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1851 Noriega Street San Francisco, CA 94122 ● (415) 564-5665
The Rabbi's Blog: Living Jewish in San Francisco

This week, I received three letters that I would like to share with you. The first letter, which is from Sinai Memorial Chapel, happens to be very appropriate after last weekend’s T.E.A.M. Shabbat. The second letter, which is from an organization called In Shifra’s Arms, relates to this week’s parasha in that it addresses pregnancy and birth under challenging conditions. The third letter is from Nishma Research, asking for participation in a COVID-19 Vaccine Survey of the Jewish Community. Please note my comment at the end of each letter in bold. 

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Shabbat Shemot
Friday, January 8 - Saturday, January 9
Friday, January 8
7:45am    Shacharit 
4:50pm    Candlelighting
4:50pm    Mincha/Ma'ariv

Shabbat, January 9
Shema must be concluded by 9:51am
9:30am     Shacharit followed by
5:53pm     Havdalah
6:15pm     Ma'ariv

Sunday, January 10
8:00am    Shacharit 
4:50pm    Mincha/Ma'ariv
Monday- Thursday, January 11-14
7:45am    Shacharit
7:00pm    Ma'ariv

Davening Zoom Links
Meeting ID: 8285 7998 099
Passcode: 5240 99
Call-In Number: 1(699) 900-6833

Meeting ID: 8651 4928 893
Passcode: 3228 19
Call-In Number: 1(699) 900-6833

Adath Israel Zoom World
Thursday, January 7, 7:30pm
Friday, January 8, 3:00pm
Meeting ID: 8591 9877 123
Password: 3332 74
Call-In Number: 1(669) 900-6833
Meeting ID: 8711 0287 339
Password: 0465 97
Call-In Number: 1(669) 900-6833
Meeting ID: 8675 4375 483
Password: 9311 88
Call-In Number: 1(669) 900-6833
Meeting ID: 8707 3447 128
Password: 8312 34
Call-In Number: 1(669) 900-6833
Meeting ID: 8547 0196 516
Password: 7161 17
Call-In Number: 1(669) 900-6833
Meeting ID: 8591 9877 123
Password: 3332 74
Call-In Number: 1(669) 900-6833

Dr. Morris & Cherille Berman for the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund
Michael Lorincz in honor of Rabbi Landau
Michael Lorincz in gratitude for the Thanksgiving/Chanukah Baskets
Bella and Polina Pasynkov and Anna Kelenson for the Yahrzeit of Boruch Pasynkov
Sally Weiss in memory of Adam Tabak
Steven & Francine Weiss in memory of Adam Tabak
Philip & Aileen Weiss in memory of Adam Tabak
Amy & Barry Greenberg in memory of Adam Tabak 
Shay Attia & Robin Newman in memory of Adam Tabak

Phylis Kurzbard in memory of Adam Tabak
Renee & Kevin Mahan in memory of Adam Tabak
Corinne & Elad Vaknin in memory of Adam Tabak
Ester & Joe Kaplan in memory of Adam Tabak
Patty Ozeri and Lorraine Ozeri in memory of Adam Tabak
Ian Reynolds & Jessica Ozeri in memory of Adam Tabak
Mark Garnice & Shelli Newman in memory of Adam Tabak
David Garth & Sarah Phommavongsay in memory of Adam Tabak
Rita & Alex Riskin for the General Fund

Masha & Don Shifs in memory of Adam Tabak

To the entire Tabak Family: Tommy, Genie, Gabi, Ben, Adella and Levi on the sudden and unexpected passing of their beloved son, husband, and father, Adam. As well as to Adam’s brother, Shawn, and his family, and to his sister, Maxine, and her family. May Hashem console them all among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may they know worry no more.
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Parasha in a Nutshell

The children of Israel multiply in Egypt. Threatened by their growing numbers, Pharaoh enslaves them and orders the Hebrew midwives, Shifrah and Puah, to kill all male babies at birth. When they do not comply, he commands his people to cast the Hebrew babies into the Nile.

A child is born to Yocheved, the daughter of Levi, and her husband, Amram, and placed in a basket on the river, while the baby’s sister, Miriam, stands watch from afar. Pharaoh’s daughter discovers the boy, raises him as her son, and names him Moses.

As a young man, Moses leaves the palace and discovers the hardship of his brethren. He sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and kills the Egyptian. The next day he sees two Jews fighting; when he admonishes them, they reveal his deed of the previous day, and Moses is forced to flee to Midian. There he rescues Jethro’s daughters, marries one of them (Tzipporah), and becomes a shepherd of his father-in-law’s flocks.

G-d appears to Moses in a burning bush at the foot of Mount Sinai and instructs him to go to Pharaoh and demand: “Let My people go, so that they may serve Me.” Moses’ brother, Aaron, is appointed to serve as his spokesman. In Egypt, Moses and Aaron assemble the elders of Israel to tell them that the time of their redemption has come. The people believe; but Pharaoh refuses to let them go, and even intensifies the suffering of Israel.

Moses returns to G-d to protest: “Why have You done evil to this people?” G-d promises that the redemption is close at hand ( 

Parasha Thought
By Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky

“If nominated I shall not accept, if elected I shall not serve.” The words of Civil War general George Tecumseh Sherman ring clear in American history as a tribute to a man’s obstinate unwillingness to commit to further service to a shattered country.

It seems that Moshe responds in almost the same manner, not to a nominating committee but to G-d Almighty. When Moshe is approached by Hashem to speak to Pharaoh, he defers. First, he ponders, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh?” (Exodus 3:11). After Hashem exhorts him, Moshe tries a different tactic. “I am not a man of words… for I am a man heavy of mouth and speech,” (Exodus 4:10). Again G-d refutes his extenuation and chides Moshe that, after all, “who makes a mouth for man if not the Almighty?” And once again He urges Moshe to go to Pharaoh, assuring him that “I will be with your mouth and teach you what to say,” (Exodus 4:12). 

Finally, when Hashem assures Moshe that it is His hand that will guide him, His words that will be spoken and His spirit that will inspire him, Moshe still does not accept. He has one final seemingly lame pretext: “Send the one who You are accustomed to send,” (Exodus 4:13). 

The scenario is almost incomprehensible. After every one of Moshe’s protestations are well refuted by the Almighty, how did Moshe have the audacity to petition G-d to send someone else?

My 2nd grade rebbe, Rabbi Chaim Follman, asked his Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky, to officiate at the wedding of his daughter. Reb Yaakov checked his appointment calendar and shook his head slowly. “Unfortunately, I have a prior commitment and cannot fulfill your request.” He wished Reb Chaim and his daughter a heartfelt mazel tov, showered them with blessings, and added that if his schedule would open, he would gladly join them at the wedding.

On the day of the wedding, Rav Yaakov was informed that his original appointment was canceled. Immediately, he made plans to attend the wedding. Assuming he would come after the ceremony, he arrived at the hall long after the time that the invitation had announced that the ceremony would commence.

Upon entering the wedding hall, Rav Yaakov realized that for one reason or another the chuppah (marriage ceremony) had not yet begun. Quickly, Rav Yaakov went downstairs and waited, almost in hiding, near the coat room for nearly 40 minutes until after the ceremony was completed. A few students who noticed the Rosh Yeshiva huddled in a corner reciting Tehillim (Psalms) could not imagine why he was not upstairs and participating in the chuppah. They, however, did not approach him until after the ceremony.

Reb Yaakov explained his actions. “Surely Reb Chaim had made arrangements for a different m’sader kidushin (officiating rabbi). Had he known that I was in the wedding hall he would be in a terrible bind –after all, I was his first choice, and I am much older than his second choice. Reb Chaim would be put in the terribly uncomfortable position of asking someone to defer his honor for me. Then Reb Chaim would have to placate that rabbi with a different honor, thus displacing someone else. I felt the best thing to do was stay in a corner until the entire ceremony had ended — sparing everybody from the embarrassment of even the slightest demotion.”

Moshe’s older brother Ahron had been the prophet of the Jewish nation, guiding them, encouraging them, and supporting them decades before Moshe was asked by Hashem to go to Pharaoh. When Moshe was finally convinced by the Almighty that he was worthy of the designated mission and that his speech impediment was not a inhibiting factor, there was one more issue that Moshe had to deal with. And that factor was not in Hashem’s control. It was a very mortal factor — his brother Ahron’s feelings. Under no circumstance, even if every other qualification were met, would Moshe accept a position that might, in some way, slight his brother Ahron

Only after Moshe was assured of Ahron’s overwhelming moral support and willingness to forego his commission did Moshe accept the great task. Sanctity of mission and divinity of assignment end somewhere very sacred: at the tip of someone else’s heart.

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