Times: Candlelighting is Friday 4:50pm; Shabbat ends Saturday 5:51pm. The weekly Torah Portion is Korach.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha continues at our usual location at Level 5 South, 459 Collins St, at 1.00pm Mon-Thu.

Study: Mon 12.30 @ East Melb Shule; Wed 1.15 @ Billing Bureau.

Kosher Food in the CBD: Kosher sandwiches and snacks provided by Sidewalk Cafe under Kosher Australia hashgacha are available at the following locations:
-CBW Express- 181 William Street (Open late until 9pm)
-Pronto on Flinders – 335 Flinders Lane
Kosher sandwiches and snacks delivered daily to the CBD.
SANDWICHES: egg mayonnaise and tomato, tuna mayonnaise and pickles, smoked salmon and herbed cream cheese, crisp lettuce, sliced cheese, tomato, cucumber and salad. SNACKS: natural berry yogurt with oat cluster crumble, fresh fruit salad, mixed berry muffin

Thought of the Week with thanks to Noah Klug. One of the famous questions on this week’s parsha, Korach, is “How could Korach have gone so wrong?”  He was of illustrious lineage and one of the great leaders of the time.

The answer, according to Rabbi Pinchas Winston, is that Korach was overly independent. The Torah teaches us that, just like nearly all midos (the Rambam excludes anger from the list), neither extreme is good. Instead, we are to seek balance.
We see examples in the Torah of where independence was recognized as great, such as where Pinchas killed Zimri, and where the daughters of Tzelofchad merited to create halacha through their expression of independence. And of course we have the famous example of where Moshe tapped into his own independent thought in his decision to break the Tablets of the Torah. Hashem commended Moshe for this, saying “Yasher Kochacha!”  (FN: this is where the custom of saying “Yasher Koach” comes from).
An intriguing example of where the right thing was NOT to exercise independent thought can be found with Isaac. Isaac knew that the law was for the firstborn to receive the blessing, so, even though his independent thought told him that he should veer from this law and instead give the firstborn blessing to Jacob because surely an exception would apply where the firstborn is evil, nevertheless he fought back his feelings of independence and stuck firm to the law and Hashem’s Will. We see that Hashem found Isaac’s actions to be right in His eyes, because he intervened though His Divine Providence and led through the events that followed for Jacob to receive the firstborn blessings anyway.
So how do we find the right balance in the spectrum of independence?  Easy, according to Rabbi Winston. Just ask yourself – will this exercise of independence lead me CLOSER to Hashem or FARTHER from Hashem?
That was Korach’s mistake. He should have realized that exercising his independence would take him farther from Hashem and therefore resisted the urge, as our illustrious forefather Isaac did.

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