Font Size

Cpanel

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.


Purim is rapidly approaching. Check out these two opportunities to brush up on your Purim knowledge and make your holiday more meaningful!

As you may recall, several years ago my eldest daughter, Malki, and her husband, Yonatan, (who visited SF this past summer from Ramat Beit Shemesh) came up with a truly beautiful idea for Purim. Instead of making a whole bunch of mishloah manot to deliver to friends and family, they thought that it would be a lot more meaningful to take advantage of this mitzvah and use it to bridge the divisions among the Jews of Beit Shemesh.

Unfortunately, there had been a significant amount of acrimony in Beit Shemesh between Jews of different world views over the past several years. Therefore, in an attempt to reach out to her fellow residents and demonstrate that despite their differences, they are all still one family, Malki and Yonatan embarked on their own personal peace mission. Together they organized 400 mishloah manot, sponsored by their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and as many other people as they could reach out to.

On Purim day, they dressed up their five children Bracha Temima (11), Eitan Shalom (9), Yisrael Noah (7), Emuna Chaya (6) and Rivka Tova (4), packed up all the mishloach manot and headed to the city’s main mall.

Over the course of several hours they went from store to store and up and down the “mall-ways” giving out mishloah manot to one and all, regardless of religious observance, skin color, or gender. People were truly touched by this kind gesture, as you can see in this video. The reactions were incredible. Some people didn't even know it was Purim; others couldn't believe that they weren't from a political party or organization. The gaps that were bridged - one Jew to another - were so powerful. Last year, they raised enough money for 3000 mishloach manot and several families joined them in handing out the mishloach manot in different locations beyond Beit Shemesh: malls, banks, supermarkets - even a police station! 

This year, they're looking to raise enough funds for 4000 mishloach manot and to get even more families involved. This is truly a beautiful way to spend Purim and a great way to educate children about showing respect and concern for other people, no matter what differences you may have. 

Our Sages teach that the wicked king Achav was more successful in battle than any other Jewish king. Why? Because under Achav, the Jewish people were united. Unity is the quality God wants most for His children. When we're united, we have the power of God behind us.

If you would like to participate in creating a greater sense of unity among our brothers and sisters in Israel, donations can be sent via PayPal to JoyOnPurim@gmail.com or you can donate through the shul (noting that the funds are for the Joy On Purim Project). Donations sent directly to Joy on Purim are not tax deductible.

Purim Particulars 2018

What

                                                     Why

When

Shabbat Zachor

Fulfilling the mitzvah of remembering & never forgetting the danger of Amalek, even today

According to most authorities, it is a mitzvah d’oraita (directly from the Torah) to hear Parashat Zachor, which describes Amalek’s attack on B’nai Yisrael after they left Egypt. We read this section from the Torah on the Shabbat that precedes Purim, since Haman was a descendant of Amalek, whose ideology is the antitheses of Judaism.

Saturday

February 24th

10:30 a.m.

Ta’anit Esther

Dawn to dusk fast

Prior to appearing uninvited before the King, Esther and all of Shushan’s Jews fasted for three days. Additionally, the Jews fasted on the day that they battled their enemies. By fasting, we de-emphasize our physical needs and focus on our ability to control our own behavior.

Wednesday

February 28th

5:30am-6:30pm

Machatzit Hashekel

Donating three half dollars

When the Beit Hamikdash (Temple) stood, a month before Pesach, every Jewish male over twenty would contribute a half-shekel as dues for the coming Temple year, which began in Nissan. To commemorate this, we donate three half dollars to the shul for each family member.

Wednesday

February 28th

All day

Megillat Esther

Reading/hearing the Story of Esther

In order to celebrate Jewish unity and our shared history, it is customary for both men and women to come together to read/hear the Megillah from a hand written scroll on Purim, both night and day.

Wed. - Thurs.

March 1st

7:30pm, 8:30am, 4:30pm

Al Hanissim

Special Purim prayer

In the evening, morning and afternoon services, as well as in the grace after meals, we insert an additional paragraph expressing our gratitude to the Almighty for the miraculous salvation of our ancestors on Purim.

Wed. - Thurs.

March 1st

All day

Mishloah Manot

Sending gift baskets

After their victory over Haman and his supporters, the Jews sent food to each other in order to nurture friendship and a sense of community. Similarly, we send two types of ready-to-eat food to at least one friend.

Wed. - Thurs.

March 1st

All day

Matanot L’evyonim

Gifts to the poor

In celebration of their victory over Haman, the Jews provided financial assistance to the poor. Similarly, we give tzedaka to at least two needy people. These funds should be in addition to one’s yearly tzedaka allocation.

Wed. - Thurs.

March 1st

All day

Seudat Purim

Festive Purim meal

Since the salvation of Purim was of a physical nature, in that the Jews were saved from annihilation, it is customary to eat a festive meal with family and friends providing enjoyment to our physical senses.

Wed. - Thurs.

March 1st

All day

Ad D’lo Yada

Having a l’chaim…or two

One of the major components of the salvation on Purim involves drinking. Therefore, one is encouraged to imbibe a little more than usual.

Wed. - Thurs.

March 1st

All day

Shushan Purim

Purim in Walled Cities

The Jews of Shushan were granted an extra day to fight off their enemies, so they celebrated their victory on the day after everyone else. Therefore, all walled cites from that time observe Purim a day later.

Friday

March 2nd

All day