October 22-November 5, 2010
---See interview on page 30
Vol. 6 Issue 166
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32 Soul Trustee
The Joy of Community and the Special Relationship with Your Rabbi
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What happened that morning in Shul as Rabbi Mordy was speaking about the bride and groom was that the door opened and in walked Rabbi Greene. Dr. Robert Rome
Parshas Chayei Sarah Rabbi Mordechai Kaminetsky
In this manner, Avraham was able to influence all of the people that passed through his land to recognize G-d. Rabbi Reuven Wolf
The man looked quizzically at the rabbi. "Reb Yid," he stammered. "I hardly know you! How do you expect me to invest with you?
Is G-d In The Consquences?
Someone close to me really messed up and has since experienced very serious and painful consequences. A friend says she doesn't believe G-d "causes" the consequence, because, she says, "we have free will." Tzvi Freeman
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Robert J. Rome, Ph.D., is a licensed Psychologist in clinical practice in Encino, California. He can be reached at RJRome@aol.com
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It was a beautiful Shabbat day at Chabad of Tarzana. A joyous event that weekend was being highlighted in Rabbi Mordy Einbinder’s talk as he spoke of the wedding the next day of Tamar May, a young woman who grew up in the community, beginning her education in the preschool program at the Shul. As the Rabbi was describing the bride’s family and her parents’ roles in the community over the years, there was a roar from throughout the congregation. We all knew that Rebbitzen Debbie Greene, wife of Rabbi Mayer Greene, was a number of days past due. It was 21 years since Rabbi and Rebbitzen Greene had had their first child. It was about 26 years since Rabbi Greene had first come to the community to serve as a counselor at Camp Gan Israel, 24 years since Debbie first visited the Tarzana community as a prospective bride. We had shared with them in the joy of their marriage and the subsequent births of their many children. We shared holidays with them, each of us eating in the Greene Sukkah each fall, as just one example. We had witnessed the young couple as they became fixtures in the community. Both the Rabbi and Rebbitzen have taught our children. They have counseled scores of children, young adults, and adults. They are exemplary parents. The love for the Greene family throughout the community is genuine. What happened that morning in Shul as Rabbi Mordy was speaking about the bride and groom was that the door opened and in walked Rabbi Greene. He was coming following his 4.1 mile walk from Kaiser Woodland Hills. His entrance meant only one thing: The Greenes had had a baby! The anticipation had hovered over the Shul the whole morning. Rabbi Greene reads the Torah every week. Sometimes he comes somewhat late. But when he was not there at the start of the Torah reading, we knew that meant that he was 7 October 22,2010
at the hospital with his very pregnant wife. So when Rabbi Greene opened the door and walked in toward the end of the Rabbi’s sermon, the excitement was everywhere. He proceeded to the Bimah to share the news with Rabbi Mordy and the congregation. Hoorays resounded throughout the building. It was certainly a Shabbat to remember, as would be the next Shabbat when the congregation doubled in size, beyond standing room only, to participate in the Bris of the Greene’s fourth son. Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov!
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The Rabbis take joy at our happiness and we experience true joy with them as we celebrate with them their special occasions. The relationship with a Rabbi is a significant component of being part of a community. I recently completed the latest book by Mitch Albom, Have a Little Faith. The book details the life-long relationship that Mitch had with his Rabbi, the late Rabbi Albert Lewis of Hadden Heights, New Jersey. Knowing that Mitch Albom was a famous author, best known for his book Tuesdays with Morrie, Rabbi Lewis asked that Mitch deliver the eulogy at his funeral when the time would come. The book deals with the last eight years of Rabbi Lewis’ life, a lifetime of memories, and the very special relationship developed between Rabbi and congregants.
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Long-term affiliation in a synagogue community can bring about a long-term relationship with a Rabbi. The relationship with a Rabbi has many components. We learn from the Rabbi who imparts knowledge in sermons, in classes, in lectures, and even within casual conversations. The Rabbi and his Rebbitzen set an example to guide us in our leading of a Jewish life. Mitch Albom recalls a couple of decades of High Holiday sermons and how Rabbi Lewis has moved him and his family. Rabbi Lewis was part of his entire life. He even remembers passing Rabbi Lewis in the hallway when he was in Hebrew School as a child. It is of interest that a bestselling author has chosen for his latest work to discuss the unique relationship that a community can have with the Rabbi. Whether in Tarzana, California, or in Hadden Heights, New Jersey, as well as in countless other synagogue communities all over the globe, a special place is held for the Rabbis who have led congregations for years. The