Times: Shabbat starts tonight with candlelighting at 4:49pm, ends Saturday night at 5:51pm. The weekly Torah portion is Be’halotcha.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha with whisky & kugel as usual today. No Mincha this Monday due to Queen’s Birthday. 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 Rabbi Dovid Gutnick. During the enlightenment period in the late 18th Century, a young Jewish heretic categorically rejected traditional Judaism and its fundamentals. Nonetheless, deep in the pit of his stomach, he still felt some sort of guilt or unease over his new life of secularism. He approached a still traditional friend who was also a Rabbi and asked if he had any suggestions on how he can unshackle himself from this lingering guilt and disquiet about having abandoned his faith of birth.

The Rabbi said that the reason he still feels guilt was precisely because he hadn’t fully contaminated his soul. If he would be willing to engage impurity in some more drastic manner then surely he would entirely desensitise himself from any lingering internal protest or guilt about abandoning Judaism.

The Rabbi gave his heretical friend some practical advice. He suggested that the heretic drink his used ‘neggel vasser’ – the water with which he washed the morning impurity from his hands upon waking. Ingesting the contaminated water would surely extinguish the lingering embers of his Jewish soul.

And so it happened that the heretic awoke early, washed the spiritual impurity off his hands, drank the collected water and waited for the magic to happen and presto! It worked! He suddenly felt completely unshackled and totally guilt free. He was free to his heretical musings and sinful behaviour.

Some time later a troubling thought occurred to the heretic. If the contaminated water had the power to affect his soul and rid himself of his last vestige of Jewish connection, then there must be some power to the whole concept of impurity on the hands and the Jewish law of hand washing in the morning. From there it was only a matter of time until he returned to the faith of his ancestors.

Although I always understood this story as a witty, whimsical legend of sorts, it was recently suggested to me this story actually occurred between Rabbi Shlomo Kluger (The Rabbi/friend) and a disciple of Moses Mendelsohn (the heretic.) Always consult your local spiritual adviser and health care professional before imbibing your gungy and contaminated ‘neggel vasser’.

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