Archive for September, 2020

From The Rabbi – Parshat Nitzavim/Vayelech 5780

With only one week to Rosh Hashanah, we would really like to accommodate everyone for the Synagogue services however, due to Covid restrictions and guidelines, we will be limited to the number of people we are allowed to have in the Synagogue for the service, therefore it is imperative for you to book in advance via the Synagogue website at: www.brishc.com in order to be able to attend. Please ensure that you book early to avoid disappointment and, if for any reason you are not able to book via the website, please feel free to send an email to Phillip at: phillipzavelsky@gmail.com in this regard.

We are thankful to Hashem that at least we are able to attend Shul, unlike our southern friends in Victoria and, as we have heard this morning, in Israel too, the entire country is being locked down for an entire month, over all the Chagim (festivals), who are much more restricted that we are in this regard.

Following the success of last Friday evening’s pilot Covid-safe Communal Friday evening meal, a Communal Rosh Hashanah dinner is being organised, following the first night service at 6pm. Please see information below in this regard and Kol Hakavod to Odeliah Fitzpatrick for organising these wonderful events.

This week we read of the double portion of Nitzavim and Vayelech and, ironically these two names Nitzavim (standing firmly) and Vayelech (and he went), seem to express two different, even conflicting messages. Are we standing or going? However, the message is simple but profound, in order to progress it is important for us to stand firm and strong in our beliefs and convictions. This is not always easy and may even cause us to be ridiculed by others, however this is often a most important ingredient for success in life.

This Parsha is always read before Rosh Hashanah, as it contains many important messages regarding the importance of unity, making correct choices, and living with integrity.

One of the key themes of Rosh Hashanah is the unique relationship and love between Hashem and His people. No matter how far we may have strayed from our Jewish heritage, like a loving father who’s unconditional love for his child will never wane, regardless of the his behavior or circumstances, so too, Hashem looks forward to our sincere return to Him, as expressed in the piercing sounds of the Shofar, like a child crying “father, father, I want to come home”.

This Shabbat is Shabbat Mevarchim Tishrei – (the Shabbat which blesses the incoming month of Tishrei). We usually recite a special blessing on Shabbat Mevarchim, but for this first and most important month, Hashem himself will bless us for the coming month and year ahead, may it be filled with much good healthy, happiness and prosperity.

Please consider joining us for our special midnight Selichot service this Motzoey Shabbat (Saturday evening / morning), as we usher in the High Holidays atmosphere with this uplifting and meaningful service.

בברכת כתיבה וחתימה טובה, לשנה טובה ומתוקה​​​​​​​​​​​​​
May you to be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet new year.

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Ki Tavo 5780

With only two weeks to Rosh Hashanah, we would really like to accommodate everyone for the Synagogue services however, due to Covid restrictions and guidelines, we will be limited to the number of people we are allowed to have in the Synagogue for the service, therefore it is imperative for you to book in advance via the Synagogue website at: www.brishc.com in order to be able to attend. Please ensure that you book early to avoid disappointment and, if for any reason you are not able to book via the website, please feel free to send an email to Phillip at: phillipzavelsky@gmail.com in this regard. We are thankful to Hashem that at least we are able to attend Shul, unlike our southern friends in Victoria, who are much more restricted that we are in this regard.

Amid all the restrictions, the Brisbane Synagogue has been abuzz with various exciting socially distanced events, such as the recent convivial Challah Bake, the current meaningful JLI course, the inaugural young people’s communal Friday night dinner this evening, and a zoom Trivia afternoon this Sunday. Kol Hakavod to the active board members, and community volunteers, who are initiating and driving these wonderful events forward.

This week we read of the beautiful ancient Mitzvah of Bikurim, the obligation on Jewish farmers to bring their first-fruits to the Bet Hamikdash (ancient Temple) as a practical expression of their gratitude to Hashem for blessing them with a successful crop.

The Torah describes in great detail how this Mitzvah was performed, amidst great joy and ceremony, followed by a detailed declaration made by the farmer. Why the great pomp and ceremony associated with this Mitzvah? After all, it was not the largest gift that the Jewish farmer was required to give, as there were several other tithes and contributions which far surpassed the value of the few first fruits.

Bringing bikkurim was more than the Jewish farmer’s token of appreciation to G‑d for the blessings of the harvest. Rather, the bikkurim were a symbol of the mission statement of the People of Israel. While many spiritual seekers choose to abandon the confines of the material world in order to transcend, the Torah teaches us that the purpose of creation is not to escape physicality but to elevate and sanctify it, not to abandon the work in the farm and the orchard, but to bring its first fruits to G‑d.

What is the purpose of the Jewish people? What is the purpose of all the ups and downs, challenges and triumphs of Jewish history? It is all in order that the Jewish people engage in the world and imbue it with spirituality. We take the first fruits of our field, the fruits of all our effort and labour, and bring them to Jerusalem, using the physical fruit to create a spiritual experience of joy and connection with G‑d.

Thus, the farmer who takes the bikkurim to Jerusalem in a celebratory procession is doing more than offering gratitude. He is embodying the Jewish mission on earth. He is personifying all that Judaism teaches. He is sanctifying the mundane and elevating materialism. He is bringing his first fruits to Jerusalem.

There is much discussion and contention in Australia and around the world regarding Covid restrictions and the frustrations in this regard, which are causing much debate and taking a heavy toll on the the emotional well-being millions of people, and having a devastating affect on the world economy. May Hashem bless and protect everyone and may the world experience a Refuah Shlemah Ukrova, with the transformation of all sickness and challenge into comfort, blessings, and growth.

בברכת כתיבה וחתימה טובה, לשנה טובה ומתוקה​​​​​​​​​​​​​
May you to be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet new year.

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Candle Lighting Times Brisbane

Fri Oct 1st: Light Candles 5.30pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 2nd 6.23pm

Fri Oct 8th : Light Candles 5.34pm
Shabbat ends: Sat  6.27pm

Fri Oct 15th: Light Candles 5.38pm
Shabbat ends: Sat  6.32pm

Fri Oct 22nd: Light Candles 5.42pm
Shabbat ends: Sat  6.36pm

Fri Oct 29th: Light Candles 5.46pm
Shabbat ends: Sat  6.41pm