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Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 4:51 pm and ends on Saturday at 5:52 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Shlach and Shabbat Mevarchim Tammuz. Rosh Chodesh is on Wed & Thu.

Mincha in the CBD: On Mon/TueMincha is at ABL – 21/333 Collins, on Wed at Warlow’s Legal – 2/430 Lt Collins St, and on Thu at L1 Capital – 28/101 Collins. Join the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

Study: The Weekly Shiur continues on Wednesday at about 1.15pm (after mincha) at Warlow’s Legal – 2/430 Lt Collins St. – and via Zoom. Current topic: employee eating right transferrability. Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Annette Charak. This week’s Torah reading contains the fiasco of the 12 men sent to scout the land of Israel. All but 2 of them return with exaggerated reports of a “country that devours its inhabitants”. The people are terrified by what they hear and wish themselves back in Egypt. And, so, the whole people is punished, destined to wander for 40 years so that none of the slave generation (except Caleb and Joshua) will enter the land.

In functioning societies, punishment has several purposes. As well as responding to the offence in a way that is just and appropriate in the circumstances, a punishment may serve to deter the offender or other people from committing the same or similar offences. It may protect the community or serve to denounce the behaviour and promote the rehabilitation of the offender. A punishment that most aptly suits all the circumstances of the offence will even enable growth.

Rabbi Sacks points to Rambam’s commentary that the 40 years in the wilderness was not a punishment as such. It was an “inevitable consequence of human nature”. A people needs more than a few weeks to transform from a population of slaves into a nation that can handle the responsibilities of freedom. The punishment was a necessary phase to enable the Jewish nation to grow, morally and politically, and be equipped to live in freedom as an independent nation.

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