13 Av 5777 – Veetchanan

Jewish Valentine’s day?

With the sadness of Tisha B’av now behind us we can look forward to the joy of Tu B’av. This coming Sunday is the 15th day of Av, which is the happiest day in the Jewish calendar. It was on this day that the young men and women of Jerusalem used to gather in the streets to sing and dance. Many matches were made on this day. In modern times, this day is often referred to as Jewish Valentine’s day so make sure you do something special for your spouse this Sunday!

Last one! Sunday morning Pre City2Surf training!

Talking about doing something special together as a family, please join me for my last training session this Sunday, 9am, at Maroubra beach. Last week, sixty people joined us for an enjoyable exercise session and shmooz. I can’t think of a better way to start the week – exercise, good company, inspiration and breakfast!!

Mazal tov to our Bar-Mitzvah family

I also take this opportunity to wish the entire Krafchik family a hearty Mazal Tov on the Bar Mitzvah of Jason this coming Shabbat. We look forward to celebrating together with you!

We are all summoned to greatness!

As we emerge from the destruction of Tisha B’av, I find myself reflecting on the miracle that is the Jewish people. We have always been a small people, numerically. Today, there are roughly 14 million Jews worldwide. Before WWII, this number was roughly the same or slightly higher. Moses makes mention of our small size in this  week’s Torah portion of Vaetchanan: “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you are the fewest of all peoples.” (Deut. 7: 7). 

Yet, numbers alone do not determine success or victory. There have been many nations and peoples more numerous and more powerful than us, yet today they are gone and we are still here. Furthermore, have always punched far beyond our weight in all areas of achievement and endeavour. I recall Ghandi’s statement that  “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” 

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks raises a fascinating observation. You see, we were made small so that we can show the world that a people do not have to be large in order to be great. It does not have to be numerous to defeat its enemies. Our unique history will show that, in the words of the prophet Zechariah (4:6), “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” 

We must believe in G-d, but even more, We must believe in ourselves.

We Jews have survived, unlike any other nation. Our resistance to destruction, our endurance under all sorts of conditions , our tendency to have an influence beyond all proportion to our numbers is because we are all called on to be leaders, to take responsibility, to contribute, to make a difference to the lives of others, to bring the Divine presence into the world. It’s precisely because we are small, that each one of us is summoned to greatness.

Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom and a joyous weekend!

Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman

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