Our condolences to the Rosenbaum family on the passing of Ettie Rosenbaum o’bm, wife of Norman and mother of Ari, Yoel, Yoni & Michal. HaMakom Yenachem Etchem Betoch She’ar Aveilei Tzion Vi Yerushalayim.

Times: Candlelighting is Friday 5:32pm; Shabbat ends Saturday 6:30pm. The weekly Torah Portion is Re’ei. Rosh Chodesh Elul is on Tuesday (26th) and Wednesday (27th).

Recent Events: This past Tuesday, we heard a fascinating lecture from Roy Doliner on“Kabbalistic Secrets in Italian Art and Architecture.” To listen to the speech click here. For more information about this event click here for the JBD website or here for the Facebook page.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha continues at our usual location at Level 5 South, 459 Collins St, at 1.00pm Mon-Thurs. Special random Daneli’s catered lunch on Monday from 12.45pm for all the carnivores among us!

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. This is my “farewell dvar Torah” to the great friends I’ve made at the JBD. Thank you for your friendship and your dedication to the minyan. If you’re ever in the US (or not!) please get in touch at noahklug@gmail.com or 1.516.350.3761.  Wishing you much brocha and hatzlacha.

Do animals go to Olam HaBah (the afterlife)?  Keep reading to find out the answer.

This week’s parsha starts with the famous verse: “See that I place before you this day a blessing and a curse. The blessing will come if you obey the commandments of God, your God, which I command you today; the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of God, your God, but stray from the way which I command you today, and pursue other gods, which you have not known”. (Devarim 11:26-28).

Life is about choices. We were granted the amazing gift of free will, but animals were not. Animals make choices, but they do not exercise free will. What’s the difference between exercising choice and exercising free will?

The answer is in our verse. Free will, a much higher level than choice, is specifically defined as choosing between good and evil, or in other words between blessing and curse, or in other words between life and death, or in other words between doing a mitzvah or committing a sin.

We are told that we will be held accountable at the time of judgement when we leave this world for how many times we truly exercised our free will. Yes, believe it or not, this actually occurs much less frequently than we realise.

Take a moment to think about how often in your recent past you truly exercised your free will (using our definition above). And which path did you choose, blessing or curse? Or did you avoid the decision altogether?

While we’re at it, let’s also appreciate this amazing gift we’ve been given, which the animals did not, and which can allow us to enter Olam HaBah if we exercise this gift correctly, an exalted place no animal will ever reach.

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