Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 4:56pm and ends on Saturday night at 5:56pm. The weekly Torah portion is Bamidbar and Shabbat Mevarchim Sivan. Rosh Chodesh is on Sunday.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha is still virtual as we await people returning to work in the city. That means we all daven at an agreed time, which is 1.00pm. Details at the WhatsApp group.

Study: Weekly Shiur continues on Wednesday at 1:10pm via zoom, following mincha at 1.00pm. BYO lunch. Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Rabbi Leon Anaf. We know that the Jewish people were never counted directly. Instead, each Jew would give half a shekel coin and the coins would be counted. This is the halacha until today – we do not count Jews. We can count hats and lists of names or fingers but we do not count Jews. The interesting thing is that as much as we don’t count, numbers are important. We count for a minyan, for a mezuman etc.The Gemara in Yoma tells us that apparently only G-d can count the Jewish people. In the times of King David the Jewish people were counted directly and the Navi tells us that 70,000 people died in the resulting plague. The Pirkei D’Rabi Elazar writes that actually only one person died – Avishai ben Tzeruyah and he was considered equal to 70,000 men.

It seems odd to count one person as 70,000 but that is exactly the point. The Jewish people cannot be counted, because we cannot possibly know how much each person is worth. Whether we are generals or cleaners, no matter what are our qualifications and talents are we should count as more than just ourselves. In general we should not count, just as we should not judge. When we do counts, it should be with an Aharon Hakohen at our side to assist and encourage every human being and to tell him about his or her potential. G-d is always allowed to count, because He sees our true value. We need to count for more.

– Dedicated to my late mother, Gamila bat Max whose yartzeit is this Shabbat.

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