Archive for June, 2023

From The Rabbi – Parshat Chukat / Balak 5783

After almost ten years in the making, supported by the Federal, State and local Governments, in the presence of various dignitaries and communal leaders, our community will tomorrow formally host the opening of the Queensland Holocaust Museum, under the auspices of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies.

This significant contribution to our communal infrastructure pays tribute to the memory of the six million, who perished, along with millions of others, Hy”d (may Hashem avenge their blood), during the Shoa, and the thousands of Jewish communities which were tragically destroyed in one of the most horrific eras in world history.

The Museum will also pay tribute the many Holocaust survivors and their families, who settled in Queensland, many of whom played, and continue to play a significant role in building Jewish life within our community.

This Shabbat marks the Festival of Liberation of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880–1950), the previous Lubavicher Rebbe, who was mercilessly brutalized and tortured for his “counter-revolutionary” activities—the creation of an underground network of Jewish schools and Chedarim, mikvahs and other banned Jewish institutions.

It was the previous Rebbe, who was responsible for transporting the remnants of his fledgling movement from Europe to the USA, from where he dedicated himself with tireless energy to rebuild the Jewish world from the ashes of the Shoa and fan the embers of Jewish souls throughout the world into dynamic living Jewish life, activating the most dynamic force within the Jewish world, bringing the love, joy and meaningfulness of Judaism to the most remote corners of the world.

During one particularly horrific interrogation in the Russian gulag, one of the Rebbe’s interrogators pointed a revolver at the Rebbe and smirked: “This toy has a way of making people cooperate.” Calmly the Rebbe replied: “That toy is persuasive to one who has many gods and only one world; I have One G‑d and two worlds.

Perhaps we can learn from this inspiring story of heroism how to face our own inner personal battles, and from where we may draw the resources and clarity to hold firmly in what we believe.

Thank G-d we are blessed to be living in a free country and, thanks to the heroic sacrifice of those who preceded us, murderous regimes of the past have fallen. We are nevertheless faced with challenges of a different nature, which can too be daunting.

When there is only the world of the here-and-now, the tangible and the sensory, then anything that threatens to take that away becomes the engine that drives our choices. The Nazis and Stalinists may have taken away our bank accounts, and stripped us of our social status, these never defined us; their loss was inconvenient and painful, yet not the end of our identity. They were only accessories to who we are—worlds we have plenty; they were not who we are—we have only one G‑d.

While we resolutely declare “Never Again” to the horrific atrocities of the past, we pledge our allegiance to the living Judaism of the present, in our proud cry of “Am Yisrael Chai”!

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach    

Rabbi Levi & Dvorah Jaffe

Thank you Rabbi Baruch Epstein for extracts from the above message 

From The Rabbi – Parshat Korach 5783

Among the opening verses in the Torah is a description of the creation of the great oceans for which a special blessing is recited when encountering large bodies of water. It therefore comes as no surprise that we humans have always had a natural fascination with the deep sea and what lies beneath the surface.

As we are all anxiously awaiting the positive outcome regarding the fate of the five occupants of the Titan, currently trapped 3800 metres beneath the ocean bed, with only enough oxygen for less than twenty four hours, we hope and pray that they be found and successfully brought back to dry land and reunited with their loved ones.

In Jewish tradition, our lives are comprised of dry-land and ocean experiences, reflecting the revealed and concealed areas of life and the world, and the conscious and sub-conscious levels of our personality and character.

The ultimate goal of life, and our combined mission in the world is, as Maimonides states at the conclusion of his famous Mishneh Torah to reveal the concealed awareness of Hashem, and fill the world with this knowledge, as the water conceals the ocean life.

May we merit our personal, communal and global revelation and emergence of our subconscious concealed oceanic life into our revealed conscious dry-land reality, with blessings for good health, happiness and prosperity.

Shabbat Shalom and may we share good news.

Rabbi Levi & Dvorah Jaffe