Live In or Out?

09/12/16 16:47:20

Dec9

This week's parasha, Vayetze, is the parasha of Exile. At the beginning of the parasha, Jacob leaves Israel. At the end he returns. In the intervening 22 years he works, marries, has his children and becomes extraordinarily wealthy. One could say, that it is in the parasha of Vayetze that he becomes a mensch. It is here that he reaches the peak of his life's accomplishments.

But Vayetze is unique in another way. It is the only...Read more...

Rosh Hashana 5777 - Rabbi's Drosha; A Day to Express Gratitude

07/10/16 07:10:24

Oct7

Why do we blow Shofar on Rosh Hashanah?
Although many reasons are given, the most fundamental and historic reason takes us back to that very first Rosh Hashanah - the day of Adam’s creation.

Immediately after his “birth” on that very first Rosh Hashanah, Adam gathered all his fellow creatures and said to them “Let us give thanks to G-d and crown Him as King of the Universe.” He then sounded the Shofar and proclaimed,...Read more...

Thank You All

07/10/16 07:09:37

Oct7

My mother, sister and I, together with all our family, have been absolutely overwhelmed by the huge level of support that we have received from you, our community, over this past week and a half. Your calls, texts and emails have helped soften the pain of our father's unexpected passing. (Although our father was 92, he was regaining muscle strength after a serious fall and the week before his passing began walking again. Until the end he was...Read more...

Faith Lost and Found

31/07/15 12:27:25

Jul31

Faith Lost and Found 
Tribute by Rabbi Milecki to Elie Wiesel
Friday night, 8th July

This week we mourned the loss of Elie Wiesel, one of the most passionate Jewish voices of our time. A speaker, author and teacher - he reached non-Jewish audiences in a manner that very few ever could.

Elie Wiesel’s early life was deeply plagued and tormented. He had written his now famous book Night - which as it’s name...Read more...

Dirty Jew?

03/07/15 14:36:01

Jul3

If someone said you were dirt, you would no doubt be rightfully offended. And yet in this week's parasha that is precisely what we the Jewish People are compared to. 

The verse states: "Who can count you - you are like dirt O Jacob". 

This is supposed to be a blessing? 

Surely there are better similes to describe the great number of Jews than comparing them to dirt! Indeed, when Abraham is blessed by...Read more...

Adapting to Change - How, When, Why

26/06/15 13:36:22

Jun26

Everyone knows about Moses hitting the rock. It was, as they say, an expensive mistake. It cost him his visa into the Land of Israel.

What is not readily understood is why hitting the rock was considered such a terrible sin. After all, when the Israelites first entered the desert and were in need of water, G-d Himself told Moses to hit the rock  Now, forty years into their walk in the wilderness, Miriam dies and the rock dries...Read more...

Every Jew a Shaliach

17/06/15 11:55:49

Jun17

Each and every Jew, man and woman, is a shaliach - G-d’s personal emissary. With this great privilege comes the great responsibility to ensure that:

1) each of us become vehicles for G-d’s Word. Every single Jew has a portion in Torah, as we read in our prayers (in the blessings before the morning Shema), “Give us OUR portion in Your Torah”, Each of us, through applying our souls and minds...Read more...

Second Chance

01/05/15 14:10:33

May1

In the forefront of many Australian minds this week were the executions of men who, by all accounts, had turned their lives around but were not given a second chance. 

Is there a Jewish take on this?

On Monday we will celebrate Pesach Sheini. What is it's significance? What does it teach us?

There are not one, but two, different descriptions of the creation of Man....Read more...

After Death - Holiness

30/04/15 11:17:10

Apr30

The parasha, Acharei Mot, which commences with the untimely deaths of Aaron's two sons, Nadav and Avihu, is usually read in conjunction with Kedoshim - literally "You shall be holy" which has profound bearing on the Jewish attitude towards the vagaries of life.

The deaths of Aaron's two sons could not have occurred at a more inopportune time. Rosh Chodesh Nissan was a day which had been planned as one of great celebration. The...Read more...

A Message from Your Rabbis

07/04/15 10:47:18

Apr7

In response to shocking and painful revelations of child sexual abuse and its mishandling by those who should have known better, a small group of Sydney Rabbis came together to share a message with the community. 

Read more...

The Jew: Beyond the Natural Order

02/04/15 14:04:46

Apr2

I  wrote this piece some 30 years ago and it's as relevant today (perhaps more so) than when it was first written. If you have time, please print it out, read it and share your thoughts with me. BZ. 

The preparation for Pesach, more frenzied than that for all other festivals combined, finds its culmination as family and guests gather around the seder-table. Tranquility and calm replace the mad rush of the previous...Read more...

Enlightenment: Not an Individual Concern

16/03/15 09:58:03

Mar16

Of all the mitzvot of the Torah, our Rabbis tell us that the mitzvah of Parah Adumah is the most enigmatic. So much so, that King Solomon, the wisest of all men, said: "I thought that I was wise, but (upon seeing my inability to comprehend the mitzvah of Parah Adumah - Midrash) I realized that wisdom was far from me.

What is Parah Adumah?

If a person came into contact with a corpse, he could...Read more...

The Choice is Ours

06/03/15 13:40:02

Mar6

Haman attempted to destroy the Jewish People through promising the Persian King Achashverosh the sum of 10,000 talents of silver.

The Talmud explains that whenever we find the word "King" in the Megillah it refers not only to Achashverosh, but also to G-d, the ultimate King of Kings. Indeed the very name Achashverosh refers to G-d. "Achar" means after, whereas "Rosh" means beginning. Hence, Achashverosh...Read more...

Fire & Water

20/02/15 13:21:58

Feb20

Fire and Water: the two staples of human life and development.

Without water, nothing can live; with water the possibilities are endless. This is why so much effort and money is being invested into discovering whether there is or was water on Mars.

And fire: at the very onset of civilisztion, what distinguished Man from all other creatures was his mastery of fire. Fire is energy in its rawest state. And to control fire, was to...Read more...

19/02/15 11:53:27

Feb19

May the Light be With You Always ~RBZ Chanukah 5775 

Please listen

Read more...

19/02/15 11:51:46

Feb19

May the Light be With You Always ~RBZ Chanukah 5775 

Please listen

Read more...

Powerful Message for Today

30/01/15 18:04:48

Jan30

 

As anyone going to a Jewish bookstore will attest, there is a plethora of Jewish books available in English today. What many may not realize is that translations of...Read more...

Humble Dreidel

19/12/14 10:43:14

Dec19

The dreidel has evolved from the humble clay or wood version that we many of us hand-crafted as children, to the "hi-tech" multi-media version, replete with lights and musical accompaniment, that can be now be found on shop shelves and in many homes....Read more...

Two Pillars

17/12/14 12:04:37

Dec17

Yud Tes Kislev - 19th Kislev - is a foundation day in the history of the Chassidic movement which revolutionised the Jewish world in the eighteenth century. But how does it relate to you and me on a daily basis? 

The founder of the Chassidic movement was Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. Although the Baal Shem Tov was tragically orphaned at the age of five, his father Rabbi Eliezer left him two...Read more...

The Joy of Struggle

17/12/14 12:03:20

Dec17

We struggle with anger, impulsiveness, negative thoughts, faulty decision making, procrastination and many similar character faults. The road is difficult, full of failures and regressions. We resolve to become better - but more often than not, revert to our old ways.

How can we overcome the sense of futility?  How do we maintain our self-esteem in the face of our failings?

Clearly...Read more...

Small in Number not in Stature

12/12/14 15:18:23

Dec12

And G-d said to Avram: "Go outside and count the stars.. if you can count them, so will be your descendants."

The normative meaning of this verse is that G-d blessed Abraham with being the father of a numerically superior nation.

The problem, of course, is that throughout history Jews have always been numerically insignificant. The Arabs, on the other hand, who are also the recipients...Read more...

What's Pulling Your Needle?

12/12/14 15:16:51

Dec12

In this week's parasha we read something really quite shocking: Isaac has become old (senile?), his eyes have become dim (perhaps with cataract?), and as a result he wishes to bless his older son Esau - a man whose values are far removed from those of his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham. 

The obvious implication is that because Isaac has become old, senile and blind, he really doesn't know what he...Read more...

The Joy of Struggle

12/12/14 15:15:02

Dec12

We struggle with anger, impulsiveness, negative thoughts, faulty decision making, procrastination and many similar character faults. The road is difficult, full of failures and regressions. We resolve to become better - but more often than not, revert to our old ways.

How can we overcome the sense of futility?  How do we maintain our self-esteem in the face of our failings?

Clearly...Read more...

Two Pillars

12/12/14 14:37:25

Dec12

Yud Tes Kislev - 19th Kislev - is a foundation day in the history of the Chassidic movement which revolutionised the Jewish world in the eighteenth century. But how does it relate to you and me on a daily basis? 

The founder of the Chassidic movement was Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. Although the Baal Shem Tov was tragically orphaned at the age of five, his father Rabbi Eliezer left him two...Read more...

V'ten Tal UMatar

04/12/14 14:00:38

Dec4

As you may be aware, there are times during the year when we pray for rain and there are times that we don’t.

Generally speaking, we commence praying for rain at Maariv on Dec 4 - THIS evening.

When praying the weekday Amida (Shmoneh Esreh) please insert the words “v’ten tal u’matar l’vracha” ותן טל ומטר לברכה in the blessing of Barech Aleinu. You will find it in the...Read more...

A Balanced Accounting

02/09/14 10:46:19

Sep2

We are currently in the month of Elul, the month of preparation for the Day of Judgement, Rosh HaShana.

Traditionally, people associate Elul with a time of introspection. 

It is the month when one reviews the negative aspects of one’s character and shortcomings in one’s compliance with G-d’s Torah, and decides on ways to improve them.

However although this is necessary, it is by no means the whole purpose of...Read more...

Personal Introspection

22/08/14 10:24:02

Aug22

The Quest for Self Improvement

As the last month of the Jewish year, Elul is traditionally a time of introspection and stocktaking -- a time to review one's deeds and spiritual progress over the past year and prepare for the upcoming "Days of Awe" of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. 

As the month of Divine Mercy and Forgiveness it is a most opportune time for teshuvah ("return" to G-d), prayer, charity, and increased...Read more...

Confronting Anti-Semitism in Australia

18/08/14 12:43:39

Aug18

This week we witnessed something remarkable. Two women, Judy Wilkenfeld and Sharri Markson, exposed Mike Carlton's anti-Semitism to an extent that the editor-in-chief of the Sydney Morning Herald had no choice but to stand him down. See here

It often appears that it's somewhat of a Jewish trait to bemoan amongst ourselves how terrible things are. Yet here are two women who didn't just talk. They did! And they were...Read more...

The Day Europe Went Mad

04/08/14 12:29:20

Aug4

The Rebbetzen and I are currently in New York. As everywhere in the Jewish World, not a conversation goes by where the situation in Israel is not discussed. And here, as everywhere, there is deep concern at the level of anti-semitism unprecedented since before WWII.

In response to 9/11, the US embarked on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. When NATO bombed Yugoslavia, leading...Read more...

What's Doing on the Home Front?

18/07/14 14:38:26

Jul18

As I write these lines the soldiers of the IDF have entered Gaza to seek out and destroy the terrorist infrastructure. May Hashem protect them and guide them to their objectives quickly so that they can return to their families in peace. Our thoughts are with them constantly.

In every battle the actions of those on the home front are of great importance - both to draw down Hashem’s blessings and to boost the morale of the...Read more...

Tue, 17 October 2017 27 Tishrei 5778

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