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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.


 

Rabbi Moshe Isserles, who lived in Krakow from 1530-1572, wrote a commentary to the Shulchan Aruch (the Code of Jewish Law, published in 1565). In this commentary (Orech Chaim, chapter 668), he writes that the honor of “Chatan Torah,” (the person honored with the final reading of the year’s Torah cycle), is reserved for a “talmid chacham,” a scholar, but Chatan Bereshit – the first reading of the new cycle, can be given to anyone. 

What’s the difference between the two honors that one is reserved for scholars and the other is available for anyone?  

If we want a talmid chacham to complete the Torah, why not have one start the next cycle, and if we don’t insist on a talmid chacham to start it, why be insistent to complete it? 

The answer is that the completion of the Torah focuses on the past. 

If someone missed the opportunity to learn until now, there is no way to retroactively make it up. 

That’s why the talmid chacham is most appropriate to conclude the Torah. 

However, the beginning of the new cycle focuses on the future.

Everyone has an opportunity, both through studying Torah and through supporting Torah, to make this next year (and cycle) a year of Torah learning.

This being the case, I highly urge you to consider participating in some or all of the new series of classes that I am offering beginning the second week in November:

Sunday November 6, 9:00am

The Book of Daniel Chapter I

Daniel's Puzzling Beginning, Surviving in the Darkness; Daniel's Ten Day Trial

 

Monday November 7, 7:30pm

Pain is a Reality, Suffering is a Choice

Grappling with Divine Justice

 

Wednesday November 9, 7:30pm 

Stop Surviving – Start Living

How can one achieve true happiness? Find out what Judaism has to say about living a meaningful life.

 

Thursday November 10, 7:30pm 

Talmud for the 21th Century

Fathering a Child After Death