Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 5:19 pm and ends on Saturday night at 6:19 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Re’eh and Shabbat Mevarchim Elul. Rosh Chodesh is on Sunday and Monday.

Mincha in the CBD: We will seek to resume mincha at L2/430 Lt Collins once we emerge from this latest lockdown *deep sigh*. We will advise when the Thursday mincha at 1.50pm (following shiur & lunch at 1.00pm) at L1 Capital will resume. Join the the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

Study: The Weekly Shiur continues on Wednesday at 1:10pm online. Current study: technicality of owner’s presence in duty of care for borrowers or custodians. Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Jeremy Herz. This week’s Torah reading teaches of the obligation to give tzedakah (charity, though not necessarily financial in nature). The laws of tzedakah are intricate and complex, and offer up many lessons.

A great deal of sensitivity is required in giving tzedakah and this manifests in numerous ways. One angle is provided in the Talmud (Ketubot 67b), where the story is recounted of a wealthy man who loses some of his wealth such that he can no longer afford to be accompanied by a convoy when travelling. Hillel was unable to find a horseman for this man, so he personally rode before the man in order to announce to the passers by that a nobleman was approaching.

Hillel’s conduct is based on the verse in this week’s reading (Devarim 15:8) “…you shall open your hand to him, and you shall lend him sufficient for his needs, which he is lacking (dei machseiro).” The obligation to give tzedakah applies even to someone who remains objectively wealthy, but whose diminished wealth leaves him in a position where he can no longer meet the cost of that to which he is accustomed. In so legislating, the Torah is concerned not only for material wellbeing, but equally for psychological wellbeing.

With the importance of mental health increasingly and appropriately spotlighted across society, it is a source of pride that our ancient moral code was alive to this many thousands of years ago. As we approach Elul and turn our minds to the clarion call of “teshuva, tefilla u’tzedakah (repentance, prayer & charity)”, may we recommit to ensuring the wellbeing of those around us.

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