Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 5:31 pm and ends on Saturday night at 6:29 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Ki Teitzei.

Mincha in the CBD: We will seek to resume mincha at L2/430 Lt Collins when possible. Looking unlikely until after the Chagim. We will advise when the Thursday lunch, shiur & mincha 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: undercollateralised loans Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to David Prins. This week’s Torah reading begins: “When you go out to war against your enemies”. In Chassidic thought, “your enemies” are yourself. Collectively and individually, we are our own worst enemy. In the month of Ellul, we must fight against our impulses to do the wrong thing.

I have not been able to get this idea out of my head since I switched on my computer after last Shabbat, and discovered that our local supermarkets, pharmacies and bakeries were COVID exposure sites. Then came a frenzy of allegations in national and international media of breach of COVID regulations by so‑called “religious Jews”, demands to “name and shame”, and online hate of the worst kind.

I don’t know what is in the heads of those who organise and attend illegal gatherings, be they parties or minyanim, or who try to use their Gemara kop to “rationalise” obviously illegal and inadvisable activities as somehow being permitted. We must all be cognisant of the importance of “pikuach nefesh” (the sanctity of life), “dina d’malkhuta dina” (the civil law is also our law), “kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh” (we are all responsible for each other), and the avoidance of “chillul Hashem” (desecration of G-d’s Name). The Gemara led the way to teach that when there is a plague, stay at home (Bava Kama 60b).

If you are thinking of organising or attending an illegal (or potentially illegal) gathering, please consider the above – and just don’t. It is not appropriate behaviour at any time of the year, and certainly not in Ellul leading up to Rosh Hashana when we are beseeching G-d for mercy.

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