Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 5:02 pm and ends on Saturday night at 6:01 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Bamidbar. Shavuot starts on Sunday night, light candles at 5:01pm. On Monday night, light candles after 5:59pm. Shavuot ends on Tuesday night at 5:59pm.

Mincha in the CBD: We were able to get a minyan last Monday at 5/447 Collins St and are working to expand that in future. On Thursdays, there is mincha at L1 28/101 Collins at 1.50pm following the shiur & lunch. Join the the WhatsApp group to stay across the details.

Study: The Weekly Shiur is on recess next Wednesday and will resume on 26/5 at 12:45pm via zoom. BYO lunch. We can switch to combined zoom/in-person based on demand. Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Jeremy Herz. Whilst all the festivals are connected to the mitzvah (commandment) of tzedakah in some way, Shavuot has a special connection. This is borne out textually in Vayikra 23:22, which appears in the middle of verses talking about Shabbat, Pesach and Shavuot on one side, and Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot on the other.

The verse, which discusses the mitzvah of tzedakah, states: And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I the Lord am your God.

This verse appears out of place as it splits the narrative about the various festivals. Further, the commandments related to leaving one’s field to the poor already appear in Chapter 19 of Vaykira, rendering the verse apparently superfluous as well.

In light of both of these difficulties, the conclusion drawn is that the placement of this verse immediately following the discussion of Shavuot is intended to convey that Shavuot and the mitzvah of tzedakah are inextricably bound. Why?

Shavuot in not expressly connected in the Torah to the actual event of the giving of the Torah; rather, it is described as the Festival of the Harvest. In other words, it is a festival of thanksgiving for our sustenance.

Rav Moshe Lichtenstein explains that humans can express gratitude through verbal means as well as by taking action. The action of ‘thanks’ is to repay the ‘debt’ in kind. Hashem does not give us sustenance because we have a legal claim to it (midat hadin), but rather it is given through Hashem’s compassion (midat harachamim). Therefore, the most appropriate way to thank Hashem for giving us sustenance is by giving tzedakah to others and this is why Shavuot has a special connection to tzedakah.

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