kind of relationship that we have with Rabbi Mordy Einbinder and Rabbi Greene and Mitch Albom had with Rabbi Albert Lewis can only happen when Rabbis spend their careers within a single community. It takes years to get to know each other in the kinds of ways where the Rabbi is welcomed into our own families and where we come to view the Rabbi’s family as part of our own. Those who don’t affiliate with synagogues lack the opportunity to gain a special relationship with a Rabbi. It is a lonely situation operating in isolation, without the closeness that a rabbinic relationship can entail. The first step in building a special relationship with a Rabbi is affiliation with a single synagogue community and its Rabbi. Some observant Jews “shul-hop” as they frequent a variety of synagogues. While it is a free world and one can do as he or she pleases, this kind of “multiple affiliation” actually may leave you as lacking a solid relationship with a single community and Rabbi, missing out on the full benefits that these relationships can bring. A multi-year relationship starts at the beginning. No matter what your age, you can affiliate and commence a relationship now which can build throughout the future. The experience of the cheering at the appearance of Rabbi Greene and the announcement of his baby is something that I will always remember and cherish. I hope you and your family will share similar experiences, and true joy, with your Rabbi in the future. •
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THE MENACHEM INSTITUTE PRESENTS
An evening with Rabbi Henach Teller
eâ€™re too small a people
A SMALL PEOPLE
:Â„ĂŒÂłÂ‘CÂŽÂŽ~kÂłÂźĂ‚Â°kÂłCÂ“dÂłkkÂ‘Â‡Â“~ÂŽĂŒÂźÂ°Â‡Ă‰Â‡CÂŽC[ÂźÂłÂ—wÂ?Â‡Â“dÂ“kÂłÂłCÂ°kÂ“kĂ‰kÂ°Â‡Â“ÂłÂ‡~Â“Â‡x[CÂ“Âź Rabbi Hanoch Teller is a globe-trotting modern-day Maggid. He Â„CÂłÂŽk[ÂźĂ‚Â°kdQkwÂ—Â°kCĂ‚dÂ‡kÂ“[kÂłÂ—Â“xĂ‰k[Â—Â“ÂźÂ‡Â“kÂ“ÂźÂłaÂ‡Â“|Ă’ Â‘kÂ°Â‡[CÂ“ ÂłÂźCÂźkÂłCÂ“dĂ |Â—ÂźÂ„kÂ°[Â—Ă‚Â“ÂźÂ°Â‡kÂładkÂŽÂ‡Ă‰kÂ°Â‡Â“~CÂ Â°k[Â‡Â—Ă‚ÂłÂ‘kÂłÂłC~kÂ—w Â„Â—Â kCÂ“dÂ‡Â“ÂłÂ Â‡Â°CÂźÂ‡Â—Â“ÂŁ <Â—Ă‚Â“~CÂ“dÂ—ÂŽdawÂ°Â—Â‘kĂ‰kÂ°ĂŒĂŠCÂŽÂ?Â—wÂŽÂ‡wkzÂ—[Â?ÂźÂ—Â„kCÂ°ÂźÂ„Â‡Âł~Â‡wÂźkda CĂŠCÂ°dÂ†ĂŠÂ‡Â“Â“Â‡Â“~Â—Â°CÂźÂ—Â°aÂ Â°Â—dĂ‚[kÂ°CÂ“dkdĂ‚[CÂźÂ—Â°ÂłÂ kCÂ?Â—Â“CĂŠÂ‡dk range of subjects. The classes he teaches in numerous Jerusalem Yeshivahs and ÂłkÂ‘Â‡Â“CÂ°Â‡kÂłCÂ°kÂ‡Â“~Â°kCÂźdkÂ‘CÂ“dÂŁÂ‡ÂłÂźCÂŽÂ?ÂłaÂ‡Â‘QĂ‚kdĂŠÂ‡ÂźÂ„ÂŒÂ—ĂŒCÂ“ddÂ°CÂ‘CaÂŽCĂ‚~Â„ÂźkÂ° CÂ“dÂ CÂźÂ„Â—ÂłaÂ Â°Â—Ă‰Â‡dkCÂ“kĂ‹Â kÂ°Â‡kÂ“[kÂźÂ„CÂźÂ„Â‡ÂłÂŽÂ‡ÂłÂźkÂ“kÂ°Âł[Â„kÂ°Â‡ÂłÂ„wÂ—Â°kĂ‰kÂ°ÂŁ
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“And he [Avraham] planted an eishel in Beer-Sheba, and he called there in the name of the Lord, the G-d of the world.” (Genesis 21:33) Our sages (Sotah 10a-b/Bereishit Rabbah 49:4) teach that Avraham opened an inn for the weary travelers of the desert, and through his hospitality, he caused everyone around him to recognize G-d. Avraham spared no expense or effort on behalf of his guests. They enjoyed all the luxuries he could bestow upon them - food, drink and a cool, comfortable place to rest. When Avraham's guests were ready to leave, they would politely thank their host. Avraham, however, would reply, "Did you eat my food? It is the G-d of the World of Whose food you have eaten.
praise G-d. In the rare case that his guest was so stuck in atheism or idolatry that he would still refuse, Avraham had a few servants who were very strong and imposing, and left the guest with no choice but to praise G-d and thank Him for the food and hospitality. In this manner, Avraham was able to influence all of the people that passed through his land to recognize G-d. Obviously, Avraham was a deep thinker and a brilliant philosopher. He had unwavering faith and he wanted to share the experience and truth of G-d with everyone. He was also a kind and generous person. He wanted to take care of the
When the only way to the heart, is by breaking it.
Thank, praise and bless He who spoke and the world came into being!" The guests would then recognize G-d, and thank Him, and Avraham would thereby cause many people to "call in the name of the Lord." Some of his guests weren't interested in thanking or praising G-d. If Avraham couldn't convince a guest to do so, he would have the bill brought instead. The luxuries of which the guest had partaken were listed on the bill with an exorbitant price for each item, a price at which nobody could afford to pay the bill. The guest would protest and Avraham simply said, "Where else can you find bread, wine and meat in the middle of a desert?" Unable to pay the bill, these guests would then also accept Avraham's first offer, to simply thank and
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travelers’ needs, to feed the hungry and provide respite for the weary. Moreover, Avraham wanted to take care of their emotional and spiritual needs. He used the inn as a place to educate people about G-d, to give them the ultimate gift - to illuminate people’s lives, and open their eyes to the glory and greatness of G-d and His service, making their lives more significant and purposeful. If the guests were leaving, they must have already spent a significant amount of time talking to Avraham. If Avraham - who in his youth, using only his intellect, was able to deduce the existence and nature of G-d - couldn’t influence or inspire his guests during the course of their stay, what possible accomplishment was it to force these people into thanking G-d?
