Do you still hold on to the belief that the Torah is divine? Literary experts and historians have compared the Bible to other writings of 3000 years ago (when the Torah was supposedly given by G-d) and said that its style doesn't fit in to the literature of that time frame, and must have been written much later. How can you ignore a fact that has been scientifically proven?
Did you hear about the recent study on frogs? Scientists took a sample of over one hundred frogs of various species and did the following test:
They placed each frog on a table, crept up behind it and shouted, "Jump!" The frog jumped.
Then they cut off one leg, and again shouted jump. It jumped, although not as far.
They then cut off a second leg and told it to jump, and then a third, each time observing that the frog responded, but jumped smaller distances.
Finally they cut off the fourth leg and again shouted "Jump!" They were amazed to find that in every case the result was the same. The frog did not move at all.
The conclusion: When you cut off a frog's legs, it goes deaf. It is scientifically proven.
We all come to the conclusions that we want to believe. When the experts find that the Torah is too advanced for its time, they conclude it must have been written later than claimed. When I study Torah, I conclude that it is still ahead of its time, because it was written by G-d for all times and all places. Even the parts that seem archaic and outdated, when explained on a deeper level, have powerful messages that I often feel are speaking directly to me. They are relevant and inspiring to me, right here, right now.
Many have tried to either prove or disprove the Torah's divinity. Neither attempt will be successful. G-d wants us to have free choice. If we listen to His word, it is not by force. To maintain balance, there will always be valid arguments to discredit Him and His Torah. We can choose to buy those arguments, or see beyond them. Then, when we open ourselves to the Torah's message, the choice to do so is coming from within.
G-d has given you a mission. How you respond is totally up to you. You can be as deaf as a legless frog, or you can take a leap in response to your higher calling.
HOT soup Kiddush sponsored by Alethea, Taryn and Larnce Gold in honour of the yortzheit of their grandmother, Noami Frere (Nechama bas Ester) on 8 Iyar- Long Life.
Shabbos, 29 April, 2017 | 3 Iyar 5777
In depth Parsha Class............ 9:00am
Children's program............... 10:45am
Shabbos Morning Service ..... 10:00am- 12:20pm
Followed by Kiddush in honour of the Yortzheit of Jack Reuben's father, Joseph Reuben (Yosef Ben Reuven) on 4 Iyar; and the Yortzheit of Danny, Jesse and Dov Meguideche's mother Sarah Meguideche on 4 Iyar- Long Life.
Mincha with Pirkei Ovos Ch 2.................... 4:50pm
Gematria and story by Rev Amzalak.............5:15pm
Shiur with Rabbi Moss............................... 5:35pm
Shabbos ends and Maariv.......................... 5:55pm
Followed by Havdalah
WEEKDAY SHACHARIS SERVICES
Mon- Fri............................. 7:00am
Latest Shema this week........ 9:07am
MAZAL TOV TO
Nefesh's own Julie in honour of the birth of her grandson!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO
Benjamin Hoch.......... 5 Iyar/ Monday 1 May
Sheryl Deubler.......... 6 Iyar/ Tuesday 2 May
LONG LIFE TO
Jack Reuben for his late father Joseph Reuben,
Yosef Ben Reuven... 4 Iyar/ Sunday 30 April
Danny, Jesse and Dov Meguideche for their late mother
Sarah Meguideche... 4 Iyar/ Sunday 30 April
Larnce Gold for his late grandmother Naomi Frere
Nechama bas Ester...8 Iyar/ Thursday 4 May
Marlene Franks for her late father Aaron Jacob Wolman
Aharon Yaakov...10 Iyar/ Saturday 6 May
If you have a birthday, yorzheit, special occasion or just because, we'd love you to sponsor a kiddush. Just tell us the date and kiddush type you'd like and we look after the rest.
I am a grandchild of Holocaust survivors but I feel haunted as if I went through it myself. I regularly see images of Auschwitz in dreams and flashes. I am sometimes even scared to tell people I am Jewish.It seems so ridiculous to be this way here in Australia in 2017. Am I crazy?
You are not crazy. You are a sensitive Jewish soul, and what you are experiencing is not uncommon. You are experiencing the vertical connection.
All Jewish souls are connected. We are more than one family, we are one soul continuum. No matter what affiliation a Jew has or hasn't, every Jewish soul is connected. This connection transcends both time and space. We are horizontally connected to every Jew alive today, and we are vertically connected to the Jews of times gone by.
We have all felt the horizontal connection. When something happens to a Jew on the other side of the world, it affects me as if it happened to me personally. When a Jewish athlete wins a gold medal, every Jew walks around as if it was their own victory. And the athlete himself feels as if he has won on behalf of the entire Jewish people. When we hear news of a tragedy in Israel, or a Jewish community anywhere in the world, it hits us deeply. And the victims are uplifted by our feelings of empathy and prayers of support. This is our horizontal soul connection to all Jews alive today.
But we are also vertically connected to the Jews of previous generations. Like a pyramid of souls, with Abraham and Sarah, the first Jewish couple, standing at the top, each ensuing generation lying below them, and we, the souls of the present generation, at the very bottom, beneath layers and layers of souls of the past. The victories and challenges, celebrations and tragedies of those souls who came before us are on our shoulders.
The images that haunt you are the collective experiences of the souls which you are carrying. This is the challenge of living in our generation. It can be a heavy burden, living so soon after the worst tragedy of Jewish history, in which the lives of so many Jewish souls were cut short. It is not an easy place to be, underneath the weight of all those souls.
We have a choice. We can buckle under the weight of this pillar of souls, it can overwhelm us and we can collapse. It may seem to us that being Jewish is just too heavy, and we can try to relieve ourselves of its weight. Or we can take another path. We can rise to the challenge and elevate the entire pyramid of souls. For we have a gift that was taken from all those souls before us. We are alive. We live in the world of action, where we can still do good and raise ourselves spiritually. And then, from our position on the bottom of the pyramid, we can lift the entire structure and elevate the souls of those on high.
All previous generations are looking to us. Their time in this world has ended, but through us, their unfinished lives can be continued. By living a proud Jewish life, by creating vibrant Jewish homes and communities, by bringing more Jewish children into the world, not only can we fulfil our own purpose, but we can fulfil the hopes and dreams of those souls who never had the chance to do so themselves.
You are not crazy, and you are not doomed to be haunted by the images of pain that weigh you down. Let them drive you to do more good, to be more Jewish, and to continue the light of those holy souls.
I need a quick, punchy and inspiring story to tell at the Seder. It's a tough crowd so it's gotta be a good one. Can you help?
Try this one.
The saintly Rabbi Aryeh Levin was known as the Father of the Prisoners. In the 1930's, when Israel was under British rule, the prisons were full of Jews, mostly members of the Jewish underground organizations. They all knew that this kindly Jerusalem rabbi would regularly visit them, offering support and strength, a listening ear and a soft word of encouragement. Even the most hardened criminal would warm to his gentle nature and sincere love for his fellow.
One time during Pesach, Rabbi Aryeh went to visit his beloved inmates. They greeted him warmly and he asked, "Tell me friends, how was your seder?"
One of the inmates replied, "We had a fantastic Seder! We did all of the traditions and followed all of the customs, except one. There was one tradition that the prison guards did not let us perform."
The rabbi was taken aback. According to British law, even prisoners are allowed freedom of religion and can practice as they please. So he asked, "Which tradition did they not let you do?"
The prisoner responded with a bitter smile, "We ate the Matzah with no problems, and we had plenty of bitter herbs. But when it came to opening the door for Elijah the Prophet, we wanted to do it, but we weren't allowed...
"I guess," continued the inmate, "even on the Festival of Freedom, some people aren't free."
With a sympathetic smile, the rabbi said, "True freedom comes from opening the doors of your heart. It doesn't matter where in the world you're sitting, if your heart is open you are free. Our souls are stuck in a prison of materialism, of selfishness, pettiness and emptiness. When you liberate your soul and allow yourself to connect to G-d, to do good in the world and to be your true holy self, then no matter how many doors are locked in front of you, you are truly free."
This is the power of the Seder. It has kept us free, because no matter what else may be happening in our lives, no matter what doors may be closed to us, the doors to our heart are always ours to open.
Wishing you a Good Shabbos and happy and liberating Pesach,