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

Tomorrow, December 25th, we will observe the dawn to dusk Fast of the 10th of Tevet. The fast begins at 5:59am. Any other fast day that may fall on a Friday or Saturday is either postponed to Sunday or observed on the preceding Thursday. However, if the 10th of Tevet would fall on a Friday (as it does this year) or on Shabbat, we would fast then too - just like we do when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat!  What is the reason that the 10th of Tevet is given such importance? Find out in this week's blog

Shabbat Vayigash
Friday, December 25 - Saturday, December 26
Friday, December 25
Fast of the Tenth of Tevet
5:59am    Fast Begins
7:45am    Shacharit 
4:15pm    Mincha/Ma'ariv
4:39pm    Candlelighting

Shabbat, December 26
Shema must be concluded by 9:47am
9:30am     Shacharit followed by
5:42pm     Havdalah
6:00pm     Ma'ariv

Sunday, December 27
8:00am    Shacharit 
4:40pm    Mincha/Ma'ariv
Monday- Thursday., December 28-31
7:45am    Shacharit
7:00pm    Ma'ariv

Davening Zoom Links

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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, December 24, 7:30pm
Friday, December 25, 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

Jack & Rina Korek for the Yahrzeit of Jack’s beloved mother, Jeannette
Lev & Irina Dratva for the Yahrzeit of Irina’s beloved father, Boris Shubov

Morning Minyan Sponsorship
Thank you to Sally Weiss and her children, Barry & Amy Weiss Greenberg, Phillip & Aileen Weiss and Steven & Francine Weiss for sponsoring this week’s minyan in memory of their beloved husband and father, Sam

To David Heller on the passing of his beloved father, Gene, last week. 
On Friday, December 25th at 10 AM, Jews around the world will say Tehillim Chapters 121, 128 and 131 as a zechut for singles. You can set a reminder on your phone to help you join in this special event. 
Enjoy Adath Israel's Kosher Kitchen Offerings:
Metropolitan Catering
Neshama Foods
Parasha in a Nutshell

Judah approaches Joseph to plead for the release of Benjamin, offering himself as a slave to the Egyptian ruler in Benjamin’s stead. Upon witnessing his brothers’ loyalty to one another, Joseph reveals his identity to them. “I am Joseph,” he declares. “Is my father still alive?”

The brothers are overcome by shame and remorse, but Joseph comforts them. “It was not you who sent me here,” he says to them, “but G-d. It has all been ordained from Above to save us, and the entire region, from famine.”

The brothers rush back to Canaan with the news. Jacob comes to Egypt with his sons and their families—seventy souls in all—and is reunited with his beloved son after 22 years. On his way to Egypt he receives the divine promise: “Fear not to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation. I will go down with you into Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again.”

Joseph gathers the wealth of Egypt by selling food and seed during the famine. Pharaoh gives Jacob’s family the fertile county of Goshen to settle, and the children of Israel prosper in their Egyptian exile ( 

Parasha Thought
By Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky

It was the ultimate encounter. Yaakov, the consummate theologian, meets Pharoh, the king of the powerful land of Egypt. What could they have discussed? The meaning of life? The geopolitics of famine? They don’t. Instead, the Torah records that meeting as having to do with something quite mundane. Age. Yet that trite discussion had severe ramifications for our forefather Yaakov.

The Torah relates how Yoseph presents his father to Pharoh. Genesis 47: 9-10: “Pharoh asked Yaakov, ‘How old are you?’ Jacob answered, ‘the years of my sojourns are one hundred thirty; few and bad ones; they have not reached the days of my forefathers in their sojourns.’”

There is a Midrash that notes the bitterness of Yaakov’s response and makes an amazing calculation. Yaakov lived to the age of 147. His father lived ’till 180. There is a difference of 33 years. Yaakov, explains the Midrash, lost 33 years of his life due to the 33 words that were used as he cursed his life’s struggles.

The Midrash needs explanation. In the Torah’s version of the story (and even in my loose translation), Yaakov did not use 33 words to curse his fate. That number is only arrived at if the original question “How old are you,” including the words “and Pharoh asked Yaakov,” are also counted. I can understand that Yaakov was punished for the words that he spoke: after all, he was saved from his brother Esau, his daughter Deenah was returned to him, and he did leave Lavan’s home a wealthy man. But why should Yaakov be punished for a question posed to him, even if the response was improper? Why count the words that Pharoh used, and even more difficult, why count the words, ”Pharoh asked Yaakov,” which are obviously the Torah’s addition? At most, Yaakov should only be punished for the 25 words that he actually used.

Though Rebbitzin Chana Levin, the wife of Reb Aryeh, the Tzadik of Jerusalem, endured a difficult life she never let her own misfortunes dampen the cheer of friends or neighbors. During the terrible years of famine in Palestine during World War I, tragedy stuck. After an epidemic induced illness, on a Shabbos morning, her beautiful 18 month-old son, succumbed. She and Reb Aryeh were devastated.

However, until Shabbos was over, there were no noticeable cries coming from the Levin home. The Shabbos meal was accompanied by the regular z’miros (songs) recited with the weekly enthusiasm. The children discussed the Torah portion at the table, and the Rav and his Rebitzen greeted their neighbors as if nothing had occurred. Reb Aryeh’s own sister had visited on Shabbos and left with no inkling of the catastrophe. When news of the tragedy was revealed after sunset, her neighbors were shocked. “How is it,” they asked, “that you didn’t diminish your normal Shabbos cheer in the face of striking tragedy?”

The Rebitzen tearfully explained. “On Shabbos one is not allowed to mourn. Had we not continued our Shabbos in the usual manner, everyone would have realized the end had come. We would have destroyed the Shabbos of everyone in the courtyard, as you all would have shared our terrible pain.”

In order to understand the Midrash one must understand diplomacy. Ramban (Nachmanides) notes: World leaders do not normally greet each other with mundane questions such as, “how old are you?” Yet those are the only recorded words of the conversation that ensued between Yaakov and Pharoh. “Obviously,” explains the Ramban, “Yaakov looked so terrible and so aged that Pharoh could not comprehend." He therefore dispensed with diplomatic etiquette and asked the discourteous query. Yaakov’s response explained why his appearance overbore his numeric age.

Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz, (1902-1978) the Mirrer Rosh Yeshiva, explains why the Midrash is upset with Yaakov. Had Yaakov worn his suffering with more cheer, on the inside, he would not have looked as old as he did. Pharoh would not have been astonished and would never have asked the undiplomatic question, “how old are you?” Yaakov was punished for prompting a query that resulted in open discontent of the fate he endured. And for that unfortunate repartee, an entire portion of the Torah was added and Yaakov lost 33 years of his life.

The Torah teaches us a great lesson. No matter what life serves you, do not let the experience wrinkle your spirit. One must never let his pain get to him in a way that it gets to someone else. Especially when you represent Hashem’s word.

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Congregation Adath Israel · 1851 Noriega Street · San Francisco, CA 94122 · USA

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