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Rabbi's Shabbat Message

This Shabbat is not a High Holy Day nor is it an historically meaningful moment and yet … it is a date with the utmost significance for our Central Synagogue Family. This marks the first Shabbat since coronavirus restrictions came in when we are permitted to open our doors to the largest number of congregants to date: 350 members! It is exciting and I am unashamedly emotional. 



And yet … we must be careful to not only feel it remotely but to live it! Yes, the void was vast, yet we have now been blessed with an opportunity to re-enter our spiritual sanctuary in the hundreds, undoubtedly one of the largest congregations in the world to get this chance and we must seize it! 



In 1911, the Louvre Museum in Paris fell victim to one of the world’s all-time great art heists when Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was stolen. It remained missing for two years and in that time, more people went to stare at the blank space where it had previously resided, than had viewed the masterpiece in the previous twelve years! 



Human nature reveals so much. All too often, we fail to appreciate precious realities in our midst. Yet when they are taken from us, we become painfully aware of the ‘blank space’ in our lives. 



The truth is that our world is full of Mona Lisa’s, countless blessings that grace us daily, yet all too often we are oblivious to them … 



Thank you to so many who have already shared how meaningful it is to have the privilege of davening with a minyan at our Shule. I couldn’t agree more! We are taught that a key element of Jewish prayer is to keep our sense of awe alive so that we recognise and are mindful of the blessings we do have. 



Sometimes we approach prayer exclusively as a time to ask for [insert your hopes + dreams]; yet an equally vital purpose is to ensure we are consciously aware of the blessings we already possess: family, friends, life itself. Studies have shown that there is a direct link between expressing gratitude, the physically acknowledgement of our life gifts, to feeling emotionally healthier. This action releases serotonin and is therefore a transformative emotion, bringing about inner peace and happiness. 



The Midrash asks what the definition is of a non-spiritual person? Answer: someone who is not alive to the wonder of G-d’s creation. 



If you have the awareness to thank G-d for the ‘Mona Lisa’s’ in your life, you are going to be alive with spirituality, let’s endeavour to collectively do this rather than focus on the blank spaces. 



Prayer reminds us that there is an abundance of heaven here on earth. We should open our eyes and treasure the ‘works of art’ all around us. 

It is all here for you. Welcome back to Shule! Welcome back home! 



Shabbat Shalom,



Rabbi Levi and Chanie 



[Kabbalat Shabbat service begins at 6pm; Shabbat morning at 9:30am. Here’s a tip: Take a moment to register online today at www.centralsynagogue.com to expedite the process of giving details at the door when you arrive]