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What effect could this lip-service really have? How could Avraham, the most kindhearted and generous person, resort to what is practically extortion, and believe that it made a difference? How can the Torah praise Avraham for this behavior? Not only was Avraham praised in the Torah for this, the Medrash says regarding this exact work of Avraham that G-d told him, "My Name was not recognized by My creations. You caused my Name to be recognized by My creations and I thus consider it as if you had been a partner with Me in the world's creation." We must understand that, somehow, Avraham's approach was not only constructive, but it had a remarkable effect! What is the role in Judaism of any kind of imposed or coerced religious behavior? If a person is pressured to perform a mitzvah or any other activity in the service of G-d, what validity or meaning does it have? Logically, there shouldn’t be any significance. A mitzvah is an expression of devotion and commitment – a physical action that expresses a connection to the Creator – how can there be a true expression or connection if the person doesn’t really want it? During the times that the Jewish courts enforced the Torah throughout Israel, they had the power to force people to perform the mitzvos. For example, if one refused to hear the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah or eat matzo on Pesach, the courts could appoint someone to force the uninterested person to perform the mitzvah. According to basic Jewish law, a married couple cannot be divorced unless the husband chooses to grant a divorce to the wife. What happens in a case where a man is firstname.lastname@example.org
obligated to divorce his wife, but for whatever reason refuses not to? In this case, the Jewish court (and only the court) may appoint someone to employ physical force to compel him to change his mind and beat him until he says that he wants to give the divorce. The question is, of course, how can this possibly be valid? The man who is beaten into submission isn’t willfully granting the divorce! Moments ago, he might have said that he wants to grant the divorce, but as soon as the enforcers leave, he will change his mind. How does this work? Maimonides states (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Divorce 2:20) that every Jew, deep in his heart, wants to do the will of G-d, and wants to refrain from those things that are against G-d’s will. Regardless of education, upbringing, experience or knowledge, the essence of every Jew - the soul - wants to serve its creator. However, it’s possible that the evil inclination can get in the way. Maimonides exact words are that “the yetzer hara/evil inclination has possessed him.” It’s as if an alien spirit has overcome this human being, and is forcing him to act contrary to his own will, against the wishes of the Torah. So what is the beating accomplishing? If his inner desire already wants to grant the divorce, why does he need to be beaten in the first place? Why not just force him to sign the document? Torah and mitzvos live in our physical world, not deep within the spiritual realms. The beating removes the yetzer hara, a spirit of foolishness that is entrapping this person, and makes room for this individual’s inner desire to express itself openly, in the realm of the physical, 13 O c t o b e r 2 2 , 2 0 1 0
where our ears can actually hear it.
handiwork of G-d?
As interesting as this explanation might be, it only addresses the question of coercion in regards to the Jewish soul, which yearns to connect with its Creator. However, Avraham was dealing with gentiles who didn’t possess this inner will.
The commentators have many different explanations of the story, but none of them seem to really make sense. To understand this we need some Chassidic insight.
The Talmud (Taanis 20a-b) relates a strange story about the great mystic and sage, Rabbi Elazar, the son of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. He was in a very good mood, travelling near a river, after a day of productive Torah learning. Along his way, he was greeted by a man who was “extremely ugly.” R’ Elazar returned the greeting by saying, "Empty one! How ugly you are! Are all the people where you are from as ugly as you?" The man was stunned for a moment, and replied, "Go to the Craftsman who made me and tell Him, 'The vessel You have made is ugly!.'" R’ Elazar immediately begged the man for forgiveness for his harsh words, without success. He followed him all the way home, repeatedly unsuccessful. Finally, the people of the city, who recognized R’ Elazar, persuaded the man to forgive him, and he did so, on the condition that R’ Elazar not make a habit of doing what he did. Although this story leaves room for many questions, there are two particularly significant issues: (1) How could any Rabbi, especially one of the leaders of his generation who was renowned for his saintliness, speak in such an insensitive manner to another human being? (2) What was so illuminating about the man’s reply that caused R’ Elazar to beg forgiveness? Didn’t the great sage and mystic know that a man’s body is the • 323-965-1544 •
Every human being is created in the image of G-d. Certainly, the Rabbi knew this. However, when he looked at this man, who was extremely ugly, he couldn’t spot the G-dliness. Immediately, R’ Elazar recognized that this person must be extremely disconnected from G-d, an atheist that doesn’t acknowledge his Creator. The man might not have been born with the most handsome appearance, but his coarseness and willful separation from G-d only amplified his unpleasant appearance, to the point that he was the ugliest man R’ Elazar had ever seen. R’ Elazar also understood that the driving force behind the ugly man’s disbelief was his inflated arrogance and sense of self importance. He wanted to help him, but R' Elazar knew that the pompous man wasn't ready to accept any guidance from him, or anybody else. The only thing the Rabbi could do to help him was to attack his ego. As soon as R’ Elazar did this, the man had an epiphany – he realized that it could only have been G-d that crafted him this way, and he therefore answered the sage cognizant of this recognition, acknowledging G-d for the first time in his life. R’ Elazar, however, was not expecting such an extreme about face, and immediately thought that he might have misjudged the situation, or spoken too harshly, and begged the man for forgiveness. When he finally email@example.com
