Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Rabbi Riskin discusses Rabbi Jesus and messianism


Rabbi Riskin offers clarification of his remarks

Rabbi Sholom Gold's negative reaction

R. Riskin versus the Chief Rabbinate – a dose of reality

by Rabbi A. Gordimer

He was an amazingly energetic worker, who loved to deal with people and who brilliantly launched countless new projects and developed ingenious initiatives. But he was not a team player. In fact, many of his actions starkly violated our company’s policies, and his maverick approaches to important issues undermined our core values.

It is eminently understandable why the employer felt unable to extend the worker’s employment. Few if any would disagree.

When the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, the Rabbanut, released word that it may not extend the tenure of R. Shlomo Riskin as Chief Rabbi of the city of Efrat, supporters of R. Riskin were up in arms:

Rabbi Riskin is one of the great Modern Orthodox rabbis of our generation. He has inspired hundreds of rabbis in America and around the world to follow in his footsteps, to bring a vibrant Orthodoxy to the masses. He is a mentor, a role model who is beloved. Few rabbis in recent history come close to accomplishing what he has achieved. He deserves our deepest respect and veneration.
We call upon the Chief Rabbinate to withdraw its highly offensive demands.R. Riskin’s inspiring, vibrant and loving leadership are brought to the fore in the above letter, penned by the leadership of the Open Orthodox movement in America, as the Rabbanut is vilified and smeared as hateful and irrational for its consideration to not extend the tenure of such a sterling and devoted rabbi.

Yet the elephant in the room — the very real controversies surrounding R. Riskin — controversies in which R. Riskin materially violated the policies of the Chief Rabbinate, his employer – is intentionally omitted and concealed.For despite R. Riskin’s rabbinic dynamism and love for Torah and the Jewish People, he has been at the forefront of the ordination of women, he has publicly displayed an uncomfortable enthusiasm for Christian religious values, and he has in various additional ways materially undermined the policies and halachic positions of the Rabbanut, including promoting the chanting of Megillath Ruth by a female at the main minyan of a synagogue under his jurisdiction. These are but a few of the many deviations from normative Orthodoxy and from fundamental Rabbanut standards on the part of R. Riskin. (Please also see this very important article about R. Riskin’s trajectory in the rabbinate.)

Yes, R. Riskin’s devotion and passion to spread Judaism are hard to beat, but when he violates the trust of his employer, and he contravenes the rulings of the most preeminent halachic authorities of this and previous generations, let us realize that it is not the Chief Rabbinate who is the offender, and that it just may be that the employer had more than ample reason to maintain that its employee was not being faithful to the policies and values that he was hired to uphold.

There are indeed two sides to every story, and when the pertinent facts of the narrative are glaringly omitted by one side, the omission is quite telling.


  1. what are you saying? Are you saying you accept R Riskin's clarification?

  2. There was a previous chief rabbi called Metzger, who was approved by R' Elyashiv, and reportedly even R' Elyashiv stood up in his presence out of kavod for the rabbanut. The problem was, that there is a video of metzger publicly stating that the Lubavitcher rebbe was Melech mashiach l'olam vaed.

  3. The problem was, that there is a video of metzger publicly stating that the Lubavitcher rebbe was Melech mashiach l'olam vaed.

    While that may be somewhat problematic, it's nothing compared to praising יש"ו הנוצרי (as he is referred to in the השמטות הש"ס). In the not well known אגרת דרבן יוחנן בן זכאי (which the תנא wrote to the Jews of Rome, warning them of the שלוחי המות, who were שאול ופטרות), it states:

    לא יש מום רע כישו

    Apparently, Rabbi Riskin is unfamiliar with how חז"ל described the person of יש"ו in the השמטות הש"ס and the דקדודי סופרים, in which it states that he was a מסית ומדיח.

    No ירא שמים in his right mind, would ever praise יש"ו or נצרות- which the אגרת traces back to the טומאה of the נחש הקדמון. Pretty heavy stuff there!

    After a few minutes of listening to the Riskin video, what he was saying was so personally repulsive to me (קצתי בחיי), that I had to shut it off. Being פורץ גדרי גדרות should certainly be a concern for the רבנות הראשי, who seem to be responding appropriately.

  4. R. Yaakov Emden praised Jesus.
    Obviously you dont think he had yirush shomuyim

  5. @Rav Yaakov Emden said many problematic things
    Not aware that anyone praises his attitude towards Christianity - have you ever heard someone praise his comments on this matter?

  6. R. Yaakov Emden praised Jesus.

    Yes, he did do that in his letter סדר עולם רבה וזוטא, and the יעב"ץ was certainly a ירא שמים. I stand corrected.

  7. Huh? Who cares if anyone praised him for it? Do you have a source that someone needs praise for an opinion? I was responing to the comment "No ירא שמים in his right mind, would ever praise יש"ו or נצרות"

    And by the way R Riskin is praised for lots of things, nothing to do with his contravertial views.

  8. One thing doesn't justify another - and that is not the claim i m making.
    R Metzger was the Chief rabbi and was backed by the Gadol haDor of the Misnagdim - despite him making heretical statements.

  9. Eddie - I'm calling your bluff. Where is that video? (You said "is", not "was".)

  10. Asher pihem diber shavMay 31, 2015 at 5:19 PM

    Watching this video, I almost thought I was watching a "Jews for Jesus" video.

    Listen Riskin,

    1. The Ritva says on the passuk אלופינו מסובלים אין פרץ ואין יוצאת ואין צווחה ברחובותינו . ברחובותינו זה ישו הנוצרי שהסית והדיח ברחובות ירושלים. Not quite a Rabbi Jesus

    2. The Gemara mentions that the Talmud of R' Yehoshua Ben Prachya ישו הנוצרי. When he wasn't greeted in the time of Kriat Shema זקף לבינה והשתחוה . He bowed to a brick. Not quite a rabbi Jesus

    3. Look at his Talmidim. The crusades, the inquisition. It is a disgrace to the memory of all those who died in the name of this Jesus, to be idolizing his persona.

    4. The 12th אני מאמין of Maimonides. It is not clear from the video if Riskin believes it or is agnostic about it. He seems confused and unsure.

    5. אומר לרשע צדיק אתה יקבוהו עמים יזעמוהו לאומים. ולמוכיחים ינעם ועליהם תבוא ברכות טוב . שפתים ישק משיב דברים נחוכים

  11. no, because he was already doing Lubavitch for many years, and helped spread the idea that the Rebbe was the most qualified person to be Moshiach ( back in the 80s before the official messianism took place).
    This means he was being played by the rebbe, who was his mentor to spread the messianic propaganda, and stopping short of outright declaring him to be the messiah.

  12. but he also was critical of R' Yonasan Eibechutz, who allegedly was a secret Sabbatian. It is easy to criticise R Emden, since he was not accepting of the Zohar in its entirety. But very few are critical of R Eibeshutz despite evidence pointing to his sabbatian connections.

  13. @Eddie - is the the kitchen sink?

  14. @Eddie - being backed to be Chief Rabbi and being recognized as authoritative are two idea that you are conflating

  15. @DT - is that that a sentence?

  16. The current controversy is whether should be the Rav haRashi of Efrat beyond the age of 75. the conflation is whether his atrocious views on yashke (whether b'zadon or simply out of context) will influence the policy decision of the rabbanut. I am simply arguing that when it served the interests of the Oilam, there was no problem in backing someone who made a statement that Rav Shach would have, and rightly so, blasted.

  17. Another installment of "Shtusim by Eddie." Even if it's true that Metzger said that, which I do not accept on your say-so, it does not make him a heretic. It is not heresy to wrongly identify a person as Moshiach.

  18. R Metzger was the Chief rabbi and was backed by the Gadol haDor of the Misnagdim.....

    Why are you addressing your post to me? I am not speaking of Rabbi Metzger at all.

  19. My take on R Emden's comments on Yashka are that he lived in a society where one had to be civil towards our neighbours. You either have Westerners who believe in primitive polytheism like Thor, saturn etc, or you have those who accept the 10 commandments , the Torah, and in future Moshiach - albeit they have got the wrong guy. What he was politely saying is that the contribution of yeshu was to take away the old idols and give a kind universal form of Judaism, which approximates to the 7 mitzvot bnei noach (with some errors here and there).


  21. and reportedly even R' Elyashiv stood up in his presence out of kavod for the rabbanut

    PLEASE!!! lol.....


  23. Whisky foxtrot - I think you put the cart before the horse, I made a comment to which you responded, an i then replied. perhaps you had too much single malt?


    it is megaleh panim shelo k'halacha

    there is no melech or moshiach in Israel yet, and certainly not 25 years ago. Anyhow, this whole post is criticsing Shlomo Riskin for saying that he (as a scholar of Classics) was interested in the personality of Yashke.
    He didnt state that Yashke was Moshiach, yet he is being attacked left, right and centre. yet, in your innately hypocritical style, when one of your own goons - a crook who was the lithuanian's useful idiot - claims that Schneersohn is the Moshaich, you say it is perfectly fine, and just a little mistake. That is the problem with hareidi polemics in general, and Kishke in particular - it is all about hate, and exposing flaws of everyone else, yet when your people do things which are even worse, you minimise it and brush it under the carpet.

  25. Many pointless words, but no source. As expected.
    In fact, wrongly identifying a person as Moshiach does not make a person an apikores. When you have a source other than your own boich that states otherwise, let me know.

  26. Come now, Eddie, this is more than a bit disingenuous of you. It's absolutely clear in context that he meant it allegorically. He's saying the rebbe lives on through his good deeds etc.

    As for calling him מלך המשיח, he was playing to his audience. Metzger is a political animal.

    But it's all irrelevant. Your claim of heresy is so much hogwash.

  27. "perhaps you had too much single malt"

    You've got some real issues fella, don't you? By trying to lamely insult others, you show your complete lack of כבוד הבריות, which from the likes of you is to be expected!

  28. Same here. I also shut it off for the same reason.

  29. now your conflating. you don't have to praise him. the question is do you "dump" RYE? do you refuse you use the the title "Rav" like the author of the TOI piece did regarding Rav Riskin?

