This Shabbat Project and Why Maroubra is Special
As Jews, we believe in the sanctity of every single human being. G-d created humanity in ‘His image’ and everyone has an equal share of G-dly presence within them. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to show dignity to everyone from pauper to prince, ‘commoner’ to dignitary.
As you know, this Shabbat we will be celebrating the ‘Shabbat Project’ together with hundreds of other Jewish communities around the globe. The brainchild of Chief Rabbi (SA) Warren Goldstein, the Shabbat Project aims to unite the Jewish world by encouraging as many Jews to get-together on a chosen Shabbat to celebrate it as one. We will have many friends, guests and dignitaries in Shul this weekend and close to 200 people will be joining us for an inspirational and joyous Shabbat dinner. We will hear from some of our federal and local representatives, community leaders and regular attendees. I believe that this evening will showcase who we are at Maroubra and what we strive for. We are a community where everyone can sit together, as equals, for a meal.
Interestingly, it is this exact message that surfaces so strongly in this week’s Torah reading, Vayera. The very first Jew, Abraham, sees “three men” approaching his tent and he invites them in for a meal. These “men” were actually angels that were being sent to give Abraham the news that he was to have a child. Angels, regular men.. it didn’t matter. they seemed tired from their travels and so Abraham reached out to them in love and kindness. Contrast this to the behaviour of Abraham’s nephew Lot, who we will read about just a few chapters later. He too invites these angels into his home for a meal and serves them with generous hospitality and grace. But there is a difference. Upon first encountering these beings, the Torah tells us “And he saw, three angels were approaching”. Why did he dedicate his service to them? Because he saw they were angels, dignitaries, people of influence and the who’s who of society. He perceived that he could gain from being in their company and that’s why he was so nice. But what if he saw just “three men” as his uncle did. Would he still be so generous and kind?
Abraham is our forefather and foremost role model. It is amazing how the Torah shares with us this message through a small nuance such as the usage of a different word to describe the same scenario. This Shabbat project we will all sit together and rejoice as one and this is what we do so often in Maroubra. I know Abraham would be proud.
I look forward to celebrating with all of you. Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman