Tuesday, December 29, 2009

R' Riskin: Judaism & Christianity


This is not the typical way an Orthodox rabbi speaks today. Rabbi Riskin issues a clarification
There is also an official clarification issued by Rabbi Riskin in the comments section



48 comments :

  1. Not every guy who calls himself a rabbi, even if he calls himself "Orthodox", is indeed one.

    This is Kefira, plain and simple.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Recipients and PublicityDecember 29, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    So how is this different from "Jews for Jesus"?

    Is he "chief rabbi" of Efrat or the local cardinal or vicar of Efrat?

    He should keep this complex subject locked up in his mind.

    Reminds one of that old Yiddish expression "nisht altz vos iz oif dem lung iz oif dem tzung" (not everything that is on your mind/lung should be on your tongue/mouth) and in this case Riskin shows that even what's on his mind should not be there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting discussion regarding burning missionary bibles

    http://jewishisrael.ning.com/forum/topics/is-it-permissible-to-burn-1

    ReplyDelete
  4. How dare you post this and call yourself "daas torah"???

    This is the man who published articles like "moses- great man lousy politician".

    Im sure Rav Shternbuch would condem your posting this!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is an old kiruv gimmick that Rabbi Riskin has been using for decades. It works (and has solid scholarship -- if debatable -- behind it).

    ReplyDelete
  6. True, he's not saying something that is normally heard from Orthodox Rabbis.

    Given that, it certainly sounds funny, perhaps even ill-advised.

    However, why is it kefira?

    And, what is so terrible about someone saying something, as an Orthodox Rabbi, not normally thought about or spoken about?

    The main problem I see here is his making it sound like there are two truths and not being more upfront about his certainty that our truth is the only one.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rabbi Eidensohn I personaly strongly disagree with alot of content that is posted on this blog however this presentation is one for the books.

    The Gemmorah in Gittin calls JC Y'S "the fornecator of the Jewish people who is submerged in dung in Gehenom".
    Rambam indicates that we should learn from the whole JC episode to strive and fight for Moshiach.

    The sword is sharp on both edges.

    However the Cheif Rabbi's delivery of his message which I have played over many times to give the benefit of doubt is clearly a conciliatory outreach to a Koifer Bakol calling a false prophet and a Michalel Shem Shomayim a "Rabbi" is an insult to every holder of Smichah.

    A great Chassidesha Rebbi in Brooklyn NY Horav MM Rubin the Mushayer Rebbi ZTL was admant that Charedi Rabbonim should not call themselves "Rabbi" as that title has become tainted by reform conservative and modern influences rather he suggested very strongly that charedi leaders should go by the title "Horav" in order to segregate themselves from the tainted koolaid served up by "Rabbis"

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am no fan of Shlomo Riskin, to be sure. I am most familiar with his 'derech'. He is at best a marginal player with a very narrow following. Personally, I think the man ought to be ignored.

    That said, he does serve a purpose. It is clear that in this instance, he addressing a Christian audience.

    People often talk about the 'Israel Lobby' in the US. It is very important to understand exactly what that means.

    The number of Jews in the US is approx 5 million which represents no more than 1.3% of the American population.

    The 'Israel Lobby' is successful because of the approx 50 million Christians who support the Jewish state.

    Individuals such as Riskin are important in that maintaining 'sholom bayis' in this country is very important on many, many levels.

    Discussions about burning babies of missionaries are not necessarily a good idea.

    A number of years ago a rav provided me with a bit of insight. He remarked that while every chapter of our history is different, they all end in the same way.

