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Shabbos Parshas Toldos Cheshvan 28-29 5771 | November 5-6 2010

Shabbos Parshas Toldos Cheshvan 28-29  5771 | November 5-6 2010

News & Shmooze
1851 Noriega St. (at 26th Ave.) San Francisco, 94122 | 415.564.5665 |

  • The Eruv is up this Shabbos
  • The Kids Minyan, for children ages 6-11, continues this Shabbos with Morah Lena Giderman at 10:30 AM

Upcoming Programs and Events

1. Class Tonight at 8 PM


“The soul, the afterlife and reincarnation.” Taught by Rabbi Strulowitz


2. Three Rabbis Walk Into a Room at the JCC:

Religion, Peoplehood and Zionism

Tuesday, November 9 7:00 pm
A Panel discussion with myself, Rabbi Micah Hyman of    Beth Shalom and Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe of Temple Emanuel

Entrance is free for Adath Israel members, but you need to RSVP with the Adath Israel office at

Three rabbis hailing from the Conservative, Reform and Orthodox movements share their thoughts on some of the thorniest issues they face as Rabbis within their respective movements. What does “community” mean? What does it mean to be a Jew? How does each rabbi view his responsibilities to the “other”? And how does each address the challenges of moral and legal issues like capital punishment, abortion and euthanasia? Difficult questions, candid answers, this is a conversation you don’t want to miss.
Session one in a series of two.

Fisher Family Hall

Contact the JCC Box Office at 415-292-1233

or visit

3.      The Jewish Study Network's Annual Banquet honoring Dr. Kevin Saitowitz
Sunday November 14th 6 PM at the San Mateo Marriot
Join us at the Adath Israel section at the JSN's annual dinner as they honor our beloved board member Dr. Kevin Saitowitz for his years of hard work and dedication to the JSN. If you would like to join us contact Marlene at the Shul office or click here

a4.   Sarah Yocheved Rigler Shabbaton


November 19-20


Friday night at Adath Israel

4:42 PM  Candlelighting:              
4:40 PM  Carlebach Kabbalat Shabbat     
6:00 PM  Dinner

Talk During Dinner:
India to Israel: A Bumpy Spiritual Journey


Catered dinner: $25/person, $60 family, $150 sponsor

Shabbos Day at Adath Israel

9 AM Shacharis:                    

11:15 AM Morning Talk:

How to Pass Life's Tests

Saturday Night Women’s Program at the Marder Home

At Home in the Sunset. For more information or to RSVP contact Dina Guttenberg at or Laura Marder at

7:30 PM: The spiritual GPS: How To Get to the Place You Want to Be

$15 suggested donation                 

Sara Yoheved Rigler is the author of the acclaimed bestseller Holy Woman. Thisbook, currently in its 9th printing, has swept the Jewish world, and has been translated

into French and Hebrew. Her second book, Lights from Jerusalem, is already in its 3rd printing. Mrs. Rigler is the most popular writer on, world’s largest Judaism

website. She is also a much sought-after lecturer. She has spoken in Israel, England, Canada, and over 30 American cities. Attendees at her lectures and workshops have

called the practical wisdom they gleaned there, “life-changing.” Mrs. Rigler lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with her husband, famed musician Leib Yaacov Rigler, and

their children.

Women’s Programs

4. Saturday Night Women’s Program for Rochel Donovan

Saturday Night November 6th, 8:30 PM at the Guttenberg home

Please come join the fun as we welcome

Rebbetzin Rochel Donovan to our community!

Ladies Game Night!



5. November Women’s Rosh Chodesh Program

Sunday November 7th 7 PM home of Cindy Keinan

The next women's Rosh Chodesh group meets at the home of Cindy Keinan Sunday November 7th at 8 PM. Contact Rebbetzin Strulowitz at or Cindy Keinan at to RSVP.

6.      Women’s Class with Rebbetzin Laura Marder

Wednesday Nights at 8:30 PM @ the Marder Home

This week the class will be learning the classic book “Mesilat Yesharim”, on Jewish ethics and spiritual growth. For more information contact Laura Marder at

Shabbos Schedule

Minchah/Kabbalat:                            5:45 PM

Candle Lighting                                5:49 PM

Shacharis:                                9:00 AM

Kids Minyan                         10:30 AM

Kiddush                        11:45 AM

Minchah:                                             5:15  PM

Shabbos Ends:                                 6:47  PM

This week’s Shabbos Mevarchim  Chulent Kiddush is being sponsored by Erik and Young Mi Lassar in honor of long time Giants fans Joey Eckstein and Neal Wohlmuth. Their many years of dedication has been an inspiration to us all.

Upcoming classes

1.        Sunday at 8:45 AM: Coffee and learning with Rabbi Strulowitz.

2.        Monday Night at 7:45 PM: Rabbi Traub’s Talmud class,

3.        Tuesday at 8:00 PM: Beginner’s Talmud with R’Strulowitz

4. Tuesday at 7:30 PM: Hebrew Crash Course with Ava Brand

5.        Wednesday Night at 8 PM: Tonight: “The soul, the afterlife and reincarnation”


Community News

  1. 2011 AIPAC Dinner

Be a part of the largest pro-Israel political event in San Francisco. Join thousands of activists, students, elected officials and community leaders as we show our support for the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Fairmont San Francisco
950 Mason Street, San Francisco

Reception 5:00 PM
Dinner & Program 6:00 PM
All Dietary Laws Strictly Observed

To register by phone, call 888-284-9078
The Registration Deadline is December 3, 2010

  1. American Friends of Likud

American Friends of Likud     

Reuven Kahane


Leonard J. Atlas

Invite you to an Insiders briefing

"Peace process & Election Results"

American Likud Director  * Aaron Harow

Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Correspondent  * Herb Keinon

Aipac Regional Director    *  Zack Bodner

Wednesday November 3, 2010 *  8 PM  Amba  Restaurant

6464 Moraga Avenue, Oakland *  (Montclair Village)

Music  * Israeli appetizers

Strictly kosher • No solicitation •


  1. Cheddar Cheese Fundraiser

We are again taking orders for the wonderful Cabot Creamery Sharp Cheddar Cheese. This time the project benefits Cong. Adath Israel.

