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From the Senior Vice President


MAX FREEDMAN
e: admin@greatsynagogue.org.au

Dear friends

We welcome home Rabbi Menachem Feldman and Mushki after a whirlwind trip to Israel to celebrate a family wedding and we wish all the extended family mazel tov. Our thanks again to Joe Gluck who is always ready to assist. 

This Shabbat is Jerusalem Shabbat in honour of Yom Yerushalayim commemorating both the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City after the Six Day War in 1967 .

Shavuot is fast approaching with lots of activities for the family so please check details on our flyers below. In particular Saturday June 4 evening dinner at the Eltons, Sunday June 5 children's parade at 10am during the service followed by a beautiful choral evening service at 6pm with hot fish and chips served in the portico. Monday morning service will commence earlier at 8am, Yizkor at 9.30am and service will finish at 10.30 with dairy brunch after the service. There is something for everyone.

As Lauren mentioned last week, planning for our annual The Great Vine is under way and we welcome contributions from all members; articles, High Holiday greetings and sponsorship. Your support will go a long way in creating another successful magazine.

This week, we celebrate the birthdays of Michael Gold OAM, David Landis, Stephen Rubner, Alex Walter and Jack Woolf. Mazal tov and many happy returns for the day.

Mazal tov to Michael Green on his Bar Mitzvah Anniversary.

Celebrating their 61st Wedding Anniversary we wish mazel tov to Anna and David Rosenwax AM

For all those celebrating a simcha, we wish everyone mazal tov and hope you enjoy many more S'machot.

To all those in our community who are suffering some minor or major illness, we wish you a Refu'ah Shalema - 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.

Enjoy Shabbat dinner with your family, wishing all of you a Shabbat Shalom.

Warm regards

Max Freedman

Senior Vice President


From the Rabbi


RABBI DR BENJAMIN ELTON
e: admin@greatsynagogue.org.au

Bechukotai 5782

This Shabbat Rabbi Feldman is recuperating after his visit to Israel, and we are looking forward to hearing his chazzanut again next week. I want to thank Joe Gluck for leading services so beautifully last week.

Shavuot is coming the weekend after this. There are going to be lots of wonderful opportunities, for children and adults, at my home and at shule, evening and morning, to hear the Chazzan and Choir and I hope you will join us for many of those. You can see all the details in this newsletter.

We end the book of Vayikra with Parashat Bechukotai, where we are given details of the reward for following God’s laws or the punishment for breaking them. One of the blessings that comes with obedience is that there will be rest from vicious animals. They will not harm or terrify the human population. Concern about wild beasts was very natural and reasonable. Ancient Israel was home to several dangerous animals, including lions, bears, crocodiles and hippopotamuses. Keeping safe from those animals was always going to be a concern. That must have been brought into even sharper relief considering that one of the plagues used to punish the Egyptians was wild animals. This concern continues to the present day. We all know of the terrible story of the baby taken from a family’s tent by a dingo near Uluru in 1980. The Traveller’s Prayer in the Siddur still contains a reference to chayot ra’ot – wild beasts.

What does the Torah mean when it says we will have rest from these wild and dangerous animals? The Rabbinic text the Sifra gives two possibilities. Rabbi Judah says that they will become extinct, although it has been suggested that he did not mean absolute extinction, but rather that these animals would leave populated areas. The other explanation, by Rabbi Shimon, is that the nature of these wild animals will change and they will no longer be dangerous. A different angle, most likely taken by Maimonides, is that the verse does not refer to actual animals at all, but they are a metaphor for the surrounding nations that threaten Israel, which will either collapse (R Judah) or cease to be belligerent (R Shimon).

There is a third possibility, which is perhaps most practically relevant. The Rebbe of Sochatchov said in 1915 that when a human being fulfills their Divine mandate, when they are upstanding, and when the image of God shines on their faces, every creation, whether human or animal stands in awe of them. By this interpretation when the Jews behave as they should and keep the commandments, they will be, and will appear to be, truly connected to God and therefore no person and no animal would ever attack them.

It follows that our treatment by the nations of the world ultimately is the result of our actions and not theirs. If we live proper, dedicated, Godly lives then we do not need to fear anyone or anything. Our safety is ultimately derived from our behaviour, and only we have control over that.

Fri, 27 May 2022 26 Iyar 5782