Parshat Shoftim — Rabbi Riskin (text)

Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9) Efrat, Israel – “When you draw near to a city to wage war against it you shall [first] call out to it for peace.” (Deuteronomy 20:10) Despite the bad press we constantly receive at the hands of the media, I do not believe there is an army in the history of world warfare which operates …

Parshat Re’eh — Rabbi Riskin (text)

Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17) Efrat, Israel – “But the place which the Lord your God shall choose from among all of your tribes to place His Name there, for His dwelling place, shall you seek and shall you come there. And you shall bring there your whole burnt offerings and your sacrifices…” (Deuteronomy 12:5-6). …

Parshat Vaetchanan — Rabbi Riskin (text)

Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Vaetchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)           Efrat, Israel – “Comfort you comfort you my nation, says the Lord your God.”  (Isaiah40:1) This Shabbat takes its name from our prophetic reading  (Shabbat Nachamu,  the Sabbath of comfort.)  Indeed, the entire month is known as Menachem Av, the comforting …

Parshat Devarim — Rabbi Riskin (text)

Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)           There are two important issues which must be studied when approaching this week’s Torah portion, the first theological and the second textual. The theological question strikes us from the moment we open this fifth Book of the Bible: Moses is speaking with his voice to the …

Parshat Pinchas — Rabbi Riskin (text)

Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)           Efrat, Israel –  “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take for yourself Joshua the son of Nun, an individual who has spirit within him, and lay (or lean) your hand upon him.  Stand him up before Elazar the Priest and before the entire congregation, and command him before their …

Parshat Balak — Rabbi Riskin (text)

Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9)           Efrat, Israel – “How goodly are your tent-homes, O Jacob” (Numbers 24:5) At the conclusion of the Pentateuch, which is also the conclusion of Moses’ physical existence on earth, the Biblical text records that, “Never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses, …

Parshat Chukat — Rabbi Riskin (text)

Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Chukat (Numbers 19:1-21:35)           Efrat, Israel –  “The entire House of Israel wept over Aaron” (Numbers 20:29) Why was Moses, the greatest prophet who ever lived and who sacrificed a princedom in Egypt to take the Hebrews out of Egypt, denied entry into the land of Israel?  Was it because he struck the …