  30. In fact, wrongly identifying a person as Moshiach does not make a person an apikores.

    That is quite true. In איכה רבה פרשה ב סימן ד we see:

    ר"ע כד הוה חמי ליה להדין בר כוזיבא הוה אמר היינו מלכא משיחא

  31. the subject of that was Riskin , so u missed the point again

  32. Sorry, hog-wash is your specialty, you try to wash the hogs and make them appear kasher.

    There is no difference between saying that:


    Shabbetai Zvi

    Lubavitcher Rebbe

    is/are Moshiach.

    why is one kefira and another is Glat Kosher?

    If R' Yaakov Emden, or Rav Shach were alive today, they would be fuming at you and at Metzger!

  33. no, that is quite a false statement -
    so far, Moshiach has not come, and we have had no Melech since about 2600 years ago. Thus identifyign anyone a Moshaich till now has been wrong.

    According to the argument presented above, then wrongly identifying yashke or shabetai zvi as Moshiach is also fine and not apikorsus.

  34. I agree with kishkeyum that Metzger is playing to his audience (as opposed to being a closet Meshichist) - but it still bothers me a lot how he could bring himself to utter those words. Of course, it doesn't bother me that much, because I really have no idea who the man is - just that he is (1) a former chief Rabbi, who was (2) indicted for bribery/corruption? and is (3) very tall.

  35. Don't be silly - once a person dies they can't be Mashiach any more!

  36. Eddie, you are a shotah if you can equate saying that the Lubavitche Rebbe, HARAV Shneerson (and not Shneerson to you, you tipish!) had the ability t5o be mashiach is the same as saying Yoshke was the messiah are the same thing.

  37. Newsflash for you, fella. The reason those who believe in Yoshke are heretics is not b/c of his false status as a Messiah. You blather on about these things, without a smidgen of understanding.

  38. See the Gemara Sanhedrin: אם מן המתים ... אם מן החיים.

  39. Again, Eddie makes source-free claims. You stated that falsey identifying someone as Moshiach makes a person a heretic. Either provide the source, or quit making the false claim.

  40. Eddie, you are a shotah

    Truer words were never spoken. Or written, as the case may be.

  41. You mean Sanhedrin 98b:

    אמר רב אי מן חייא הוא כגון רבינו הקדוש אי מן מתיא הוא כגון דניאל איש חמודות

    However, according to both of Rashi's explanations there, the Gemara does NOT mean to say that a dead person could actually become Mashiach NOW. Rabbi Gil Student points this out in chapter 5 (pages 72-73) of his book "Can The Rebbe Be Moshiach?", available here:

    The proofs against a dead Mashiach are in chapter 4 of that book.

    (Of course, if someone is a hardcore Messianic then no amount of proofs or logic will help!)

  42. Yes.
    I seem to remember other pshatim there not like Rashi, but I'd have to check around. If I get a chance to, I'll post.

  43. Ari - firstly you are confusing the claims here:

    R Shlomo Riskin says that Yashke was a Rabbi, not the moshiach. He sets up a straw man argument that when the Moshaich does come, if it happens to be Yashka, then the Xtians will be right. But this is only a logical argument, and he disputes the claims of Yashek as being Moshiach.
    Regarding the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the followers have held several positions. This started with B'chizkat moshiach; then vadai Moshiach, even after his petriah. Finally the E-lokistim heresies, which turned him into a false deity, very much like yashka.

    I am told that this claim of the Ein Sof being in the Rebbe was already disputed by Rav Aaron Kotler vis a vis the previous Rebbe.

  44. Chaim, who is being silly and why?
    There are halachic requirements to being Moshiach, obviously one is that he is alive.

    Even Chabad themselves said that when it comes to the Halacha regarding the Moshaich, the Rambam is teh Shulchan Aruch. The same rambam says do not pick out different aggadatas , they are not so clear.

  45. OK, i apologise for my joke,

  46. In the days when i followed R Riskin, and he was asked if Rav Shach put him in Herem, his answer was yes, but he is in good company, the Lubavitcher rebbe also was in herem.

    So now that I am no longer admirers of either , and I am accused of being a tipish, I can say I have something to rely on:

  47. The Torah requirement of honesty in weights and scales, according to Ralbag's commentary on Mishlei, applies especially when it comes to Torah study and din Torah.

    So let us look how tilted the scales are in this discussion.

    Riskin is attacked here because of his comments saying that Jesus was a Rabbi. According to Chazal he was a talmid hachamim,, who went severely OTD. What Riskin does not say is that Yashke was the messiah. (It should be noted that rabbi Yitz Greenberg once suggested that Yashke may have been a failed messiah rather than a false one).

    Now the dishonest weights become apparent when I mention the fact that another Chief rabbi, Y Metzger, stated openly that the rebbe of the Lubavitch sect was "Melech HaMoshiach". This would be more severe on the spectrum of problematic statements, and i contend that this is apikorsut or heresy. Historically, jesus was a rabbi, he knew more than any rabbi of today. however, the Rebbe was not the Moshiach, regardless of how much he knew.
    Certain people simply oppose what I say for the sake of it, but they display their own hypocrisy and imperfect scales in the process. When a Hareidi sponsored rabbis makes a ridiculous statement, then he is only "speaking to the audience". This is the kind of nonsense and hareidi whitewash of its own dirty linen.

    If it was the other way around, people would be attacking Riskin for saying this (which he never did).
    And this attitude pervades the small mindedness of the knee-jerk hareidi hate machine. Anyone on their hate list, is subject to ridicule, even dishonestly, whilst anyone on their protection list is given immunity, regardless of the severity of their sins.

  48. @Eddie - you are not in the same discussion. Simple fact is that nobody ever respected Metzger - he was useful for the Chareidim - but was not an authority. what he said or did was not influential

    Rabbi Riskin is respected in certain circles and he is an authoritative for certain people. He also apparently going against the rules of the rabbinate in areas such as psak and conversions

  49. Kishkeyum - are you saying that claiming the meshichus of JC, or shabbetai Zevi were not heretical?
    Please bring a source for that.

  50. Yes, but the point you miss is that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. In other words, if Riskin's JC comments are sufficient to have him "retired", then by the same token, so should metzger's. if not, then the post here is rather twisted.
    In any case, the official reason why he is being retired is that he has reached the age of 75, which by law means he can no longer hold the position.

  51. Eddie, you're making a claim. You say identifying the wrong man as Moshiach is heresy. So far you've offered no source, only obfuscated when asked for one. Put up or shut up.

  52. What I actually said was that R' Yona Metzger made a heretical statement, by claiming the Rebbe was melech HaMashiach. Now you are asking whether is it real heresy or just a mistake? SO i am saying it is as "heretical" as saying that Shabetai Zvi was the Moshaich. That is a logical argument. If you can show me that claiming Shabetai zvi to be the moshiach is not a) heretical, and b) not a seriosu aveira, then i will accept your claim.

  53. Chaim kindly directed me to this book by R' student.
    Ch 6 discusses heresy of the Messianic movement.

    Also, fella, you are mistaken - the followers of Yashke are heretics precisely because they followed a false messiah. Remember, they were originally a frum jewish sect, and were referred to by Chazal as "minim". The same was the case with Sabbateans, who originally were frum, but were also minim.

  54. Those who believed in Yoshke were not heretics b/c they thought Yoshke was the messiah (not sure that was even part of their belief at that point in time) -- they were heretics b/c they believed in his diviinity. This is pashut. You still have not provided a source in Chazal or poskim that says that misidentifying someone as Moshiach makes you a heretic. I doubt you ever will. Don't tell me to read Student's book. You made a claim. You have been unable or unwilling to provide a source. As usual, you speak with great authority about things you know nothing about.

  55. More obfuscation. More dishonest wriggling. Prove your claim or withdraw it. You said misidentifying the rebbe as Moshiach is a heretical statement. Prove it.

  56. Mr Kishkes, you have a totally false and reversed view of history. The original claim made by yashke, was that he was Moshiach. Even in the Neuer testament, they write that both the Perushim and the Tzedukim tested his claims and rejected him. In other words, both Chazal, and the Kohanim had certain ways to test his claims, and both saw he was fraud. He was thus rejected, and his followers were called Minim.
    After he was killed, and the myth spread to the gentile followers, they developed the idea of his chas v'shalom divine status. in fact, it began with dualism, and only a century or 2 later became a trinity.
    Perhaps you are arguing terminology - that his followers were in fact minim, rather than apikorsim? I would accept that - i wrote "heretical" in English, but the more accurate term would be minim, which is usually = sectarians.
    As far as i recall, the Mishnah rules out minim from olam haba.

    The Christianity of today is not the same as the original Jewish sect of minim who followed yashke.
    So i would be more precise to use the term "minut".

    I also recommend you study the history of christianity. Furthermore, also the shabbetai zvi movement. The claim of his "meshichut" was originally accepted by some, or not opposed, but several gedolim took a stand against it. The conversion of shabbetai to islam took place after he was already put in cherem by the misnagdim of the time.

  57. Let me clarify your question - do you mean after he died, or even during the campaign that he is the Moshaich (which became public after he suffered a stroke etc)?

  58. I have zero interest in the history of Christianiy. I have interest in the halachah, which you have misrepresented, as you so often do. You claim that misidentifying a person as Moshiach is an act of heresy. I challenge you to provide a source. Thirty posts later, you still have not done so. Quit wriggling.

  59. Talking to you is an exercise in futility. You made an assertion, and when asked to provide the source, you start with the ducking and weaving. I'm done with that. I'll accept it as a given that as usual, you have no idea what you're talking about.

  60. not only do you have zero interest, you have zero knowledge in the history of xtianity.
    "Those who believed in Yoshke were not heretics b/c they thought Yoshke
    was the messiah (not sure that was even part of their belief at that
    point in time) -- they were heretics b/c they believed in his diviinity.
    This is pashut"
    This is nonsense. He didnt go around saying he is divine, he said he is moshiach, that is why they were minim,. This refutes your claims, and it shows that following a false messiah is very dangerous, and was considered to be "minut". I have already clarified my use of terms, and the english "heretical" would be improved by using the term minut.
    Next, you are also misrepresenting halacha. The requirements, according to Rambam, for identifying Moshiach, both be chizkah and vadai exclude the possibility of anyone today of fulfilling. The very act of forcing and bending these rules to fit a pre-conceived flase messiah, be it shabbetai zvi or Menachem Mendel Schneerson is itself a form of ... heterodoxy. In fact, this was what the sababteans did but on a larger scale. For example, they made a brocho "matir issurim" to permit all kinds of forbidden acts. If anyone else twists and falsifies halacha, they are generally called apikorsim. For whatever personal reasons, you seem to be applying a blanket of immunity on both metzger and Chabad, when they are acting in the same way. RAP wrote a few times that Chabad messianism is very much modern day Sababteanism, and if he still holds to that, then we are in agreement.

  61. No, it is quite the opposite. First you denied that metzger actualyl said those words and i proved it. then I showed a video of rav Shach criticising Chabad. Then I clarified the terms minim and heresy. I also showed that all false messiahs in the past, especially Yashke, Zevi et al were banned and considered minim or apikorsim. So logically, you don't see following those false messiahs as anything wrong?
    Here is an article about rav Shach, who called Chabad messianism "avodah zarah".

    If the pre-eminent Chareidi/Lithuanian Gadol HaDor at the time of the rebbe's messianism considered it to be avodah zarah, that is sufficient evidence for me ot be satisfied that a) either the false messianism was outside of Orthodox Judaism, or b) that Rav Shach was seriously mistaken in this matter.
    Before I knew enough of the situation, I was tempted to side with b), but now I am older, and hopefully wiser.

  62. Eddie -- the source of your statement, please. The source. The source. The source. Can I make it any clearer? Even you should be able to follow. Stop with the irrelevancies, and prove your assertion.

    And with that I am done. You are too dense to engage with. I'm sorry I tried.

  63. @Eddie do you have a citation where Rav Schach said that anyone who accepted the Lubavitcher Rebbe as Moshiach is an apikoris?

    Do you have a single quote where he equated the Lubavitcher Rebbe to Jesus or Shabstai Tzvi?

  64. the citation in the essay i have linked quotes him as saying it was avodah zarah.
    Furthermore, I heard at the time that R' Shach called their messiah a "false messiah" and that his followers were eaters of treif. This is all well known to those who followed the matter at the time. it was not an issue of the messianism being a legitimate but not suitable for the current day. It was about a new cult. In fact after the Rebbe's passing, Rav Shach praised him for bringing people closer to Torah but also criticised him for turning Lubavitch into a cult, and allowing the messianic speculation.

    There are some areas where you have to use sechel. After all, according to the new sevoras presented by Kishkeyum, there would be no problem in believing in Shabbetai zvi, if he was not a menuval.
    Then comes the issue of falsification of halacha. Would you call someone who falsifies the halacha of gittin non-orthodox? Whether the label of apikorsus is used or not, we have to look at the reality. My understanding of Jewish history is that it never accepted false messiahs, and always fought agasint any such movements. Hacham Tzvi is a prime example in his fight against the Sabbatean movement.

  65. @Eddie so you are simply saying there is no quote that says the followers of the Rebbe were considered as apikorsim and no citation that accepting him as Messiah was the same as accepting Jesus of Shabtzai Tzvi - that is your deduction or generationalization and you actually have citation to support you. You call your generalization as sechel - my understanding is that Rav Shach would disagree with your understanding and allegations.

    In fact Shabtzai Tzvis was widely accepted as possibly moshiach because he was making people frum and more pious. it wasn't until he convert to Islam that a backlash occurred.

    Chacham Tzvi was an exception

    I would suggest you read Rav Hamberger's sefer

  66. @DT - did you misunderstand what i wrote or vice versa?

    The quote in the article i brought states that R Shach called the movement A.Z. Is AZ the same as apikorsus or heresy - or equivalent? Or are you saying that AZ doesn't count, and you will only accept the term apikorsus? In which case i have no such quote.

    What I also stated was that i read or heard at teh time that R Shach called the followers "eaters of treif". Again, does this not mean that the movement was treif, and the theology was somewhat un-jewish?
    In addition to this, R' Aaron Kotler blasted the previous rebbe, R' Yosef Schneersohn for his comments that he, as rebbe had the Ein Sof within him. Any normal person who says this would be considered an apikores in every text book definition of the rambam.

    Prof Rabbi Berger in this article

    also points to the claims of the 7th Rebbe, that his father in law R' Yosef held prophecy. Making a claim to prophecy, which was also attributed by his followers to himself, is a serious matter. A false prophet can potentially be executed for his actions or claims. It seems that the claims to prophecy were not made so much in public, but again it adds to the serious problem of the Chabad movement being minut.

  67. @Eddie all you need to do is show that Rav Shach held that AZ is the same as apikorus. Without you have no case. Given the strong feelings involved, don't you find it strange that the term apikorus was apparently not used?

  68. I originally used the word "heretical" in English , and this was then translated into apikorsut. However, upon analysis I suggested Minut is a better term. If minut is acceptable to you, then i have to refer you to Rambam's Hilchot teshuva: 3:7

    Halacha 7

    Five individuals are described as Minim:

    a) one who says there is no God nor ruler of the world;
    b) one who accepts the concept of a ruler, but maintains that there are two or more;
    c) one who accepts that there is one Master [of the world], but maintains that He has a body or form;
    d) one who maintains that He was not the sole First Being and Creator of all existence;
    e) one who serves a star, constellation, or other entity so that it
    will serve as an intermediary between him and the eternal Lord.

    b) and e) would very clearly cover AZ. Since Rav Shach was baki in Rambam, and wrote a peirush on it, then he couldn't have been unaware of this halacha. But, you could argue that i am generalizing again!

  69. Rabbi Riskin, PLEASE, just say goodbye and leave the Rabbanut alone and go on your way!

    Why does Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (RSR) still want to be part of the Israeli Rabbanut if if they don't want him? If he was smart he would just say goodbye to them and continue on his own way now that he is "75" and has nothing more to prove. Just say, Rabbosai I am too old and too tired to argue with you, have a nice day and I will do what I want in any case, let the chips fall where they may.

    A lot of what he does is all part of his never-ending "outreach" and for most people who have never met him (including myself) he is just another giddy outreach rabbi "bitten by the bug of success" (as the late Rabbi David Hollander ZT"L used to say) gone overboard. There are (valid) Charedi complaints against Aish HaTorah for all sorts of things. There are (valid) Charedi complaints against Chabad for all sorts of things. There are (valid) Charedi complaints against Breslov for all sorts of things. There are (valid) Charedi complaints against Bnai Akiva for all sorts of things. There are (valid) Charedi complaints against NCSY for all sorts of things. There are (valid) Charedi complaints against YU for all sorts of things -- yet that does not stop any of them, and they are even very successful at what they do and they just ignore the criticism and just go on with what they are doing for Yiddishkeit -- and Riskin and his followers is just one of these sub-groups that do all sorts of crazy and bizarre things in order to connect with and gain credibility with the secular, non-Orthodox, and even non-Jewish worlds and in their trying to win over new recruits for Yiddishkeit.

    RSR is not regarded as part of the Charedi world and it is therefore hard to see how the Charedi world can sit in judgment of someone who does not care about what they say, and why RSR should care to be connected to the Charedi-influenced Israeli Rabbanut and worry about what they say?

  70. There are also some valid complaints against some Chareidim who have been known to do crazy or bizarre things. Stop generalizing beyond the call of duty. Each camp should get its own house in order and not obsess about the others.

  71. Those who believed in Yoshke were not heretics b/c they thought Yoshke
    was the messiah (not sure that was even part of their belief at that
    point in time) -- they were heretics b/c they believed in his diviinity.

    It's interesting that according to the השמטה which is found in דקדוקי סופרים סנהדרין מ"ג ע"ב, we read:

    והתניא בערב הפסח תלאוהו לישו הנוצרי. והכרוז יוצא לפניו ארבעים יום ישו הנוצרי יוצא ליסקל על שכישף והסית והדיח את ישראל

    His crimes were being a מסית ומדיח and a מכשף.

    כל מי שיודע לו זכות יבוא וילמד עליו! ולא מצאו לו זכות ותלאוהו בערב הפסח

    But why, does the גמרא ask, did this process take 40 days? After all, wasn't he certainly convicted of being a מסית ומדיח, for who we may have no pity?

    אמר עולא ותסברא ישו הנוצרי בר הפוכי זכות הוא? מסית הוא! ורחמנא אמר לא תחמל ולא תכסה עליו

    The גמרא, answers:

    אלא שאני ישו דקרוב למלכות הוה

    ישו had close ties with the royalty (בית הורדוס), and the רבנים were worried that they might be accused of rushing the matter and suffering reprisals.

    While the השמטות הש"ס on the נוצרי are few indeed, they do offer some of the most fascinating הערות on the subject.

  72. Kishkeyum -

    the sources I use are:

    the rambam - Melachim 11 and 12. Here they state that there are certain requirements for someone to fulfill to be Moshiach. Thus simply playing with halacha like it is putty to suit one's desires are akin to reform.

    Next, the Rambam himself rejects Yashke and the new testament claims based on the fact that none of the conditions were fulfilled, and quite the opposite in fact. I wouldn't say that recent false messiahs were that bad, but no King, no offspring, fought no wars, and we still have galuth and intermarriage etc. So we have minut.

    Next, we have the movement itself, which now has gone int eh direction of Xtianity in claiming divinity of the rebbe. In Lubavitch they used to daven and ask the rebbe for blessings.

    Why do you claim Rambam is irrelevant?
    And why do you consider R Shach making such extreme statements, eg that he was a false messiah, his follwoers eat treif, and avodah zarah - as all being irrelevant?

    However, on a technicality you may have a point. A violation of halacha, which is what the claim of the messiahood of the rebbe was, is not in itself necessary heresy. But when a new halachic system, which falsifies the existing rambam, and claims to be Torah becomes a movement, then my claim is that this is in fact a new sect which is no loner part of traditional Judaism.

  73. @Eddie - what is your source to tar the whole Chabad movement as going toward Christianity and claiming the the Rebbe is divine?

    As far as I know it is only a tiny minority that holds this view and it is rejected by the majority.

  74. a brief bio of R Riskin

  75. I can't believe I'm responding to you. Even Brer Rabbit learned his lesson eventually. For the last time:

    Not one word of what you have cited shows that misidentifying someone as Moshiach makes you a heretic, which was your claim. Repeat: None of your sources justify the statement that a person who calls the Lubavitcher Rebbe Moshiach is a heretic, or has expressed a heretical view. You want to backtrack on what you said, call it "a technicality," go right ahead. But it's glaringly obvious that you were blowing smoke -- too bad it's taken you this long to kinda sorta admit it.

    this covers the idea of ein sof being in the rebbe - a concept that is also discussed by Prof Berger of YU, in his work on the Rebbe.


