Mazel Tov to Shmuel & Miri Loebenstein and family on the birth of their baby son.

Times: Shabbat starts tonight with candle lighting at 5:05pm, and ends Saturday night at 6:06pm. The weekly Torah portion is Devarim & Shabbat Chazon. If Mashiach does not come, Tisha B’Av will immediately follow Shabbat. The fast begins on Shabbat itself at 5.23pm and ends on Sunday evening at 5.53pm. Havdala is deferred until Sunday night.

Mincha in the CBD: Whisky and Kugel Fridays is back on today at 1.00pm using the SMS system to confirm numbers. Mincha (Mon-Fri) continues next week at 1.00pm with the SMS reminder. There will be a post Nine Days meat lunch following mincha on Monday.

Study: The Wednesday shiur & lunch continues this week at Billing Bureau, following 1.00pm mincha.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Yudi New. This Shabbat is the 9th of Av. A day of tremendous sorrow but which in its observance represents great hope for Am Yisrael.

The prophet Yirmiyahu cries “Aicha Yashvah Badad” – How is it that the once glorious Jerusalem now sits “badad” – alone? The image of a young beautiful princess, now a lonely forsaken widow is striking and tragic. However, we should remember that the word “badad” is also used elsewhere (including by the gentile prophet Bilaam) to convey great blessing, i.e. a time will come when the Jewish nation will dwell alone (“badad”) in the ultimate security and tranquillity with the coming of Mashiach. Like so many things in Judaism, the flip side to tragedy and sorrow is opportunity and redemption.

In fact, the Sfas Emes highlights that “badad” is an acronym for “bechol derachecha da’ahu” – “in all your ways you should know Him”. Despite our seemingly endless and aimless journey through thousands of years of exile, we have always maintained our relationship with G-d. To this day, we continue to make Him a central aspect of every part of our lives – knowing that any moment our return journey will be complete.

The lamentations end with the dirge – Eli Tziyon Veareha – Wail, Zion and its cities. The first stanza compares our nation’s pain to a woman experiencing labour pains. The holy Berditchever explains that, just as in the throes of her excruciating pain the labouring mother is comforted by the creation she is about to introduce to the world, so to the Jewish nation bears the pain of exile comforted by what awaits us with the coming of Mashiach.

Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom and an easy fast (if we indeed have to have one).

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