Archive for September, 2023

From The Rabbi – Shabbat Sukkot 5784

We enjoyed beautiful Yom Kippur services at our lovely Synagogue, and we extend sincere thanks and appreciation to Rabbi Avraham Rosenfeld and Dovi Jaffe for their great help and support leading the services, and to the various members of the board for all their dedicated assistance, and in particular to Phillip Zavelsky, who too assisted in leading the services, along with calling out the page numbers with the various explanations of the prayers, and we offer a bouquet of thanks to Naomi Miller for leading a wonderful children’s program.

As the solemn days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have now concluded, we enter the joyous days of Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, during which we draw down all the holy blessings of the High Holidays into the physical and earthly realm, though the various celebrations and dancing on these concluding chagim – festivals of the busy and exciting month of Tishrei.

We have Baruch Hashem arrived in Yerushalayim – Jerusalem, Israel, where we feel so blessed to be able to spend these Chagim – festivals together with our family, and we express our sincere thanks to Yossi White, who will be assisting with the leading of the services in our absence.

We will, please G-d, visit the Kotel – Western Wall in the coming days and will be offering prayers on behalf of our family and community. If you would like us to mention your name, or the names of your family members, please email Hebrew names and Mother’s Hebrew name by return email to this newsletter.

If you would like to order your own Lulav and Etrog for this Sukkot, please contact Itzik Bahloul as soon as possible. .

Wishing you Shabbat Shalom, and Chag Sameach.

Rabbi Levi & Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Haazinu – Shuva / Yom Kippur 5784

We currently find ourselves in the unique period of Divine closeness, known as the Aseret Yemey Teshuvah – the Ten Days of Repentance – Return, a most opportune time, in the lead-up to Yom Kippur, to make amends for the past year and prepare ourselves for the new year ahead.

The weekly Parsha – Torah portion this Shabbat is known as Shirat Haazinu – the song of  Haazinu – listening closely, and a special Haftarah will be read, commencing with the words Shuva Yisrael – Return oh Israel, hence the title Shabbat Shuva. – the Shabbat of Return given to this Shabbat.

In his final hours, Moshe is commissioned by Hashem to write and teach music. But isn’t the timing a bit off? This was the last day on earth for Moshe, and the Parsha which is usually read on the serious and solemn Shabbat Shuva, between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

The last memory Moshe left his beloved people of their dynamic leader and faithful shepherd was of him singing, not preaching. His last words still singing in their ears, they watched him ascend Mount Nebo on his final mission, to return his holy soul to its Maker.

The scene is powerful, the soundtrack moving, and the lesson profound.

The Torah had thus far been thought of in many ways and as many things. The Divine wisdom of Hashem, His will, the marriage contract between Him and His people, the blueprint of existence, a manual for earthly life, secrets and prophecies of the world, a code of morality and ethics, “and much, much, more.”

Never before, though, had it been seen or heard of as a song.

On that memorable day, however, two of Judaism’s greatest leaders faced their beloved people, one to bid farewell and the other to say hello, and sang a duet together called “Haazinu,” redefining for all time how Torah was to be perceived: not as a sermon, but as a song.

Words are the building blocks of language; like a vehicle, they shuttle ideas between minds and hearts. Music, on the other hand, is both the soul of language and the language of the soul, able to cross vast gulfs of ideology, culture, nationality and personality.

Moses’ last lesson and Joshua’s first, to parents, teachers and leaders to come, was that for Haazinu to be “a witness to the [authenticity and continuity of the] children of Israel,” for it to engage the recesses of the Jewish spirit, to stir the soul of every Jew, Judaism would have to be musicalized and sung—not sermonized—into their ears.

“If Judaism will be celebrated rather than commemorated,” sang Moses, “and allowed to work its music over you and your families, you will not be able to help but dance to its tune.

“And like any good song, you won’t be able to get it out of your system.”

We look forward to seeing you at Shul and sharing good news and Simchot in the coming year.

בברכת גמר חתימה טובה, לשנה טובה ומתוקה

May you to be sealed for a good and sweet new year.

Wishing you Shabbat Shalom, and well over the fast.

Rabbi Levi & Dvorah Jaffe

Thank you Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson for the above message