Archive for December, 2021

From The Rabbi – Parshat Va’eira 5782

More than a century has passed since the RMS Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean, but many, including ourselves, are fascinated by the details of this tragic story. What is it about this story which seems to captivate the interest and imagination of so many of us?

Among a number of theories is that it is due to the Titanic being famously deemed “unsinkable,” yet despite all of its bells and whistles, it proved no match for an iceberg, and tragically went down to its watery grave along with 1,500 passengers and crew members.

The hubris of humanity met its tragic end in the face of nature. A humbling reminder that, no matter how much we believe we are in control, ultimately, we are all in the hands of a higher power, our Creator. Covid too, has been a sobering reminder of this reality.

This week we continue the epic story of our Exodus from ancient Egypt, with the approach of Aharon and Moshe to king Pharaoh, demanding from him the release of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery, and the subsequent ten plagues, which were inflicted upon Pharaoh and his people.

Egypt is seen as the prototype of evil that denies its creator. As we read last week in the haftarah form the prophet Ezekiel, “O Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great crocodile that lies down in the midst of its rivers, who said, ‘My river is my own, and I made myself.’” (Ezekiel 29:3).

We sometimes get carried away with this ‘Egyptian’ mentality. We delude ourselves into thinking we made ourselves. Not literally, rather Titanic style excessive confidence and smugness in oneself and one’s achievements.

The story of our Exodus from Egypt is among the most common and central themes in Jewish life and tradition, as it is mentioned countless times in our daily prayers, and several Jewish Holidays are centred around this story. Indeed, one of the well-known and poignant lines from the Passover Hagaddah – Story is “In every generation (and each day) we are obligated to see ourselves as if we actually came out of Egypt”.

The word Mitzrayim – Egypt in Hebrew is etymologically related to the word Meitzarim – limitations. Our mission in life is to constantly strive for our exodus from our personal limitations and inhibitions, which primarily stem from the above-mentioned egocentric ‘Egyptian’ mentality.

May we all experience our personal and collective Exodus.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Thank you Rabbbi  Aharon Loschak for some of the above ideas   

From The Rabbi – Parshat Shemot 5782

This week we commence the story of the Exodus of the Jewish people from the land of Egypt, and we read of the famous incident at which Hashem appears to Moshe – Moses, by the burning bush. The Torah relates – “The bush was on fire but the bush was not being consumed.”

What is the meaning of this symbolism and its relevance to to  our lives?

For the Israelites in Egypt, the slavery and the suffering had reached an all-time low.

Yet the people did not despair. When they had nothing left, they remembered that Hashem is always with us, and they cried out to Him with all their hearts. “And Hashem listened to their cries”.

It was at this point that G‑d appeared to Moshe at the burning bush, commencing the process of the redemption.

The bush burns but it is not consumed. This is our people. When there seems to be no fuel left, we remember that we always have Hashem, and we burn bright and strong and are not consumed. This is what kick-starts our redemption.

At times, life is so difficult, we can see no hope. But there is no reason to despair. Rather it is time to shine brighter than ever and cry out to G‑d from a place far deeper than what we ever imagined, from the inner fire that can never be extinguished.

And then redemption will come.

The past couple of years have been deeply challenging for the entire world and, just when we all believed that we were transitioning back into normality, a new strain of Covid emerges, presenting a whole new set of challenges.

The world has suffered enough, let us cry out to Hashem to redeem the world from its suffering and send Moshiach Now!.

As many of our regular Shul attendees will be away over the coming weeks, those of you remaining in town, please make an effort to join us at Shul so we can ensure  regular Minyanim for services on Shabbat and during the week.

Shabbat Shalom and may we share good news

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Thank you Rabbi Yitzi Horowitz for the above message