentially the last. G-d has woven His name throughout the entire Torah, and His presence throughout all of creation. To know His name and to believe in Him is the entirety of of all the commandments.

God many times calls a person, blesses them, but with those abundants of blessings comes a need for help. A man of God, like Moses should humble himself and let go of the little things and allow others to administer the small ‘cases’. Believe me, it’s not always easy for them to do this.

“’Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;
and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (19:5-6).

The Receiving of the Torah (the Law; correct translation: guidance or teaching) three months after the exodus from Egypt, falls according to Jewish scholars during Hebrew year of 2448 (1312 befor).

When the Jewish people came to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah they practiced humility! Humility is the key to unity!

The Ten Commandments were engraved on two tablets. Both tablets were of equal size and contrary to popular belief, the two tablets were square and not rounded on top.

The right tablet contained the commandments about GOD and the left contained the commandments concerning man. The five commandments on the right contained 146 words and the five others on the left had only 26 words. Why? How the Jewish scholars explain this?

The left tablets, with mitzvot (commandments) for man, where written with bigger letters to add emphasis. Because one cannot claim piety by meticulously do Mitzvot toward God and ignore the commandments of how to treat our neighbor. Our relationship towards others plays a huge role in our relationship with God. Someone who is not faithful to people will not be faithful to God.

Why ten (commandments)? The Talmud tells us that the Ten Commandments correspond to the ten sayings God used to create the world. “So it teaches us that by keeping the ten Commandments, one preserves the universe!” – that’s why we need to be doers of the Word!
Shabbat Shalom

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Parashat Shabbat SHUVA VaYelech Readings and Commentary

Deuteronomy 31; Hosea 14:2-10; Micha 7:18-20; Yoel 2,15-27
Greeting cards for Yom Kippur, free download, click here >

With The Burning Bush the story of Moses began, today we are approaching the end of his farewell-story. In German Synagogues it’s usal to sing a farewell Sabbath Song, the „Adon Olam“, at the end of every Shabbatmorning ministry in order to protect us from forgetting that He is the „Lord of the Universe“ when we are back in our homes▼

Commentary by Michael Schneider,
israel today, Jerusalem:

In our reading, we reach Moses’ last day. He was exactly 120-years-old. According to Jewish tradition, he was born and died on the same day of the year, the seventh day of the Hebrew month Adar. The age, 120, is reserved for a righteous person. This is the memorial day of all descendants whose death location and date is unknown, like Moses.

Joshua, takes over as leader and brings the people over the Jordan into the Promised Land. Moses, before he left, said to the people: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you.“ (31:6) He encouraged them that just because he was leaving, didn’t mean God would.

The last thing Moses did was write the whole Torah and pass it to the priests, the Levites. This is also the last commandment of the 613 Commandments of the Torah, to write down the Torah.

But Moses knew to whom he was talking to, that’s why he emphasize so often to be ‘circumcised by heart’ (30:6): „For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death?” (31:27).
We should not put our trust in man, but in the LORD alone!

Shabbat Shalom

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Parashat Shabbat Ekev Readings and Video Commentary

Deuteronomy 7:12 till 11:25; Haftara: Isaiah 49:14 till 51:3

How is it possible that the Torah commands us something which is depending upon a person’s heard, depending upon a person’s emotion? Can God command us how to feel? The love that every Jew feels for God is part of us, is part of the essences of who we are, is very close to the surface!

    Watch video commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman from The Temple Institute:

Find a second Rabbi Richman video commentary on Shabbat Eikev>

Shabbat Shalom

Comments are off for this post

Parashat Shabbat Mishpatim Readings and Commentary

Exodus 21:1–24:18; 2 Kings 12:1-17
in addition: for Shabbat Shekalim read Exodus 30:11-16

by Michael Schneider, Jerusalem

Commentary:
After the Ten Commandments were given, the Children of Israel were given the laws of how to practice their everyday lives. Order and precepts were given to a people who were former slaves who had just been delivered.
That’s why, the first of these laws deals with the freedom of a Hebrew slave on the seventh year. Instead of freedom, the slave has a choice to become a servant forever in his master’s household. He does this “because he loves him.” To signify this, his ear was pierced. Another sign on flesh as circumcision. Spiritually speaking, he then dedicated his life to God and will hear only His voice.

