Archive for June, 2021

From The Rabbi – Parshat Chukat 5781

As I emerged from the post office last Thursday, a friendly gentleman approached me and greeted me with “Shabbat Shalom for tomorrow, did I get that right?”. He then proceeded to tell me that, although he is not Jewish, he loves Israel and the Jewish people. He then asked me about my opinion regarding the newly forming Government in Israel, as if I was some kind of an expert on the matter. My response was that time will tell how such a diverse group of individuals will unite to effectively lead Israel into the future, and that my main concern was that they succeed in maintaining Israel’s security during these volatile times.

We extend our Mazal Tov wishes to the new Government in Israel and wish them much success, materially and spiritually, and may we be blessed with true and enduring peace in the region and throughout the world.

This week we read about the ultimate mitzvah of faith, the Red Heifer. It is a statutory commandment whose reason still remains a mystery. I must admit, to take the ashes of a red heifer and sprinkle them on a person so he may attain spiritual purification is, indeed, rather mind-boggling.

According to the Midrash, Hashem promised Moses that to him He would reveal the secret meaning of this Mitzvah, but only after Moses would initially accept it as a Divine decree. If he would first take it on faith, thereafter rational understanding would follow.

In truth that are answers to virtually every question people may have about Judaism. Intelligent skeptics I meet are often amazed that what they had long written off as empty ritual is actually philosophically profound, with rich symbolic meaning. But the skeptic has to be ready to listen. You can hear the most eloquent, intellectual explanation but if you are not mentally prepared to accept that listening may in fact be a worthwhile exercise, chances are you won’t be impressed. Once we stop resisting and accept that there is inherent validity, suddenly Judaism makes all the sense in the world.

It is a psychological fact that we can grasp that which we sincerely desire to understand. But if there is a subject in which we have no interest, we will walk into mental blockades regularly. This explains why some very astute businessman may sit at a Talmud class and find themselves struggling to grasp basic principles of rabbinic reasoning. Why is it that the same person who can concoct brilliant schemes in the boardroom fails to follow straightforward logic in the Talmud class? The answer is that this businessman is really not that interested in the subject. But if it was half as important to him as making money, he might well become a Talmudic genius!

So, in the same way that G‑d told Moses that he could come to comprehend the meaning of the Red Heifer but only after he accepted it, similarly today, those who genuinely wish to understand Judaism will succeed, but only if they buy into the product on some level first.

We all have a G‑dly faith inside us. It just needs to be revealed. As illogical as it may sound, if we start by observing a mitzvah, we find that our faith will follow through and begin to blossom. It has been shown to be true again and again. If we are not interested, no answer will be good enough. If we are genuinely searching for truth and we are objective, there are ample and meaningful answers.

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

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Thank you Rabbi Yossi Goldman for the above message 

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 

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