    Think about it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have said similar things on my blog (http://izgad.blogspot.com/2008/05/toward-formulating-jewish-view-of-jesus.html)

    "Strictly speaking, from the standpoint of traditional Jewish thought, there is nothing to stop one from being a “believer” in Jesus. One can believe that Jesus was a righteous man; Judaism believes in the concept of righteous men. One can believe that Jesus performed miracles; Judaism believes that God will sometimes perform miracles, particularly if they are through the hands of a righteous person. One can even believe that Jesus was born of a virgin; a virgin birth is simply a type of miracle. In fact there is a tradition that Ben Sira was the son of Jeremiah’s daughter, born through a “virgin” birth. One can believe that Jesus was crucified; Judaism does not believe that righteous people are invulnerable. One can even believe that his death brought about some sort of atonement; there are Jewish sources that speak of God taking the righteous as atonement for sins of the world. One can believe that Jesus arouse from the dead and ascended to heaven alive; Judaism believes that Elijah the prophet and Enoch ascended to heaven alive and well as numerous other people. One can believe that Jesus sits at the “right hand” of God and is the fulfillment of Psalms 110; it is no different than saying that King David, Abraham or the Messiah sit at God’s right. Ultimately if one wants to one could say that the suffering servant passage of Isaiah 53 is about Jesus; it is no different than saying that the passage refers to Moses, Jeremiah or R’ Akiba. This may be pushing things, but, in theory, one could hold that Jesus was the Messiah provided that you define the Messiah simply as a mortal human being who is the subject of Isaiah 11; there are Jewish sources that say that this chapter refers to King Hezekiah."

    ReplyDelete
  10. First, the gemara doesn't refer to Yeishu, at least no one by that name or one who claimed to be messiah who lived in the right time period. Over a century before, yes. Over a century after, also. But not anyone who fits the description of Yeishu.

    There is no reason to assume the guy even existed. He could be a reworking of the themes from the myths of Horus and Mythra (gods from Egyptian and Persian mythologies who came back from the dead) without a central historical figure around which it was built. He could be (and more likely, to my mind) a composite figure built from multiple messianic cults of the period along with these earlier pagan elements.

    So, Rabbi Riskin is at most talking about the mythical figure as described by Christian scripture -- regardless of how well it resembles the person or persons around whom the myth grew.

    Yeishu's teachings resembling that of the rabbis? Common anscestry perhaps. It's clear that the writers of the gospels thought of themselves as reforming the Sadducee religion, not that of the Rabbinates. Note how they have their man give a parable in which the Pharasee rabbi is more interested in halakhah than in helping the poor. We are described in their books as self-righteous hypocrites.

    For example, Easter is always literally (lehavdil) "mimacharas hashabbos" for a reason -- the Tzeduqim tied the date of Pesach to the day of the week.)

    IOW, I think Christianity isn't a child of Yahadus, it's a grandchild -- the mesorah as actually given first spawned the Tzeduqim as a breakaway, who in turn spawned Christianity.

    This whole notion of assessing the teachings of someone who may not have existed, where the teachings attributed of him disdain the Perushim, where the practices of his crew more resemble the Tzeduqim (although the asceticism of the Evionim may indicate he drew from the population of Issiim as well), and calling him "rabbi", not to mention that he would have lived in a day when the term meant the shalsheles back to Moshe, not just "teacher"... It's absurd.

    Overall, I'd agree with Observer 2. We have well defined limits of belief, and nothing in that recording requires the slightest violation of any ikkarim. I would just add to his "funny, perhaps even ill-advised", simply historically inaccurate.

    -micha

    ReplyDelete
  11. What is the big deal? He is giving a lecture on a specific subject to a specific audience.
    There is much written in the Talmud regarding the Big J and Christianity---it is a subject ignored, voided and not learned in typical Torah communities. & Why should it? After completing Torah Shebichsav we then venture into Torah Shebaalpa, philosophy and religious doctrines belong to a select few to delve into.
    Rabbi Riskin has been a main player in establishing the Efrat community with a core of American followers as the early pioneers. He tried to establish peaceful dialog with Arab community leaders in the Gush area. Some successes and some failures in that 'worthless adventure'. Efrat is a community full of vitality, educational mosdos and many rabbanim. Rav Shurin, Rav Rappaport and others serve kehillos in that neighborhood. It is continually growing and is suffering presently from the biased 'construction freeze'.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This guy is trying to curry favor with Christian Evangelists. See his website:

    http://www.cjcuc.com/

    ReplyDelete
  13. R' Stevie Riskin, a baal teshuva who went to YU, has always been a funny duck.

    Poskim say that you cannot daven in Lincoln Square Synagogue when women are present because the construct has women in your face wherever you look. Hence the nickname "Wink n' Stare Synagogue". R' Stevie claimed that RYD Soloveitchik was matir the mechitza but conveniently waited until he was niftar to tell anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  14. .nowhere in the video does rabbi riskin claim that he is the messiah or that he believes in him.
    as a matter of fact at the very end he emphatically says that when the messiah does come it will be a first coming and not a second coming.
    you have to realize that in this video he his talking to non jews,and by calling him a rabbi,he is basically telling them that NO he is not a messiah and NO he is not chas vesholem the son of g-d.and as far as calling yoshke a rabbi, it is definitely not a bigger sin than calling a conservative or a reform clergyman a rabbi,as a matter of fact yoshke was more of a rabbi than any of these reform rabbi’s,because he himself at least believed in g-d and believed in torah shebeksav,but not in torah she balpeh, but these reform rabbi’s of today are absolute atheist and don’t believe in anything ,and if you know your history he himself never claimed to be a messiah or a son,but it was 100 yrs later that his disciples started this meshigas.
    and by the way some people in crown heights calling a dead person moshiach in my opinion is a much bigger problem than calling yoshke pondrik rabbi.
    CHAIM

    ReplyDelete
  15. Upper Left Side is repeating rechilus.

    R' Riskin did ask RYBS, and spoke to many about it before RYBS's petirah. For that matter, RYBS also spoke about it to R' Holczer. R' Rakeffet also discusses R' Soloveitchik's position. RYBS definitely did say the mechitzah was okay. The debate is whether the mechitzah was okay in general, or just okay given the limitations of what the congregation would accept. But this accusing RSR of lying is just plain wrong, and warrants this macha'ah.

    Let's see ULS bring thousands to shemiras Shabbos and turn seven desert hilltops into a Jewish city, and earn the right to call him "Stevie". How many times did you risk your neck sneaking into the Soviet Union to teach gemara?

    BTW using his BT history as though it were an insult rather than shevach is itself a distinct issur. And how many FFBs could manage in RYBS's shiur, anyway? I think it's safe to say he "caught up" well before the rabbinate.

    That's not to say I see eye-to-eye on every position R' Riskin takes. But do NOT allow that to only see his cup as half empty, and belittle someone with accomplishments few else in the Jewish world can match.


    But I'll bet this video was done for Nefesh beNefesh or the like, who rely heavily on Xian Fundy dollars to get Anglos into Israel, and living in places like Efrat. (Joshua and I can agree for a change.)

    -micha

    ReplyDelete
  16. "(Joshua and I can agree for a change.)"

    Did you mean Joseph? (You once previously mistakenly called me Joshua.)

    ReplyDelete
  17. DF
    -------------
    Havent heard the tape, but would caution people to be careful how they speak about Rabbi Riskin. He is one of the greatest manhigim of the generation, and easily one of the greatest rabbonim. He's done far, far more for Judaisim than nearly any of the GEDOILIM [whoever they are]. If kiruv is the most important thing, this man has brought back thousands. If yishuv eretz yisrael is the most important , this man has FOUNDED a thriving city in eretz yisrael. If teaching Torah is the most important, this man has taught tens of thousands.

    He may look young, but he's actually a zaken,. He may not have a beard and payis, but he is a true Godol Biyisroel. Careful how you speak of him.

    DF

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am repeating what poskim told me when I asked if I could daven mincha / maariv there during the week. The thing about waiting to tell anyone about the psak came from a talmid of RYDS.

    Maybe I was a little impolite with the BT comment but there is something to it as we see from Rav Schach's problem with Steinsaltz. People that enter late in the game do not always have a true rebbe-talmid relationship to get a mesorah from even if they are smart enough to follow a complex shiur.

    Attracting people to Judaism using unkosher means is not kosher.

    And mind you, LSS was also HQ for AJOP, another fishy kiruv group that I'm told does not follow proper procedure.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Attracting people to religion, even if done properly, is not the definition of an adam gadol, no matter how commendable.

    ReplyDelete
  20. ULS-

    Yeah, your minimizing of R' Steinsaltz around will bring people to your way of thinking.

    I noted earlier that I'm no fan of R' Riskin for reasons of style.

    That said, given your statements and attitude, I am most comfortable saying you will never know in total half of what R' Riskin has forgotten.

    There is one area in which you mightily exceed him: Gaiva.

    ReplyDelete
  21. One can even believe that his death brought about some sort of atonement; there are Jewish sources that speak of God taking the righteous as atonement for sins of the world
    Ramchal, for one; his elucidation of the Asarah Harugei Malchut had me holding onto my chair the first time I saw it: Rabbi Akiva et al. accepting death to spare their generation from the impending catastrophe from being as comprehensive as it otherwise would have been.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Take it up with Rav Schach ztl. Whatever I am in learning, Steinsaltz was certainly not even up to Rav Schach's ankles.

    Yoel B, the concept mentioned by Ramchal is all over the place but you cannot compare the Assarah harugei malchus to Johnny Crackers.

    ReplyDelete
  23. When many years ago I visited my grandparents, A"H on the Upper East Side, I walked across the park one cold Shabbat morning to go to Lincoln Square. When I called the shul erev Shabbat to ask when the davening was, I was asked: "the early minyan, the late minyan, or the beginners' minyan?" The early and late minyanim met in the beit midrash, and the mechitzah was around 6' tall, maybe a bit more. IIRC separate entrances for men and women. Maybe things were different when Upper Left Side asked his she'elah.
    After davening I went down the the main shul where the beginners' minyan was; got there in time for Rabbi Riskin's drash. It's over 30 years and I can still hear Rabbi Riskin saying "ein breirah." That shul is the one with the problematic layout.
    Watching him with the crowd the next morning after minyan in the beit midrash (Rabbi Riskin was then assembling the first group to go to Efrat with him and had just gotten back from Israel) reminded me of the late Joe Alioto.
    Alioto was a former mayor of San Francisco, a brilliant corporate lawyer and an absolutely first rate politician who didn't disdain retail politics and talking at length to small groups. Smart, tough and warm.

    Rabbi Riskin brings all that to promoting Torah and elevating the Jewish people. He is a great man.

    ReplyDelete
  24. YoelB,

    "Ramchal, for one; his elucidation of the Asarah Harugei Malchut.."

    Where do I find this? I'm very interested.

    ReplyDelete
  25. ULS-

    Steinsaltz too, is someone who is beyond your grasp.

    Rav Schach ZTL did not walk on water. Towards the end of his life he made more than a few controversial remarks that caused a lot of agmas nefesh for both yechidim and various kehillas.

    As someone in the mental health field, I find it fascinating how so many in the charedi olam are absolutely fixated on hero worship, subjugating their own identity and allowing others to make decisions for them.

    For your own edification, this kind of hero worship is in no small measure responsible for the mess the charedi velt finds itself.

    Why? Because all psychopathology, if left untreated, only escalates. That is how kashrus certifications became a blood sport and why those who advocate particular new geirus standards are now primarily concerned with 'winning' at all costs no matter who gets hurt- rabbonim, geirim or communities.

    You have real potential as a charedi manhig.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I wanted to to defend Rabbi Riskin before having watched the video (instinct). But I watched it to try to be objective (nobody can guarantee they are objective).
    He is sending a message of peace to Xtians - so the question is whether this purpose is permitted, and if his message conflicts with Torah.
    I also have a fascination with Yashke - not because he was a model from the Torah, but because he was a brainwash and distorter of the Torah. The NT opens with the Book of Matthew - in that book, he says he hasn't ocme to break the Law (Torah) but to fulfil it. He then breaks it, eg gathers corn in a field on Shabbat. He answers the frum Jews by saying that King David also ate forbidden bread - when in fact, King David waited until he was purified before he at hallowed bread.
    So there is no acceptance of JC - he diverges from the TeNaKh.
    Is Riskin at fault here? It is not for me to say. He is probably basing his "drush" on Rambam, who says it was a Divine plan for Yashke and Mohamed to bring the concepts of Messiah and Unity of G-d into the Gentile world. SO before you can ask if Riskin is acing like a rabbi, you ahve to ask whether Rambam was when he wrote that!

