27 Av 5777 – Re’eh

Mazal Tov!I wish a hearty Mazal Tov to our president, Daryl and Loren Robinson on the Bar Mitzvah of their son Gavin this Shabbat afternoon in Shule! Gavin is ‘one of the boys’ at our Shule and we are all very excited to be celebrating this special time with him and his family.

The new month of Elul
This week Tuesday and Wednesday we welcome in the new month of Elul. It is now only one month until Rosh Hashanah and a suitable time to start preparing ourselves for the days of Awe. To assist, we have developed a four session lecture series beginning this Monday evening with a special talk by world reknowned speaker, Rabbi Dr Akivah Tatz. Topic: New year, new you! Please join us for what will be an inspirational, insightful and informative evening.

Tefillin Drive!
I call on all post Bar Mitzvah aged men to join our Tefillin drive!! Please join us for a morning minyan this month (Sundays from 8am, Monday and Thursdays from 6.30am) to pray, lay tefillin and enjoy a coffee to follow. 

Here is a thought to ponder.

In this week’s portion of Re’eh, we read about the varying characteristics that define a kosher  animal. For a land animal to be Kosher it must contain two signs – it must have split hooves and chew its cud. Why? The Torah doesn’t say. But the mystics have learned two important lessons that are especially relevant to our lives today.

The split hooves – are symbolic of the notion that one’s movement in life (reflected by the moving legs) is governed by a division between “right” and “left,” between right and wrong, between the permissible and the prohibited. One of the great dangers to individuals and societies is when the boundaries between good and evil become blurred. A split hoof represents the human capacity to understand that there are things to be embraced and things to be rejected. 

Yet, even after a person “swallows” and integrates into his or her life certain perspectives, attitudes and feelings, they must never become totally self-assured and smug about them. The spiritual human being needs to continually regurgitate their notions and ideas and reflect upon them again and again. They must continually ask themselves if the path they are going down is still in the right direction or perhaps they should stride towards a different path. As responsible, moral human beings we must continually seek – till our very last breath – to challenge ourselves, examine our behaviours and refine our characters.     

With the month of Elul now only days away, I believe this message is appropriate to consider.

Wishing you and your families shabbat shalom!

Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman

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