Then there were another three basic laws, which actually is a secret to a successful marriage with commands we find in Genesis 2. The three duties of a husband we find although in our reading and are also mentioned at a Jewish marriage. “He may not reduce her food, her clothing, and her conjugal rights” (21:10-11).

Punishment for breaking the law also had certain measurements, sometimes he paid with his life, sometimes he paid back five times what he owed and other times he paid double.

Almost every case had a legal covering so that the person “could not take the law in his own hands.”

Having a renewal of the mind, away from the Egyptian ways and thinking was the name of the game. Everyone should read those passages.

Other laws included dealing with immorality, such as extra-marital affairs (22:15), which sadly we find more and more believers falling into this sin. We should take the Word of GOD seriously and make it our guide for life.

Concerning strangers, we need to treat them fairly and justly because “we were also strangers in the land of Egypt” and “we know the heart of a stranger.” If we treat them unjustly, God will hear their cry and act with death on those who abuse the weak (22:20-23)! This is because he also heard our cries when we were strangers in Egypt!

Chapter 23 teaches of the three national feasts, but we first read about the Sabbatical year. This is where in the seventh year one rests from working in his fields.

“You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just.” (23:8) – sadly, you can find it more and more in our society!

Interesting, that from a portion of the verse in 23:19 became a whole study on kosher-foods in separating meat and dairy. The original law says, “You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of its mother.” Literally it speaks about a young goat boiled in the mother’s milk, which was forbidden because it was an idol ritual of the neigbor nations. Today, Rabbinical law made it much stricter even forbidding chicken meat eaten with milk.

After hearing the new ordinances the people agreed answered Moses and GOD: “Na‘asse ve-nishma – we will do and we will hear!” (24:7) This way of obedience is so strange to the world, it is so godly. A man normally first listen and then (if it suits him) he does!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Insert of the GSI editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman, The Temple Institute, Jerusalem:

“All that the L-rd spoke we will do and we will hear.” (Exodus 24:7) The very essence of our relationship with HaShem: We will do even before we fully understand G-d’s word. The secret of Israel.

So, let as live godly and obey Him by doing first what He asks of us and then listening to the whys! – as a good servant.

Shabbat Shalom

Comments are off for this post

TOP MANAGER JETHRO or YITRO – Conversion to Judaism

Exodus 18:1–20:26; Isaiah 6:1-7; 7:1-6; 9:5-6
By Michael Schneider, Jerusalem

Commentary:
Our Torah portion “Jethro” is one of the six readings named after a person. The others include Noah, Sarah, Korah, Balak and Pinchas (Phinneas). Our reading was named for the heathen and pagan priest of Midian who eventually became Moses’ father-in-law. It is here, we read in the heart of the Torah the most important scripture in the Jewish faith with the giving of the law and here it is named after a heathen (goy).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Insert of the GSI editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On 15 Shevat was the New Year of Trees → Tu B’Shvat.
More or less a whole new life begins.
Also in the first sentence of this week’s Torah portion which begins with the three main personality traits of a person (here Jethro) in relation to his Creator:
your own name,
to take the Exodus from Egypt for true,
believe that this God, alone, Israel has brought out there.

In fact, we meet in this sentence the name of the three top managers of Judaism: Israel (Yisrael people), Jethro and Moses. Strikingly, however, is the middle one, because he – Yitro (Jethro or Yethro) – was not a Jew. Rather the complete opposite: CEO of an idol nation. It is this aspect opens up a particular perspective of God to the non-Jewish people, and far beyond to look beyond for all top leaders of these nations to do THEIR job, an order that they and only they can do alone. Dear Sir Top Manager: Leave, firstly yourself, your idol gods – convert to the God of Israel, then get your people out there (Egypt) and bring them into the position that they can receive and understand the Commandments of God (Chapter 20), blessed be He, by choosing people able to bring them all in a holy row, “moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them”
by Jethro’s prototype and according to his instructions here → click Exodus 18
and Moshe’s model there → click Ex. 12,38-49 “And a mixed multitude went up also with them” (49 “One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you”) . . .