    ReplyDelete
  27. גינזי רמח’ל/ דעת תבונות ב

    ReplyDelete
  28. Rabbi Riskin was doing "kiruv" to intermarrieds and securing easy giyur for the Gentile spouse 30 years ago.

    Rabbi Riskin was "kashering" homosexuality at least 20 years ago.

    A visionary, along with Marc Angel, far ahead of his time.

    ReplyDelete
  29. My two cents: All that we know about Jesus the person comes from the New Testament. If we choose (correctly, imo) to consider the NT an unreliable source, then we know virtually nothing about him. It is even possible, as Micha points out, that he is an essentially mythical figure.

    Of course, for this very reason, many scholars feel free to "reconstruct" Jesus in various ways, presenting their idea of what the "real" Jesus was like before his teachings were distorted or modified by later Christians.

    One such "reconstruction" is that Jesus was a rabbi in good standing. While there is no real evidence for this, there is also - outside of the NT - no real evidence against it. So, if that's what you want to think, have fun.

    My point is that, while R' Riskin's presentation may be tendentious, it is not kefira.

    Ironically, saying that the only real difference between Judaism and Christianity is whether or not his ultimate arrival will be his first time here or second, is indeed heretical according to (virtually every major form of) Christianity. Christianity redefines the meaning of the messiah, making the messiah into the deity. The real question that separates Judaism from Christianity is whether or not the messiah is God.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Jersey, where are the facts?
    I can blog anything I want also, without evidence to back it.

    Rabbi Angel has truly been a visionary in many ways.

    ReplyDelete
  31. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132109

    ReplyDelete
  32. Jersey Girl: How can he "kasher" homosexuality? There is no such process. The question is what to do today to mishkvey zachar. We cannot execute them. WE can either kick them out of our communities or try to assist them in becoming Kosher. I challenge you to find a psak of rav Riskin permitting it. I doubt if there is any such thing. This shouldn't be a bandwagon for the Riskin Hatred club. There are more gays within the Haredi world than in the secular world - yet they are tolerated. So please do not accuse Riskin of Kashering gays.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Why are you big experts on Yoshke all ignoring the chesronos Hashas?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Actually there are Jews living only on 6 hills of Efrat (Eitam is not yet inhabited) and Efrat is not a desert. But those minor points aside, Rav Riskin's tzchuyot are huge and many of the comments on this page only serve to discredit the people making them.

    ReplyDelete
  35. To Lakewooder:
    The identification of the various "Jesus" figures mentioned in the Talmud (in the various censored texts published as the Chesronos HaShas) with the Christian Jesus is far from certain.

    There is not one reference in the Talmud to a Jesus figure that conforms to the New Testament narrative. While some of the references are vaguely reminiscent of the Christian Jesus, every single such reference differs from the New Testament on major elements. For example, most of these references explicitly place the Jesus figure in different historical periods from the New Testament narrative. None of the references clearly place him in the correct period.

    It is true that most later rabbinic commentators apparently assumed that some of these Jesus references were speaking of the Christian Jesus. The historical problems are explained as the result of Christian historical revision.

    Other rabbinical authorities disagreed, arguing that none of these figures can be identified with the Christian Jesus.

    An excellent summary of the different traditional opinions on this matter can be found in an appendix to the Hebrew work, משיחי השקר ומתנגדיהם ("False Messiahs and their Opponents"), by R' Binyomin Hamburger.