Orders are due by November 8th. Please order enough to keep you until Pesach when we will order again.

Of course with good cheese you need great wine. We still have a few cases of the Kiddush Hashem Cellars Syrah. Order now because when it is gone, that is the end of the vintage.

For more information or to place your order contact Ava Brand at Ava at 415-902-0727 or

Send the order form below with check made payable to Cong. Adath Israel 1851 Noriega Street, San Francisco, CA 94122, or click here to pay\

Covenant and Conversation

by Rabbi Jonathan Sachs, Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom



Toldot 5771

Even before they were born, Jacob and Esau struggled in the womb. They were destined, it seems, to be eternal adversaries. Not only were they were different in character and appearance. They also held different places in their parents’ affections:


The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. (Gen. 25: 27-28)


We know why Rebekah loved Jacob. Before the twins were born, the pains Rebekah felt were so great that “she went to inquire of the Lord.” This is what she was told:


"Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger." (Gen. 25: 23)


It seemed as if G-d were saying that the younger would prevail and carry forward the burden of history, so it was the younger, Jacob, whom she loved.


But why, in that case, did Isaac love Esau?  Did he not know about Rebekah's oracle?  Had she not told him about it?  Besides, did he not know that Esau was wild and impetuous? Can we really take literally the proposition that Isaac loved Esau because “he had a taste for wild game,” as if his affections were determined by his stomach, by the fact that his elder son brought him food he loved? Surely not, when the very future of the covenant was at stake.


The classic answer, given by Rashi, listens closely to the literal text. Esau, says the Torah, “knew how to trap [yode’a tzayid].” Isaac loved him “because entrapment was in his mouth [ki tzayid befiv].” Esau, says Rashi, trapped Isaac by his mouth. Here is Rashi’s comment on the phrase “knew how to trap”:


He knew how to trap and deceive his father with his mouth.  He would ask him, “Father, how should one tithe salt and straw?” Consequently his father believed him to be strict in observing the commands. (Rashi to 25: 27)


Esau knew full well that salt and straw do not require tithes, but he asked so as to give the impression that he was strictly religious.  And here it is Rashi’s comment on the phrase that Isaac loved him “because entrapment was in his mouth”:


“The midrashic explanation is that there was entrapment in the mouth of Esau, who trapped his father and deceived him by his words. (Rashi to 25: 28)”


The Maggid of Dubnow adds a perceptive comment as to why Isaac, but not Rebekah, was deceived. Rebekah grew up with the wily Laban. She knew deception when she saw it. Isaac, by contrast, had grown up with Abraham and Sarah. He only knew total honesty and was thus easily deceived. (Bertrand Russell once commented on the philosopher G. E. Moore, that he only once heard Moore tell a lie, when he asked Moore if he had ever told a lie, and Moore replied, “Yes”).


So the classic answer is that Isaac loved Esau because he simply did not know who or what Esau was. But there is another possible answer: that Isaac loved Esau precisely because he did know what Esau was.


In the early twentieth century someone brought to the great Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook, first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel, the following dilemma. He had given his son a good Jewish education. He had always kept the commands at home. Now however the son had drifted far from Judaism. He no longer kept the commandments. He did not even identify as a Jew. What should the father do?

“Did you love him when he was religious?” asked Rav Kook. “Of course,” replied the father. “Well then,” Rav Kook replied, “Now love him even more.”


Sometimes love can do what rebuke cannot. It may be that the Torah is telling us that Isaac was anything but blind as to his elder son’s true nature. But if you have two children, one well behaved, the other liable to turn out badly, to whom should you devote greater attention? With whom should you spend more time?


It may be that Isaac loved Esau not blindly but with open eyes, knowing that there would be times when his elder son would give him grief, but knowing too that the moral responsibility of parenthood demands that we do not despair of or disown a wayward son.


Did Isaac’s love have an effect on Esau? Yes and no. It is clear that there was a special bond of connection between Esau and Isaac. This was recognised by the sages:


Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel said: No man ever honoured his father as I honoured my father, but I found that Esau honoured his father even more.
(Devarim Rabbah 1: 15)


Rabbi Shimon derives this from the fact that usually people serve their parents wearing ordinary clothes while they reserve their best for going out. Esau, however, had kept his best clothes in readiness to serve his father the food he had gone out to hunt. That is why Jacob was able to wear them while Esau was still out hunting (27:14).

We find, much later in the Torah, that G-d forbids the Israelites to wage war against Esau’s descendants. He tells Moses:


Give the people these orders: “You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on. I have given Esau the hill country of Seir as his own.” (Deut. 2: 4-5)


And later still Moses commands the Israelites:


Do not abhor an Edomite [i.e. a descendant of Esau], for he is your brother.
(Deut. 23: 8)


The sages saw these provisions as an enduring reward to Esau for the way he honoured his father.


So, was Isaac right or wrong to love Esau? Esau reciprocated the love, but remained Esau, the hunter, the man of the field, not the man to carry forward the demanding covenant with the invisible G-d and the spiritual sacrifices it called for. Not all children follow the path of their parents. If it was Isaac’s intent that Esau should do so, he failed. But there are some failures that are honourable. Loving your children, whatever they become, is one, for surely that is how G-d loves us.