Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 4:53 pm and ends on Saturday night at 5:53 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Beha’alotecha.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha is in recess because of the lockdown; hope to be able to try again on 7 June. The Thursday mincha at L1 28/101 Collins is also in recess. Join the the WhatsApp group to stay across the details.

Study: The Weekly Shiur continues on Wednesday at 1:10pm (note new time)via zoom. BYO lunch. We will switch to combined zoom/in-person based on demand. Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Mandi Katz. The last few lines of this week’s Torah reading include Moshe’s famously short prayer crying to God to heal Miriam who had been afflicted with a skin ailment for speaking poorly of Moshe’s wife: ‘El na, refah na la – God, pray, heal her, pray’. The brevity and starkness of this plea has been read in very different ways. On one reading, its concentrated quality conveys urgency and Moshe’s fear and grief at Miriam’s suffering. But it can also be read as a terse, almost half-hearted response by Moshe to his sister’s unkindness and troublemaking. Perhaps Moshe’s modesty means he is genuinely not angered and hurt by the gossip against him; more compelling to me is that he is profoundly disappointed by Miriam’s speech and conduct but regardless he prays for her in much the same way that he always spoke for the people of Israel even when they disappointed or infuriated him.

In this Moshe is a remarkable model. It is one thing to pray for someone ‘in your corner’ – Moshe shows us what it means to pray with real feeling and intensity for someone you love but who has hurt or wronged you – a compassionate response that doesn’t come easily to many of us, but is seen here in its stark and authentic beauty.


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