Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 4:55pm and ends on Saturday night at 5:56pm. The weekly Torah portion is Chukat-Balak. The fast of Shiva Assar b’Tammuz is on Thursday – starts 6.07am and ends 5.46pm.

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 Ezra May. This week’s Torah reading recounts the death of Aharon. Moshe removed the Kohen Gadol clothes from Aharon and dressed Elazar in them inside the cave (Bamidbar 20:28), just as G-d commanded him, thereby inaugurating Elazar as the successor Kohen Gadol.

However a Kohen Gadol is subject to the highest standards of ritual impurity and is forbidden to become ritually impure even upon the death of his immediate relatives. So how did Elazar remain in the cave after Aharon died as this should have made immediately impure?

The Baal HaTurim suggests that Elazar didn’t actually become Kohen Gadol until later, after he was formally anointed. Therefore, although dressed in the clothes of a Kohen Gadol, at that stage he was still permitted as a normal Kohen to be present at his father Aharon’s death.

The Ramban explains that contact with those who die through a Divine “kiss” such as Aharon don’t cause impurity. And as Aharon died this way, Elazar could be present even if he was already the Kohen Gadol.

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