Archive for August, 2023

From The Rabbi – Parshat Ki Teitzei 5783

On our way home from the Shul this morning, we heard the breaking news on the radio of the moon landing by the Indian Astronauts, being the first in history to reach the South Pole, thus firmly cementing the Indians into the global arena of space travel.

At a public gathering in 1968, on the Shabbat following the first manned lunar orbit, the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke of the significance of the landing and how the human race has achieved something magnificent. “We only know the greatness of the Creator from the greatness of His creations. Now that we see He has created a being that is capable of such creative ingenuity, how much greater must be the One that formed this creature and endowed him with intellect”. At the same time, the Rebbe continued, “we have also provided ourselves yet more reason to be humble: If so many brilliant scientists could be so wrong about the impossibility of space travel and a moon landing, how many more of our current estimations may also be incorrect?” In addition, the Rebbe went on to say “when we want to see the greatness of the Creator, we lift up our eyes to the heavens, as the verse states, “Raise your eyes heavenward and you will see: Who created these?!”

“…If from down on the ground looking up we can attain such enlightenment, all the more so when we can view the stars and galaxies—and our own planet as well—from beyond our atmosphere. And from that view of a vast creation, we step up to an entirely new level of conception of the infiniteness of its Creator—as well as our own smallness before Him. Now we can look down upon ourselves and see how small we are within this unimaginably immeasurable expanse of a universe, which itself is truly and absolutely nothing before the reality of its Creator”.

Many of our prayers emphasize the magnificence of our universe in assisting to enhance our relationship with our Creator, and this latest news of yet another advancement in space travel and discovery, assists us further in appreciating and developing a more intimate relationship with Hashem and His role for us in His world.

The month of Elul, in the lead-up the the High Holidays, is a most appropriate time for us to reflect on the above concepts, as we small beings are afforded the unique opportunity to greet the Al-mighty, as our “King in the Field” on a personal and approachable level, and then in a few weeks, on Rosh Hshanah, to crown Hashem as our king, demonstrates to us the immensely precious love and connection Hashem yearns to develop with us, in partnering with Him to fulfill our individual and combined mission on earth.

ברכת כתיבה וחתימה טובה, לשנה טובה ומתוקה – May you be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet new year. 

Wishing you Shabbat Shalom 

Rabbi Levi & Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Shoftim 5783

A few months ago the world witnessed the majestic and regal coronation of King Charles III, after almost seventy years since the coronation of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II. In Jewish tradition, each year on Rosh Hashanah, we celebrate and participate in the coronation of the King of Kings, Hashem the creator of the universe.

In the lead up to this magnificent day, we have an entire month of preparation, Chodesh Elul – the month of Elul, during which we have the unique ability and opportunity to make amends and prepare ourselves for these Yamim Noraim – Days of Awe, through sincere Teshuvah, Tefillah and Tzedakah, commonly translated as Repentance, Prayer and Charity, though more precisely translated as, Return, Connection, and doing the right thing.

The Chassidic Masters compare the month of Elul to the concept of a “‘the King is in the field”, a unique period of Divine closeness and accessibility, during which Hashem is “”in the field” meaning that he is open and ready to happily and lovingly meet and greet us all, with a smiling countenance and to listen closely and respond to our sincere and positive, thoughts words and actions in the realms of goodness, kindness, and the service of Hashem.

Tomorrow we will usher in this precious time, with the blowing of the Shofar at our early morning Rosh Chodesh Minyan, as we commence this Holy month of increased Teshuvah, Tefillah and Tzedakah.

While conversing with one of our most senior distinguished members, Reb Moshe (Moses) Leiboff, who celebrated his ninety sixth birthday this past week, it was as always a pleasure to be taken on a trip down memory lane, and to listen to Reb Moshe reminiscing about the atmosphere at our beloved Synagogue during the war years, over the High Holidays in particular, during which many Jewish American Service Men and Women were stationed in Brisbane, among thousands of US army personnel, under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander of the Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific. Reb Moshe shared his memories of how the Synagogue was full to capacity, with additional pews needing to be set up in front of the Bimah to accommodate the many extra guests who would attend the services. Reb Moshe spoke fondly of the many local hospitable families, including his late parents, who would host these young soldiers, some of whom ended up marrying local Jewish girls from our community. Reb Moshe recalled of one particular young man, Sergeant Wagner who assisted in leading the services for Shabbat and the Festivals. It is indeed a great blessing for us to be able to converse with our more senior members and gain a glimpse into the rich and fascinating history of our congregation and community.

May we all be blessed with a meaningful and uplifting Chodesh Elul, and seize the opportunity to develop a deeper and more intimate relationship with our Father and our King and with each other, in the lead up to the great Coronation, 5784!        

ברכת כתיבה וחתימה טובה, לשנה טובה ומתוקה – May you be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet new year. 

Wishing you Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

Rabbi Levi & Dvorah Jaffe