Archive for November, 2023

From The Rabbi – Parshat Vayishlach 5784

This past week has been an emotional roller coaster, as we have witnessed the return of dozens of hostages, many of whom returning to shattered families, who had fallen as fatal victims of the Simchat Torah attacks, and being returned in exchange for prisoners, who have been responsible for serious crimes committed against our brothers and sisters in Israel.

Sadly Jewish history is soaked with blood-stained attacks on our people and, from the beginning of time, the Torah provides us with guidance and inspiration to navigate through life, to deal with the many challenges which confront us along the way, personally and nationally.

Our sages teach us that Maaseh Avot Siman Labanim –  the stories of our Patriarchs are signposts for their descendants, meaning that the stories we read of our founding fathers and mothers, are acted out within Jewish  history, and serve to guide us in our interactions with each other and the world around us.

One such story is that of the epic confrontation between our forefather Yakov – Jacob and his brother Esav – Esau, related in this week’s Parsha – Torah portion. Following decades of separation, which resulted from the need of Yaakov to flee from the wrath of his murderous brother Esav, Yakov is finally returning home, filled with trepidation, as he is unsure whether Esav is still out to kill him.

Not leaving anything to chance, Yakov develops a three-pronged strategy: He turns to G‑d in prayer, sends an impressive gift package ahead to his brother to demonstrate his own good intentions, and then divides his family into two camps in anticipation of an attack.

In many ways, the current approach that Israel is taking during the current situation reflects the approach of our forefather, Yakov. Never before have we witnessed such an outpouring of solidarity in prayer and the reciting of Tehillim (Psalms), on behalf of our people in Israel. Israel is doing all it can to try to appease our enemies and demonstrate good will, while at the same time using its military prowess to prepare itself for war, should such an option be necessary.

It is in this week’s Parshah too, that the name Israel is bestowed upon Yaakov, as a sign of being in control and overcoming adversity.

The first night Chanukah begins next Thursday evening. As we prepare to celebrate, let us internalize the powerful message of Chanukah namely, that goodness and light will always prevail over evil and darkness and that, as a united force for good, through our resolve to positively infuse the world with acts of goodness and kindness, and meaningful prayer, we will ultimately triumph.

May Israel and all the Jewish world overcome the current challenges, experience true and lasting peace, the transformation of all darkness to light, and may we merit to light the Menorah in the Bet Hamikdash – Holy Temple this Chanukah with the ultimate redemption!

If you require a Menorah or candles for Chanukah, please respond to thi email and we will be assist you in this regard

Dvorah and I wish you Shabbat Shalom, Chag Sameach, and may we share good news.

Rabbi Levi Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Vayeitzei 5784

This Parsha – Torah portion always evokes deep personal feelings of nostalgia, as it was during the week of Vayeitzei, almost thirty five years ago that, as a lonely young Yeshivah student, I took my first trip down under, to an unknown world to study and engage in Jewish outreach in Sydney.

Leaving the thriving Jewish community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in close proximity to many friends and the inspiring presence of the Rebbe, who would often Farbreng – address the Chassidim on Shabbat afternoon, to the relative spiritual wilderness of the then Sydney Jewish community, in some ways parallels the journey of Jacob, our forefather, who left the comfort and spiritual bliss of his parental home and community, to the unholy and hostile environment of Charan.

It was specifically due to his having left the comfort zone of his familiar environment, to travel to Charan, where he was confronted with many challenges along the way. that Yakov as able to successfully marry and build his family, the foundations of our people, thus fulfilling his spiritual mission and experiencing exponential material and spiritual growth.

As many of us struggle to make sense of the recent attacks in Israel and the sad repercussions of this for Jewish people all around the world, it is important that we keep the above story of Yaakov in mind, and to remind ourselves that in the Jewish tradition, our day begins from the previous night, thus light always follows darkness.

May we witness the transformation of all darkness to light, and the ultimate blessing of enduring peace in Israel and throughout the world with our long awaited redemption.     .

Dvorah and I wish you Shabbat Shalom, and may we share good news.

Rabbi Levi Jaffe