Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 4:51 pm and ends on Saturday night at 5:53 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Balak.

Mincha in the CBD: As people slowly return to the city, we will try to resume Mincha. When we do resume, it will be at Warlows Legal – 2/430 Lt Collins St (cnr Bank Pl). The Thursday mincha at 1.50pm (following shiur & lunch at 1.00pm) at L1 28/101 Collins is planning to resume on 8 July. Join the the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

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

Thought of the Week with thanks to Gaby Silver. Just like the characters at Hogwarts, we Jews have a custom to not mention the names of certain particularly egregious characters that have populated our traumatic history. Villains such as “Yoshkeh” or “yemach shmo” abound. A certain terrible disease, is frequently refer to as “yeneh machla”. Even everyone’s favourite home-grown apostate, Elisha Ben Avuya is dubbed “Acher” (The Other Dude) in our oral tradition.

It comes as a surprise, then, that an entire section of the Torah should be named after a wicked king whose hatred of the Jewish people coursed so deep, that he called upon the greatest gentile prophet the world has known to try to curse us out of existence.

The simple explanation may be that his plan ultimately failed. However, if that was the case, why are there no portions named after Pharoah, Amalek, Laban or any other of the litany of biblical anti-Semitic low lives that tried and failed to wipe us from the earth.

When the prophet Bilaam open his foul mouth to curse, he issued forth some of the sweetest poetry and lofty blessings that have ever been bestowed upon our people. It is this transformative difference – converting curses into blessings, darkness into light and evil into good that is the essence the essence of our mission here on earth and the reason why the name of one bad hombre can be joyfully attached to a portion of our holy Torah.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *