Archive for April, 2021

From The Rabbi – Parshat Tazria / Metzorah 5781

This past week has been emotionally charged, commencing with the community Yom Hashoa commemoration, last Sunday, remembering and offering prayers for the souls of the Six Million Kedoshim – Holy martyrs, who perished during that horrific period in world history followed, on Tuesday evening, by Yom Hazikaron, as we remember our fallen soldiers of Israel and those who have been killed in Israel’s wars and through acts of Terror, culminating with the celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the Modern State of Israel, which has achieved so much in its short seventy one years of existence.

They tell a story of a woman from Eliat, who once asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe that she wished to go and pray at the burial place of a Tzaddik (a righteous person), but that in Eilat she was not aware of any. The Rebbe responded that she should go to a military cemetery, where our fallen soldiers are buried, as there you will find pure souls. Yehi Zichram Baruch – May their memory be a blessing.

Together with the entire British Commonwealth, we were saddened to hear of the passing of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

For over seven decades the Prince stood, always two steps behind, but always strong and firm, constantly supporting Her Majesty The Queen. His was a life of public devotion and personal sacrifice for the Commonwealth.

As part of our Shabbat morning Service, we include the Prayer for the Royal Family, and our hearts and prayers are extended to Her Majesty the Queen for her deep loss and we pray that she and her family enjoy many continued years of good health, happiness and nachas, materially and spiritually

The Duke of Edinburgh was a great friend to the Jewish people and Israel, being the first Royal to make a formal visit to Israel, where he attended a ceremony at which his mother was posthumously honoured by Yad Vashem as “Righteous amongst the Nations” for saving Jewish lives during the Holocaust, and it is no coincidence that he returned his soul to his Maker on Yom Hashoah. May his memory be a blessing and his devotion always remembered.

On behalf of our congregation and community we offer our deepest condolences to Her Majesty, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and all the Royal Family. May his dear soul rest in peace.

We currently find ourselves in the Jewish month of Iyar, in which we have a special Mitzvah opportunity, to each day count the Omer. This simple but important Mitzvah reminds us that life is not about counting our days, rather making our days count, and that each day is a gift from Hashem for us to maximise for the benefit ourselves, our family and community.

Please consider joining us for our upcoming JLI course on the fascinating and often-misunderstood topic of Moshiach and the purpose of creation.

Shabbat Shalom and may we share good news


Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Shemini 5781

Last night, at the University of Queensland Yom Hashoah event, hosted by The Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, in collaboration with AUJS and the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies, we heard a deeply moving address by Prof Jake Najman, one of Australia’s most respected sociologists, who challenged us all with the question of how it was possible for human beings to commit such atrocious and horrific acts of murder against humanity, and whether or not, we are all capable of stooping down to such behavior.

This week we read in the Torah about how we identify Kosher animals and fish. Regarding fish, we are taught that, in order for them to be Kosher they must have fins and scales.

The Kabbalah – Jewish mysticism teaches us that the physical attributes of fish, and of all animals, reflect their psychological and spiritual qualities and that the food a person consumes has a profound effect on his or her psyche. Therefore, when one eats the flesh of a particular creature, the “personality” of that creature affects the person in some way.

As the armor that protects the body of the fish, scales represent the quality of integrity, which protects us from the many pitfalls that life presents. A man of integrity will not deceive his customers, in spite of the financial profits involved. He will not lie to a friend, despite the short-term gain from doing so. He will not cheat on his wife, in the face of tremendous temptation. Integrity means that one has absolute standards of right and wrong and is committed to a morality that transcends one’s moods and desires. Integrity preserves our souls from temptation.

Fins, the wing-like organs that propel fish forward, represent ambition. A healthy sense of ambition, knowing one’s strengths and wanting to utilize them in full, gives a person the impetus to traverse the turbulent sea of life and to maximize his or her G‑d-given potential. It propels us to fulfill our dreams and leave our unique imprint on the world.

The Talmud teaches that all fish that have scales also have fins, but that there are fish that have fins but no scales, and that such fish are not kosher. Symbolically, this means that a human being who possesses ambition but lacks integrity is “unkosher.” Such a person may be full of confidence, driven to make an impact on society. Yet educating ambitious and confident children does not guarantee their moral health. Many of the educated and sophisticated German population, who became Nazi murderers of  innocent Jews and others, were examples of humans who have “fins” but no “scales.”

On the other hand, the Talmud tells us that all fish with scales have fins. While integrity is fundamental, ambition is also important. By mentioning fins as one of the signs of a kosher fish, the Torah teaches us that it is not enough to maintain our own integrity; we must also have a positive effect on the world. The lesson of the Talmud is that if we teach our children to approach life with awe before truth, with an unyielding commitment to serve a transcendent, moral G‑d, they will certainly succeed and develop “fins” as well. Regardless of their other abilities, they will find the drive to improve themselves and to make the world a better place.

Perhaps the answer to Dr Najmans though-provoking question above is, that we all have a duty to inculcate within oursleves and our children our necessary spiritual scales, by strengthening our connection to our Divine source.

We extend our deep thanks and sincere appreciation to all who have assisted with attending and leading the services over Pesach – Passover, and in particular to Yeshivah students, Levi Paltiel, Mendel Dubrowski, Yosef Lesches, Levi Stern, and Berel Cyrulnik, who have infused much added life and spirit into our congregation and community.

Please be aware that due to the recent Covid restrictions, masks much be worn when attending Shul.

On behalf of the board of the Shul, we ask that you not congregate on the black and white marble tiles in the foyer of the Synagogue, as there has been some subsistence, which is being rectified.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov    

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

The above message was extracted from an article by Rabbi YY Jacobson