In our Christmas war post
of December 26th we made mention of and posted excerpts from yet another controversial video
of Rabbi Riskin. That video is now making the rounds among Jewish online news services and blog sites like Yeshiva World News
, 5 Towns Jewish Times
, Dov Bear
and Esser Agaroth
. The video was originally posted on YouTube by “a follower of the Nazarene, Yeshua Ha'Mashiach [Jesus Christ]
” who has a messianic site.
Two other Rabbi Riskin videos are available at Jewish Israel here
, in addition to numerous reports
and blog postings
(for a complete list, click on JI’s search facility
Representatives from Jewish Israe
l (including a well-respected Rav), and a former Christian bible teacher who is now a counter-missionary expert, have met with Rabbi Riskin to discuss his personal take on Christian scripture and his unorthodox stance on interfaith relations. There has been an ongoing article and blog debate
between Rabbi Riskin and this writer. The correspondence has been hard-hitting, but civil. This topic demands our continued attention.
Rabbi Riskin's continued pursuit of theological endeavors with evangelicals is especially problematic, because even though he is on record for opposing dialogue with Jews for Jesus
or any messianic entities, messianic sites use his material and credit Rabbi Riskin for strengthening the messianic community in Israel:
(Excerpt from a popular messianic site
“Riskin says that he was ‘truly fascinated’ by Jesus, and considers him a ‘model rabbi’, who lived the life of a Jewish rabbi in Israel. Riskin’s language is honest and refreshing, and his words strengthen the Messianic Jews in Israel…”
Meanwhile, “Christian Zionist” groups regularly make use of Rabbi Riskin’s theological spin in their promotional material which calls for a breaking down of borders between faiths.
Rabbi Riskin Responds:
Rabbi Riskin responded to this latest video outrage in an interview by the Hebrew site Kipa.co.il
The blogspot Life in Israel
has excerpts in English from that article. Try the following for starters:
"I never praised the character or the personality of the person in whose name Jews were slaughtered throughout history. If that is how my words were understood, I am disturbed by that understanding and state that that was not my intention at all. I apologize if my words were taken improperly. I related to the historical persona of Jesus, who was not a Christian, did not hate Jews, but was a Jewish and religious person. unfortunately, his faith and his way caused much suffering to the Jewish people..."
Anybody who needs to sober-up and smarten-up after viewing the Riskin video
should review Rav Soloveitchik's "Confrontation"
. It's like a good slap in the face and will bring you back to reality.
Maybe Rabbi Riskin should read it too.
UPDATE: Statement from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and Reaction by Rabbi Sholom Gold