    A good online source for this topic is Rabbi Gil Student's website, http://www.angelfire.com/mt/talmud/.

    (The above comment is modified from a recent comment I made on this topic at David Klinghoffer's blog. See http://blog.beliefnet.com/kingdomofpriests/2009/12/jesus-in-the-talmud.html .)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Eddie,

    The Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics reveals that only 2.3% of the population considers themselves homosexual. The statistics come from a 2002 National Survey of Family Growth. Amongst Jews, it is far less. And amongst Hareidim as close to nil as any comparable population.

    ReplyDelete
  37. CDC reports are politically correct and probably overstate things.

    Other estimates have the faygelach at between 1% to 2%.

    The degenerates are very good however at creating a lot of noise and making themselves look like they are as numerous as 12%.

    The Arabs here pull the same stunt which is designed to get them more political clout.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Archie - agreed.

    I saw a published study that put the number at approximately 1%. (It was just under or just above the 1% mark.)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Aaron S -
    Are you saying that the child abuse, the Mikve abuse which was described as "gay bath", in the Haredi community is all ficiton? Because that cat is already out of the bag.

    It reminds me of Islamic Iran, who claim there are none in their country either!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Eddie,

    How do a few perverts trolling the mikva make it a majority?

    Do you have an axe to grind?

    There are significant numbers of predators but many of them are hetero and are still in the minority.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Archibald,

    when did I say they are majority?
    If we say it is 1 or 2%, what kind of majority is that? A majority means anything above 50%.
    In any case, the direction of this discussion is lost. I challenged Jersey Girl to back up her claimm that Riskin "koshered" ge-im. There is no koshering - it is not mutar and cannot be. There is rehabilitation. But this exists in all communities. If it is effective, I do not know. I believe it was rav Moshe Feinstein ztzl, who suggested that by learning more Torah, such a person can perhaps come back to the straight derech.
    Because nobody understands why this characteristic affects people, I suggest that more research is done, and perhaps it can be a special middoh or psycholgica profile that people might consider when they marry, and who they marry. Some psychologists suggest that an imbalance between male/female roles can casue this in their children, eg a dominant/masculine mother and a passive feminine father.

    ReplyDelete
  42. “Why are you big experts on Yoshke all ignoring the chesronos Hashas?”

    Lakewooder

    I study medieval Jewish history, particularly Jewish-Christian polemics. I am very familiar with the Jesus passages and Jewish attempts to explain them away. The classic example of this is R. Yachial of Paris arguing that the Talmud was talking about a different Jesus who lived a century beforehand.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Regarding the Yeshu references in the Talmud.

    As I already pointed out, none of these passages fits the NT Jesus narrative. At the same time, many (most?) rishonim, as did medieval Christian authorities, believed that these passage were referring to the Christian Jesus.

    There are a few ways to understand this:
    1. These passages are, indeed, referring to the Christian Jesus, and the differences with the NT are the result of Christian revisions of Jesus' story. This position is taken by R' Avraham ibn Daud, among others, in his Sefer Hakabala.

    2. These passages were written as derogatory descriptions of Jesus by rabbis who were either unfamiliar with the NT narrative or changed it for ideological reasons. (Similar to the Toldos Yeshu, which is an obvious pejorative reconstruction of the Jesus narrative based upon a mix of the NT, the Talmudic Yeshu passages, and various pejorative Jewish traditions about Jesus.) This position (and variants thereof) is taken by some academic scholars.

    3. These passages are not referring to Jesus at all (as held by R' Yechiel of Paris, among others), but due to the superficial resemblance with the NT narrative, later authorities (Jewish and Christian) mistakenly assumed that it was.

    Of these possibilities, I believe that the last is the most likely.

    ReplyDelete
  44. http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2009/12/rabbi-riskins-official-response.html
    Rabbi Riskin issued the following response, an official statement, to the criticism over his video talking about Jesus and Christianity..

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    STATEMENT FROM RABBI SHLOMO RISKIN REGARDING YOUTUBE VIDEO DECEMBER 30, 2009

    It has come to my attention that comments I made on the character of Jesus in a recent interview have been misunderstood. Allow me to clarify.


