Archive for January, 2021

From The Rabbi – Parshat Beshalach 5781

Yesterday we celebrated Tu BiShvat, the new year for trees, a day on which, among other traditions we observe, we reflect on some of the lessons we learn from trees.

The Torah teaches that “man is like a tree,” and just as trees require strong roots to enable them to withstand external forces intent on doing it harm; and they require constant watering and nurturing in order to grow, we too need to have strong roots, remaining strongly attached to our Jewish heritage and traditions of our ancestors, nurturing ourselves and our children with the living waters of Torah and Jewish traditions, so that we may grow to be upstanding citizens of society, and members of the Jewish community.

In addition, like trees, the fruits of which produce seeds, which in turn produce more trees, we too need to plant seeds for the future, enabling our descendants and those within the sphere of our influence, to continue our legacy, growing and flourishing in their own unique way.

This past week marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day and, it was heart-warming for us to witness our very own most senior distinguished member, Dr Bert Klug, featured in the Australia-Wide online Memorial commemoration.

This coming Monday we commence our most interesting and timely JLI course, ‘Journey of the Soul’ which, although it has been conducted several years, ago, it is being offered again due to the current high levels of anxiety and more acute awareness of our mortality, as a result of Covid. We have a few remaining places, so please see information below, and let us know if you wish to attend.

This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Shira (song), as we read the Song of the Sea , which the Jewish people sang in thanks and praise to Hashem for saving them from the pursuing army of Pharoah, as they crossed the Read Sea.

May we soon sing the song of joy and thanks for our emergence from the current pandemic as, although we here in Brisbane, are thankfully relatively safe, millions are still suffering in hospitals and lock-downs throughout the world. May the world experience healing and comfort, with the transformation of all suffering into joy and redemption.

Shabbat Shalom

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Bo 5781

Baruch Hashem (thank G-d) the masks may now be removed in Shul and, with restrictions easing, we are pleased that we will now be to finally enjoy our special Cholent Kiddush this Shabbat, which is being generously sponsored by Zel and Bernie Goldman , and Sari Jacobson and their families, in memory of their late parents, Adela and Ellis Goldman OBM.

This past week has been significant, in terms of world politics, with the inauguration of US President Joe Biden. Among the aspects of the incoming administration is the appointment of an observant Jewish woman, from a Chassidic family, Anne (Chani) Neuberger, as
Deputy National Security adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technology. A congressional staffer hailed Neuberger as “one of the most capable and respected cyber experts”.

Neuberger has said her family’s harrowing escapes — first from the Holocaust, and then from the Entebbe hostage crisis in Uganda, after the Air France flight her parents were on was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists in 1976 — helped shape her worldview. Though her parents are not Israeli, they were held by the hijackers for a week along with Israeli passengers because they were Jewish.

In a 2018 interview with the Forward, Neuberger said that she had encountered few problems related to her faith at the NSA and that she was extremely happy to be seen as a role model for Orthodox women.“If you are professional in your job and comfortable in adhering to your traditions, everyone will be fine with it,” Neuberger said. “All my co-workers understand that I don’t go out with them for drinks on Friday night and that I observe the Sabbath. In fact, I have assistants who keep their eye on the clock for me Friday afternoons, letting me know that I had better get moving.” Indeed, a wonderful role model for us all! Kol Hakavod!

This week we continue reading the familiar story of our exodus from Egypt, as we read about the last three of the ten plagues, leading to the miraculous exodus from ancient Egypt.

There is a beautiful commentary offered by the well-known Chassidic Rebbe of Ger, Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter, also known as the Sfas Emes, in relation to the plague of darkness, on the words “and no man was able to see his neighbour”, that the greatest darkness is brought into the world when “we do not see our neighbour”, when we are not sensitive to the needs of each other. May we take this lesson to heart and become more pro-active in seeing and caring for each other, and ushering in the time of our ultimate redemption.

This Shabbat is commemorates the anniversary of the passing of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, and, a year later, the formal acceptance of the Chabad Lubavitch leadership, by his son-in-law, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, exactly seventy years ago, both of whom, continue to be a major driving force in revolutionising andrejuvenating the Jewish world.

This coming Thursday will be Tu Bishvat, the New Year for Trees. Among the observances for this special day, are to eat fruit, particularly those fruits for which the Land of Israel has been blessed, namely grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates, and reflect on the lessons we learn from trees and fruits. It has become the custom among many, particularly in Israel, to plant trees on Tu Bishvat.

As the prophet Malachi states “as the days of the exodus from Egypt I showed you miracles…” may we too experience abundant miracles, and may all of humanity be blessed with healing, comfort and inner tranquility, with the ultimate blessing of eternal peace and the ultimate redemption!

Shabbat Shalom and happy Tu Bishvat

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe