Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 8:17 pm and ends on Saturday night at 9:22 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Vayigash.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha is in recess for the summer. We will seek to resume next year when there is demand. Join the 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: greatness of R’ Chiya. Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Isaac Balbin. In this week’s Torah portion, the children of Israel experience the first exile. Yaakov and Yosef were pioneers of two exilic experiences, in their separate days. Yaakov’s experience was fashioned and tested during times of material poverty and oppression, in a backwards pastoral country where the Jew was able to demonstrate fidelity to the Law of Abraham and Isaac. History suggests that Jews were able to rise above these travails and continue to build towards a Holy Nation. Yosef’s exilic experience was in an environment of success, material riches, prominence and power, in a wealthy and “most civilised” country. It is tempting, if not intuitive, to deduce that in such an untroubled and prosperous environment, void of external pressure, the Jewish Nation would build and reach ever higher vistas of achievement.

Rav Soloveitchik, as quoted in “Days of Deliverance”, said: “Historically, the Jew has proven his ability to remain loyal and devoted to tradition in poverty, in oppression, and in distress. However, he failed miserably to prove his loyalty when his destiny was one of success and glorious achievements. We met the challenge of poverty, oppression and persecution with courage and determination, and we emerged victorious. However, with few exceptions, we have failed the challenge of affluence, of prominence in society. We have not learned the lessons that Yosef was sent into exile to teach”.

Similarly, Pharaoh asked Yaakov “How old are you”, as if “living in good health to 130” represented aspirational achievement worthy of great celebration. Yaakov effectively responded that naked numbers, like riches and prosperity, don’t count for achievement or success. To negotiate life’s stumbling blocks only unswerving devotion can deliver meaningful outcomes.

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