gave R’ Elazar, he told him that this was an extreme measure, but not something appropriate for the average person who can be reasoned with - he shouldn’t become accustomed to delivering this kind of rebuke. This story demonstrates a phenomenal lesson - that the greatest obstacle that stands between a person and healthy spirituality is the ego. Arrogance and self importance cause the ultimate block between man and G-d. Sometimes, cracking the shell of the ego allows a person’s faith to emerge. This is the reason for Avraham’s behavior. He was working to crack open the ego of those too arrogant to acknowledge G-d. Of course there is a difference between Jew and Non-Jew. Faith and love of G-d is inherently present within the soul of every Jew; we are believers, the children of believers. However, gentiles are not born with the same sensitivity and recognition. Certainly every human being has the capability of acquiring faith and recognizing G-d, and this is also one of the 7 Noahide laws which even non-Jews must observe. Yet, for the Non-Jewish soul, this recognition isn’t inherent and takes some effort. So, when Avraham hosted the people around him, he spent countless hours talking to them, teaching them the wonder’s of G-d and the creation. He was able to inspire and teach many people about G-d sim-
ply by talking with them. There were, nonetheless, certain individuals that didn’t hear what Avraham was saying. This wasn’t because he didn’t know how to reach them – he was the world’s greatest philosopher and theologian, an orator and an author - it was because they were too arrogant to recognize G-d. As a result of Avraham’s intense kindness, he realized that in order to help this type of egotistical person, he needed to put him into a bind and make him feel vulnerable. At that point, Avraham was able to actually talk to him, and this person too became a vessel capable of acknowledging G-dliness. It was this way that Avraham was able to bring ALL of the people around him to recognize G-d, even the staunchest atheists and idolaters. The Tanya teaches that in times of uncertain faith, if a person begins to have spiritual insecurities or doubts, it’s not always a lack of inspiration or knowledge that is the problem. Rather, one should recognize that the soul is filled to the brim with faith; it is only the ego that blocks it. Sometimes it’s just a deflation of self that is helpful and necessary, and it’s best that we do it to ourselves, instead of waiting for it to happen some other way. If a person doesn’t leave any room for G-d, then G-d will arrange for a way to make some room for Himself. Someone might speak harshly to us, as R’ Elazar did, other times, G-d might bring
troubles upon us – economic, health, or otherwise – to soften us and allow the soul to emerge and express itself. When a person is filled only with self awareness, there is no room for G-d to dwell. We all need pores that allow G-dliness to enter our consciousness. We can also learn another valuable lesson from Avraham’s behavior. When we encounter another Jew, especially one that we want to draw closer to Judaism and a deeper connection to the Torah, it’s not always necessary to attempt a theological or philosophical debate. Sometimes, simply asking another Jew over for a Shabbos meal, to hang a mezuzah, shake a lulav or put on teffilin is what’s necessary, even if it seems to us like a superficial act. By breaking down these barriers, we can cause another Jew to willfully connect with G-d, even for a second, allowing them to open up to infinite G-dliness. If Avraham, our forefather, did this to the pagans of the desert, and he was able to successfully spread G-dliness, how much more so can these small actions affect our fellow Jews, who are innately connected and desirous of G-d. May we merit increasing the observance of the Torah and mitzvos - and through these actions we will bring about the ultimate redemption – a time when all blockages will be removed, and G-d will be fully revealed within all of creation. •
Excerpt from "The Parsha In My Life" class by Rabbi Reuven Wolf. Maayon Yisroel was founded by Rabbi Reuven Wolf, a renowned educator and inspiring lecturer who has devoted his life to reaching out and rekindling the spirit of Yiddishkeit in his fellow Jew. Over the past five years Rabbi Wolf has been teaching a 2-4 hour class on the weekly Parsha, named affectionately "The Thursday Night Shiur".
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October 22, 2010
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fÉâÄ gÜâáàxx PARSHAS CHAYEI SARA 18
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hen Avraham seeks a wife for his son Yitzchak, he called no one other than his trusted loyal servant, Eliezer. Eliezer was one of the primary soldiers, aiding Avraham during his battle to rescue Lot. Eliezer was considered by Avraham to be his heir apparent until Hashem informed him of the forthcoming birth of Yitzchak. Eliezer was nicknamed the one who drew and watered from his master's Torah. Simply put, the Torah constantly informs us that Eliezer was Avraham's right-hand-man. Before sending Eliezer, the Torah tells us that "Avraham told his servant, the elder of his household, who was in complete charge of every one of Avraham's possessions, to swear that he would not take a girl from Canaan for Yitzchak. Eliezer swore in the name of Hashem, the Master of the heaven and the earth " (cf. Genesis 24:3). Avraham instructed his most trusted aid to get the proper shiddach for Yitzchak. He was to go back to Avraham's hometown. The girl had to come from the right family. She must have been raised in the proper environment. And Avraham warned Eliezer that Yitzchak was not to leave the Land of Canaan. His charge was forceful. He made his trusted servant swear. He used strong language. "Be careful - watch out! Lest you bring my son there!" (Genesis 24:6) The Torah's reiteration of Eliezer's domestic position in this context is perplexing. Isn't the juxtaposition - the glorifying of Eliezer's position as "the elder of his household, who was in complete charge of every one of Avraham's possessions" contradictory with the severe scrutiny and pressure that Avraham placed on him in reference to Yitzchak's matrimonial requirements? If Avraham trusted Eliezer for his entire worldly possessions, why did he make him swear in this instance? And if he had to swear in regard to Yitzchak, then why define him here as "the elder of his household, who was in complete charge of every one of Avraham's possessions"? Isn't the fact that he had to swear, obvious evidence that he, in fact, was not in charge? Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin of Salant, the founder of the mussar movement, once stayed at an inn. The inn was quite crowded and the innkeeper realized that he was low on meat. Seeing a distinguished and pious-looking Jew with a beard, the innkeeper approached Reb Yisrael. "Are you perhaps a shochet? You see, I am running low on meat and I must slaughter a cow." Reb Yisrael was taken aback. "I would love to help," he stammered, "but unfortunately I am not a ritual slaughterer."
The next morning Rabbi Lipkin approached the innkeeper. "I have a tremendous business opportunity. If you were to invest a few hundred rubles with me, I can guarantee a nice return." The man looked quizzically at the rabbi. "Reb Yid," he stammered. "I hardly know you! How do you expect me to invest with you? Give me a few references, and as many days, and let me check out the deal in its entirety. Then we can meet and I'll make my decision." "Aha!" Exclaimed the great mussar luminary. "Just yesterday, you were about to trust me with the ritual slaughter of your cow. You were going to feed you guests with that meat based on the appearance of my frock and beard. Nevertheless, you would not invest a few rubles on those same grounds. Shouldn't one treat his spiritual skepticism on the same level as his financial uncertainties?" The Be'er Mayim Chayim explains: the Torah specifically states, in the context of Avraham's admonitions, that Eliezer "was the elder of Avraham's household, who was in complete charge of every one of Avraham's possessions." When buying stocks and bonds, when investing in real estate, when purchasing appliances or furniture, Eliezer had free reign. Yet when it came to Yitzchak's future that esteem was not enough. Avraham made Eliezer swear in the name of Hashem that he would bring a suitable wife for Yitzchak. Avraham's concern for spirituality and his future were by no means on the same level as those he had for his mundane needs. True, Eliezer was in complete charge of every one of Avraham's possessions. But when it came to Avraham's future, when it came to spiritual decisions, even Eliezer was suspect. For when it comes to your spiritual needs, your sole trustee can never become your soul trustee. •
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PARSHAS VAYERA 24
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t's not often that one receives such diverse company on a single day. But if you're Abraham, anything can happen. The portion begins this week as Abraham is sitting outside his tent, three days after his circumcision, on a boiling hot day. He is visited by none other than the Divine Presence. In the middle of the conversation, Abraham looks up. He spots three Arab nomads meandering, in the intense heat in his direction. Imagine yourself. You are recuperating from an operation that most males receive 99 years prior, you are in the middle of a conversation with G-d Al-mighty, and three Arabs happen to pass within shouting distance of your tent. We all know what we would and would not do. Let us analyze what Abraham does, and how he does it. The Torah tell us, "and he (Abraham) said, 'My Master, if I find favor in your eyes, do not pass over your servant.' " The Torah is unclear. Who was Abraham referring to when he said "My Master?" Is he telling G-d not to withdraw His presence as he invites some nomads, or was he respectfully interrupting his conversation with G-d as he shouts to the wayfarers, "Don't leave me, I'll be with you as soon as I finish this conversation with G-d?" It is quite hard to believe, but these two ideas are Talmudic opinions! I understand how the Talmud can argue about a tree -- was it a willow tree or an apple tree? After all the difference is not consequential. Was the window situated in Noah's ark an actual pane of glass or a sparkling jewel that allowed for a brilliant shine? The opinions in those instances are diverse yet compatible. But the schism in opinions, whether "My Master" is referring to G-d Himself or the leader of a band of Arab shleppers, is too wide to fathom! What is more troubling is how is it possible to say that Abraham actually paused during a conversation with G-d to tell a few Arab nomads to wait untill he is ready? Rabbi Isser Zalman Melzer was once sitting with a group
of students when suddenly one of them looked out the window and announced that one of Israel's leading Torah scholars was coming toward the home. Rav Melzer quickly prepared his modest Jerusalem apartment to greet the honored guest. The table was bedecked with a freshly laundered, tablecloth adorned with a bowl of fruit, in honor of the distinguished visitor. Rabbi Melzer changed into his Shabbos attire so as to show his respect. Suddenly there was a knock. Reb Isser Zalman rushed to the door to greet the honored guest. However there was no Rav at the door. In his stead, stood a simple poor Jew who needed a letter of approbation in order to raise funds. He appeared from the distance like the scholar, but obviously the student was mistaken. To the surprise of his wife, and even more so the visitor himself, Rav Melzer ushered the poor man into his dining room. He proceeded to seat him at the head of the table, converse with him, feed him, and give him the respect he would have afforded a revered guest. After discussing the man's needs, he wrote a letter full of complimentary descriptions regarding the man and his situation. After the old man had left, Reb Isser Zalman commented, "who really knows how to evaluate and differentiate the value of people. Perhaps this is the way one must treat every Jew. I was happy to channel my enthusiastic expectations of the Rabbi's visit toward this simple Jew." Avrohom knew that there is a Mitzvah to love Hashem, but he also knew that G-d created man in His image. Perhaps it can be an acceptable argument amongst our sages, which Master was told "please wait?" Was it the actual Master of the universe, or the master that was created in the image of the ultimate Master? Perhaps one of the ways that Avrohom manifested his great love for Hashem was through his actions toward his fellow human-being. And believe it or not, the Master waited. •
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By Tzvi Freeman
Question: Someone close to me really messed up and has since experienced very serious and painful consequences. A friend says she doesn't believe G-d "causes" the consequence, because, she says, "we have free will." Although that may seem like a loving attitude, I find it disturbing. I find much more comfort in the idea of a G-d that deals with us directly, rather than leaving it up to consequences. Or maybe a G-d that is even "in the consequence," with the idea that there is an ultimately loving purpose to the consequence. Without this, the world seems just too scary and lonesome.
Response: There is much truth in all you write. On the one hand, yes, the consequences are our own doing. They are the product of our free will pushing the buttons and pulling the levers of the cosmic pinball machine. We all have the freedom to walk outside barefoot in the snow, but don't complain if your nose starts to run. We have it in our power to hurt others, but be prepared to receive in kind. Kindle wood beneath your natural human passions, but don't be shocked to find a wildfire consuming all you have built. Put out your hand to help others, and eventually a hand will come to help you or your children or your children's children. Fill your life with the wisdom of Torah and the Torah will protect and shield you from many woes. Bring light into the world and your own soul will shine as well. Plant and reap, sow and harvest. And yet in all this, there is nothing else but G-d. The numbing cold of that snow beneath your feet, the sensation of air passing through your nostrils, the pulse of blood rushing through your veins, the passions that tug at your kishkes--all is nothing more than modalities of His Infinite Light tightly condensed in rhythms, patterns and sensations designed for the human mind to grasp and feel.
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If so, He must be there in those consequences as well. For if there is nothing else but Him then even in that space He has granted us to make our own choices and determine our own world, He is there too. Meaning, even the empty space is G-d. It may not be obviously Him. To those who seek Him in all their ways He peeks from behind the veil of natural events, squeezing their hand fondly as He carries them through their individualized curriculum of life. As they speak to Him in their prayers, as a child speaks to a parent, face to face, heart to heart, so He speaks back to them in every nuance of life, His face peering through the mist of life's consequences. But to those who choose to ignore His presence, He is compelled to hide within the cloak of cause and effect, of "that's just the way the world is." "If you will deal with Me haphazardly," He tells us through Moses' voice, "then I too will deal with you in much the same way." Meaning: "You have chosen to live as a lonesome creature in a hostile pinball machine--and so I am forced to disguise myself as such." Yet even the hiddenness is love. For this way, eventually the human soul will come seeking its other half which is truly G-d Himself, and find his own soul and his G-d hiding there within the trail of broken pieces. Picking up the scattered shards, he discovers himself in the embrace of a loving G-d who waited patiently in exile for His precious child to return. For even the hiddenness is G-d. •
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THE REBBE’S DIAMOND DAVENERS OF LOS ANGELES ARE HOPPING AGAIN On the 4th day of Chol HaMoed Sukkos the Rebbe’s Diamond Daveners – Kol Yakov Yehuda of Los Angeles – boarded “a genuine London double Decker convertible bus" to go Sukka hopping in the metropolitan Los Angeles area. They first began with an aerial tour where they viewed hundreds of Sukkos at homes as well as restaurants. The first stop was at the Sukkos of the world famous “Munchies Ice Cream Parlor” and pizza station where the Ezras Noshim enjoyed Slurpee's and the Ezras Anoshim enjoyed their ice cream. After boarding the big red bus again, the Mispalem headed to a large outdoor facility where a “Sukkos” rally was held, followed by two major sport competitions: One being “the Esrog Lazer Shooting Game” and two, the “Schach Sticky War.” A great time was had by all the children. From there, the bus headed along the scenic roads of metropolitan Los Angeles wishing the pedestrians and onlookers on the way with “Gut Yom Tov” and “Chag Somaiach”. “It was amazing to see how the people on the street smiled and responded with our Sukkot greetings,” said Rikel Greenbaum, an 11-year old member of Kol Yakov Yehuda. “By far, this has been my best Chol HaMoed outing – even beats Disneyland,” she concluded. From there the children headed to the various Sukkos located in Hancock Park, where once again they were treated with lots of nosh, stories and being B'Simcha. The children were given this unique trip as part of their involvement every Shabbos where they come and daven at Kol Yakov Yehuda The Rebbe's Diamond Daveners junior congregation of Los Angeles Upon disembarking the convertible bus, the children’s faces and expressions said it all – four hours filled with fun and excitement – all within the spirit of Sukkos! L’Shana Haba-ah B’Yerusholaim!!
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RABBI SHIFRIN FOR SENATE! QUESTION: What do you see as the two or three most trying issues facing the Orthodox Jewish Community of Los Angeles in 2010 and how would you begin to address these issues.
VOUCHERS I will be an immediate advocate for “school choice" for all our citizens. This can only help to strengthen the entire community.
REGRESSIVE TAX POLICIES There is a great devastation to all of our Small Businesses through a regressive tax policy. We are nearly the highest taxed state in the Union, WITH NO END IN SIGHT! Sacramento Democrats have big plans to cut the deficit on the backs of working families--YOU AND ME! We must lower taxes and cut government growth. I PLEDGE TO ALL TAXPAYERS TO NEVER AUTHORIZE AN INCREASE. On the other hand, my opponent, who is beholding to the unions and special interests, is a radical big spender, raise taxes liberal, who when I asked him if he remembers the last time he DID NOT VOTE TO RAISE OUR TAXES, he replied: "I'LL HAVE TO GET BACK TO YOU ON THAT, RABBI!"
QUESTION: What do you say to your detractors here in the community who say that we are far better off with individuals who have much more political experience, savvy, and have clout - given that you would be starting out as a novice? I have the active backing and overwhelming support of many important players in our state and local community. I am a soughtafter speaker among the Tea Parties and many groups that see in me a man with a value-oriented compass. Congressman Tom McClintock, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich among others have praised my message of being totally pro-business and pro America. My policies are well-known and very much appreciated by our hardworking citizens who are being hammered by the out of control spending frenzy we now have in Sacramento. As for being a novice, when I am asked about this issue, my reply is always the same: "If I slept for four years in the legislature, not waking up to ever to cast a vote, I WOULD DO FAR LESS DAMAGE TO THE CITIZENS OF OUR DISTRICT THAN MY OPPONENT AND HIS KIND.
We desperately need a candidate who knows how to stand up for his beliefs, articulate them with courage and confidence, and work with others to dilute the efforts of anti-American agendas in our schools, our state textbooks, and campus activists, whatever their background may be. A strong America, with American values as articulated in our Constitution, will be good for the Jewish community--and the entire community as well. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT MY CANDIDACY
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By Naftali Silberberg
Do You Resent Being Told What To Do? thing special, maybe a nice donation to the synagogue -- nice, but you have just satisfied your obligation to give charity. Luckily we do have the ability to express ourselves in the course of this all-important relationship. The uncharted part of our relationship is called teshuvah, loosely translated as repentance.
few weeks ago, as my wife was relaxing on the sofa after putting the children to bed for the night, I was seized by the urge to do something thoughtful. As I was walking to the kitchen to prepare a cup of tea for her, she called to me and asked, "Would you mind getting me a tea?" I made the tea, but I lost much of my enthusiasm in doing so. There's something special, a particular genuineness, about an unsolicited and unexpected act. It's a more accurate reflection of who you really are and what you really want to be doing. After my wife's request, the tea suddenly became another chore -- instead of the expression of care I intended it to be. But where does that leave us with regards to our relationship with G‑d? Our relationship with Him is scripted from the moment we rub our eyes open in the morning until the moment we shut them for the night. The tasks demanded by this relationship -- all 613 of them -- seemingly don't leave much room for improvisation, for impromptu and original outbursts of care and love. You want to compliment Him -- great, you are just fulfilling your requirement to pray. You want to give Him some-
Many a Torah scholar has pondered the reason why Maimonides omits teshuvah from the list of Torah commandments which he compiled. He merely states that when a person does teshuvah, he is obligated to orally confess the sins for which he is repenting. Many explanations have been offered; perhaps the most unique of them all by the noted thinker, the Minchat Chinuch, who maintains that teshuvah is wholly optional. He posits that the Torah only requires us to confess if we do teshuvah, much as we are commanded to slaughter an animal if we desire to eat meat -- but eating meat per se is not obligatory. An understanding of the nature of teshuvah sheds light on its anomalous nature. Accurately translated, teshuvah means "return." Teshuvah is about returning and reconnecting with one's inner self, one's very essence. At the core of every Jew there is a soul which is a burning coal of love for G‑d, a soul whose only desire is to connect to its Creator and serve Him dutifully. Connecting with one's true self, and thus revealing the awesome relationship which one shares with G‑d, automatically cleanses one of all sins, and is the starting point of a new chapter in life, a chapter dominated by new goals and priorities. With this understanding, it is clear that teshuvah cannot be a commandment. Teshuvah is the ultimate expression of one's self -- and following a command is not the truest expression of self. Teshuvah also adds a personal touch to the observance of all the mitzvot. After a proper teshuvah, it suddenly becomes glaringly obvious that every mitzvah is exactly what you would wish to be doing at the appropriate moment.•
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Directions • 1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature • 1 cup sugar
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DoubleTake Can you spot the differences in these two pictures?
