Condolences to Robert Seifman and family on the passing of his mother.

Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 7:36pm and ends on Saturday night at 8.32pm. The weekly Torah portion is Ki Tisa and Parshat Parah.

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

Study: The Weekly Shiur continues on Wednesday at 1:30pm via zoom. BYO lunch. We will be starting chapter 6 of Bava Metzia. Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Mandi Katz. In this weekly Torah reading of spiritual highs and lows, a dynamic that stands out is the struggle faced by Moshe in stepping away from his intense encounters with God, and back into the reality of leading the people.

Moshe defends the people and persuades God to let him share the tablets inscribed with the covenant with them despite their wrongdoing. But when he reaches the camp and sees the golden calf and the people dancing, his advocacy is forgotten, and he smashes the tablets in anger.

The end of the parashah offers a different dynamic – Moshe stays on the mountain for forty days, with no food or drink, and his experience is so sacred that his skin radiates. This time it is the people who are profoundly moved, but in fear rather than anger, so afraid to come close to Moshe that he needs to cover his face before approaching the people.

Moshe’s struggle resonates strongly. It is never easy to hold onto the resolution and calm that an intense spiritual moment can bring when returning to the nitty gritty of everyday life. Resolve to do and be better falls away quickly when the demands of reality frustrate us, or when we need to leave behind the radiant moment of an encounter with holiness in prayer or study, and return to life.

Moshe’s challenge is ours too many ways: to keep working at ways to hold onto the radiance and the conviction achieved in intensely spiritual moments, as we face into the more mundane responsibilities of our daily lives.

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