I know an individual who has the ability to help others see what is good about themselves. I asked him, "What thoughts go through your mind when you meet someone?"
"I always mentally bless people with success in what is important to them," he replied.
When you wish people success in your mind -- even though others don't know what you are thinking -- you radiate positive energy. King Solomon wrote: "As water reflects a face back to face, so one's heart is reflected back to him by another" (Proverbs 27:19).When your heart and mind generate positive energy, others feel good about themselves and about you.
I have bad news to report on this edition of my blog. I have given full support to the Christians who have keep Israel safe. The blog siteJewish Israel however, has shown us that many of the Christians still have not changed their stripes and that their love for Israel, is the opportunity they use to bring up Jesus and convert us.
The Evangalist Christians may be our friends and we can't fight off all our enemies without them. But beware!! It certainly looks like many of them hav a not so hidden agenda.
Love Yehuda Lave
Mike Huckabee endorses proselytizing the Jews to bring them to Jesus
Mike Huckabee is a pastor and missionary by profession. And while Jews and Israelis continued to believe over the years that Mr. Huckabee could separate his theology from his support for Israel, he has just proven everyone wrong.
Watch this video, produced by One For Israel Ministry, in which Huckabee makes himself perfectly clear as to his approval of spiritually harming the Jewish nation, whether in Israel or abroad.
Representatives from Jewish Israel (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.
Earlier today Jewish Israel received an email from Elie Klein of the public relations agency Ruder Finn Israel.
The email entitled: STATEMENT FROM RABBI SHLOMO RISKIN REGARDING YOUTUBE VIDEO - DECEMBER 30, 2009 can be read here.
Ruder Finn Israel is "the leading full-service strategic marketing consultancy and public relations agency in Israel" and their current and past clients include leading government agencies, Hi-Tech companies, and such organizations and institutions as Yeshiva University, Nefesh B'Nefesh, the International Christian Embassy (ICEJ), the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews(IFCJ), and Global Evangelism Television (Pastor John Hagee).
Jewish Israel's Rabbinic Advisor viewed the YouTube video and read Rabbi Riskin's statement. Rabbi Gold had this to say:
"While recent clarification from Rabbi Riskin is welcome on this matter, I remain concerned. Rabbi Riskin's consistently radical statements and ambiguous positions on interfaith dialogue and endeavors can be misinterpreted by both Jews and Christians and manipulated and twisted to fit the agendas of those who are trying to undermine the foundations of the Jewish faith and wreak confusion among our people.
Furthermore, it would be advisable for Rabbi Riskin to steer clear of mixing politics, history and Christian theological issues together with what is clearly a halachic matter. I imagine Rabbi Riskin's revered teacher Rav Yoseph B. Soloveitchik, z"l would have been greatly distressed over the crossing of theological lines between faith communities which is currently taking place under the pretense of an Israel-evangelical alliance." ----Rabbi Dr. Sholom Gold
Jewish Israel will continue to keep our readership posted on this issue.
UPDATE:Jewish Israelreceives response from the Office of the Chief Rabbinate (June 28th). The letter is a detailed response from Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger.
Among Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin's other official titles and positions, he is the founder and dean of Ohr Torah Stone educational institutions. The currently featured question addressed to Rabbi Riskin on the Ohr Torah Stone homepage is, "Are Jews allowed to enter churches?"
The full text of the question and answer can be seen here. Rabbi Riskin responded as follows:
"Evangelical churches do not have icons or statues and it is certainly permissible to enter Evangelical churches. Catholic and most Protestant churches do have icons as well as paintings and sculptures. If you enter the church in order to appreciate the art with an eye towards understanding Christianity and the differences between Judaism and Christianity so that you can hold your own in discussions with Christians, then it is permissible. Participating in a church religious service is forbidden unless it is for learning purposes or unless it would be a desecration of God's name if you don't attend, as in the case of Chief Rabbi Sack's attendance at Prince William's wedding."
Rabbi Riskin's answer, especially the absolute sanction of evangelical churches, left Jewish Israel with a lot of questions. Are icons the only issue here, and does this psak from the Chief Rabbi of Efrat constitute yet another break with tradition?
"…blanket acceptance of Evangelicalsand the permission to participate in a Church service if it is for educational purposes."
We took a quick look online and saw that in August 2008, the Jewish Chronicle posed the same question, "Is it forbidden for Jews to enter a church?", to both an Orthodox and a Reform rabbi.
In that article, Orthodox Rabbi Naftali Brower upheld the prohibition of entering churches based on halachicsources and expressed concern about the impression a church experience would leave on a Jew:
"One cannot simply enter a church without some aspect of the church entering you. To put it another way: by entering a church, one enters into a Christian religious experience."
In addition, Rabbi Brower touches upon the need to respect boundaries in interfaith encounters.
