Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 5:15pm and ends on Saturday night at 6:12pm. The weekly Torah portion is Acharei-Kedoshim.

Mincha in the CBD: With in-person minyanim now no longer operating, mincha is now virtual. That means we all daven at an agreed time, which is 1.00pm. Details at the WhatsApp group.

Study: Weekly Shiuris now online using zoom – URL and notes are here. Shiur continues on Wednesday at 1:10pm via zoom, following mincha at 1.00pm. BYO lunch.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Menachem Wolf. In this week’s Parshah the Torah does not talk about corona virus, thus my choice to turn the spotlight on a different cause of suffering that I don’t understand what G-d wants in allowing its very existence. The Torah shares with us that there are several intimate acts that are forbidden despite the best of intention. Interestingly, when describing the forbidden act of incest, one would expect negative language, but the Torah describes ‘it is a chessed’ which is a bizarre description because chessed normally means kindness. Why the confusing language?

Chessed is neither good or bad in of itself. Chessed is a self-oriented feeling of connection in relation to another – a desire to extend yourself towards the other without any consideration for the other’s feelings. Often chessed turns out to be a good thing, the extending of money or assistance without being asked, purely because of your feelings and desire to help and be kind, to connect in an impacting way.
But it is a double-edged sword: you may want to connect and ‘love’ something or someone, but they do not require or want this connection, and in fact it may be unhealthy or harmful for them or further it could kill them (physically or emotionally, leaving them dead inside). So in fact chessed can be ‘bad kindness’- a warped ‘act of love and connection’ that destroys.

The Torah is telling us that an inner feeling of love is not necessarily to be acted on and needs to be controlled and considered. Should a person cross the line of forbidden relationships, the very act of ultimate connection, sex, is actually an act of abuse – even if this wasn’t the intention.

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