Archive for April, 2020

From The Rabbi – Tazria / Metzora 5780

Being that tomorrow is ANZAC and we would ordinarily host special prayers at Shul followed by a special Kiddush, this year, due to the the current situation, we will incorporate a brief ANZAC service in our Erev Shabbat Zoom session this afternoon at 4.30pm, at which Loris Roubin, President of QAJEX (Queensland Assosiacion of Ex-Servicemen and Women) will share a few words. Loris sent me a text message this morning bemoaning the fact that he was not even permitted to lay a wreath and my response to him was that, by following Government Health guidelines in this regard, by protecting human life, we were indeed paying due respect to the sacred  of memory our fallen ANZACS, who made the supreme sacrifice for us to be able to live in this free and wonderful society. .

While most of us are quarantined in our homes, it is fascinating that we are reading this week the dual Torah portions of Tazria and Metzora. The portion of Tazria, which discusses the various symptoms and identifying marks of tzaraat, an ancient skin disease, which was caused by lashon horah – evil gossip, while Metzora deals with the purification process.

The names of the two joined Parshiot, (portions) however, could not be more different in character. The word Tazria means “to conceive,” and the Parshah begins with the laws of a woman who has just given birth. Metzora refers to one who has tzaraat, a serious condition likened to death.

Yet the juxtaposition of these two names gives us a powerful insight into overcoming the negative effects of gossip and slander. The recovery process for the metzora holds within it the key to tazria—the flourishing of new life. The enforced isolation, as we refer today as quarantine, of the metzora is intended as a time of self-reflection and personal growth.

We learn from the name Tazria-Metzora, that the purpose of exile and quarantine is not merely a punishment. Whatever we are going through now is meant to lead to a greater rebirth. The future revelation “is dependent on our deeds and work over the course of exile,” whatever our circumstances are, challenging or painful as they may be, they are given to us as an opportunity to work through them and come to a place of greater insight and understanding. Then we realize that the struggles and the growth are intertwined—not that one leads to or follows the other.

Interestingly, the Hebrew word for crises, ‘Mashber‘, relating to the word ‘Shaber‘ – to be broken, also means ‘birthing stool’, which represents new life. As with all challenges, the current global Covid 19 crises, as difficult and painful as it is, must be utilized as an opportunity to breath new life and energy into our daily lives of Torah and Mitzvot, and we are indeed witnessing so much positive transformation in the lives of many individuals and families.

As a wise person once said “there are no challenges, only opportunities”.

We are today entering the new Jewish month of Iyar, which in Hebrew services as an acronym for the words ‘Ani Hashem Rofecha’ – ‘I am Hashem your healer’. May this month of healing bring much good health, Refuah Shlemah Ukrova – speedy and complete recovery, to all those in need.

May we merit the transformation of all challenges and suffering into opportunities for growth, good health and prosperity, materially and spiritually, and to usher in the time when the spirit of impurity will be completely removed from the world with the revelation of Moshiach!

Please join us for our weekly Erev Shabbat Zoom session this evening at 4.30pm via the following link: Please be aware that, in order to participate you need to download the Zoom app to your computer or mobile phone. All welcome!

Please see information below regarding the BHC upcoming Zoom Trivia afternoon next Sunday, and various other information regarding ANZAC day prayers, Yom Hazikaron, and Yom Hoatzmaot. 

Please see also information below regarding community support available in QLD through the Jewish Help In Need Society and JCare for those who may be sufferting financial hardship during these times.

We wish you and your family Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov.

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Tzav / Hagadol 5780

This Shabbat, the one before Pesach – Passover  is known as Shabbat Hagadol – the Great Shabbat. Among the reasons for the title the “Great Shabbat” is because, on the Shabbat before the Jews let Egypt, after witnessing the first nine devastating plagues, the first-born Egyptians instigated a civil war against Pharaoh and the rest of Egypt, fighting for the freedom of the Jewish people, in order to save themselves from their impending doom. This was a great miracle, as the Egyptians themselves were fighting for our liberation.

On this Shabbat Hagadol we are again faced with a great challenge in dealing with an unprecedented global pandemic, out of which the whole world is desperately searching for redemption and salvation. Yet, rather than fighting each other, the whole world is united, in a manner more powerful and meaningful than ever, as we are witnessing the emergence of the Divine reality within humanity, which yearns for connection with each other and our Divine source in heaven.

In our own community, which has so far been Baruch Hashem spared of serious health impacts from the pandemic, there has been an outpouring of care and concern towards each other, with many reaching out to total strangers in love and compassion. We extend our deep appreciation to JCare Qld and the many communal  volunteers, who are selflessly giving of themselves during these challenging times and we salute the overwhelming global demonstration of unity and love.

We are particularly indebted and grateful to all levels of National, State and local Governments, who are working together, regardless of political party affiliation, for their incredible leadership, communication, and sensitivity towards the impact that this is having on all of us.

Last week we conducted our inaugural trial of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation Erev Shabbat Zoom Kabbalat Shabbat kumzitz – get-together, during which we sang together and shared inspirational words and a beautiful song of comfort and hope. We have received much positive feedback and have now expanded the group to include most of our members and Shul friends. If you, or anyone you know would like to join the group, please send whatsapp details to Michael Arenson on 0448243430. The link for today’s session at 5pm is: meeting code: 920027969 .Please feel free to join us this afternoon, as it has become clear to us all how much we value our communal interaction, friendship and responsibility for each other during these trying times.

As we mentioned previously we are indeed truly blessed to be living in such a technologically advanced era, which affords us the opportunity to connect easily via social media and other mediums. This has enabled us to maintain our regular morning services, and weekly classes from the comforts of our own homes. We would like to congratulate our dear esteemed senior member and friend Sydney Palukst for successfully downloading zoom to his computer, thus enabling him to join our Thursday morning seniors Parshah class.

With the festival of Pesach – Passover approaching next Wednesday evening, let us all hope and pray that the final words of the hagaddah, which we all recited last year on pesach, “Next Year In Jeruslaem” should be fulfilled immediately with the coming of Moshiach!

Please see information below regarding Kosher for Pesach products and other Pesach requirements.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Kasher Vesameach – Happy and Kosher Pesach – Passover

Rabbi Levi and Dvorah Jaffe