Archive for February, 2023

From The Rabbi – Parshat Terumah 5783

Over the past few weeks, several people, including our children in Melbourne have excitedly mentioned about the innovative AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology which, according to them, will greatly assist in preparing sermons and articles, without the need for extensive research and preparation. Our kids even conducted an experiment for us in this regard, typing in “prepare a sermon for Rabbi Jaffe on Parshat Yitro for Noam’s Bar Mitzvah“, and the computer produced a sermon with some meaningful ideas and messages on the Parsha for the Bar Mitzvah.

Without intimate knowledge of this technology and and a full understanding of how it works, what we felt was missing from the AI generated sermon, was the personal touch and human passion, which we do not believe can be duplicated by a computer and superimposed by technology.

One of the fundamentals themes expressed in Judaism, in the Torah, and in particular regarding the subject matter we will be covering over the next few weeks, namely the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) by the Jewish people in the desert, is the necessity for us to invest human effort in everything we do, and especially regarding our unique purpose to create a sanctuary on earth, thus becoming partners with Hashem in His creation.

Yes, it would certainly be lovely to sit back and leave everything to our computers, but besides for the fact that we don’t believe that a machine, as advanced as it may be, has the capacity to duplicate the human spirit and passion, it would also negate the whole purpose of Hashem’s design, that we partner with Him in developing His world, materially and spiritually.

On the above note, Kol Hakavod to the many members of our community, who consistently give of themselves, so graciously in the service of our congregation and community. It was so heartwarming to witness the hive of activity last Sunday, from the dedicated morning ‘Minyanaires’ in the Shul, to the enthusiastic Cooking Club members in the Kitchen, and the talented maintenance crew and schleppers up in the Cheder rooms and library, such an amazing demonstration of communal spirit and cooperation.              

We wish you an uplifting and meaningful Shabbat Shalom       .    

Rabbi Levi & Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Mishpatim / Shabbat Shekalim 5783

Next week we enter the happiest month in the Jewish calendar, Adar, and we invoke the well-known adage, ‘Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Besimchah’ – ‘When the month of Adar comes in we increase in joy’. As we will be blessing the New Month this Shabbat, it’s time for us to get into happy gear.

How does one become joyful, or increase in joy, as emotions are not easy to increase or control? The Hebrew letters of the word for ‘with joy’ – BeSimcha – are contained in the Hebrew word Machshavah – ‘thought’, conveying the message that the key to developing inner joy are the positive thoughts we choose to allow to percolate in our mind.

There is no question that we all experience challenges in life, however, where we focus our thoughts and our energy, to a large degree determines our emotional state of being.

Judaism places much emphasis on the concept of gratitude, and our prayers are filled with references to the many blessings we receive each day, for those aspects of life and the world that we often take for granted. In fact the very word ‘Jew’ – Yehudi, derives from the word ‘Hodaah’ – ‘thanks’, reminding us about the importance of being grateful for all of life’s blessings.

It was a great pleasure to be in Sydney yesterday for the marriage of Sarah Tesar and Shai Bechavod, and we extend our best wishes to the Chatan and Kallah and their families for a life filled with Mazal and Brachah!    

May we share good news and Simchot!

This Shabbat we will remove an additional Torah from the Aron Kodesh – Ark, as we read an extra section from the Torah, Parshat Shekalim, the first of a series of four special Shabbatot in the lead up to Pesach – Passover.       

We wish you an uplifting and meaningful Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov       .    

Rabbi Levi & Dvorah Jaffe