    Rav Melamed, the rav of Har Bracha, and no liberal in any way, weighs in. His disagrees with Rav Riskin, but completely disagrees with the rabbinate and its attempt to dismiss Rav Riskin. Rav Melamed's personal respect for Rav Riskin, his belief that it is perfectly OK to disagree, his disrespect for many of the dayanim and rabbanim of the rabbinate and the manner in which they run that office, all lead him to give his complete backing to Rav Riskin.

  78. What my original statement was - regarding R' Metzger, was that his calling the rebbe melech hamashiach, was a heretical statement. I then clarified this to be akin to minut.

    Once you have a movement which falsely claims its leader is the messiah, then this is a sectarian (min) group /religion which falls outside of Orthodoxy as it has been for the last 2000 years or more.
    You are simply ducking and diving, since you are unfamiliar with the rambam, or that it is inconvenient to you. By contrast, you are also implying that the Sabbetai zvi movement was not heretical.

  79. anyway, let's get back to the reason why I said this , on a discussion about Rabbi Riskin.

    Riskin is being taken to task for his absurd and dangerous comments regarding yashke, although he does not declare him to have been anything more than a rabbi. Actually, he does, he says he was a role model for all rabbis. That to me is a very sick comment indeed.
    My argument is that R metzger made comment about the rebbe, claiming he is Moshiach (after the man had already passed away). Whether or not my opinion of this being heretical or minut is correct or accepted, the statement made by Metzger is a greater departure from judaism than that made by Riskin. And so, whilst R' Elyashiv, who was supposedly the successor to Rav Shach wanted this fool to be Chief rabbi, many do not want Riskin to remain on the payroll in Efrat.
    Thus, the argument I am bringing - regardless of whether you agree with me, or even with Metzger, is that the attacks on Riskin by the Hareidi camp are hypocritical, considering they harbored a known menuval (as was already stated by R Bakshi Doron before his election) and made him Chief rabbi.
    What this means is that the Hareidi world is a criminal organisation, which gives protection to its own crooks, as long as they the dirty work for them 9as has been admitted by DT who said that Metzger helped the hareidim).
    None of my comments in anyway support Riskin's ridiculous position on Yashke, which I personally consider as being very close to apostasy.

  80. Fine, so you admit it was not a heretical statement, only "akin" to one, whatever that means.

  81. The obvious question is why a person who works for the rabbinate and does something widely unacceptable did this in the first place? Until we answer that, we miss the whole point. What is this fellow really saying and why is he saying it? What we have here is a new element in the Jewish world called Open Orthodox. The senior scholar in this group who handles conversions said openly that he does not believe the bible and its stories, that they never happened. Why did he say this? Did he think that the world would respect his conversions after he showed that he is a complete denier?

    Somebody with inside knowledge of a senior member of Open Orthodoxy explained what is really happening. It all begins with the Modern Orthodox. Modern Orthodoxy has various levels. Some emphasize Modern and some emphasize Orthodoxy. But one thing: There are two words in Modern Orthodox. And the movement as a whole does not claim otherwise.

    It is thus that something has to give. A boy or girl who goes to college, watches television and movies, and is part of American culture something central to Modern Orthodoxy, has pressures to cross the line. Some are machmir in Nigiah and some not. And when you start with that, you don't always stop. Then there is a problem of students getting degrees and spending years of their lives studying and working until they get to the point they are comfortable marrying. But their biology is boiling and going like this for years and not obeying the laws of Negiah makes for problems.

    Now, when this boy or girl is in college, some of them meet a gentile and they marry. Some of those who marry out of the faith have wealthy parents who are disgraced that their Jewish line has ended with this marriage. For them Open Orthodox allows people who are so irreligious as to marry out of the faith to call themselves Orthodox. What is the difference between Modern Orthodox and Open Orthodox?

    My friend explained that many very wealthy people have this problem of children who marry out of the faith. They need an Orthodox Beth Din to permit them to get a bit wet and call themselves Jews. The Open Orthodox is a very wealthy movement and is a threat to Modern Orthodoxy. The OU and Yeshiva University need the funding of the wealthy Modern Orthodox to survive. Thus, the OU and YU are now suffering from this fear, that if the Open Orthodox is not openly recognized as such, with its clear apikorsus, funding for the OU and YU may be terminated, which is a very serious threat.

    Steven Riskin thus, as with the senior scholar of the Open Orthodox, chose a very explosive way of showing he is Open not really Orthodox. And by making his case, as with his colleague on the Open group handling conversions, he is establishing, for all of those very wealthy backers of Open Orthodoxy, a standard that when Open Orthodox takes over, it will force recognition on the Modern Orthodox world, or else. And at this point, I don't know who will stop them.

    This could lead to the decline of trusting the OU and it could lead to a decline in trusting rabbis of YU. It is time for a few strong Modern Orthodox rabbis to organize an official response to this movement, before it is too late.

