Archive for May, 2022

From The Rabbi – Parshat Bechukotai 5782

This Shabbat we complete the third book of the Torah, Vayikra – Leviticus, with the traditional deceleration Chazak, Chazak, Venitchazek.- Be strong, be strong, let’s strengthen ourselves!

Throughout the Torah, we find descriptions of the material rewards which G‑d promises for those who adhere to His commandments. A case in point is the opening chapter of this week’s Torah reading Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34): “If you walk in my statutes, and keep My commandments and do them; I will give your rain in due season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit…” And on and on, about blessings in the field and blessings in the home, fertile cattle, good health and peace in the land.

Many scholars and sages ask the question about the need to incentivize intelligent adults with promises of rewards for their good behavior, and specifically the emphasis on material reward for the observance of the Mitzvot. If G‑d finds it necessary to reward a righteous life, wouldn’t spiritual blessings, awarded to the soul after it is freed from the confines and limitations of the body, more aptly be considered.

The story is told of a king who once decided to reward a peasant who had done him a great service. “Shall I give him a sack of gold? a bag of pearls?” thought the king. “But these mean virtually nothing to me. I want, for once, to truly give something — something that I will miss, a gift that constitutes a sacrifice for me.”

The king had a nightingale who sang the sweetest songs a human ear had ever heard. He treasured the nightingale over all else, and literally found life unbearable without it. So he summoned the peasant to his palace and gave him the bird. “This,” said the king, “is in appreciation for your loyalty and devotion.” “Thank you, Your Majesty,” said the peasant, and took the royal gift to his humble home.

A while later, the king was passing through the peasant’s village and commanded his coachman to halt at the peasant’s door. “How are you enjoying my gift?” he inquired of his beloved subject.

“The truth to tell, Your Majesty,” said the peasant, “the bird’s meat was quite tough — all but inedible, in fact. But I cooked it with lots of potatoes, and it gave the stew an interesting flavor.”

According to the Chassidic masters: Physical life is the most G‑dly gift of all. Depending, of course, on what we do with it. The ‘rewards’ which the Torah promises to those who follow the Torah, are in fact tools and conduits through which we are able to live comfortably, in order to fulfill our Divine purpose in this world.

This Sunday we celebrate Yom Yerushalyim, that fateful day in 1967, which many within our community would  vividly recall, on which, thanks to Hashem’s blessings, through the IDF, the Holy sites of the Kotel Hamaaravi – Western Wall, Kever Rachel – the Tomb of Rachel, and Me’arat Hamachpelah – the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, were returned to Am Yisrael – our people.

May we very soon merit the ultimate redemption, when enduring peace and prosperity will reign in the Land of Israel and throughout the world.

Please see below information regarding the upcoming festival of Shavuot, which commences next Motzoey Shabbat (Saturday night)

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Thank you Rabbi Yanki Tauber for the above content

From The Rabbi – Parshat Behar 5782

Don’t forget to vote before Shabbat and exercise your religious right to honour the sanctity of Shabbat by voting early.

Today is Lag Ba’Omer, a powerful and deeply mystical day which, among other historical events, celebrates the passing of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai,  the great sage and author of the Zohar – Book of Splendor, the seminal work of Kabbalah – Jewish mysticism,

One of the customs observed on Lag Ba’Omer is for children to play with bows and arrows, symbolic of the fact that no rainbows appeared in the sky during Rabbi Shimon’s life.The rainbow represents a reminder of G‑d’s covenant not to destroy the world again, as it happened during the flood of Noach. In the merit of Rabbi Shimon, his entire generation were never in need of this reminder.

On a deeper level, the bow-and-arrow symbolizes the power of inwardness—the power unleashed by the inner, mystical dimension of Torah.

An arrow must be pulled back toward one’s own heart in order to strike the heart of the opponent. The more it is drawn inward, the more distant an adversary it can reach.

The most powerful weapon we have to confront and conquer our fears, demons, foes and inadequacies is drawing our bow to ourselves: discovering and strengthening our inner essence, knowing who we are, and knowing why we are here.

Conquering even the most pervasive darkness begins by first lighting up the candle of our soul.

The mystical, inner dimension of Torah guides us to find, know and illuminate that infinitely powerful spark of G‑dliness within. From there, we can unbridle the power to deal with any adversary.

Wishing you and your family and a happy Lag Ba’Omer and Shabbat Shalom.

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Thank you Chana Weisberg for the above content