Chai Lifeline West Coast held its 9th annual Chol Hamoed Sukkos Family Extravaganza on September 27th at Scandia Amusement Park. Despite record breaking heat, over 1800 people joined together for a fun-filled day of rides and attractions for every member of the family. The event featured family entertainment throughout the day, including jugglers, stilt-walkers, face painting, balloon artistry, and live music. KAPAROS
Double Take YOUR Pictures! Please email us your event pictures to Info@communitylinks.info
CHANGES KEEP SCORE
qq qq qq qq qq
CHAI LIFLEINE EXTRAVAGANZA
1.The Little boys’ tzitzis are missing. 2. The Jugglers’ vest is all black. 3. The jogglers sleeve is longer. 4. the umbrella stick is shorter. 5. The pink on the floor on the left was extended. 6. The flag on the roof is missing. 7. The yellow on the hat has been changed to blue. 8. One of the white stripes on the boys shirt is missing. 9. the green wrist band is missing from the boys arm. 10. the little girl’s socks are pulled up.
O c t o b e r 8 , 2010
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Eli's One Man Band
for all your simchas and special events. For more info Please call Eli Stiefel 310-4625368 or email email@example.com -1510-
Abi Notaries Public Your place/ Our place No appointment need it!! (EnglishSpanish-French-Italian-Yiddi sh-Portuguese-Hebrew) 24/6 524 N. La Brea Ave Los Angeles, CA 90036 323-930-0444 (office) 323646-2356 (Cell x after hours)
What do I do when my child (fill in your least acceptable behavior)? Take the best parenting class in town to learn how to deal with misbehavior, discouragement and poor school performance. In addition, acquire all the skills necessary to raise confident, independent, and responsible children. Appropriate for ages 0-5, 6-11, and teens. Individual or group sessions. Affordable. Call Irine Schweitzer, LCSW for more information, www.parentingbyirine.com
A Time for Dance JOIN THE FUN THIS SUMMER! come join the fun!! Offering Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Gymnastics, Modern, Kickboxing, Acting, Singing and more! Girls and Women. All levels available. 3 convenient locations. Beverly / Labrea, Pico/Robertson and North Hollywood (323) 404-0827 www. atime4dance.com BOOKKEEPING
For all your bookkeeping needs
CAREER TRAINING PROGRAMS
will help you eliminate unwanted hair! Doctor referred over 10 years in the community. Reasonable rates, Flexible hours open Sundays by appt.
Parenting With Wisdom
@ 818 754-4501. -1548-
Robin Schultz Ackerman
Piano Lessons for adult & children over six. At your location. First Lesson free. Resonable rates. Call Lidia
310.289.5039 or 310.926.7761
WEDDINGS, BAR-MITZVAHS, SPECIAL OCCSIONS. CONTACT NOW FOR AVAILABILITY AND RATES
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Are you Unemployed and collecting Unemployment Benefits? FULL Financial Aid is available to unemployed individuals. Receive career training at NO COST to YOU. These funds are available through President Obama’s Economic Stimulus Package. Act now while funds are available. Los Angeles ORT Technical Institute has several Nationally Accredited Career Training Programs. Please call 323-966-5444. Ask for Flora or Jesse. www.LAORT.edu 800.998.2678-784-
Raizy Grossman 310-279-2139 TUTOR
Tutor Available English, Math, History Tutor Help your child stay on track Frum tutor with years of Yeshiva Teaching experience 310 284-8829
LEARN TORAH *Any Subject *Anytime *Anyplace
Have no time to attend a class, but want to learn? Personal qualified teacher can learn with you. Any topic - at a time and place to suit your schedule. Reasonable rates:
Call Rabbi Rimler (310) 738-7670 firstname.lastname@example.org
CLASSIFIEDS REAL ESTATE
Beverly Hills Adjacent
FOR SALE Bev/La Brea 4 bedroom, Pool Guest Apt. Kosher Kitchen
Marketing Sales Associates Needed Publications
Home for Sale or Rent 4 Bedroom 2 Bath Vintage Luxury Home w/ full kitchen and bath guest house, floors, Lrg Luxury Granite Kitchen w/ pantry, vaulted ceilings, breakfast room, formal dining room, Jacuzzi, 2 car garage, Laundry, Waterfall and Sauna. Lots of Builtins. 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment w/ hardwood floors. Pico/Robertson for lease. ••• Modern, Private Studio Guest House with full kitchenette and bath, all utilities included. 2nd floor. Separate entrance. $1095 per month. Pico Robertson area. ••• 1 bedroom apartment. Hardwood floors. Large kitchen and bedroom. Full bath. Pico robertson area. $1175 per month. ••• Commercial Kosher kitchen with full pro equipment + refrigerator & freezer in Santa Monica. Call Mike 818-974 4606
FOR RENT One bedroom House, with units behind. 1000+ sq. ft. large bright living room and dining room. FOR LEASE Storefront Fairfax & So of Olympic, approx 1500 sq. ft. Call Margalit: Miller Real Estate& Management 310.210.3038 DRE Lic. #963418
GUEST HOUSE FOR RENT
Brand new two bedroom guest house available in Pico/Robertson area. Kitchen, Bathroom, & Small Living room. $1,000 monthly. Please Call818-508-881
November 5, 2010 Please call
323.965.1544 or email us at
Excellent Opportunity for highly motivated sales person to work for growing business.. For further information please email us at info@community links.info Ref #1980
Three Bedroom - Two Bathroom Duplex For Rent, Upper Unit in Pico Robertson. Walkable to Shuls and Kosher Markets. Enclosed Front and Backyard. New Washer Dryer Breakfast Room. 1 Yr lease $2,600. Please Call 310-463-4144
Call Daniel @ ROOM FOR RENT
SALES PERSON WANTED
Next Advertising Deadline
October 29, 2010
DUPLEX FOR RENT
After School Program Site