    The filmed interview in question (given to a group of Christians) was edited carelessly and posted on YouTube by an organization that omitted a significant part of my message. The fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity, which I always emphasize in my talks with Christian groups, were completely absent from the edited version. In the segment of the film that was spliced out I made specific reference to the fact that Jews can never accept Jesus as the Messiah – anyone who does so is ipso fact not a Jew - and that for us every human being is a child of G-d (and not any one specific individual); no one single person can ever claim that unique status, which G-d bestowed upon all of humanity created in His image.

    I would certainly never praise the Christian representation in whose name Jews have been slaughtered and persecuted throughout the years. That was not my intention at all, and I regret putting myself in a position where my words could be manipulated. Indeed, my comments referred to Jesus the historical figure, the man who was not a “Christian,” who did not hate Jews but rather was himself a committed Jew. In order to emphasize this point to a Christian audience, I referred to him as “Rabbi” Jesus, the Jewish historical Jesus as many historians such as Professors Joseph Klausner and David Flusser have proven him to be. However, let me be clear: While I refer to Jesus poetically as “Rabbi” Jesus, he was not a rabbi in the classical sense of the term. It was used only to explain to a Christian audience the Jewish Jesus, and in hindsight, the term was an inappropriate one to use.

    Tragically, innumerable horrors were inflicted upon the Jewish people in his name. I always emphasize this point to Christian audiences and they always respond with great empathy and sincere pain. For me, one of the true signs of the unique period in which we are living is that for the first time in 2000 years, the Christian world has held out a hand of peace to the Jewish world. Even more: leading Catholics (notably Pope John 23 and Pope John Paul II), important intellectual Protestants like Professor Jon D. Levenson and Prof. Petra Held and virtually the entire Evangelical community worldwide have asked for our forgiveness, have made serious revisions in their theological positions, and are standing squarely behind the Jewish people in the State of Israel.

    As an Orthodox rabbi, I deeply believe that there is a need for mutually-respectful dialogue between the Jewish and Christian worlds. This dialogue must express our common commitment to a G-d of love, pluralism and peace, but must at the same time never gloss over the very different faith commitments of our individual respective religious communities. Dialogue between Jews and Christians is especially crucial now for the political future of the nation of Israel as well as for the security of the free world in the face of the rapidly spreading Islamic Fundamentalism which is terrorizing humanity. Only the G-d of love and peace which we share with the Christian world can overcome the false G-d of Jihad and terrorist bombers. From a Jewish perspective it is clear that such dialogue can only be conducted in accordance with the principals of our Torah philosophy and the faith commitments which are the foundation of our sacred traditions.



    Shlomo Riskin

    ReplyDelete
  45. STATEMENT FROM RABBI SHLOMO RISKIN REGARDING YOUTUBE VIDEO DECEMBER 30,
    2009

    It has come to my attention that comments I made on the character of Jesus
    in a recent interview have been misunderstood. Allow me to clarify.

    The filmed interview in question (given to a group of Christians) was
    edited carelessly and posted on YouTube by an organization that omitted a
    significant part of my message. The fundamental differences between Judaism and
    Christianity, which I always emphasize in my talks with Christian groups,
    were completely absent from the edited version. In the segment of the film
    that was spliced out I made specific reference to the fact that Jews can
    never accept Jesus as the Messiah ? anyone who does so is ipso fact not a Jew
    - and that for us every human being is a child of G-d (and not any one
    specific individual); no one single person can ever claim that unique status,
    which G-d bestowed upon all of humanity created in His image.

    I would certainly never praise the Christian representation in whose name
    Jews have been slaughtered and persecuted throughout the years. That was
    not my intention at all, and I regret putting myself in a position where my
    words could be manipulated. Indeed, my comments referred to Jesus the
    historical figure, the man who was not a ?Christian,? who did not hate Jews but
    rather was himself a committed Jew. In order to emphasize this point to a
    Christian audience, I referred to him as ?Rabbi? Jesus, the Jewish
    historical Jesus as many historians such as Professors Joseph Klausner and David
    Flusser have proven him to be. However, let me be clear: While I refer to
    Jesus poetically as ?Rabbi? Jesus, he was not a rabbi in the classical sense
    of the term. It was used only to explain to a Christian audience the Jewish
    Jesus, and in hindsight, the term was an inappropriate one to use.

    Tragically, innumerable horrors were inflicted upon the Jewish people in
    his name. I always emphasize this point to Christian audiences and they
    always respond with great empathy and sincere pain. For me, one of the true
    signs of the unique period in which we are living is that for the first time
    in 2000 years, the Christian world has held out a hand of peace to the
    Jewish world. Even more: leading Catholics (notably Pope John 23 and Pope John
    Paul II), important intellectual Protestants like Professor Jon D. Levenson
    and Prof. Petra Held and virtually the entire Evangelical community
    worldwide have asked for our forgiveness, have made serious revisions in their
    theological positions, and are standing squarely behind the Jewish people in
    the State of Israel.

    As an Orthodox rabbi, I deeply believe that there is a need for
    mutually-respectful dialogue between the Jewish and Christian worlds. This dialogue
    must express our common commitment to a G-d of love, pluralism and peace,
    but must at the same time never gloss over the very different faith
    commitments of our individual respective religious communities. Dialogue between
    Jews and Christians is especially crucial now for the political future of the
    nation of Israel as well as for the security of the free world in the face
    of the rapidly spreading Islamic Fundamentalism which is terrorizing
    humanity. Only the G-d of love and peace which we share with the Christian world
    can overcome the false G-d of Jihad and terrorist bombers. From a Jewish
    perspective it is clear that such dialogue can only be conducted in accordance
    with the principals of our Torah philosophy and the faith commitments
    which are the foundation of our sacred traditions.

    Shlomo Riskin

    ReplyDelete
  46. R. Riskin has a history of saying unacceptable statements regarding Jesus.

    About 6 months ago a video, circulated by the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem (ICEJ), shows R. Riskin speaking of the “grafting” of evangelical Christianity onto Israel and "resurrecting" G-d.

    On the video R. Riskin says “We are meant to pray together. In Isaiah Chapter 56, the prophet speaks of the Holy Temple… Isaiah says, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.’ And this is the dream, vision and end-goal.” At this point, he is cut off, and his talk then continues with this: “G-d is asking from the Jewish People to fulfill our covenant… an eternal, irrevocable contract. The party of the first part, as it were, is G-d Himself. The party of the second part is the Jewish People, but not only the Jewish People. Because as Romans states quite clearly, certainly the evangelical Christian community has grafted itself upon the covenant.”

    R. Riskin is then seen saying, “It’s critical that we join hands.” At that point, on the backdrop of two hands coming together, one holding a Jewish star and the other holding a cross, the rabbi states, “and it’s critical that we resurrect G-d in this generation.”

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132109

    When caught, like he did here, he "retracted".

    ReplyDelete
  47. In light of Rabbi Riskin's communication I think he deserves a chance to be evaluated on the basis of the unedited videotape. Would that be possible. Perhaps it should be started as a new post.,

    ReplyDelete
  48. The word "Resurrect" has too many xtian connotations.
    However, in the age of atheism and egotism, he is right. "Hadesh Yameinu K'Kedem".
    Re: joint prayer - well, all Gentiles have to bring sacrifices to the Beit Hamikdash, and they will be punished if they don't. So there is nothing treif about that (unless one denies the neviim).

    Having once been a student of R' Riskin, i would say, that although i dont always agree with his concepts, he happens to say a lot of emotional stuff, and sometimes comes out with what may sound ridiculous. He bases it on sources.
    I don't think this is limited to him - the same happens with Haredi Gedolim, who come out wiht pronouncements they later have to clarify.

    ReplyDelete

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED!
please use either your real name or a pseudonym.