Torah E-Thought: Lawful Gatherings

This Week at Lubavitch Centre of Leeds
Light Candles  - Leeds :
Friday, 11th Sept  7:30 pm   
Shabbat Ends:
8:19 pm
Torah Portion: 

Lubavitch Centre of Leeds   Email: [email protected]   Phone:

Message from the Rabbi
Dear Friend,

Last night we hosted two guests on our weekly communal Zoom! Rabbi Mendy Lent, Chabad of Nottingham spoke about the students' return and preparations for Rosh Hashanah and Mr Richard Winetrobe, Bio Medical Scientist at the Virus Lab, Leeds Teaching Hospitals shared some fascinating insights into his work during the COVID-19 crisis. You can watch the video here.

Prayer services are restarting at Chabad Lubavitch Leeds! We are open this Shabbat for a morning service followed by a COVID safe kiddush. Details here.

Please join me at 4pm on Friday when I stream my pre-Shabbat thoughts in the Alwoodley Ward Residents Facebook Group. Alwoodley Ward residents can join the group here.

All our coronavirus support is online here.

Wishing you a Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Eli Pink
Director of Education
Chabad Lubavitch Leeds


Jewish people up and down the country are taking stock after the latest regulations announced today and grappling with what they mean for our Rosh Hashanahs.

Many people may now be on their own for the Yom Tov meals and some will be unable to get a place in the synagogue or feel uncomfortable going, even with all the precautions in place. 

In this week when the new laws of public and private gatherings were announced, we read in the parshah about the mitzvah of Hakhel - the mitzvah for all Jews to assemble in the Beit Hamikdash once every seven years: "Assemble the people — the men, the women, and the small children." (Deuteronomy 31:12)

One of the Talmudic Sages, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria discussed why the infants were brought along. He explained, "To give reward to those who bring them."

When the governments news of the “rule of six” broke, some worried parents with larger families were worried – will we have to choose which children to keep at home? Thankfully, that wasn’t what the government meant. But we could have a similar concern about Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria's question. If the parents and entire Jewish nation are assembling at the Beit Hamikdash, obviously they must bring their babies, because otherwise who will care for them?

The commentaries explain that Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria's question was not merely "why are they coming?" but "why did the Torah have to mention that they should be brought?" Like we said, if the parents were there, the children would be too!

There is a discussion in the Talmud (Kiddushin 31a) whether it is better to perform a mitzvah voluntarily or because one has been commanded to perform it. Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria explained that the Torah mentions the bringing of infants in order to make it a command. He believes that being commanded to do something makes it more difficult to accomplish because human nature is to resist, but the reward is commensurately greater.

When trying to get people to follow the latest government guidance, it is unsurprising that we will face resistance. Resistance however is not a bad thing, but a challenge to be overcome. In Judaism, when we manage to engage people in Jewish observances throughout the year, their religion will mean more to them and they will be happier to fulfil its precepts. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will feel less daunting.

As we look towards a different Rosh Hashanah, it is an opportunity to reconfigure our Judaism. To be aware of the commandments and obligations and to look at meaningful and innovative ways to observe them. The Lubavitcher Rebbe - the pioneer of modern outreach - understood the importance of the individual mitzvah. He created a ten-point mitzvah campaign to engage people with their Judaism on a regular basis. This Rosh Hashanah, as every year, when synagogue services is curtailed, so we need to ensure that we concentrate on the mitzvah of the day, hearing Shofar.

Please G-d it should be a happy and healthy year for the whole community!

Zoom Event

Upcoming Events
Introduction to Shabbat
Friday, Sep. 11, 2020 - 4:00 pm
Friday afternoon introduction to Shabbat on Facebook Live in the Alwoodley Residents’ Group as well as on Zoom.
For details contact Rabbi Eli Pink on 07875 320 344

More Info »
Light Candles
Friday, Sep. 11, 2020 - 7:13 pm
Shabbat Service
Shabbat, Sep. 12, 2020 - 10:30 am
Midnight Slichot - Motzei Shabbos
Sunday, Sep. 13, 2020 - 1:00 am
Ruth Bell's weekly session
Monday, Sep. 14, 2020 - 8:30 pm
Mondays 8.30pm
Ruth Bell's weekly class covers current and relevant points of interest in the yearly cycle beginning with counting the Omer; a look at the weekly sedra, and the daily schedule of Tanya (Chassidic teachings) and Tehillim (psalms).
Via Zoom. For details please contact Ruth on 07963 316 279

