Archive for February, 2019

From The Rabbi – Parshat Ki Tisa 5779

Have you ever heard of the concept of tying a knot in order to preserve your memory?

This week we discovered at our weekly Torah class that, like various other customs and traditions observed by many, not necessarily Jewish people, has its roots in Jewish tradition and its mystical teachings.

We read this week of the tragic event, shortly after the revelation of Hashem on Mt Sinai, the worshipping of the ‘golden calf’, after which Moshe (Moses), ascended Mt Sinai for  a second time, to plead forgiveness for the Jewish people. During his dialogue with the Almighty Moshe, sensing the opportunity of Divine grace, requested to see the ‘face’ of Hashem, to which Hashem responded “you will see my back and not my face as no man can see my face and live”. The commentators suggest that at that point Hashem revealed to Moshe the knot of His Tefillin Shel Rosh (head Tefillin), which is positioned behind the head. This of course needs to be understood in allegoric terms, as Hashem physical features cannot be attributed to Hashem.

Of interest, the only two Mitzvot (precepts) in Judaism involving tying knots are Tefillin (Phylacteries) and Tzitzit (fringes), both of which are associated with memory, Tefillin reminding us of the Exodus from Egypt and Tzitzit reminding us of the Mitzvot of the Torah       

On a deeper level, a knot represents a strong connection, often created as a result of disconnect and detachment, such as the state of the Jewish people, following the tragic transgression of worshiping the golden calf. The Tefillin knot shown to Moshe was therefore a  symbol of re-connection, following the sad downfall of a negative experience.

What then is the connection between tying knots and memory? The primary cause of disconnect from appropriate behavior and from leading a meaningful existence is due to a temporary concealment of our inner voice of conscience, which emanates from the soul. It is therefore the re-strengthening of our spiritual connection, tying the spiritual knot which prevents this form of forgetfulness and concealment of our true and inner desire.

With less than a month to the exciting festival of Purim, we are pleased to inform you that the students of the recently revived UBHE JETS Cheder are preparing a Purim play, which will be presented in the Memorial Hall following the Meigllah reading on Wednesday evening, March 20.            

Shabbat Shalom

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Tetzaveh 5779

Sinai College, the jewel in the crown of our community, has been in operation for almost thirty years, during which time, it has provided a high level of value-based education, both Jewish and general, to hundreds of students within our community and beyond.

It is a particular nachas (joy) for us to be able to congratulate our Sinai alumni for reaching various significant  milestones in their lives, such as engagements, new babies, and academic achievements. This week, we have the great pleasure of reporting on each of these milestones for three of our our graduates namely, Gabrielle Briner on her engagement to Daniel Grunstein, Rabbi Daniel and Ruth Gould on the birth of a new baby boy, and Dr Lyon Peters on submitting his PHD. We extend our Mazal Tov wishes to them and their families, and  commend all the parents,board members and financial supporters, past and present, who have contributed to the ongoing success of Sinai, which has a current growing enrollment of forty students.      .

With the current instability of leadership and government in many countries, including Australia, we could all glean much wisdom and guidance by looking closer into the Torah for true and enduring leadership qualities. This week is the only portion in the Torah, since the birth of Moshe Rabeinu (Moses), in which his name is not mentioned, and the commentators explain that this was because of the request of Moshe to be “erased from the Torah” if Hashem would not forgive the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf. Although Hashem did  eventually forgive the people, the conditional words uttered by a Tzaddik (righteous individual), such as Moshe, are still fulfilled to some degree, and therefore Moshe is absent from this portion.

This self sacrifice and humility of Moshe, in placing the needs of his people before his own, is one of the most important and crucial leadership qualities, which is unfortunately lacking in many of our modern day political and business leaders. They would do well to take a page out of ‘Moshe’s book’…

Being a leap year, we have two months of Adar, the second of which is when we celebrate Purim. Nevertheless, next Tuesday we celebrate Purim Katan (little Purim), as it is the 14th day of Adar 1.    

Shabbat Shalom and happy Purim Katan

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe