Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin

Va'etchanan: The Chosen People

What is the meaning of the "election" of Israel?, 8/13/2008, 2:16 PM

Mas'ei: Zelophehad's Legacy

He merited five very special daughters., 8/1/2008, 12:55 AM

Matot: What Made Moses Unique

Was it a difference in kind or degree?, 7/25/2008, 12:28 AM

Balak: Abraham and Balaam

He could have been as great as Abraham, but..., 7/10/2008, 1:36 AM

Korach: How to Have a Dispute

You dare not read another view out of the story., 6/26/2008, 11:27 AM

Bamidbar: Torah Courage

A conservative, risk-free existence is not genuine, 5/30/2008, 2:51 AM

Behar: 'Proclaim Liberty'

What does it mean to be free?, 5/16/2008, 10:04 AM

Covenants

The covenant of coercion; the covenant of choice., 5/11/2008, 10:53 AM

Kedoshim: No 'Signs' From God

We dare not second guess the Divine., 5/2/2008, 1:02 AM

Converting Hametz on Shabbat

This is one of those special years., 4/18/2008, 2:23 AM

<I>Shemini</I>: The Silence After the Fire

The most tragic moment of Aaron's life., 3/27/2008, 2:37 PM

<I>Vayak'hel</I>: A Biblical Puzzle

It's almost as if the Torah is testing our nerves., 2/29/2008, 1:49 AM

<i>Yitro</i>: Creative Criticism

We have much to learn from a Gentile sage., 1/25/2008, 12:29 AM

<i>Bo</I>: The Inevitability of Renewal

Basic philosophic truths about who we are., 1/10/2008, 3:49 PM

<i>Vaera</I>: Who is Moses?

The central characteristic of Moses is his love., 1/3/2008, 8:23 PM

<i>Shemot</I>: A Divine Personage

A concern for universal humanity within Moses., 12/28/2007, 2:39 AM

<i>Vayechi</i>: 'Like Ephraim and Menashe'

No silence is more piercing than between brothers., 12/21/2007, 12:17 AM

<i>Vayigash</I>: The Goshen Factor

The word "ghetto" evokes negative images., 12/13/2007, 11:49 PM

Judea and Hellas, Judah and Joseph

Are Zion and Yavan eternally at odds?, 12/7/2007, 2:39 PM

Chanukah and the State of Israel

A case could be made against Chanukah., 11/29/2007, 5:14 PM

<I>Vayishlach</I>: What's in a Name?

"Jacob's" personality flaw is fixed by "Israel"., 11/23/2007, 1:59 AM

<i>Toldot</I>: Raising Children Right

Are Isaac and Rebecca an ideal couple?, 11/8/2007, 5:07 PM

<i>Chayei Sarah</I>: Eternal Life

Even after her death, Sarah lives., 11/1/2007, 6:21 PM

<i>Vayera</I>: Sacrifices

After binding Isaac, Abraham's career is over., 10/26/2007, 3:15 AM

<I>Lech Lecha</I>: Lessons Our Fathers Taught Us

A moral message in Abraham's Egyptian sojourn., 10/19/2007, 3:45 AM

<I>Noach</I>: Bedlam, Confusion, Dispersion

The tragic social isolation of the Tower of Babel., 10/11/2007, 1:49 PM

Sukkot: A Paradox Resolved

For some, the very idea of religion is paradoxical, 9/26/2007, 2:10 AM

Yom Kippur: Do Not Cast Us Into Old Age

We dare not become old in our thinking., 9/21/2007, 11:09 AM

Rosh Hashanah: Unity

We must blend together in global unity., 9/11/2007, 11:59 PM

<I>Nitzavim-Vayelech</I>: Keep the Momentum Up

Why are we the privileged ones?, 9/5/2007, 3:00 PM

<i>Shoftim</I>: Security and Sanctification

R' Kahane and I were friends who often disagreed., 8/17/2007, 3:00 AM

<I>Re'eh</I>: Ideologues of Non-Involvement

On the tension between mercy and necessity., 8/9/2007, 8:31 PM

<I>Ekev</I>: The Majestic Grace After Meals

Study this prayer-blessing in depth., 8/2/2007, 1:05 PM

<I>Va'etchanan</I>: What Does it Mean to Fear G-d?

Fear of G-d has the power to truly make one free., 7/27/2007, 12:50 AM

<I>Matot-Masei</I>: The Exile's Good Grazing Land

Gad and Reuven had forgotten their history., 7/11/2007, 6:50 PM

<I>Balak</i>: Standing Up, Alone

The reason for our miraculous survival., 6/29/2007, 12:13 PM

<i>Naso</I>: The Universal 10 Commandments

Who is the Torah's target audience?, 5/24/2007, 10:00 PM

Shavuot: Reading the Scrolls

How the Hebrew calendar educates us. , 5/21/2007, 10:48 PM

<I>Kedoshim</I>: Law-Observing Scoundrels

Is Halacha a maximum or a minimum requirement?, 4/26/2007, 2:05 PM

<I>Shemini</I>: No 'Strange Fire' at Havdalah

The "eighth day" is fraught with significance., 4/12/2007, 11:07 PM

<I>Shabbat HaGadol</i>: Elijah's Faulty Faith

Elijah will attend every Passover Seder., 3/28/2007, 3:55 PM

<I>Vayikra</I>: When a Leader Sins

No one is above repentance. , 3/23/2007, 1:49 AM

<i>Vayak'hel-Pekudei</I>: A Faithful Repetition

Moses gives an accounting. , 3/16/2007, 1:56 AM

<I>Tetzaveh</i> and Purim: Dressing Up

Why such significance attached to external garb? , 3/2/2007, 2:47 AM

<i>Beshalach</I>: Finding Your <I>Bashert</I>

Our sages teach us, "It is more difficult for the Almighty to bring two individuals together in marriage than it was for Him to split the Reed Sea." In what way is there any logical comparison between the splitting of the Reed Sea and the making of a <I>shidduch</I>?, 2/1/2007, 1:59 AM

Parshat Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16)

Can we honestly say that the Israelites conducted themselves properly, with true honesty and integrity? Were they too not guilty of acts of duplicity, disingenuousness and exploitation? What adds insult to injury is that the source of this three day "sleight of tongue" deception is none other than the G-d of Israel, the Compassionate Lord of Truth., 1/24/2007, 6:06 PM

<I>Shemot</I>: Civil Disobedience in the Torah

When, if ever, does individual conscience override governmental authority? Will anarchy not reign supreme, and central governmental authority fall by the wayside, if every soldier of the IDF decides which orders are proper for him to carry out and when the authority of his Talmudic academy overrides the authority of his army commander?, 1/11/2007, 3:31 PM

<i>Vayechi</I>: Our Grandfather's Blessing

Every Friday evening, traditional Jewish parents bless their male children (and often grand-children), "May the Almighty make you like Efraim and Menashe," and their female children, "May the Almighty make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah." Why not bestow the blessing of the three Patriarchs upon our male children?, 1/5/2007, 10:16 AM

<I>Miketz</I>, Light and Chanukah

The sainted Rabbi Elijah of Vilna (of the 18th century), known as the Vilna <I>Gaon</I>, notes that if one counts from the very first word of the Bible, <I>Bereishit</I> ("In the beginning"), the twenty-fifth word is <I>ohr</I>, "light," as in the verse, "and the Almighty declared 'Let there be light' (Genesis 1:3).", 12/20/2006, 2:05 PM

<I>Vayeshev</I> and Hanukkah

The special religious relationship between father and son is most poignantly expressed by a famous Talmudic commentary on a critical moment in the life of Joseph in Egypt, described in this week's Biblical reading., 12/14/2006, 10:46 PM

<I>Vayishlach</I>: Jacob Returns to Isaac

If his misguided paternal favoritism allows him to forgive the transgression of Reuven, ought not Isaac's misguided paternal favoritism of Esau allow him - Jacob - to be forgiven of his transgression towards his father Isaac?, 12/8/2006, 10:20 AM

<I>Vayetze</I>: A Mistaken Vow

What point is there to the Bible's recording the time lag between the dream and the vow? And finally, does G-d not promise Jacob in his dream whatever he later asks for in his vow, that He will watch over him wherever he goes, return him to this land, and not forsake him (Gen 28:15)? Why does Jacob require the vow altogether?, 11/29/2006, 11:14 PM

<i>Toldot</I>: Jacob's Self-Deception

Jacob is described in the opening of our Biblical portion as "a whole-hearted (the Hebrew <I>tam</I> also means naive) person, a (studious) dweller in tents." (Genesis 25:27) How can such a disingenuous personality declare to his old blind father, "I am Esau, your first-born son" - and for what appears to be in order to gain material blessings?, 11/22/2006, 4:10 PM

<I>Chayei Sarah</I>: Sarah's Greater Understanding

What was Sarah doing in Hebron? Abraham, Sarah and Isaac had been living in Be'er Sheba, where the patriarch had made a treaty with Avimelekh, king of the Philistines. , 11/16/2006, 11:46 PM

<I>Vayera</I>: The First Inverted "Marrano"

One of the truly tragic figures of the Bible is Lot, nephew and adopted son of Abraham., 11/9/2006, 11:03 AM

<I>Lech Lecha</I>: Marx, Spinoza, Freud and Abraham

It will be important for us to try to understand why living in Israel should be so central an aspect of our status as the people of the Covenant, but even prior to this is an even more obvious query: Why did G-d choose Abraham?, 11/1/2006, 12:02 PM

<I>Noach</I>: The First Jew

Why was the first Jew Abraham and not Adam; Abraham and not Noah? , 10/26/2006, 3:05 PM