Archive for February, 2024

From the Rabbi – PARSHAT TERUMAH, 5784

The joyous month of Adar is already doing its wonders, with the incredibly uplifting news we received this past week of the successful rescue of two Argentinian hostages, Fernando Marman and Louis Har, who have been held captive in Gaza for 128 days! May we continue to share good news and witness the safe return of all remaining hostages, and an end to all hostilities in Israel and throughout the world.

It is quite remarkable that on the very day that the hostages were rescued, a fervent prayer was offered at the Kotel – Western wall, by Javier Mileil, the newly elected Argentinian President, who is a great friend and supporter of Israel and the Jewish people.

This week we are introduced to the design and construction of the very first Synagogue, the Mishkan – Tabernacle, which accompanied the Jewish people as they traveled through the desert, and their subsequent entry into the land of Israel. The instructions begin with the words “build for me a Mishkan, so that I may dwell in them”, raising the obvious grammatical question of why the unusual terminology “…dwell in them”, rather than “…dwell in it”. From this we derive that this instruction was not merely to build a physical structure in the desert but, rather an eternal Mitzvah for every individual in all times and places to create a spiritual home and sanctuary for Hashem, through the study of the Torah and the performance of the Mitzvot.

Through each of our efforts in building and maintaining our personal sanctuaries, we are instrumental in fulfilling our combined mission of creating a dwelling place for the Divine, which will find its ultimate expression with the ultimate redemption and the complete revelation of Moshiach!

With heartfelt prayers for the release of the remaining hostages and enduring peace in Israel and throughout the world!

Shabbat Shalom and may we continue to share good news

From the Rabbi – PARSHAT MISHPATIM, 5784

Following the recent unprovoked fatal attack on an innocent grandmother at a local shopping centre, and the heartache and frustration this is causing for so many people, there has been much further discussion regarding youth crime within our community, and how to most effectively deal with this deeply distressing state of affairs. Does Judaism have anything to say about such matters?

Interestingly, this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim – Judgments, covers the basic principles governing the Divinely ordained Torah perspective on civil law, upon which most of the laws of western society are based. Without going into the details of these laws, and the principles upon which they are built, there is a crucial subtle hint to the effectiveness of these laws contained in one single opening letter to the Parsha – Torah portion, namely the letter ‘Vav’ , meaning ‘And’.

The question addressed by several commentators of the Torah is, why would the Torah contravene the well-known grammatical rule of not starting a sentence or paragraph with the word ‘And’. The most renowned commentator, Rashi- Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki explains that the ‘Vav’, which literally means a hook, is alluding to the critical concept of attaching our observance of Mishpatim – the civil laws, to the revelation at Sinai, which we read in the previous Parsha – and it is for this reason too, that the physical location of the Supreme Court of ther land of Israel, was historically situated in the confines of the Bet Hamikdash – the Holy Temple.

In other words, in order for law and order to survive and thrive in society, it is critical that these are based on the firm foundations of belief in Hashem, and the understanding that Justice and morality emanate from a Divine source, rather than merely being based on human logic and rational.

Putting it simply, unless we educate our children with a firm belief in an ever-present Creator and Master of the world, who knows best and dictates to us on how we should conduct our lives, and places the sanctity of human life above all else, we cannot hope for a civil and just society. As we have experienced in the last generation, that one of the most sophisticated and educated nations in the world plummeted to the depths of evil and savagery, as a result of their human interpretation of how we may value morality and human life.

There are certain absolute truths that cannot be altered if we wish to survive, an create a harmonious an peaceful existence on earth. As we conclude each of our prayer services “and may Hashem be crowned as supreme King over the entire world, on that day Hashem and His name will be One”.

Friday and Shabbat we commence the joyous month of Adar Rishon – Adar 1, as our sages teach us, Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Besimcha – ‘When the month of Adar arrives we increase in joy’, may we all be blessed with much good health, happiness, prosperity and nachas.

With heartfelt prayers for the release of the remaining hostages and their safe return to their families, along with all of our Chayalim.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,