Times: Shabbat starts tonight with candlelighting at 4:51pm, ends Saturday night at 5:51pm. The weekly Torah portion is Naso.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha continues at 1:00pm. using the SMS system as a reminder.

Study: Wednesday shiur & lunch is on Wednesday at about 1.15pm at Billing Bureau, following mincha.

Kosher Food in the CBD: Unfortunately, due to lack of demand there is no longer kosher food being sold in the CBD. Glicks, we want you back!!

Thought of the Week with thanks to Michelle Coleman. Welcome to the longest parsha in the Torah, Naso. If you will be reading its 176 verses in shul this week, you’d better get cracking! Oh wait, five of the verses (those that enumerate the offerings each tribe brought to the Tabernacle for the dedication of the altar) repeat themselves – 12 times in all.

How can that be, when we know that the Torah contains no extraneous words? It must be that these verses are repeated to teach us something.

Indeed, this week’s parsha affords us insight into the tension between the individual and the collective. Judaism sets much store by the collective notion of the Jewish people: “Mamlechet kohanim ve’goy kadosh” (“A kingdom of priests and a holy nation” – Shmot), “B’rov am hadrat melech” (“In multitudes there is glorification of the king” – Mishlei) ,“Al tifrosh min hatzibur” (“Do not separate yourself form the community” – Pirkei Avot) are just three examples. So where does the individual, with his or her unique qualities and means of expression, fit in?

The repetition of these verses teach us that the individual is cherished just as much, if not more, than the whole. The Torah repeats each individual tribal leader’s offering because the offering of Issachar is not the same as the offering of Dan, just as the offering of Gad is not the same as the offering of Reuven of Naftali and so on. Each individual tribe brought its offering with its own experience and perspective, meaning and personality.

May each of us be inspired to serve Hashem both as part of Am Yisrael as well as from the unique perspective of who we each are.

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