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From the Vice President

Lauren Ryder

e: admin@greatsynagogue.org.au

Shabbat Shalom!

This week we are looking forward to the final Live at The Great for the year! It will be a celebration of Jewish music through the ages featuring Australia's leading klezmer band CHUTNEY, Vatche Jambazian, Ben Adler and our very own Great Synagogue choir led by our our Chazzan, Rabbi Menachem Feldman. There's still time to book your ticket with a few spots left!

Looking ahead, we're holding a Chanukah celebration on Friday night 23 December for the entire family! Children are invited to a kids' party at 6pm, with the Falk Menorah being lit at 6:30pm, followed by a Choral Ma'ariv and then a Festive Kiddush. Bring along the entire family for a wonderful evening!

We have had great interest in our 4-part Learn Hebrew Classes with Rabbi Menachem and Mushki Feldman. There is still time to sign up, with classes starting in the new year. You don't need any prior knowledge and everyone is welcome!

This week we wish Adrian Lewis a very Happy Birthday! Mazal Tov to you and the Lewis family!

For all those celebrating a Simcha, we wish everyone Mazal Tov and hope that you enjoy many more S’machot! We thank all who have donated for offerings this Shabbat.

To all those in our community who are suffering some minor or major illness, we wish you a Refu’ah Shaleima – a complete and speedy recovery; and to all those commemorating a Yahrzeit, or who have recently suffered a loss, we wish you a long and good life, full of Simchas.
 
I hope to see many of you over Shabbat.
Wishing all of you a Shabbat Shalom.

Lauren Ryder

VICE PRESIDENT

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From The Rabbi

Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton

e: admin@greatsynagogue.org.au

 

Shabbat Toldot 5783

Tickets are selling fast for the concert on 7 December, there are still some left, so please make your booking soon for what will be a wonderful evening of Jewish music. The whole family is warmly invited to our Chanukah celebration on Friday evening 23 December, with fun for the kids, followed by lighting the Falk Menorah, Maariv and a festive Kiddush.

After serving his uncle Laban for many years, marrying Rachel and Leah, taking Bilhah and Zilpa as concubines and having twelve sons and a daughter, it was time to leave. However, there remained the issue of payment for all the work that Jacob performed for Laban. They struck a deal: Jacob was to keep all the white sheep and goats, but Jacob was to receive all the speckled, spotted and dark sheep. However, Laban the trickster still had something up his sleeve. He gave his sons the non-white sheep and sent them off. Only the white sheep were left and Jacob stood to get nothing.

Jacob responded by peeling white streaks into rods taken from trees and putting them before the sheep when they mated. The young that were born were streaked, speckled and spotted. What was more, Jacob only shows the rods to the strong sheep, so he received the best of the flock and Laban kept the weak sheep.

Clearly, this was not the working of biology or genetics. Sheep don’t have streaked young because they see streaked rods. It can only be that God intervened by causing the animals Jacob chose to produce speckled offspring. The placing of the rods was therefore a signal to God which animals Jacob wanted to be the parents of the sheep he took with him, that is, the strong and healthy ones.  The rods had no effect, and were not intended to have any effect on the sheep themselves.

That was the difference between Laban and Jacob. Laban engaged in theft and fraud; he spirited away the animals that were supposed to go to Jacob. Jacob, by contrast, simply trusted God. He was saying ‘these are the animals I want, and if God wants me to have them, he will arrange for that to happen’.

In particular, Jacob is a model of the correct balance between bitachon and hishtadlut, having faith in and reliance on God, and taking practical steps for ones own success. Jacob was not entirely passive in this episode, he made his wishes clear, but he was also entirely trusting in God to bring those wishes to fruition. Jacob was not like the Jewish man in the famous joke who complains to God that he never wins the lottery, only for God to ask him ‘Mendel, do me a favour. Meet me half way. Buy a ticket’.

We have to do both, show bitachon and hishtadlut, trust in God and buy a ticket, know that our success ultimately comes from heaven, but also making an effort for our own sake.

 

Sat, 3 December 2022 9 Kislev 5783