Times: Shabbat starts tonight with candle lighting at 8:07 pm, and ends Saturday night at 9:16 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Vayeshev, Shabbat Mevarchim Teves Chanukah starts on Sunday night (2/12) and continues until Monday (10/12)

Upcoming Event: Latkes and Doughnuts in the CBD on the first day of Chanukah, Monday 3rd December at 5.00pm at Crockett Chambers, 7th Floor, 530 Lonsdale St, Melbourne. With special guest speaker, the Hon Justice Mark Kranz Moshinsky.

Mincha in the CBD: Whisky and kugel Friday is on today at 1.30pm (mincha 1.45pm) using the SMS system to confirm numbers. Note: Mincha (Mon-Fri) next week switches to 1.50pm with the SMS reminder. We will have doughnuts every day in honour of Chanukah. If that doesn’t get us a minyan, what will?

Study: The Wednesday shiur & lunch continues this week at Billing Bureau, beginning at 1.20pm with mincha to follow at 1:50pm.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Ezra May. This week’s Torah reading is Vayeshev. While the rest of the brothers plotted to kill Yosef, the Torah records that Reuven saved him by suggesting that they instead throw him into a pit (37:21). However, as Rashi writes (37:24), the pit was full of lethal snakes and scorpions, so how was this saving Yosef?

The commentator Ohr HaChaim explains that humans have free will and the ability to do to something not decreed in Heaven, however animals do not. Reuven wasn’t as certain as the other brothers that Yosef deserved a death sentence. Being fearful that the brothers, with their free will, would succeed in killing Yosef, he “saved” him by having him thrown into a pit where the snakes and scorpions would only attack him if decreed from Heaven. The commentator Tosefos Rid suggests that Reuven actually intended for the brothers to throw Yosef into a different pit, which was empty. But they didn’t listen and instead threw him into a pit full of snakes and scorpions.

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