“Shabbat Shalom” – Bamidbar 5777

Parshat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel –“And God spoke to Moses in the Sinai Desert, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they left the Land of Egypt.” [Num. 1:1] How can we transform a no man’s land into a domain of sanctity? The Book of Numbers, which we …

“Shabbat Shalom” – Behar-Bechukotai 5777

Parshat Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel — “I am the Lord your God who brought you forth from the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan to be your God.” [Lev. 25:38] Citing the verse above from this week’s Torah reading, our Sages make the striking declaration that only one who lives in the …

“Shabbat Shalom” – Acharei Mot/Kedoshim 5777

Parshat Acharei Mot/ Kedoshim (Leviticus 16:1-20:27) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel — “Speak to the entire congregation of the People of Israel and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.’” [Lev. 19:2] What does it mean to be holy? In our generation, the emotionally-charged observance of Yom Hazikaron – …

“Shabbat Shalom” – Tazria/Metzora 5777

Parshat Tazria/Metzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel — “And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” [Lev. 12:3] The mitzvah of circumcision in the portion of Tazria appears in the midst of the discussion of the impure and pure periods immediately following childbirth. Furthermore, our …

“Shabbat Shalom” – Shemini 5777

Parshat Shemini (Leviticus 9:1-11:47) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel — “And Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer, placed fire on it, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire which He had not commanded them. And there came forth fire from before God, and it devoured them, so that they died before God.” [Lev. …

“Shabbat Shalom” – Chol Hamoed Pesach 5777

Chol Hamoed Pesach Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel – While the Passover Seder is still freshly on our minds and taste buds, allow me to suggest an important lesson that we are likely to overlook. Fascinatingly, alongside Moshe who is not really mentioned by the Haggadah, there is another great Biblical personality who plays a major role in the …

“Shabbat Shalom” – Tzav – Shabbat Hagadol 5777

Parshat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1 – 8:36) – Shabbat Hagadol Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel – “Behold, I send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And he [Elijah] will turn [back to God] the hearts of the parents through their children and the hearts of the children through their parents” (Malachi …

“Shabbat Shalom” – Vayikra 5777

Parshat Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel – “Speak to the children of Israel, when any human being of you shall bring from themselves a sacrifice to God from the cattle, from the herd or from the flock…” [Lev. 1:2] What does it mean to be a human being? Are we the “social animal” of Aristotle? The thinking …

“Shabbat Shalom” – Vayakhel-Pekudei 5777

Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei (Exodus 35:1 – 40:38) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel – “And he erected the courtyard around the sanctuary and the altar, set up the screen gate of the courtyard; and Moses completed the work.” [Ex. 40:33] Why repeat all the details of the construction of the Mishkan after we have already heard them when they …