Not unlike Rabbi Riskin's position, Reform Rabbi Jonathan Romain drew the distinction between worshiping and other reasons for entering a church, such as to admire the architecture, to attend the funeral of a non-Jewish friend, or to learn about Christianity for the sake of interfaith dialogue.
In order to get some specific clarification on the icons issue, Jewish Israel asked Rabbi Jonathan Blass if Jews are permitted to enter a church, even in a case where a church does not contain statues or other icons. Rabbi Blass serves as Rabbi of Neve Tzuf and is the Rosh Kollel of "Ratzon Yehuda. We asked this of Rabbi Blass after reading his response,posted at Yeshiva.org.il, regarding entering a church which does contain icons. This is the answer we receivedfrom Rabbi Blass on June 15, 2011:
On the basis of the halachic definition of idol worship, the poskim expressly forbade entering a church even if the building does not house statues or other icons (Pri HaSadeh II 4; Shut Tzitz Eliezer XIV 91 ;Shu"t Iggrot Moshe Yoreh Deah III 129; Shu"t Yabia Omer VII, Yoreh Deah 12).
Maimonides teaches that the very acceptance of the divinity of any foreign god is in itself idolatry. This definition holds true even without any additional worship of the entity whose divinity was acknowledged (Hilchot Avoda Zara III,4) and even if the acknowledgment was made not in the presence of that entity or of one of its representations (Shu"t Binyan Zion 63).
It is for this reason that Christianity, whose central tenet is the divinity of a man, is idolatrous by definition - whether or not a particular branch of Christianity includes the worship of statues, of the cross or of any other Christian iconic symbols. Although the Rema (Orach Chayyim 156,1) quotes the opinion that non-Jews who worship other gods together with their worship of the G-d of Israel do not transgress the Noachide prohibition against idol worship, this does not alter the definition of this joint worship as a form of idolatry (Tvuot Shor Yoreh Deah 4; Shu"t Binyan Zion 63). It is permitted to non-Jews according to this opinion only because it would be unreasonable to demand that they adhere to a higher standard (Sh'aylat Yaavetz I 41).
The acceptance by man of the divinity of a created being or even of a limited ideal, most often based on the belief that man cannot achieve a direct connection with the Creator and must seek the intervention of a lesser intermediary (see Hilchot Avoda Zara chapters I and II), humiliates man and denigrates the value of his actions. Because of this, throughout Jewish history churches evoked in Jews – in rabbis and laymen alike - a justified sense of moral and almost physical repulsion.
We showed Rabbi Riskin's psak to Julius Ciss, Executive Director of Jews for Judaism in Canada. In the past, Mr. Ciss was a "messianic Jewish believer" and attended many evangelical services during that period and since then as well. The following is his reaction to Rabbi Riskin's position.
"I question Rabbi Riskin's Psak that "it is permissible to enter Evangelical Churches." The matter is not so "Black and White". What Rabbi Riskin fails to grasp is that the danger isn't the risk of observing any statues in such a church, it's the living, breathing, kind, loving, passionate evangelical Christians that pose a serious threat. In my opinion, every Evangelical Christian is a missionary. So to share a worship venue with them, regardless of the reason, is foolish because it his highly likely you will be proselytized. Even if one doesn't speak directly to a churchgoer, the risk of being exposed to a highly uplifting, energetic, emotional, motivational, missionizing, inspirational, spiritual, and musically entertaining service... poses the risk of spiritual suicide for today's average Jew."
While certain Orthodox rabbinic leaders and scholars may allow themselves to place themselves at Vatican ceremonies, attend church events and wrestle with theology at divinity schools, it may be remiss to assume that every Jew has the spiritual tools necessary to engage evangelizing Christians in a religious experience and environment without being influenced.
Jewish Israelhas repeatedly demonstrated via numerous reports how both religious and secular members of the Israeli public and private sectors, both leaders and laypeople, have failed to hold and draw lines as Jews on the interfaith front.
Rabbi Riskin serves as a Chief Rabbi of a large Israeli community. Does his position, as outlined in this recent psak, reflect that of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate or does each rabbinic authority establish policy as they deem fit? Jewish Israel has written to Mr. Oded Winer, General Director of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate for some clarification. (Update: response received June 28. The letter is a detailed response from Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger.)
These are times where Jewish faith, commitment and education are sorely lacking among large sectors of Jewish society, while at the same time there is increasing evidence of interfaith integration. It does not bode well for Jewish spiritual continuity that there is not a clear consensus among our rabbis on fundamental Jewish issues, with which to guide the Jewish people at this time.
SHOCKING VIDEO: Rabbi Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Praises 'J', Refers To Him As 'Rabbi J'
In a shocking video making its way around the Internet, the Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, is seen praising "J", and even referring to him as "Rabbi J".
