Times: Chanukah starts tonight and continues until next Thurs night/Friday. Shabbat starts on Friday at 8:18pm and ends on Saturday night at 9.23pm. The weekly Torah portion is Vayeishev and Shabbat Mevarchim Tevet. Rosh Chodesh is on Wednesday.  

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha is in recess for the summer. We look forward to opening up next year when people return to their offices and we have sufficient numbers. Details at the WhatsApp group.

Study: Weekly Shiur continues Wednesday at 1:20pmvia zoom. BYO lunch. Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Jeremy Herz. In this week’s Torah reading of Vayeshev we read of the sale of Yosef, ultimately to Egypt. The verse states “Ve-Yosef hurad Mitzrayma” (Yosef was brought down to Egypt). The Gemara and Midrashim reinterpret the word “hurad” (was brought down) as “horid” (brought down). Various interpretations of the verse include that Yosef “brought down” the astrologers of Egypt from their stature, following his successful dream interpretations; Yosef “brought down” Yaakov and his sons to Egypt; and Yosef “brought down” Hashem to Egypt.

The obvious difference between the two readings of the word is that one is active and one is passive. Rav David Silberberg suggests that by reinterpreting the word as “horid”, it appears Yosef is attracting the praise of the Rabbis for having taken active steps despite his predicament. Although Yosef may start as the passive subject of the sale by his brothers, he quickly assumes control of the situation by taking steps to control his destiny.

Similarly, when we are faced with substantial difficulties or feel powerless to act, we ought to remember that there is often scope to take action and effect outcomes. To paraphrase the message conveyed to Rabbi Sacks in his first meeting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe: we do not find ourselves in circumstances; rather we put ourselves in circumstances.

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