Archive for January, 2019

From The Rabbi – Parshat Bo 5779

House burglaries are a common form of theft, and the installation of home security systems is big business. There are many options. Security windows and doors, others install cameras and alarms. But when all is said and done, the most important piece of home security is the one guaranteed by G‑d: the mezuzah—a small scroll that the Torah commands us to place on all the doorposts of our homes.

The idea of displaying our connection to G‑d on our doorposts has ancient roots. Just before their exodus from Egypt, we read this week, of G‑d’s instruction to our ancestors to slaughter a lamb and paint its blood on the doorposts of their homes. This would mark the house as Jewish, and G‑d would pass over the home when He struck the Egyptian firstborn. The mitzvah on the doorpost protected the Jews from the plague.

The same applies to the mezuzah. Our sages taught that when a Jew affixes a Kosher mezuzah to the doorpost, G‑d protects the home from all harm. In fact, on the back of the scroll are three Hebrew letters: shin, dalet and yud, which spell one of G‑d’s ineffable names. Tradition, however, teaches that they are also an acronym for the words shomer daltot Yisrael, “guardian of the doors of Israel.”

A beautiful story is told of Rabbi Judah the Prince and the Roman Emperor Antoninus, who were extremely close and they would spend much time in philosophical discussion. Once, Antoninus sent the Rabbi a very valuable and expensive gift. To his puzzlement the Rabbi reciprocated by presenting him a mezuzah scroll. “Your gift I need to guard – my gift will protect you,” the Rabbi explained.

In addition to serving as a protection for our homes and its inhabitants, the Mezuzah serves as a  constant reminder that G-d is the creator of all, our commitment to Torah study and mitzvah observance and that we should be grateful for our many blessings. It bears testimony to the fact that G-d’s will defines the lifestyle of the home’s inhabitants.

For the Mezuzah to serve its purpose it must fit certain criteria. Contrary to common belief, the case is of little consequence. The scroll is the main player here. It must be produced by a trained and expert scribe according to Jewish law dating back to Sinai. Due to the nature of this scroll it is possible for letters to fade or crack and should be routinely checked by a competent scribe as well. Proper placement on the doorpost is also crucial.

We are committed to helping you observe this beautiful mitzvah properly. If you would like to buy new mezuzahs for your home, check your old ones, or simply want to be sure that they are properly mounted – please do not hesitate to contact me, as I will be happy to conduct a home visit free of charge. It will be my pleasure!

Please try to keep cool and consider joining us next month for our upcoming fascinating JLI Course, Crime and Consequence. Please see infromation and booking link below.  

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov we look forward to see you at Shul.

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

The above was adapted from an article by Rabbi Lazer Gurkov

From The Rabbi – Parshat Va’eira 5779

This week we begin the epic story of our Exodus from Egypt, which features so prominently in Judaism, so much so that we have a specific Mitzvah to remember this story every day.

Intriguingly, it was not Moshe who was front and centre for the first two plagues of blood and frogs, inflicted upon the Egyptions, rather it was his brother Aaron who raised his staff and struck the River Nile.

Our sages offer a powerful explanation as to why Aaron undertook this action and not Moshe. When Moshe was a baby, he was sheltered by the river in a basket among the reeds. Having been saved by the river, Moshe did not feel comfortable hitting the very waterway that had saved him eighty years earlier, therefore Aaron was assigned this task.

Seems implausible to say the least. Surely a river has no feelings? Our Rabbis suggest that the Torah is more concerned with Moshe and his neshama, (soul), as opposed to the ‘feelings’ of the river per se.

This is actually a lesson in showing gratitude towards the world as a whole. Moshe is not merely stepping back for the sake of the river, he was discovering and learning the importance of the ability to be thankful. This is a skill we should all practice daily and by doing so, it demonstrates genuine appreciation to your Creator, partner, children, friends, pets and yes, even to a river! 

Moshe taught us well, now more than ever, we all need to prioritize developing a profound awareness about the importance of demonstrating gratitude, as the flip-side is muddied with ungratefulness which is so stifling on so many levels.

In fact the very word Jew – Yehudi from Yehudah (Judah) means ‘thanks’! As Leah offered thanks to Hashem for the birth of her fourth child, Judah.  

At the start of the great miracles of the Exodus, the Torah emphasised the need to show gratitude. Before Moses actually led the Children of Israel out of centuries of slavery, he taught them to have this awareness and insight. He led by example and took the time to say, “Thank you.” This is a timeless life lesson that continues to enhance our individual personal growth daily.

We avail ourselves of this opportunity to thank you for reading this newsletter and for the lovely feedback  received from many. Please feel free to submit articles of interest, jokes, or even constructive criticism. 

Being Shabbat Mevarchim, we will meet at Shul from 7.30am tomorrow morning for the recital of Tehillim (psalms), which is a great source of blessing for ourselves and our community. Please consider joining us.    

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov we look forward to see you at Shul.

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Shabbat and Festival Times

Fri Sept 27th: Light Candles 5.28pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 28th 6.21pm

Sunday Sept 29th Erev Rosh HaShana: Light Candles 5.29pm

Monday Sept 30th Rosh HaShana Day 1: Light Candles after 6.22pm

Tuesday October 1st Rosh HaShana Day 2: Yom Tov ends 6.23pm

Wednesday Oct 2nd Fast of Gedalia 4.13am-6.12pm

Fri Oct 4th (Shabbat Shuva): Light Candles 5.31pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 5th 6.25pm

Tues Oct 8th: Erev Yom Kippur – Kol Nidrei Light Candles 5.33pm

Wed Oct 9th: Yom Kippur

Yom Tov ends 6.27pm

Fri Oct 11th: Light Candles 5.35pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 12th 6.29pm

Sun Oct 13th: Erev Sukkot Light Candles 5.36

Mon Oct 14th: Sukkot Day 1 Light Candles after 6.30pm

Tues Oct 15th: Sukkot Day 2 Yom Tov ends 6.31pm

Fri Oct 18th: Light Candles 5.39pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 19th 6.33pm

Sunday Oct 20th: Hoshana Rabba Light Candles 5.40pm

Monday Oct 21st: Shemini Atzeret Light Candles after 6.35pm

Tuesday Oct 22nd: Simchat Torah Yom Tov ends 6.35pm

Fri Oct 25th: Shabbat Bereishit Light Candles 5.43pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 26th 6.38pm