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Toldot 5780

Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9 )

by Rabbi Yitzchak Zweig

GOOD MORNING!  Not surprisingly, this week has been a roller coaster of emotions. On the one hand, the passing of our beloved teacher, Rabbi Kalman Packouz of blessed memory, has been painful and difficult for all of us to properly process. On the other hand, there have been many inspiring and spiritually uplifting moments as well. Friends, students, colleagues, and his family have all been sharing their favorite anecdotes from his storied life in eulogies and other reminiscences - stories that many of us had never heard before.

So, as the newly minted editor of the Shabbat Shalom Fax, I made an executive decision. From time to time, I will try and include an episode from the remarkable life of my beloved friend and thus he will continue to teach us how to be better people and come closer to the Almighty.

During the memorial service last week in Israel his oldest child, Avraham, relayed the following story: Back in May of this year, Rabbi Packouz was scheduled to go on a long-planned cruise with a close friend. The day before he was supposed to leave, his oncologist told him that he wanted to see him in his office Monday morning. The good rabbi explained that he would be unavailable because of his upcoming trip. The doctor didn't mince words, "I highly recommend you cancel the cruise and come in to see me."

Sure enough, he canceled his travel plans and Monday morning appeared in his doctor's office. The oncologist gave him the dire news that his health was in mortal danger. In fact, he had already scheduled his first chemo treatment for the following day.

On Tuesday, his wife received a letter in the mail that essentially read, "As you know, I am away on a cruise this week, but I just wanted to tell you how much I love you and care for you and that even though I am far away, you are always on my mind and in my thoughts." Rabbi Packouz, in his unique and sensitive way, had arranged the prior week to have a letter delivered to his wife while he was on the cruise to express his love and appreciation of her.

there is an enormous lesson to be learned here. it's not just enough to consider how your loved ones are feeling at the moment, you have to look into the future and anticipate how they will feel down the road, and prepare yourself now to be there for them when they need you.

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If you would like to share a story or vignette relating to the remarkable life of Rabbi Kalman Packouz, please submit it to


Torah Portion of the Week

Toldot, Genesis 25:19 - 28:9

Rivka, (Rebecca) gives birth to Esav (Esau) and Ya'akov (Jacob). Esav sells the birthright to Ya'akov for a bowl of lentil soup. Yitzchak (Isaac) sojourns in Gerar with Avimelech (Avimelech), king of the Philistines. Esav marries two Hittite women bringing great pain to his parents (because they weren't of the fold).

Ya'akov impersonates Esav on the counsel of his mother in order to receive the blessing for the oldest son from his blind father, Yitzchak. Esav, angry because of his brother's deception that caused him to lose the firstborn blessings, plans to kill Ya'akov, so Ya'akov flees to his uncle Lavan (Laban) in Padan Aram -- on the advice of his parents. They also advise him to marry Lavan's daughter.

Esav understands that his Canaanite wives are displeasing to his parents, so he marries a third wife, Machlath, the daughter of Ishmael.

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Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And Yitzhak called Ya'akov, and blessed him, and commanded him saying, 'You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan'" (Genesis 28:1).

What is the connection between Yitzhak blessing his son and then admonishing him?

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, a great rabbi of the last generation, commented that we learn from here the most effective manner in which to reproach someone. Show that you truly care about his welfare; he will more readily listen to your reprimand.

Often people who mean well give reproof in a harsh manner or by yelling -- particularly if the recipient is one's own child. Every person wants to do the right thing. If we can focus on our love for the other person, our desire to genuinely help and our knowledge that the other person wants to be good, then we can speak softly and give admonition that will be heard.


Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Yitzchak Zweig


Candle Lighting Times

November 29
(or go to

Jerusalem 4:00
Guatemala 5:12 - Hong Kong 5:20 - Honolulu 5:30
J'Burg 6:21 - London 3:39 - Los Angeles 4:26
Melbourne 8:06 - Mexico City 5:39 - Miami 5:11
New York 4:12 - Singapore 6:36 - Toronto 4:25

Quote of the Week

Life is what man makes of it,
no matter of what it is made.
--  Leo Gartenberg



In Loving Memory of

Kalman Moshe ben
Reuven Avigdor




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