Archive for June, 2024

From the Rabbi

While stopped at a red light along Eastern Parkway, in Brooklyn, New York, not far from where we were staying for the celebration of our daughter, Chaya’s wedding, I was startled to hear loud chanting, as a large contingency of police officers emerged from nearby Prospect Park, followed by many hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters.
As I began recording the procession with my phone, a young man, his face partially obscured by a keffiyeh and waving a flag, approached my car window. He inquired if I believed Jews and Muslims should coexist peacefully, as they did over a millennium ago, to which I responded that I absolutely did. He then asked me if I condemn what Israel is doing in Gaza, to which I responded that I did not and, that Israel is only doing what it believes it needs to do to protect its citizens. He then warmly and enthusiastically extended his hand for a fist-bump and proceeded to rejoin his fellow protesters as they continued to march on, blocking the busy Grand Army Plaza intersection for about fifteen minutes.
This encounter reinforced my belief that, whilst there is obviously much ignorance surrounding the true facts, most people are fundamentally peace-loving and supportive of Israel and the Jewish community, wishing for a harmonious society where all may live together peacefully.
Sadly, the media often focuses on the vocal minority, overshadowing the silent majority who uphold shared moral values and an understanding that, despite the tragedy of lost innocent lives, Israel must act decisively to counteract evil and protect its citizens.
This coming Tuesday evening we will commence the celebration of our 3337th anniversary, commemorating the epic moment we received the Torah on Mt Sinai, and we will relive the presentation of the 10 Commandments, as we read them in the Synagogue on Wednesday morning. Please come along and join us for this most powerful experience, which has impacted the moral compass of the world more than any other event in history.
During these challenging times for Israel, we extend our prayerful wishes for the safe return of the remaining hostages and may Hashem protect the brave ChaYaLim,- Israeli soldiers and bring them all back safely to their families.
We look forward to seeing you at Shul over Shabbat and Shavuot and wish you and your family Shabbat Shalom, Chodesh Tov, and Chag Sameach.
Rabbi Levi & Dvorah Jaffe.

From the Rabbi

We currently find ourselves during the unique transformational days between Passover and Shavat, as we are more than halfway through our annual count-down. For seven complete weeks, we count the Omer, until we finally reach the summit on Shavuot. This counting is not merely a counting of days, rather it is meant to also be a spiritual accounting, as we work to refine ourselves. The Kabbalists explain that each of these seven weeks, we ought to be working on another of the seven Middot, the traits and drives of the human psyche. So, for example, this week, in the lead-up to Lag Ba’Omer, we focus on Hod – humility. Every day of this week, we work on examining this character trait, as it is complimented and tempered by the other Middot, (for example: humility tempered by discipline, empathy, endurance, etc.).
Every Passover, we are granted a treasure chest containing the greatest gift ever given to man—the gift of freedom. So on the second day of Passover, after we’ve taken home our treasure, we start counting. We count seven times seven, because the gift of freedom has been given to each of the seven powers and forty-nine dimensions of our soul. Indeed, what use is a capacity for humility, if it becomes confused with low self-esteem which, can become one of the most destructive forces in one’s life, when not being expressed in a healthy and constructive manner.
We count them all—and then we present ourselves at Mount Sinai, which was chosen from all the mountains, due to its smallness in size and humility. Nevertheless, the Torah was given on a mountain, rather than a valley, to convey to us the idea that we must stand tall in our Jewish pride and what we represent, as ambassadors of Hashem on this earth, and to be ‘aight unto the nations’.
Yesterday was Pessuch Sheni – the second Kesach, the theme of which reminds us all of the concept that, regardless of our circumstances in life, we are all afforded the opportunity to make up for past, and to make amends if we were not successful in achieving our goals in the past. The great Rabbi Akiva was a prime example of someone who, after commencing to study from Alef-Bet at the age of forty, with encouragement from his pious wife, Rahel, went on to become one of the greatest teachers in Jewish history. It’s never…
May we all experience productive and meaningful personal growth, and true freedom, along with global redemption and the transformation of all darkness to light!
During these challenging times for Israel, we extend our prayerful wishes for the safe return of the remaining hostages and may Hashem protect the brave ChaYaLim, – Israeli soldiers and bring them all back safely to their families.
We are currently in New York for the celebration of the forthcoming wedding of our daughter chaya, to take place, please G-d on Nav Lali Mee, and we plan to visit the Ohel – ingraveset of the rabbi before Shvatat offer pepars on behalf of our family and community. If you would like us to mention you and/or youru family to special mondoats her important night, at the biggest Holy one of your family coerce you to return amir, and we will be…
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