Times: Shabbat starts tonight with candlelighting at 4:57pm, ends Saturday night at 5:58pm. The weekly Torah portion is Balak. Shiva Assar b’Tammuz Fast is on Tuesday (11/7); Fast Begins at 6:06am; Fast Ends 5:47pm.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha continues at 1:00pm. using the SMS system as a reminder. We will have a Sefer Torah for mincha on Tuesday.

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 Avi Gordon. When Bilam’s donkey miraculously spoke, she asked Bilam, “why did you hit me these three times (‘sholosh regolim’)?”  Rashi notes on the verse that the reason the donkey used the word “regolim” as opposed to the more common word of “pe’omim” was to intimate to Bilam that his efforts to destroy the nation who observe the shalosh regolim (the three pilgrimage holidays) will be futile.

The question is asked, what was it specifically about the keeping of the shalosh regolim which the donkey ‘considered’ so fundamental that in their merit she was sure of the Jewish peoples survival?

Rav Albo (author of Sefer HaIkarim) says that Judaism has three cardinal principles:

  • Belief in G-d
  • Belief in the divinity of Torah; and
  • Belief in reward and punishment.

When we leave our solid houses to go into our flimsy Sukkah we are symbolically demonstrating our belief in G-d. On Shavuos we celebrate the giving of the Torah and we recognise the divine origins of the Torah. At the Pesach seder we recall the miracles G-d did for us in punishing the Egyptians for their cruelty. The shalosh regolim are not only enjoyable festivals with nice customs, they are in fact a demonstration of our belief in the fundamental pillars of Judaism and through their proper observance, the Jewish people are assured success and prosperity.
Based on the work of Rav Roberts.

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