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Rabbi's Blog

rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  (rabbi@adathisraelsf.org) has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.


 

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been busy upgrading the Sunset Eruv. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the term eruv – an eruv is a symbolic enclosure that surrounds a Jewish community. Jewish law prohibits carrying anything in an outdoor public area on Shabbat. However, if there is an eruv, the entire area within the eruv is considered one private property. In the Sunset, this means utilizing utility poles and electric wires to create the enclosure. 

So, what does “upgrading the Eruv” mean? Two things. 

First, expanding the Eruv all the way to the Lower Great Highway. 

Second, reducing the leniencies that the original Eruv was based on. In the world of Eruvin (plural for Eruv), generally speaking there are three levels of Eruvin: 1) lenient, 2) centrist and 3) stringent. Our Eruv has gone from level (1) to level (2). To make things a little clearer, I wasn’t very comfortable with level 1, but I’m very comfortable with level 2.

The Eruv includes: 

  1. The west sidewalk of 20th Avenue from Kirkham to Santiago
  2. The north sidewalk of Santiago/20th Avenue to 48th Avenue
  3. The east sidewalk of 48th Avenue from Santiago to Rivera
  4. The north sidewalk of Rivera to the Lower Great Highway
  5. The east sidewalk of the Lower Great Highway/La Playa to Kirkham
  6. The south sidewalk of Kirkham to 20th AvenueUntitled design 72

Regarding this week’s parasha (Exodus 6:2–9:35), there are many different interpretations of the verse 6:9:

"...ולא שמעו אל משה מקצר רוח ומעבודה קשה"

“….they did not hearken to Moses because of shortness of breath and because of hard labor.” 

There are many differente explanations to the meaning of “shortness of breath.” Almost all the commentaries assume that it was the people’s “shortness of breath” that prevented them from listening. R. Levi ben Gershon (1288- 1344), known as either Ralbag or Gersonides, has a unique interpretation. He says that it was Moshe’s “shortness of breath” that prevented them from listening. A practical lesson that we can learn from this interpretation is that – if we have a message that we want to communicate and we know that we are right, we must make sure that we have enough patience to give it over persuasively. If we want others to listen to us, we need to communicate with them with patience.