Times: Shabbat starts tonight with candle lighting at 8:24pm, Shabbat ends Saturday night at 9:30pm. The weekly Torah portion is Vayigash. Fast of Teves is on Thursday (28/12). Fast begins 4:12am; Fast ends 8:27pm. The newsletter will be taking a summer break so here are upcoming Shabbos times until we return. Shabbat (29/12) starts with candle lighting at 8:27pm; ends Sat. night at 9:32pm. Weekly Torah portion is Vayechi. Shabbat (6/1) starts with candle lighting at 8:28pm; ends Sat. night at 9:32pm. Weekly Torah portion is Shemot. Shabbat (12/1) starts with candle lighting at 8:27pm; ends Sat. night at 9:30pm. Weekly Torah portion is Va’eira.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha is on summer break. We will give it a try in early Feb depending on demand.

Study: Wednesday shiur & lunch is taking a recess until 24 Jan.

Kosher Food in the CBD: There is good news on the horizon .. watch this space!

Thought of the Week with thanks to Geoff Bloch. In the recent weekly reading of Vayeshev, Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharoah’s butler and baker and at the beginning of Miketz, Joseph interprets Pharoah’s dreams. In each of the above cases, Joseph takes no personal credit but ascribes all credit to G-d. How much more so should we, with our relatively limited abilities and gifts, always view our achievements and any good fortune, as gifts from Hashem.

But, on the other hand, in this week’s reading of Vayigash, Joseph seizes the initiative and saves his family from famine and thereby facilitated the establishment of the Jewish nation. We learn not to be fatalistic and to just sit back and rely on G-d’s good grace. We, too, should exercise our own initiative in taking responsibility for forging our future.

There is therefore a tension between accepting that our fate is dependent on G-d’s good graces on the one hand and seizing the initiative to forge our own future on the other.

In Jewish life, there is room for both. Each of us has talents and energies which we should apply for our own benefit and for the benefit of the Jewish world at large. We should indeed aspire to be the authors of our own destiny, but always bearing in mind that everything we do should be l’shem shamayim and with hakarat hatov (gratitude) for our good fortune.

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