Audio: Joy, Goodness of Heart and an Abundance of Everything

Bringing First Fruits to the Holy Temple: The Joy of Life in the Land of Israel.
8/22/2013, 12:54 PM

A7 Radio's "Temple Talk" with Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven
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This week's Torah portion of Ki Tavo opens with the ultimate expression of true joy: the bringing of first fruits by every Israelite to the Holy Temple. This Torah-mandated, Temple-era ritual -- soon to be renewed with the rebuilding of the Holy Temple -- is the consummate experience of gratitude and humility, as well as the keenest manifestation of the sheer joy that is a result of living in the Land of Israel. But isn't strange that this Torah portion, which begins with a portrayal of ultimate joy, also contains the ominous, portent-filled 'curses?' That dichotomy seems to be the perfect description of our world. Yitzchak Reuven and Rabbi Richman don't think it's strange at all, as they plumb the depths of what it really means to serve G-d "with joy, goodness of heart and from an abundance of everything"  -- and find that there is one common root to everything, in this week's moving edition of Temple Talk.
This week at the Temple Institute:
WEIGHT OF THE FALL: Powerful words from a righteous Gentile:

It’s Elul. And I love Elul. A lot. But this year I feel like my record player is stuck on Tisha B’av and won’t move on to the next song called “Elul.”

I’m an optimist; the-glass-is-half-full kind of person. I easily see beauty all around me: a pristine blue sky being overtaken by thunderheads... a spontaneous hug between my children... a beautiful wedding picture posted on Facebook... I see beauty everywhere. But instead of going out into the beauty of the field this Elul to meet the King, I feel like staying inside with the door locked and curtains drawn. My record seems stuck on the recurring thought that despite all the perceived beauty, life is so lacking. I feel hit over the head with the reality that the true essence of each moment is missing and that the beauty I see is like fool’s gold; it may shine, but it’s not real. And it’s not real because the building blocks of reality were broken. They crumbled the day the Temple fell. And so, it seems, we have been trying to build all the moments of our lives with dust instead of with solid stones. Read more:
WEEKLY TORAH PORTION: KI TAVO: Will be posted Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Photo credit: courtesy Temple Institute

Rabbi Chaim Richman is the international director of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem which is dedicated to rebuilding the Holy Temple (Beit HaMikdash). He is a member of the current effort to revive the Sanhedrin and the author of ten books including Mystery of the Red Heifer and A House of Prayer for All Nations. Yitzchak Reuven works at the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. He previously worked building Biblical harps and other musical instruments for use in the Holy Temple. He and Rabbi Chaim Richman have been friends since their Israeli army days. They host the Temple Talk podcast dealing with issues of the Temple Mount and the weekly Torah parsha every Tuesday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Israel time (11 a.m. U.S. EST) on Israel National Radio. Contact Rabbi Richman at:
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