Archive for November, 2020

From The Rabbi – Parshat Vayetze 5781

A lonely and frightened young man leaves home to an unknown destination, where he contends with a hostile environment, dealing with a deceitful man, who tries to take advantage of him yet, it is in this very place that he manages to confront the challenges, build a family and eventually return home, as a wholesome man, who is blessed with much material and spiritual prosperity.

This is the story we read this week, of our forefather Yakov (Jacob), who eventually becomes Yisrael (Israel), which serves as an inspiration and guiding light to his descendants, the nation of Israel.

Those of us who have been fortunate to join the current JLI course, ‘Secrets of the Bible’, have been privy to the incredible richness and depth contained within this story and other Biblical narratives, discovering the reflection of these stories in our own lives and the powerful life lessons we draw from them.

On a basic level, Yakov was a man on a mission to establish a family, and elevate his environment, true to the traditions of his ancestors, fully aware that he would confront many challenges along the way, but confidant in the strength that Hashem had invested within him to fulfill his Divine mission.

Although Yakov was far away from home physically, he knew that by remaining spiritually true to his unique mission, his connection to his family and his Creator, he would prevail, hence the name Yisrael,  Israel, alluding to the idea of prevailing over adversity, was bestowed upon him and all of his progeny, until this very day.

The above idea is also the theme of Chanukah, which we will celebrate in two weeks from now, namely the transformation of darkness to light and illuminating the outside world with spiritual light of Torah and Mitzvot.

Please see information below regarding the various Chanukah celebrations on offer for our congregation and community, will be a Menorah lighting and games night at the Brisbane Synagogue on Motzoey Shabbat – Saturday evening, Dec. 12, and a Covid-safe ‘Chanukah in the City’ will, please G-d, take place on Sunday Dec. 13, at Reddacliff Place.

Shabbat Shalom    

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Toldot 5781

We are pleased to report that, as of this past Tuesday, Rosh Chodesh Kislev, the Queensland Government has eased restrictions in our State and the barriers on the Bimah at Shul have now been dismantled. In its place, a smaller transparent single panel has been erected to separate the Torah reader from those being called to the Torah. Social distancing is still mandated, though this has now been reduced, indoors, from one person per four square metres to one person per two square metres.

For the safety and protection of everyone, we urge you to please follow the various guidelines regarding washing hands and social distancing and, until further notice, we request that the practice of not kissing the Torah or the Mezuzah be maintained.

We here in Queensland have been Baruch Hashem – thank G-d, extremely fortunate and, due to strict adherence to the various restrictions and guidelines, like various other locations around the world, have been spared much of the negative repercussions which have been experienced by others.

One of the great lessons Covid has taught us, is that, although it is not comfortable to have restrictions imposed upon us and our natural instincts are resistant to this, ultimately by submitting to a higher authority, which has our best interests at heart, this becomes a source of blessing to us all.

On the topic of blessings, this week we read the epic story of the ‘stolen’ blessings, and the apparent deceipt employed by Yakov – Jacob and his mother Rivkah – Rebecca, to extract the blessings which Yitzchak – Issac had intended to bestow upon Esav – Esau. There are many challenging questions about this story and, upon deeper exploration, as is the case with all stories of the Torah, we discover the story playing out in world history and in our personal lives. Our current JLI course, ‘Secrets of the Bible’ is taking participants on a profound journey though the struggles of Jewish history and our personal challenges, through closer examination  e depth and multilayered insight contained within these extraordinary stories.

With only three weeks to Chanukah, we are pleased to announce that, among the various Chanukah celebrations on offer for our congregation and community, will be a Menorah lighting and games night at the Brisbane Synagogue on Motzoey Shabbat – Saturday evening, Dec. 12, and a Covid-safe ‘Chanukah in the City’ will, please G-d, take place on Sunday Dec. 13, at Reddacliff Place.

May the wonderful blessings contained in this week’s Parsha, received by Yakov – Jacob, be received and shared by all, wherever they may be.

Shabbat Shalom    

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Shabbat and Festival Times

 

Fri Nov 6th: Light Candles 5.52pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 7th 6.48pm

Fri Nov 13th: Light Candles 5.57pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 14th 6.54pm

Fri Nov 20th: Light Candles 6.03pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 21st 7pm

Fri Nov 27th: Light Candles 6.08pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 28th 7.06pm

Fri Dec 4th: Light Candles 6.14pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 5th 7.12pm

Fri Dec 11th Chanukah: Light Candles 6.19pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 12th 7.17pm

Fri Dec 18th: Light Candles 6.23pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 19th 7.21pm

Fri Dec 25th: Light Candles 6.26pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 26th 7.24pm