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Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 5:24 pm and ends on Saturday at 6:23 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Va’etchanan and Shabbat Nachamu.

Mincha in the CBD: On Mon/TueMincha is at ABL – 21/333 Collins, on Wed at Warlows Legal – 2/430 Lt Collins, 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 1.15 pm (after mincha) at Warlows Legal – 2/430 Lt Collins – and via Zoom. Current topic: duty of care for paid custodians. Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Dovid Gutnick. A common misconception about Judaism is that we have to simply observe the Mitzvot in the Torah and that’s it. Tick the boxes and we’re good to go (to heaven).  The verse in this weeks Torah reading “v’asisa  hayashar v’hatov…” – “and you shall do what is upright and good… ” mandates that we innovate and develop personal moral behaviours beyond what is enjoined of us in the Torah.

The classical expression of this precept is the extra judicial practice of bar metzra: initially offering the sale of your property to your nearest neighbour before putting it on the market.

A real favourite example of doing “yashar v’tov” is the story in Rashi at the end of Talmud Makkot, where Rav Safra was offered payment for an object but was in the middle of praying and couldn’t respond. The purchaser took the lack of response as a sign that he needed to up his offer and did so on multiple occasions until Rav Safra finished the Shma and could respond. Rav Safra concluded that because he had been willing to accept the original price but couldn’t reply due to his prayers,  that original price is all that would be asked. It is this meticulous honesty and dedication to integrity that might be referred to as yashar.

It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that the verse enjoining us to yashar v’tov is the quintessential ethical imperative of Judaism.

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