Archive for March, 2019

From The Rabbi – Parshat Vayikra 5779

I have just heard the shocking news out of New Zealand regarding an attack on a Mosque during prayer. Our hearts and prayers are extended towards the victims and their families of this brutal attack on innocent worshippers. May Hashem comfort the families and send healing and strength to all who have been affected by this horrific act of terror.          

This week we begin a new book in the Torah, Vayikra, (literally translated as ‘and He called), commonly referred to as the book of Leviticus, as it discusses the calling of Hashem to the Levites and the Kohanim (priests), and by extension, all of us, to take on our unique calling and life’s mission to sanctify our lives and promote holiness and goodness in the world. 

This commencement of this book coincides with the final week of one of our most fascinating and contemporary relevant JLI courses, ‘Crime and Consequence’, attended by over 30 people from all walks of life, including many from the legal fraternity, who have greatly enhanced the course through their unique contributions and insight into this important topic.

Several participants have shared various newspaper articles and online information regarding current criminal cases, which highlight the immense wisdom and progressive approach of Torah and Halachah (Jewish law) towards the Criminal Justice system and, this week, in our final lesson we will be discussing a different angle to this topic, namely the concept of Crime as a a Consequence, rather than Crime and Consequence, and the responsibility that we all have, particularly parents, teachers, and those in positions of influence, to contribute towards the prevention of crime and improving society.

This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Zachor. The Torah reading includes an important section, which is read from an additional Torah, outlining the commandment to remember how the wicked nation of Amalek attacked our People as we left Egypt. In the first terrorist attack of recorded history, Amalek exploited the shaky confidence of the Israelites, attacking them from behind, undermining the nascent self-confidence of the newly liberated slaves and their fragile reliance on G-d, causing them to wonder “Is G-d with us or not?”

Amalek thus sowed doubt in the cosmic fabric of human psyche. In fact the numerical value of the Hebrew word ‘Amalek‘ is the same as the word ‘Safek‘ meaning doubt. So it is no accident that Amalek represents doubt and uncertainty, and this is what we are reminded to obliterate from under the heavens.

Haman, the villain of the Purim story, was a direct descendant of Amalek; hence the connection to Purim. It’s a special mitzvah to hear this reading in Shul – so please join us tomorrow in Shul for this special reading!

Please see Purim information below, including Purim Megillah reading at the Brisbane Synagogue, followed by Hamantachen and our annual fancy-dress competition in the Memorial Hall. The students of the UBHE Cheder will present a Purim play.  The festivities will continue on Purim day at Sinai College, and conclude with a Purim Seudah – Festive meal towards the end of the day.

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach – Happy Purim!

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Pekudei 5779

Finally, following several weeks of instructions, planning, and generous contributions, this week, we come to to the culmination of the very first Jewish community building project, the construction of the Mishkan – Tabernacle.

In the opening words of this week’s Parsha – portion, the various materials donated for the Mishkan are enumerated. The donations were given freely, according to the resources and generosity of the individual. The exception was silver used for the foundation.

The silver of the community was 100 talents and 1,775 shekels… half a shekel for each one…Half a Shekel was donated for the foundation.The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less. 

The Jewish nation is made up of individuals differing vastly in temperament and abilities, social and religious standing, talents and intelligences.

Each of us can use our unique capabilities and opportunities to be a sanctuary for Hashem’s presence in our world. That is why for all other parts of the Mishkan, everyone donated according to their individual means and desire.

But for the foundation, they gave equally. No matter our differences, at our foundation, in our bond with Hashem, we are all equal.

Moreover, the foundation was made from silver. The Hebrew word for silver, kesef, also means “yearning.” Deep within our souls, at the very foundation of our being, is an ever-present yearning to come closer to Hashem, which may express itself in various ways, but at our core, we are one!

This Shabbat, as we enter the happy month of Adar 2, and conclude the second book of the Torah, Shemot – Exodus , with the traditional declaration of Chazak, Chazak Venitchazek – ‘Be Strong, Be strong, let’s be strong’, let us resolve to bring added joy into our lives by focussing on the positive blessings in our lives and continue to nurture and build our inner Mishkan – as a dwelling for Hashem.    

We extend our heartfelt wishes to Rosemary Solomon and her children Josh and Leah and their families for long and healthy years, for the Shloshim of late Michael OAM OBM, which will be commemorated this evening at the Brisbane Synagogue prior to the Kabbalat Shabbat service at 5.15pm.     

Please see information below regarding Purim, which commences on Wednesday evening, March 20.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!

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