Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 7:33 pm and ends on Saturday night at 8:34 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Chayei Sarah and Shabbat Mevarchim KislevRosh Chodesh is next Shabbat.

Mincha in the CBD: We will seek to resume mincha at L2/430 Lt Collins on summer schedule (1.45pm) once there is demand. Join the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

Study: The Weekly Shiur continues in hybrid in-person and zoom, on Wednesday at 1.20pm at Warlows Legal, 2/430 Lt Collins, and the lunch part is back! Current topic: the friendship of Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish. Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Gaby Silver. When discussing the wedding arrangements in this week’s Torah reading, Rivkah’s family suggest that they wait a while before proceeding with the nuptials, saying that the girl should “stay with us days or ten”. Rashi interprets this as meaning a year or ten months. Why not just say so? Why the cryptic reference?

R. Levi Yitzchok Schneerson, the father of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, provides a fascinating insight: The marriage of Yitzchak and Rivkah is prototypical of the union between God and the Jews. These marriage vows are renewed annually during the High Holidays. Like any self-respecting bride, the Jewish People need time to prepare and ensure we are ‘beautiful’ on our wedding day. We can then apply this to the passage in question:

“Days”: expressed as a plural, the minimum of which is two, is a reference to the two-day Yomtov of Rosh Hashana
“Or”: in Hebrew, spelled alef-vav, which has a numerical value of seven – the number of days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur
“Ten”: a reference to Yom Kippur, which falls on the tenth of Tishrei

That is the preparation; now we are ready for the big day. On Sukkot, the Time of Our Joy, we appear before G-d with our “adornments”, the choicest of which is the etrog, which is referred to as “hadar”, meaning beautiful. Returning to the Torah reading, we find that the phrase appearing immediately after the one quoted above is אחר תלך, which translates as “and then she shall go”. Lo and behold, the numerical value (gematria) of these words is exactly the same as פרי עץ הדר – “the fruit of the beautiful tree” – the Torah’s description of the Etrog.

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