Archive for March, 2022

From The Rabbi – Parshat Shemini / Shabbat Parah 5782

This Shabbat will be the third in the series of four special readings, for which an additional Torah will be removed from the ark namely, Parshat Parah, which discusses the strange and paradoxical procedure of sprinkling ashes of a red heifer (cow) upon someone who had become ritually unclean through contact with a corpse.

It is a statutory commandment whose reason still remains a mystery and beyond our comprehension.

According to the Midrash, the Almighty 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.

The truth is that there are answers to virtually every question people ask about Judaism. Intelligent skeptics 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.

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.

A story is told of a young man who approached his Rabbi and commented, “How can you expect me to put on tefillin if I don’t believe in G‑d?” The wise Rabbi responded  calmly “Perhaps if you put on tefillin, you will begin to believe in G‑d.”

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 may we share good news

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Thank you Rabbi Yossi Goldman for the above message

From The Rabbi – Parshat Tzav 5782

What a lovely Purim it has been in our congregation and community! It is always so beautiful to have the children and their families in attendance for the reading of the Megillah, and the Purim play, which was presented by the children of the UBHE Cheder, their teachers and their parents, was very well performed.

We express our deep thanks and appreciation to the Sunday morning cooking club for their delicious Hamantaschen, and to  Melbourne Yeshivah students, Mendel Sufrin (son of Chanoch) and Shmuli Bleier, who assisted us with the reading of the Megillah and enhancing the Purim spirit.

As usual our community was abuzz with Purim festivities in Shul, at Sinai College and at the various Megillah readings which were held in hospitals, retirement villages and private homes.

Kol hakavod to all who attended the celebrations, including our dedicated and enthusiastic early morning Shacharit and Megillah reading service attendees.

Today is Shushan Purim, the day on which Purim was celebrated in the capital city of Shushan, where the main part of the miracle took place and, in walled cities like Jerusalem, Purim is celebrated today.

As with all Jewish festivals, we not merely celebrate or commemorate events of the past, but rather, we are afforded the opportunity to tap into the unique spiritual energy of the day and to re-experience the happenings of that era. When the Jewish people were under threat of annihilation from the wicked Haman, although Esther was the queen and the first logical response would have been to solicit her assistance to appeal to the King on behalf of her people, however the Story of Purim relates that first and foremost Mordechai, the leader of the Jewish people, gathered all the people together in public prayer and Torah study, and in particular the children which, according to our sages, was the crucial factor in bringing about the salvation of the Jewish people.

With the devastating state of affairs in the Ukraine and the millions of people who have been forced to flee their homes, the Purim story takes on a much more relevant significance, as many of us are desperately searching for meaning and inspiration during these challenging times.

The Purim story and the manner in which we celebrate this joyous festival, serves as a strong reminder, that acts of loving kindness, unity, Jewish pride, prayer and Torah study, are the keys to transforming a world of madness and chaos, into a world of tranquility, health and peace.

May we quickly usher in the era of the final redemption, for which we await and anticipate every day, Amen Kein Yehi Ratzon – Amen so may it be NOW!

Shabbat Shalom and happy Shushan Purim .

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe