Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 8:23 pm and ends on Saturday night at 9:25 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Yitro.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha is in recess for the summer. We look forward to opening up when people return to their offices and we have sufficient numbers. Join the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

Study: The Weekly Shiur is on recess next Wed 26th for Australia Day, and will resume the following week at Warlow’s Legal – 2/430 Lt Collins St – and via zoom. Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Michelle Coleman. In this week’s Torah reading, Yitro, the Israelites camp at Mount Sinai where they will receive the Ten Commandments and the entire Torah. The unusual language to describe their camping receives much attention by commentators:

“They [the Israelites] departed from Rephidim and [they] arrived in the Sinai Desert and [they] camped in the wilderness. Israel camped (singular) opposite the mountain (Shmot 19:2).”

Rashi famously interprets this use of the singular as meaning “as one person with one heart”. It was this unity that allowed them to merit receiving the Torah as a nation, rather than being simply the family that had come down to Egypt 230 years earlier.

Looking deeper, what does this unity mean? Does it mean everyone was the same? Looking the same, thinking the same, acting the same? Not at all!

In fact, Rambam explains that each person experienced the revelation at Sinai differently, according to their individual level of spiritual sensitivity. After all, we are all different.

What this unity at Sinai essentially means is a state of harmony, and not uniformity. That is why our sages teach that there are “Seventy faces to the Torah”, and we find differing views both within Jewish law and Jewish thought. True unity – the type that made us open to revelation – means having the freedom to be individuals, within an atmosphere of harmony. It is this same unity, not uniformity, that will bring Mashiach, speedily and within our times.

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