3 Rabbis and a Dr walk into a Zoom
Wednesday, Sep. 16, 2020 - 8:00 pm
3 Rabbis and a Dr walk into a Zoom
With words of inspiration, halachic and medical guidance.
For details contact Rabbi Eli Pink on 07875 320 344

Light Candles
Friday, Sep. 18, 2020 - 6:56 pm
1st Night Rosh Hashanah Service
Friday, Sep. 18, 2020 - 6:56 pm
1st Day Rosh Hashanah Service
Shabbat, Sep. 19, 2020 - 10:00 am
2nd Night Rosh Hashanah Service
Shabbat, Sep. 19, 2020 - 8:01 pm
2nd Day Rosh Hashanah Service
Sunday, Sep. 20, 2020 - 10:00 am
Shofar, 2nd Day Rosh Hashanah Service
Sunday, Sep. 20, 2020 - 12:30 pm
3 Rabbis and a Dr walk into a Zoom
Wednesday, Sep. 23, 2020 - 8:00 pm
3 Rabbis and a Dr walk into a Zoom
With words of inspiration, halachic and medical guidance.
For details contact Rabbi Eli Pink on 07875 320 344

Introduction to Shabbat
Friday, Sep. 25, 2020 - 4:00 pm
Friday afternoon introduction to Shabbat on Facebook Live in the Alwoodley Residents’ Group as well as on Zoom.
For details contact Rabbi Eli Pink on 07875 320 344

More Info »
Light Candles
Friday, Sep. 25, 2020 - 6:38 pm
This week's zoom!


Service Times

Shabbat Morning 12th September 10.30am.

Midnight Slichot 13th September 1am.

By prebooking only.

This Week @
By the Numbers
17 Shofar Facts Every Jew Should Know
This is your chance to learn all about the central mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah in a fun way
For Rosh Hashanah
The Annual "Balance Sheet"
Through sincere repentance for the past and good deeds in the present and future, every one has the ability to make the coming year, a year of very great accomplishments indeed.
Your Questions
Why Are Chassidim Called Chassidim?
The term itself predates the Chassidic movement and seems pretentious and presumptuous, to say the least.
When the King Asked for Berel the Wagon Driver
Before we stand before Him in judgment on Rosh Hashanah, G‑d wishes to see all the different types of Jews join in true unity—the leaders together with the lay people; born Jews and converts, men, women and children.
Parshah in a Nutshell

Parshat Nitzavim-Vayelech

The Parshah of Nitzavim includes some of the most fundamental principles of the Jewish faith:

The unity of Israel: “You stand today, all of you, before the L‑rd your G‑d: your heads, your tribes, your elders, your officers, and every Israelite man; your young ones, your wives, the stranger in your gate; from your wood-hewer to your water-drawer.”

The future redemption: Moses warns of the exile and desolation of the Land that will result if Israel abandons G‑d’s laws, but then he prophesies that in the end, “You will return to the L‑rd your G‑d . . . If your outcasts shall be at the ends of the heavens, from there will the L‑rd your G‑d gather you . . . and bring you into the Land which your fathers have possessed.”

The practicality of Torah: “For the mitzvah which I command you this day, it is not beyond you, nor is it remote from you. It is not in heaven . . . It is not across the sea . . . Rather, it is very close to you, in your mouth, in your heart, that you may do it.”

Freedom of choice: “I have set before you life and goodness, and death and evil: in that I command you this day to love G‑d, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments . . . Life and death I have set before you, blessing and curse. And you shall choose life.”

The Parshah of Vayelech (“ and he went”) recounts the events of Moses’ last day of earthly life. “I am one hundred and twenty years old today,” he says to the people, “and I can no longer go forth and come in.” He transfers the leadership to Joshua, and writes (or concludes writing) the Torah in a scroll which he entrusts to the Levites for safekeeping in the Ark of the Covenant.

The mitzvah of Hakhel (“ gather”) is given: every seven years, during the festival of Sukkot of the first year of the shemittah cycle, the entire people of Israel—men, women and children—should gather at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, where the king should read to them from the Torah.

Vayelech concludes with the prediction that the people of Israel will turn away from their covenant with G‑d, causing Him to hide His face from them, but also with the promise that the words of the Torah “ shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their descendants.”