Archive for April, 2019

From The Rabbi – Shabbat Pesach 5779

This evening, in addition to ushering in the holy day of Shabbat, we commence the joyous and liberating festival of Pesach – the Festival of our Freedom. A special welcome to the family members and  friends, who have converged on Brisbane to celebrate Pesach with their loved ones.

We are thrilled to be welcoming more than 120 people to the communal Sedarim at the Brisbane Synagogue, from many nationalities and walks of life and, in particular, we welcome and extend our sincere thanks and deep appreciation to five wonderful and capable Yeshivah students, Laibel Vogel, Yanky Blasberg, Noson Abrams, Mendy Lipsker (a cousin of ours), & Shmuli Adelist, who have kindly come to our community to lead the services and Sedarim. Our sincere thanks is extended to Aron Kann for his amazing culinary expertise in preparing for the Seders, including a few special vegan menus.         

In the lead-up to Pesach, it is always personally uplifting and overwhelming for me to witness the tremendous awakening of the inner spark of Jewish connectedness from so many Jews, from all backgrounds and levels of observance, who exert themselves to observe the Chag – festival , to nurture their Jewish identity and communal involvement. It is particularly gratifying to see the nachat and excitement in the eyes of various members of our congregation, as they proudly share clips of their grand-children and family members reciting the Mah Nishtanah and other sections of the Haggadah.

Attending the Sinai College and UBHE Cheder model Seder are always among the highlights of our annual calendar, and we would venture to say that the Seder night is arguably one of the most profound educational experiences, as we don’t merely tell the story about the exodus, but we re-live it, through all the special foods we eat, and the traditions we observe, engaging the various characters types present at the Seder and draw upon the multiple dimensions of intelligence.             

Ultimately though, the Seder nights and the festival of Pesach – Passover, like all Jewish holidays. is to internalize the true and deeper meaning of freedom, and to physiologically remove all Chametz – leaven, represented by the ego, and to instill the character of Matzah, which represents humility into our lives.

As I am sure you would understand, celebrating the Festival of Freedom in these circumstances has a particularly special relevance and meaning, and I know how much they appreciated your support in this regard.

Please see information below regarding Pesach and various communal programs and events in the coming weeks.   

On the eve of Shabbat Pesach, Dvorah and I, along with President Michael and Janine Arenson and the board of management of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation convey our prayerful blessings to you and your family for a Shabbat Shalom and Chag Kasher Vesameach – A Happy and Kosher Pesach     

We wish you and your family Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Metzora / Shabbat Hagadol 5779

A large proportion of the western world are in the process of elections. The Baal Shem Tov taught that all events which we see and hear should serve as lessons in the service of Hashem and, particularly as we are within such close proximity to Pesach – Passover. So what do we learn from the elections?

At the centre of the Hagaddah – the Passover text, is the phrase “In every generation (every day), we should see ourselves as if we have personally been freed from Egypt”, in other words, it is imperative for us to internalize and personalize the Passover experience, which emphasizes the unique power and responsibility invested in each individual to play their role in the communal liberation from Egypt, which is represented by the various constraints and limitations, which inhibit our ability to grow.

Among the lessons we learn from the elections and, in particular the recent elections in Israel and the upcoming elections in India, is the power of each individual to effect global change, and that we need each other to create a coalition in order to achieve success.                  

On this note, we extend our Mazal Tov wishes to Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, for his historic victory, securing a record fifth term as Israel’s prime minister at the head of a coalition supported by religious-conservative parties. May Israel continue to be strong and secure with peace and harmony within its borders.   

This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Hagadol (the Great Shabbat). Among the reasons suggested for this is, that prior to the Jewish people leaving Egypt, they were instructed to take a sheep and to tie it to their bed post in preparation for its slaughter four days later. When the Egyptians asked the Jews about this, they were informed about the impending plague of the killing of the first born, during which the blood of the sheep sprinkled on the doorposts would be a sign that Hashem would Passover the homes of the Jewish people. Upon hearing about this, the first-born among the Egyptians waged a civil war against Pharaoh and his people. This was considered a great miracle as it diverted the attention from the Jews and caused our enemies to wipe out each other without the need for special Divine intervention or any effort on behalf of the Jews.

It is customary to read a section of the Hagaddah this Shabbat afternoon to prepare for the upcoming Pesach Sedarim next Shabbat.    

Please see information below regarding Pesach and various communal programs and events in the coming weeks.     

Shabbat Shalom 

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Shabbat and Festival Times


Fri  April 5th: Light Candles 5.24pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 6th 6.16pm

Fri  April 12th: Light Candles 5.17pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 13th 6.08pm

Fri  April 19th: Passover Eve, First Seder: Light Candles 5.10pm
Sat 20th: Second Seder: Light candles after 6.02pm

Fri  April 26th: Light Candles 5.03pm
Shabbat/Passover ends: Sat 27th 5.56pm