Archive for the ‘From The Rabbi’ Category

From The Rabbi – Parshat Vayishlach 5779

Dvorah and I enjoyed the great nachas (pleasure) of attending our daughter Toba’s graduation ceremony from Beth Rivkah Ladies College last night in Melbourne.

Among the highlights of the visit, in addition of course to attending the graduation, was my meeting, in the Skybus from Melbourne airport, with a lovely young man Raphael Segal who,after enthusiastically putting on Tefillin on the bus, introduced me to his father Paul, who asked if it would be okay to video him putting on Tefillin too for inclusion in a blog he and Rafael were producing, entitled “a Year to Live”. Please see photo image below of Paul , who has kindly sent the following message for me to share with the readers of this newsletter.

“When I was faced with being told (last February), that I had bone marrow cancer, and one year to live I faced a difficult decision. Was this a terrible scary thing? It was certainly a shock… but I decided it was the greatest thing ever… I’ve been traveling the world with my son, Raphael making a documentary called One Year to Live (you can find us on FB). But the important thing is your attitude… if you take what I’d considered the worst thing in your life and believe it is the best, a gift from G-d, then your fear goes…

Be at peace… share kindness and love. Do what you can for your health right now… don’t wait for a wake up call – wake up now… and appreciate what you have and the people you Love in your life…

Love and blessings, Paul”.

It was a real blessing for me to have met Paul and his son Raphael, who is traveling next week on the Taglit (birthright) program to Israel and we extend our best wishes and blessings to Paul and Raphael for good health, happiness and prosperity.

This week we read of Yakov’s reunification and confrontation with his wild brother Esav.Just prior to their meeting  the Torah tells us a story about an enigmatic struggle which takes place in the middle of the night between Yakov and some strange character, which according to some was the sar shel esav, the angel of Esav.

What exactly was the meaning of this strange story? As we all know, every episode in the Torah is not merely a story, rather it is a blueprint for history and roadmap for life and every character in the Torah embodies a component existing within our own psyche and spiritual life.

The Torah tells us that Yakov was left alone, and a man struggled with him. If he was alone, who was this man? On a deeper level, the struggle that Yakov was experienced that night was with his own identity, he was facing the defining crises of his life, who am I? A crises that we all face at some point in our lives.

And it was at this point that Yakov’s name, his identity of Yisrael is formed. This is the origin of our name, Bnei Yisrael, Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, because this very struggle is at the core of Jewish existence.

Like my new Melbourne friends Paul and Raphael who were keen to lay Tefillin in the Skybus, let’s remain proud of who we are, continue to be proud Jews. Let’s not try to emulate others, rather know our unique place and role in the world as a light unto the nations, which will enable us to hold our heads high, and be proud of our identity, faith and heritage as a Jew and valuable member of society, for which we will be respected by others. In the words of the former chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, ‘“Non-Jews respect Jews who respect Judaism, and they are embarrassed by Jews who are embarrassed by Judaism”. Am Yisrael Chai! 

Please see information below regarding Chanukah celebrations below and look out for information in the post and via email regarding Chanaukah, which commences next Sunday evening, December 2, 2018.      

Shabbat Shalom and we look forward to see you at Shul.

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Vayeitzei 5779

The past week has not been an easy one. With sad news coming from Israel, rockets attached from Gaza, the bush fires in California USA and, of course, the tragic attack on the streets of Melbourne last Friday.

Let’s pray for a week of peace, protection and true Shalom for Am Yisroel, Eretz Yisrael and the world over!

This week we read  the story of Jacob’s dream and the famous ladder with its feet on the ground and head in the heavens. “And behold the angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it.”

Some ask…do angels really need a ladder? We all know angels have wings, not feet. So why would they need a ladder?

There is a beautiful message hidden in this quote from the Torah.

In climbing heavenward, one does not necessarily need wings, fancy leaps and bounds. There is a ladder, a spiritual route clearly mapped out for us to be traversed step-by-step, one rung at a time. The pathway to Heaven is gradual, methodical and eminently manageable.

Many people are discouraged from even beginning a spiritual journey because they believe it needs that huge leap of faith. They cannot see themselves reaching a degree of religious commitment, which to them, seems otherworldly. And yet, with the gradual step-by-step approach, one finds that the journey can be embarked upon and the destination aspired to is not in outer space.

A teacher once asked the following question: “If two people are on a ladder, one at the top and one on the bottom, who is higher?” The class considered this question rather silly — until the wise teacher explained that we are not really capable of judging who was higher or lower until we first ascertained in which direction each was headed.

If the person on top was going down and the person on the bottom was going up, then conceptually, the one on the bottom was actually higher.

This message is simple, yet profound. It doesn’t really matter what your starting point is or where you are on the ladder of spiritual life. As long as you are moving in the right direction, as long as you are going up, you will, please G-d, succeed in climbing the heavenly heights.

Shabbat Shalom and we look forward to see you at Shul.

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Shabbat and Festival Times

Fri  Nov 2nd: Light Candles 5.49pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 3rd 6.45pm

Fri  Nov 9th: Light Candles 5.54pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 10th 6.50pm

Fri  Nov 16th: Light Candles 5.59pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 17th 6.56pm

Fri  Nov 23rd: Light Candles 6.05pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 24th 7.02pm

Fri  Nov 30th: Light Candles 6.10pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 1st 7.08pm

Sun 2nd Chanukah 1st night: Light candles after nightfall (6.58pm)

Fri  Dec 7th: Light Candles 6.16pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 8th 7.14pm

Sun 9th Chanukah last night: Light candles after nightfall (6.58pm)

Fri  Dec 14th: Light Candles 6.20pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 15th 7.19pm

Fri  Dec 21st: Light Candles 6.24pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 22nd 7.23pm

Fri  Dec 28th: Light Candles 6.27pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 29th 7.25pm

Fri  Jan 4th: Light Candles 6.29pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 5th 7.27pm

Fri  Jan 11th: Light Candles 6.30pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 12th 7.27pm

Fri  Jan 18th: Light Candles 6.29pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 19th 7.26pm

Fri  Jan 25th: Light Candles 6.28pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 26th 7.23pm

Fri  Feb 1st: Light Candles 6.24pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 2nd 7.19pm

Fri  Feb 8th: Light Candles 6.20pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 9th 7.14pm

Fri  Feb 15th: Light Candles 6.15pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 16th 7.08pm

Fri  Feb 22nd: Light Candles 6.09pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 23rd 7.02pm