Torah E-Thought: The first day of the rest of your life


This Week at Lubavitch Centre of Leeds
Candle Lighting Times for Leeds :
Friday,  30 April 7:30pm   
Shabbat Ends:
Torah Portion: 

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

Message from the Rabbi
Dear Friend,


Last night we hosted former refusenik Yosef Mendelevich who spoke about his involvement in the attempted hijack of a plane to raise awareness about Soviet Jewry and the subsequent reaction. The recording is here . Next week is another feature Zoom as we host former Rabbi Pinchas Taylor, International Lecturer and Author on The Jewish View on the Paranormal. Details here .

On Tuesday we begin the new JLI course, This Can Happen. It is a phenomenal course which will delve into the Jewish concept of a Messiah. Details here.

We’re very excited to announce the dates of the Spring Mini Camp and Summer Day Camp, see the flyer below for details.
You can nominate someone (or yourself) for a Shabbat Pack here and you can book in for Children’s Services and or the Shabbat Service here . Please join me at 5pm on Friday when I stream some pre-Shabbos thoughts in the Alwoodley Ward Residents Facebook Group. Alwoodley Ward residents can join the group here.

Tomorrow is Lag Baomer, read about this special day on our website here.

Wishing you a Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Eli Pink
Director of Education
Chabad Lubavitch Leeds


After a few weeks of reading about the less common laws of animal sacrifices and tzoraat, this week and last have been chock-a-block full of everyday mitzvot. It is a good practise to read through the mitzvot in each week’s portion and one that I often recommend.

Reading through the mitzvot that are taught in this week's parshah we learn about the observance of Shabbat and the Yomim Tovim. On closer examination however it seems that on each mention of Shabbat and the festivals there seems to be a double prohibition; not to do any work on the day and additionally to rest on that day.

Shabbat and Yom Tov observance are often looked at as restrictive and difficult. However, the prohibitions are only one side of the story. By instructing observance of Shabbat and Yom Tov with both negative and positive commandments, the Torah is teaching us that in addition to refraining from that which is prohibited, we must also observe Shabbat in a positive way. This positive commandment includes making Kiddush, lighting the Shabbat Candles, enjoying the Shabbat meals, dressing in our best clothes, and mentioning Shabbat in our prayers.

It seems nonsensical. If Shabbat is a day of rest, shouldn't it be better to relax completely with absolutely no obligations? Wouldn't a day on the beach be better than a day in the synagogue? But Shabbat is not about us relaxing, but about commemorating that G-d created the world and He controls our week. By refraining from creative labour on Shabbat we are recognising that our blessing and parnosa comes from G-d. When we make Shabbat holy through our positive actions, we are honouring G-d's day of rest.

This Friday we celebrate Lag B'Omer, the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai [100-160 CE]. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was the first to publicly teach the mystical dimension of the Torah known as the “Kabbalah,” and is the author of the basic work of Kabbalah, the Zohar. On the day of his passing, Rabbi Shimon instructed his disciples to mark the date as “the day of my joy.”

Chassidic philosophy explains that the final day of a righteous person’s life in this world marks the culmination of all their deeds, teachings and works. So, each Lag B'Omer, we celebrate Rabbi Shimon’s life and the revelation of the esoteric soul of Torah.

The story is told of one of the sages during the era of the Arizal [1534-1572] who was so strongly affected by sorrow over the destruction of the Bet HaMikdash that he would recite the prayer Nachaim [a praying only recited on Tisha B'Av, the day the Temple was destroyed] every day - even on Shabbat and festivals. However, when he recited this prayer on Lag B'Omer, the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai protested "How is it possible that one could say Nachaim on this day of celebration?" and the sage was punished by Heaven.

This exceptional story indicates the exceptional nature of Lag B'Omer but also a lesson about Shabbat. For you and me, Shabbat is not supposed to be a day of mourning, a day of personal prayer or a time to pray about our daily needs - in fact, we don't mention any of these on Shabbat. Shabbat is a day to recognise and celebrate G-d's direct control of this world and thank Him for it.

