Archive for April, 2019

From The Rabbi – Parshat Metzora / Shabbat Hagadol 5779

A large proportion of the western world are in the process of elections. The Baal Shem Tov taught that all events which we see and hear should serve as lessons in the service of Hashem and, particularly as we are within such close proximity to Pesach – Passover. So what do we learn from the elections?

At the centre of the Hagaddah – the Passover text, is the phrase “In every generation (every day), we should see ourselves as if we have personally been freed from Egypt”, in other words, it is imperative for us to internalize and personalize the Passover experience, which emphasizes the unique power and responsibility invested in each individual to play their role in the communal liberation from Egypt, which is represented by the various constraints and limitations, which inhibit our ability to grow.

Among the lessons we learn from the elections and, in particular the recent elections in Israel and the upcoming elections in India, is the power of each individual to effect global change, and that we need each other to create a coalition in order to achieve success.                  

On this note, we extend our Mazal Tov wishes to Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, for his historic victory, securing a record fifth term as Israel’s prime minister at the head of a coalition supported by religious-conservative parties. May Israel continue to be strong and secure with peace and harmony within its borders.   

This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Hagadol (the Great Shabbat). Among the reasons suggested for this is, that prior to the Jewish people leaving Egypt, they were instructed to take a sheep and to tie it to their bed post in preparation for its slaughter four days later. When the Egyptians asked the Jews about this, they were informed about the impending plague of the killing of the first born, during which the blood of the sheep sprinkled on the doorposts would be a sign that Hashem would Passover the homes of the Jewish people. Upon hearing about this, the first-born among the Egyptians waged a civil war against Pharaoh and his people. This was considered a great miracle as it diverted the attention from the Jews and caused our enemies to wipe out each other without the need for special Divine intervention or any effort on behalf of the Jews.

It is customary to read a section of the Hagaddah this Shabbat afternoon to prepare for the upcoming Pesach Sedarim next Shabbat.    

Please see information below regarding Pesach and various communal programs and events in the coming weeks.     

Shabbat Shalom 

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Tazria 5779

There is much discussion and controversy in contemporary society about free speech, regarding what information we may be permitted or restricted from sharing.        

This debate has become more heated in recent times, as we live an age where the news cycle is more vicious than ever before. News can break, dissected, spun, commented on, rebuffed, and defended. In this partisan atmosphere, opinions are formed based on who is doing the talking. Scathing criticism is leveled daily, without regard for civility, often shattering reputations, without regard for collateral damage. 

What does Judaism have to say about all of this?       

In times of old, when people would engage in gossip, and negative speech (Lashon Hora), they would be afflicted with a  skin discoloration, known as Tzoraas (sounds like Tzores), often translated as leprosy,resulting in one being sent out of the community into solitary confinement for an extended period of time. Judaism is clear that not all speech is ‘free’ and that we must exercise much discretion about the words we use, either verbally or in writing.

This does not preclude the sharing of, or withholding information which is necessary to protect society, in which case we have a duty to share or withhold certain information, however in the majority of situations this is not necessarily the case, and I often wonder how many people would find themselves in solitary confinement outside the community, if the affliction of Tzoraas applied today.             

This Shabbat we commemorate the Yahrtzeit of our esteemed life-member, the late Reb Tzvi Hirsh (George) Frey who, through his many decades of service to our community, in particular through founding and editing our communal ‘Shalom’ newspaper, exemplified the concept of keeping the peace and communal cohesion, steering away from Lashon Horah, and  negative press. May his memory be a blessing          

This week, we will again take out an additional Torah for a special reading, named Parshat Hachodesh, which contains  information about the unique and first Mitzvah of the Torah, to count the months of year, commencing with Nissan, as the first of the months. As this Shabbat also coincides with Rosh Chodesh, it will be one of those rare opportunities to take out three Sifrei Torah(Torah scrolls).      

Please see information below regarding Pesach and various communal programs and events in the coming weeks.       

Shabbat Shalom 

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Shabbat and Festival Times

Fri Sept 27th: Light Candles 5.28pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 28th 6.21pm

Sunday Sept 29th Erev Rosh HaShana: Light Candles 5.29pm

Monday Sept 30th Rosh HaShana Day 1: Light Candles after 6.22pm

Tuesday October 1st Rosh HaShana Day 2: Yom Tov ends 6.23pm

Wednesday Oct 2nd Fast of Gedalia 4.13am-6.12pm

Fri Oct 4th (Shabbat Shuva): Light Candles 5.31pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 5th 6.25pm

Tues Oct 8th: Erev Yom Kippur – Kol Nidrei Light Candles 5.33pm

Wed Oct 9th: Yom Kippur

Yom Tov ends 6.27pm

Fri Oct 11th: Light Candles 5.35pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 12th 6.29pm

Sun Oct 13th: Erev Sukkot Light Candles 5.36

Mon Oct 14th: Sukkot Day 1 Light Candles after 6.30pm

Tues Oct 15th: Sukkot Day 2 Yom Tov ends 6.31pm

Fri Oct 18th: Light Candles 5.39pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 19th 6.33pm

Sunday Oct 20th: Hoshana Rabba Light Candles 5.40pm

Monday Oct 21st: Shemini Atzeret Light Candles after 6.35pm

Tuesday Oct 22nd: Simchat Torah Yom Tov ends 6.35pm

Fri Oct 25th: Shabbat Bereishit Light Candles 5.43pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 26th 6.38pm