  82. Rav Eidensohn - interesting analysis. I am caught in a parallel debate. I am claiming that believing in a false Messiah is at best un-orthodox, and at worst heresy, either minut or apikorsus. Riskin saying that yashke is a "model rabbi" is insane. If you read his book )or that written by his followers) he makes all kinds of filthy allegations against the Rabbanim of his time and the Kohanim; he also claims to be chatting with Moshe and Eliyahu, and having "nevuah".
    But I have another problem. A great orthodox rebbe also made some such claims , either about his father in Law having the Ein Sof, or being the Moshiach, even after they were dead. So is this not also un-orthodox and close to or mamash apikorsus?

  83. Eddie,
    Let's keep it simple. If somebody says wild things, and it rubs a lot of Torah Jews the wrong way, ignore it. You know the way of the Torah, and you don't have to deal with all of the various ideas out there, which never end.

    You of course heard of Rav Kook. He is known as a leader of the Modern Orthodox, but this is very far from the whole truth. Rav Kook was a mighty Gaon. One story I heard about him was that in Vollozhen there were two students who learned a hundred blot a day. The other fellow read it quickly, and Rav Kook studied each page carefully. He married the daughter of the Rov of Jerusalem who was the biggest fanatic in town. Even Rav Yosef Dhaim Zononfeld ruled that his prohibition on speaking Hebrew was not halacha.

    When Rav Kook began talking and saying certain things that sounded absolutely crazy, a senior rabbi from Europe was sent by the Gedolim there to talk to him and see what is going on. One very prominent Gadol returned to Europe and announced that he had asked about the wild statements, and that Rav Kook meant certain things that were not as wild as they sound. At any rate, he was not a rosho, and indeed, he remained throughout his life a close friend of the great Rov of Charedim in Jerusalem, Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnonfeld. Even though many Charedim had no respect for him and his declaring that Herzl was Moshiach, the great rabbis of the time had a different look at him. How and why I don't know, but that was how it worked. Even while the masses of Charedim and others fought it out, the great rabbis maintained a certain cordiality and respect, which we may not understand, but it does not matter if we understand it.

    A shochet approached Rav Sonnenfeld to check his knife and he was told that he must check it also with Rav Kook who was accepted by many people as the Rov of Jerusalem. Someone came to Rav Kook and wanted to talk about Rav Sonnenfeld. Rav Kook said, "We are only an image, a picture of a Rov. But Rav Sonnenfeld is the real thing."

    Now if I heard this and know that Rav Kook said that Herzl is Moshiach, how do I deal with that? I don't really, but I know one thing. The Tanach calls the king of Persia, a gentile, the Moshiach. I think it was Koresh who permitted the Jews to leave the exile and go to Israel. He protected them and gave them money to build the Temple, etc.For this he did the job of a redeemer. He was not Jewish and he surely worshiped idols, but the Torah calls him, "So says HaShem to My annointed MESHICHI, Koresh." At least, that is what I recall.

    I once posted a video on Youtube about ancient Persians, who were very favored by the rabbis for their unique kindness to the Jewish exiles. A gentile wrote me that he could not believe that a Jew really believed that Persians were good people. He said that he took a data base and checked out what the bible said about Persians. He came across the passage, "So says HaShem to Koresh My annointed [Messiah]." He wrote, to me, "Okay, you write that the Jews appreciate the ancient Persians. But your bible actually quotes G-d that Koresh was the Messiah! The video I made about ancient Persians was one of my popular videos, and thousands of people saw it. So I recall that fondly.

  84. Yes, you are probably right that I should not get involved in controversies, modern or otherwise. Learning texts and chiddushim are much more productive!

  85. On Herzl - my understanding is that R Kook spoke of Moshiach ben Yosef, which is not a halachic figure but an aggadic one. So it is Abbot analogy and allegory. Herzl, who on the outside was treif in almost every respect, also performed the beginning of the ingathering of the exiles, much like Kouresh did before him. Kouresh, if was the son of Esther, would have been Jewish.

    The problem and fear about zionism, from the non Zionist orthodox, was that it could be a false messianism, whether secular or religious. When Gaonim made lenient or radical halachic decisions and claimed that the Geula and Eretz Yisroel gives the koach to be meikil, this was seen as a problem by many. So even the altchalta d'geula idea has potential dangers.

  86. Rabbi Joseph KolakowskiAugust 29, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    The Chief Rabbinate is illegitimate. We don't need a Jewish papacy. The Chief Rabbis are much more Christian (well, Catholic) than Rabbi Riskin will ever be.

  87. Jesus was not a Rabbi, Jesus was the prophet like Moses.Jesus came at a time the Jews were expecting their Messiah. But actually Jesus was not that expected messiah, he came to warn the Jews that the curses in the law is going to be fulfilled upon them and only after the curses are fulfilled upon them the blessing will come upon them.

    If we examine the history of Jews we can see that after the death of Jesus all the curses in the law came upon the Jews. Astonishingly we can see that the Christian religion, the disciples of Jesus created, became the instrument to bring all the curses on the Jews. But ironically the same Christian religion became instrument to prevent Jews from assimilating among the gentiles and the same Christian religion became instrument to help Jews to restore Israel. Don’t forget it was a Christian country who proclaimed Balfour declaration and it was Christian countries who supported the child Israel to defend itself from the Arab attempt to erase Israel from the face of the earth.


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