The Messianic era is called “the day that is completely Shabbat.” But what does this mean? Will the world carry on as we know it? The benefit of a rest day is that it follows a work of week, how will this work in the Messianic era? This Tuesday we start a new six-week course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute where we will answer these questions and more. Sign up here.

Save the date!

Upcoming Events
Introduction to Shabbat
Friday, Apr. 30, 2021 - 5:00 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 »
Shabbat Service
Shabbat, May 1, 2021 - 10:30 am
By pre-booking only at
Children's Service
Shabbat, May 1, 2021 - 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Lunch and Learn
Monday, May 3, 2021 - 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
More Info »
Hebrew Cool Club
Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
6 Week JLI Course - This Can Happen
Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
A new JLI course about the Messianic Era and a credible case for feeling good about the future.
Contact - [email protected]
Rabbi Eli on 07875 320 344

Hebrew Cool Club
Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Shabbat Service
Shabbat, May 8, 2021 - 10:30 am
By pre-booking only at
Children's Service
Shabbat, May 8, 2021 - 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Lunch and Learn
Monday, May 10, 2021 - 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
More Info »
Hebrew Cool Club
Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
6 Week JLI Course - This Can Happen
Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
A new JLI course about the Messianic Era and a credible case for feeling good about the future.
Contact - [email protected]
Rabbi Eli on 07875 320 344

Hebrew Cool Club
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Having fun at HCC!
Service Times

Shabbat Morning 10.30am by prebooking only at

This Week @
By the Numbers
7 Classic Chabad Songs of Sephardic Origin (Lag BaOmer Special)
There is a historical connection between the Chabad movement and the Sephardic world.
Your Questions
What Happened to the Bar Kochba-Lag BaOmer Connection?
Your Lag BaOmer section has no mention of the wars Bar Kochba waged against the Romans! Why?
Why G‑d Didn’t Put the Courts Over the Priests
Rashi’s comment at the very beginning of our Torah portion seems over complicated.
What I Didn’t Find in a Tibetan Monastery, I Found at Chabad
“If you are looking for mystical Judaism, I have to send you to Chabad,” said Robert Frazin, rabbi of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., to Paul Sussman.
Parshah in a Nutshell

Parshat Emor

The Torah section of Emor (“ Speak”) begins with the special laws pertaining to the kohanim (“priests”), the kohen gadol (“high priest”), and the Temple service: A kohen may not become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, save on the occasion of the death of a close relative. A kohen may not marry a divorcee, or a woman with a promiscuous past; a kohen gadol can marry only a virgin. A kohen with a physical deformity cannot serve in the Holy Temple, nor can a deformed animal be brought as an offering.

A newborn calf, lamb or kid must be left with its mother for seven days before being eligible for an offering; one may not slaughter an animal and its offspring on the same day.

The second part of Emor lists the annual Callings of Holiness—the festivals of the Jewish calendar: the weekly Shabbat; the bringing of the Passover offering on 14 Nissan; the seven-day Passover festival beginning on 15 Nissan; the bringing of the Omer offering from the first barley harvest on the second day of Passover, and the commencement, on that day, of the 49-day Counting of the Omer, culminating in the festival of Shavuot on the fiftieth day; a “remembrance of shofar blowing” on 1 Tishrei; a solemn fast day on 10 Tishrei; the Sukkot festival—during which we are to dwell in huts for seven days and take the “Four Kinds”—beginning on 15 Tishrei; and the immediately following holiday of the “eighth day” of Sukkot ( Shemini Atzeret).

Next the Torah discusses the lighting of the menorah in the Temple, and the showbread (lechem hapanim) placed weekly on the table there.

Emor concludes with the incident of a man executed for blasphemy, and the penalties for murder (death) and for injuring one’s fellow or destroying his property (monetary compensation).