Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 5:38pm and ends on Saturday night at6:36pm. The weekly Torah portion isKi Teitzei.
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 Jeremy Herz. This week’s Torah reading of Ki Teitzei contains 74 mitzvot – the highest number of any parsha. At least two of these mitzvot are well-known, but are taught in unusual contexts.
1. The Ibn Ezra points out that the law of hashavat aveda, the obligation to return a lost object, is transmitted in the context of the laws of war. According to him, it is only by further exposition that this law is understood to apply generally and not only in the context of war.
2. Rashi teaches that the general prohibition against hitting another person is learnt from the verses which prescribe 39 lashes as punishment for certain sins. The Torah cautions against adding even one additional lash beyond the prescribed number of 39 and it is this which forms the basis of the general prohibition against hitting someone.
Why does the Torah derive these general and important mitzvot from fringe situations?
In deriving these mitzvot from circumstances in which we may justify alternative action (e.g. pillaging during wartime or adding a little more punishment for a convicted criminal), the Torah is perhaps cautioning us against losing our sensitivity in extreme circumstances, and also to maintain deference to an objective moral code.