Archive for June, 2021

From The Rabbi – Parshat Korach 5781

Are you a spectator or a participant? Do you only watch the soccer World Cup, or do you sometimes kick a ball yourself?

A few years ago, it was decided to widen the seats at Wimbledon due to obesity, as many of the fans who admire the tennis stars in action don’t get much exercise. The chairman of the British Sports Council was prompted to state, “If only the admirers of sport would practice it themselves.”

The Parshah this week is named after Korach, cousin of Moses, and a revolutionary who attempted to usurp the authority of Moses and Aaron. His ill-fated rebellion came to a bitter end when the earth opened and swallowed Korah and his followers, demonstrating to all that Moses and Aaron were truly chosen by G‑d.

But why name a Parsha after a villain? Korach was a sinner, and is surely not a role model for us to emulate.

My saintly teacher and mentor, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose yahrtzeit is observed this Sunday, offered a novel approach. There is one area where Korach can indeed be a good role model. What was Korach’s burning desire in life? It was to be a kohen gadol, high priest. He coveted Aaron’s position of honor.

Now, being a high priest meant much more than just fame, fortune, glory and privilege. Many sacred responsibilities came with the job. It was no easy task to be a Kohen Gadol – High Priest. There were numerous restrictions: where he could go, what kind of activities he could be involved in, whom he could marry, etc. Yet Korach was absolutely single-minded in his aspiration to become the high priest.

Said the Rebbe: this is something we can all learn from Korach—the yearning to serve G-d in the holiest capacity, the craving to be a kohen gadol. Would that all of us shared similar aspirations to holiness. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each one of us longed for a life of sanctity, dedicated to the service of G‑d?

How often we are only too happy to allow others to handle the sacred stuff. “You can put on tefillin for me, Rabbi.” And your bobba (grandmother) can keep kosher for you. “Others can attend the Shul and keep the Minyan going, while I pay my membership fees”.

It is wonderful to support and encourage the activists among us. But let us learn from Korach, who wanted so badly to be a high priest himself. Let’s not be content with being spectators as others do it for us. Let each of us participate in the Jewish idea. And let us do it personally.

For your well-being and the well-being of everyone in our community, we encourage you to please make an effort to receive the Covid Vaccine. Please be aware that there are various locations around Brisbane, at which appointments may be made via the Qld health website in this regard. Among the Vaccine locations, the Redcliffe Vaccine Centre, 106 Anzac Ave. (next door to Redcliffe hospital) apparently have surplus vaccines and several members of our community have been able to show up without an appointment and receive the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine within a relatively short wait time. Thank you Amir Tvina for sharing this information.

Shabbat Shalom and we look forward to see you at Shul.

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Thank you Rabbi Yossi Goldman for the above theme 

From The Rabbi – Parshat Shelach 5781

Peer pressure has always played a significant role in influencing our lives and, perhaps more so than ever in our current world of social media and instant communication. It takes strength of character and integrity to stand up for what is just and right in the face of adversity and popular public opinion.

This week, we read of the tragic tale of twelve upstanding leaders of the Jewish nation, who has been assigned the important mission of scouting the land of Israel, and to report back with their findings. Rather than merely reporting on the land, they proceeded to instill fear into the hearts of their fellow Jews, drawing their own negative conclusion that it would be impossible to conquer the land.

The rest of the Jewish people were influenced by these leaders and, as a result, the nation were punished with forty years of wandering in the desert.

These so-called leaders demonstrated an insufficient sense of self-belief. And that’s where they failed: a lack of confidence.

“We are unable to go up against the people, for they are stronger than us…We appeared like grasshoppers in our eyes, and that’s how we were in their eyes.” (Numbers 13:31-33).

It required tremendous strength of character on the part of two of these leaders, namely Yehoshuah (Joshuah) and Calev (Caleb), who stood up in objection to the strong influence and majority opinion of the other ten spies.

When we remain strong, with an expectation of success, others tend to be awed by our aura, and victory is inevitable. Conversely, when we walk small, conscious of our (perceived or real) immaturity and incompetence, then other’s opinions automatically accord with our expectations.

True self-belief is self-referential. An absolute certainty and faith that I’m doing the right thing and I will persevere with conviction until the job is done. It might take courage to head off on such a journey, sometimes requiring one to swim against the tide of public opinion, but such an approach is the only way to ensure your safe arrival into the Promised Land.

Shabbat Shalom and may we share good news.

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Candle Lighting Times Brisbane

Fri April 16th: Light Candles 5.12pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 17th 6.04pm

Fri April 23rd: Light Candles 5.05pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 24th 5.58pm

Fri April 30th: Lag B’omer  Light Candles 4.59pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 1st 5.52pm

Fri May 7th: Light Candles 4.54pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 8th 5.47pm

Fri May 14th: Light Candles 4.50pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 15th 5.44pm

Sun May 16th: Erev Shavuot Light Candles 4.49pm

Mon May 17th: Shavuot Day 1 Light Candles after 5.43pm

Tues May 18th: Shavuot Day 2 Yom Tov ends: 5.42pm

Fri May 21st: Light Candles 4.46pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 22nd 5.41pm

Fri May 28th: Light Candles 4.44pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 29th 5.39pm

Fri June 4th: Light Candles 4.43pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 5th 5.38pm

Fri June 11th: Light Candles 4.42pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 12th 5.38pm

Fri June 18th: Light Candles 4.43pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 19th 5.39pm

Fri June 25th: Light Candles 4.45pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 26th 5.41pm