Mazal Tov to Michal and Jeremy Herz and families on the birth of a baby girl.
Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 7:35pm and ends on Saturday night at 8:36pm. The weekly Torah portion is Lech-Lecha.
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 1.45pm now that we’re on summer schedule. Details at the WhatsApp group.
Study: Weekly Shiur continues Wednesday at 1:20pmvia zoom, with virtual mincha to follow at 1.45pm. BYO lunch. Details here.
Thought of the Week with thanks to Gaby Silver. This week’s Torah reading has all the ingredients of a blockbuster Hollywood thriller: family drama, high adventure, epic battles, love, loss, money, power and mystery. One of the more quizzical episodes involves Avraham and Sarah journeying to Egypt – a hotbed of sin and immorality – due to a famine in the land of Canaan. Wary of the lecherous locals, Avram instructs Sarai to say she is his sister, then subsequently locks her in a chest to avoid detection. The plan is foiled by wily customs officials, who promptly usher the bewildered beauty to Pharaoh’s court. Only divine intervention spares Sarah from the kinky king’s advances. She and her husband are subsequently sent off loaded with riches from the sordid superpower.
On the surface, it’s hard to determine what practical lessons can be learned from this rollicking yarn. The revealed dimensions of Torah explain that it presages the holy couple’s descendants’ future exile in Egypt and subsequent emergence laden with loot. On a deeper level, Jewish mystical thought teaches that Avraham symbolises our “soul”, and Sarah our “body”. Sarah’s experience of imprisonment and unwelcome advances were a far deeper, challenging experience for her. Yet it was in her merit that she and her husband were redeemed and were able to go back up to the Promised Land wealthier than when they left.
Similarly, our corporeal bodies experience the harsher, deeper descent into this physical world. Only through our commitment to learning Torah and performing mitzvot can we too experience the same kind of redemption and elevation so that the sparks of holiness hidden within the “wealth of Egypt” be revealed, enriching our lives and the world around us.