In the modern Orthodox community, Rabbi Riskin is more than a 'rabbi' but an icon, one who has set the path for many modern balei tshuva, who has set a path for aliyah and incorporating a life style which emulates his mentor, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik zt"l
While according to a growing number of followers Rabbi Riskin has adopted a controversial position on Christianity and perhaps other matters as well, including Israeli politics, this latest video will prove to be the 'straw that broke the camel's back' according to many, and time will dictate the ramifications of this highly irregular documented statement of this highly respected rabbi's views on "J".
The video is currently posted on Jewish Israel, and the following are some excerpts of the 5 minute video:
Shalom to all. My name is Shlomo Riskin. I am the Chief rabbi of the City of Efrat…..I am an Orthodox Rabbi…and an Orthodox Rabbi who is very profoundly interested in religion in general, in Christianity, and especially in the persona of Jesus in particular….I was truly fascinated by the personality of Jesus, whom to myself I have always referred to as "Rabbi Jesus"….because I think he is indeed a "model Rabbi" in many counts…and he lived the life of a Jewish Rabbi in Israel in a very critical time in our history…..I have constantly come back to the study of his personality and his teachings which are very strongly rooted in Talmudic teachings….."
THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHY IS FROM WIKIPEDIA:
Riskin was born on May 28, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York into a non-religious Jewish family. His legal given name is Steven; his Hebrew name is Shlomo.
Although his family was not religiously observant, he attended a local Orthodox yeshiva, the Yeshiva of Brooklyn, where he was influenced to adopt a more Orthodox lifestyle. He graduated from Yeshiva University in 1960, and became an ordained rabbi under the guidance of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik.
In the early 1960's Riskin was employed at Israel Center of Hillcrest Manor as the advisor to the Tallis and Tefillin Club, a group that was common in many synagogues in North America to foster observance among Jewish men of the ritual commandment of donning the prayer shawl (the tallit) and phylacteries (tefillin).
In 1963, Riskin received his Master's degree in Jewish history, and he completed a Ph.D. from New York University's Near Eastern Languages and Literature department in 1982. From 1963 until 1977, he lectured and served as an Associate Professor of Tanach and Talmud at Yeshiva University in New York City.
He was the founding rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City in 1964 and served in that position until 1983. During the 1960s and 1970s he followed became a leader of the movement to allow free, unfettered emigration for Soviet Jews and made several trips to visit and strengthen the Jewish communities in the USSR.
In 1983, Riskin immigrated to Efrat, Israel, with his family to become the city's rabbi, a position he still retains. (He is often erroneously referred to as the Chief Rabbi of Efrat, but by Israeli law, only four cities have Chief Rabbis, and Efrat is not among them.)
There is a myth that most of his congregation from Lincoln Square followed him; in truth, only a few families did, and most of these were, in fact, relations of his and his wife, Victoria (Vicky). He also established a network of high schools, colleges, graduate programs, seminaries and rabbinical schools under the name Ohr Torah Stone Institutions with a total student enrollment numbering in the thousands.
Riskin is also the author of several books, including "Women and Jewish Divorce", "The New Passover Hagadah", the "Torah Lights" series, and "Around the Family Table", as well as many scholarly articles. He also writes a weekly column on the Torah portion of the week, published in The Jerusalem Post and dozens of Anglo-Jewish newspapers around the world.
THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE OHR TORAH STONE WEBSITE:
Internationally renowned educator, speaker and author Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin attained rabbinical ordination at Yeshiva University from his mentor, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, and his Ph.D. from New York University.
His outstanding contributions to Israel and to world Jewry over the course of his career have made him one of the leading voices of today's Modern Orthodox world. Rabbi Riskin is especially renowned for his innovative educational and social action programs, which are based upon his unique vision of an authentic Judaism sensitive to every human being and responsive to all universal concerns.
On the cornerstone of this philosophy, Rabbi Riskin founded and serves as Chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone Colleges and Graduate Programs, a network of groundbreaking institutions including a rabbinical and communal leadership college for men; a college for advanced Jewish studies; the first and only program in the world training women advocates for the rabbinical courts; a Legal Aid Center for agunot; a women's "hesder" program enabling observant women to serve in the Israel Defense Forces; the first and only program enabling women with developmental disabilities to spend a year in Israel; and a program exposing secular Israelis to the beauty and relevance of their Jewish culture and heritage.
A popular speaker, Rabbi Riskin has also published five books, scores of articles and monographs on Judaism and contemporary issues, as well as a weekly column which is syndicated in newspapers worldwide. The Brooklyn-born rabbi also serves as the founding Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Israel, where he resides with his wife, Vicky and his extended family.
Rosh Hanikra Part Three of Three
On Nov 13, 2018, we go on a beautiful fall day with the sun shining to the undeveloped most Northern coast on the Lebanon border. It is a national park, for the sea caves cut into the rock by the sea and the only place in Israel where the mountains hit the sea. It was a beautiful day with my love
See you tomorrow
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
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