. . . for this is (forever) how the Bible ends (2 Chronicles 36,23): “Whosoever there is among you of all His people – the LORD his God be with him – let him go up.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

For his conversion to Judaism the non-Jew Jethro, Moses‘ father in law, just “took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses‘ father in law before God” (Exodus 18:12), while the conversion of the non-Jewish woman Ruth was just the statement to her Jewish mother in law: “for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16). In the Torah an instruction for the giyur cannot be found, except, of course, this one in Exodus 12:48: „And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you“ …in principle saying: You are welcome! More about conversion to Judaism today, read here »

This shows us again that God’s Word was made available to all of mankind.

Moses described ‘all the hardship that had befallen them on the journey’ but never ceased to give honor and praise to God Almighty! This is not a story filled with complaints, but rather one that is encouraging. We can learn from this when we encounter the hardships of life – give praises to God!

The heathen priest recognized God for who he was: “The LORD is greater than all the gods; indeed” (18:11).

Jethro gave Moses advice in changing the justice system, as a loving father-in-law, from one judge (Moses) to 70 – with one rationale: “You will surely wear out (naval), both yourself and these people who are with you…” (18:18).

The verb ‘naval’ was given in the verse twice, emphasizing the weight of the word that means ‘to wither, to wilt and to dry-out’ like the leaves (Psalm 1:3). He meant that Moses’ antithesis could slowly dry-out. But, it also meant that naval is a vile person, a miscreant, scoundrel (see Nabal, the evil and harsh husband of Abigail in 1 Samuel 25). Therefore, it was the last thing that Jethro desires for his son-in-law.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Insert of the GSI editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman, The Temple Institute, Jerusalem:

„I am Hashem your G-d.“ (Exodus 20:2) This is the first commandment and it is essentially the last. G-d has woven His name throughout the entire Torah, and His presence throughout all of creation. To know His name and to believe in Him is the entirety of of all the commandments.

God many times calls a person, blesses them, but with those abundants of blessings comes a need for help. A man of God, like Moses should humble himself and let go of the little things and allow others to administer the small ‘cases’. Believe me, it’s not always easy for them to do this.

“’Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;
and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (19:5-6).

The Receiving of the Torah (the Law; correct translation: guidance or teaching) three months after the exodus from Egypt, falls according to Jewish scholars during Hebrew year of 2448 (1312 befor).

When the Jewish people came to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah they practiced humility! Humility is the key to unity!

The Ten Commandments were engraved on two tablets. Both tablets were of equal size and contrary to popular belief, the two tablets were square and not rounded on top.

The right tablet contained the commandments about GOD and the left contained the commandments concerning man. The five commandments on the right contained 146 words and the five others on the left had only 26 words. Why? How the Jewish scholars explain this?

The left tablets, with mitzvot (commandments) for man, where written with bigger letters to add emphasis. Because one cannot claim piety by meticulously do Mitzvot toward God and ignore the commandments of how to treat our neighbor. Our relationship towards others plays a huge role in our relationship with God. Someone who is not faithful to people will not be faithful to God.

Why ten (commandments)? The Talmud tells us that the Ten Commandments correspond to the ten sayings God used to create the world. “So it teaches us that by keeping the ten Commandments, one preserves the universe!” – that’s why we need to be doers of the Word!
Shabbat Shalom

Comments are off for this post

Shabbat Ekev Readings and Video Commentary

Deuteronomy 7:12 till 11:25; Haftara: Isaiah 49:14 till 51:3

How is it possible that the Torah commands us something which is depending upon a person’s heard, depending upon a person’s emotion? Can God command us how to feel? The love that every Jew feels for God is part of us, is part of the essences of who we are, is very close to the surface!
Watch video commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman from The Temple Institute:

Find a second Rabbi Richman video commentary on Shabbat Eikev>

Shabbat Shalom

Comments are off for this post

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