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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.


Classic Talmudic commentators say that the days of counting the Omer from Pesach to Shavuot are auspicious for acquiring new spiritual levels.

When it comes to children, we take for granted that growth and development is part of childhood. You don't expect a 10-year-old to act the same way he did at age five. But somehow as adults, we lose that impulse to continue growing. Yet should a 30-year-old act as he did at age 25? As adults, we could be using those five years in a very powerful way. The formula for staying young is to continue growing. Losing that capacity at any age is tragic. Any time we're not growing and changing, we're not living. We're just existing.

A major impediment to growth is the feeling of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task. But Judaism is not all-or-nothing. If I cannot have 1,000 gold coins, does that mean I should not strive to have even one?! The biggest reason people fail is that they have set a goal which is too lofty and unattainable. We inevitably fall short and get discouraged. In Jacob's famous dream, God shows him a vision of a ladder reaching toward heaven. Spiritual growth, like climbing a ladder, must be one step at a time.

Another important aspect of sustaining spiritual growth is having a support group. It’s a well-known fact that the success of Weight Watchers has a lot to do with being part of a larger group who are all sharing similar challenges.

Base on the above, I made the following suggestion on the last day of Pesach – how about we all study the same Torah material for five minutes a day seven days a week 365 days a year? What could be a better way to prepare for Shavuot than becoming a community that is literally on the same new Torah study page every day of the week? Learning a new Torah idea each day?

In order to make this idea a reality I contacted ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications. They are willing to give us a 45% discount plus free shipping if we purchase at least 50 sets of their 13 volume “Daily Dose of Torah” series. The reduced cost per set is $112. For those of among us who are more digitally inclined it is possible to purchase the set as an App for $85. There are eight separate teachings per day. We will only be doing one lesson a day. This means that we can get eight years of daily Torah study for the price of only three cents a day! Even less with the App.

Please let me know ASAP if you’d like to participate in this wonderful personal and communal growth experience.