(310) 925 - 9972 Large bright room, private entrance , Kitchen Privileges, Walk to Shuls. Non Smoker, Small pet possibly ok. Please call 310-385-0135
Seeking English, Farsi and Hebrew speaking experienced marketing sales associates for growing Jewish publications. Knowledge of Jewish customs required. Commission based. Please send resume to: email@example.com
Great location for child centered after school or homework programs. 7,500 sq. ft. play yard. 10,000 sq. ft. indoor space. rent all or just a part. Available weeknights after 5:00 pm and on Sundays. No long term lease required! The yard includes modern child play equipment (climbing structure, slides) and swings. Please Call (310) 288-5920
BE INFORMED Sign up today to receive the Community Links, Community Alerts, & Community exclusive updates directly to your inbox. Send your email information to
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Dining Guide Listing Please Call 323-965-1544 MEAT Afshan Restaurant RCC 106 W. 9th St. LA, (213) 622-1010 Bocca Steakhouse RCC 16610 Ventura. Encino, 91436 (818) 905-5855 Café Del Mar Meat Kehila 12526 Burbank Blvd. N.H. 91607 (818) 487-8171 Chic N Chow Kehila 9301 West Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 274-5595 Chinese and Kabob Kehila 9180 Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 274-4007 Circa RCC 433 N. Fairfax Avenue, LA, 90036 323-653-1941 Cohen’s Restaurant RCC 316 E Pico Blvd # F LA, CA 90015 (213) 742-8888 Elat Burger Ben Zaken 9340 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 278-4692 Elite Cuisine RCC 7119 Beverly Blvd. LA, 90036 (323) 930-1303 Shawarma Express Kehila 5577 Reseda Blvd. Tarzana, 9135 (818) 342-2226 Glatt Hut RCC 9303 W. Pico Blvd. 90035 (310) 246-1900 Golan RCC 13075 Victory Blvd. N. H, 91606 (818) 763-5344 Got Kosher? RCC 8914 W. Pico Blvd. 90035 (310) 858-1920 Habayit Bukspan 11921 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90064 (310) 479-5444 Haifa Ben Zaken 8717 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 888-7700
Jeffs Gourmet Kehila 8930 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 858-8590
Kosher Chicks RCC 186081/2Ventura Blvd. Tarzana, 91356 (818) 343-8800
Tierra Sur at Herzog Winery 3201 Camino DelSol Oxnard (818) 752-6866
La Gondola Kehila 9025 Wilshire Blvd. BH, 90211 (310) 247-1239
Smokin’ Rabbi Furst 12514 Burbank Boulevard, Valley Village, CA 91607 (805) 983-1560
La Glatt RCC 446 Fairfax Ave. LA, 90036 (323) 658-7730
Nagilla Pizza Kehila 9411 West Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 788-0111 Nana Cafe RCC 1509 S Robertson Blvd. (310) 407-0404 Pacific Pizza RCC - Bishul & Pas Yisroel 12460 Oxnard St. N. Hollywood (818) 760-0087
Mashu Mashu RCC 12510 Burbank Blvd. 91607 (818)752-ASIA (2742)
Beverly Cafe Elite RCC 7113 Beverly Blvd. LA, 90035 (323) 931-3563
Pico Cafe Kehila 8944 W Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310)385-9592
Metro Glatt RCC 8975 W. Pico Blvd. 90035 (310) 275-4420
Bibis Warmstone Kehila 8928 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 246-1788
Pizza Maven Kehila 140 North La Brea Blvd. 90036 (323) 857-0353
Nagilla Meating Place Kehila 9407 West Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 788-0119
Pizza Nosh Rabbi Ami Markel 30313 Canwood St. A.H. 91301 (818) 991-3000
Café Del Mar Dairy Kehila 12526 Burbank Blvd. N.H. 91607 (818) 487-8171
Pizza Station Kehila 8965 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 276-8708
Circa RCC 8622 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles (310) 854-0592
Pizza World Kehila 365 Fairfax Ave. LA, 90036 (323) 653-2896
Delice Kehila 8583 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 289-6556
Sassis Sushi Kehila 16550 Ventura, Encino, 91436 (818) 783-2727
Fish Grill Kehila 7226 Beverly Blvd. LA, 90036 (323) 937-7162 12013 Wilshire Blvd. LA, 90025 (310) 479-1800 9618 W. Pico Blvd. 90035 (310) 860-1182 22935 Pacific Coast Highway (310) 456-8585
Shalom Pizza RCC 8715 West Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 271-2255
Jerusalem Pizza Kehila
HUMMUS KING Kehilla 12422 BURBANK BLVD. VALLEY VILLAGE 91607 818.509.7999
Orange Delight Kehila 13628 Ventura Blvd. SO, 91423 (818) 788-9896 Pats Kehila 9233 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 205-8705 Pico Kosher Deli RCC 8826 West Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 273-9381 Pita Way RCC 8532 Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 652-5236 Sassis Kehila 15622 Ventura, Encino, 91436 (818) 986-5345 Shanghai Kehila 9401 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 553-0998
17942 Ventura Blvd. Encino, CA 91316
Shilohs Kehila 8939 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 858-1652
(818) 758-9595 La Brea Bagel Kehilla 7308 Beverly Blvd. LA, 90036 (323) 965-1287
Subway Kehila 8948 W Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 274-1222
La Pizza Rabbi Furst 12515 Burbank Blvd. N.H, 91607 (818) 760-8198
Schnitzle Kehila 9216 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 786-8282 Temptation Grill Kehila 17547 Ventura B. Encino, 91316 (818) 995-4700 The Meating Place KCA 30313 Canwood St. AH, 91301 (818) 706-1255
17736 ShermanWay, Reseda 91326
Milk N Honey RCC 8837 West Pico Blvd LA, 90035 (310) 858-8850
Unique Cafe Rabbi Aron Simkin 18381 Ventura Blvd. Tarzana (818) 757-3100
Fish In The Village RCC 12450 Burbank Blvd. N.H, 91607 (818) 769-0085 Le Sushi RCC 12524 Burbank Blvd N.H. 91607 (818) 763-6600 SushiKo RCC 9340 West Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 274-3474
Milky Way Kehila 9108 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 859-0004
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