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Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 5:29 pm and ends on Saturday at 6:28 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Eikev and Shabbat Mevarchim Elul. Rosh Chodesh is next Shabbat and Sunday.

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: do armed guards need to confront an armed bandit? Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Levi Rosenbaum. This week, we bless the month of Elul and start the teshuvah, returning/repentance, process leading up to the high holidays. This parallels nicely with the opening of the Torah portion of Eikev.

The Tzemach Tzedek explains that “If you listen to my commandments” is specifically referring to “ikvesah (from the same word as eikev meaning “heell”) d’mishicha“, the time immediately before Moshiach. Acting in the ways of God now has a greater impact on bringing the redemption than ever before. But there are two stages to our service of God:

  1. Maaseh – action; doing everything expected of us.
  2. Avodah – work; doing more than what we would typically do. Specifically this devotion warrants an atypical reward – the redemption.

One way of achieving this second level is through a level of teshuvah where sins aren’t only removed as if they were never committed, but are transformed into righteous deeds. So too, being in the darkest times just before moshiach, naturally we are not expected to entirely devote ourselves to God as previous generations were. However, through hard work we can transform our physical souls and refine our physical surroundings into vessels of holiness. Doing this will achieve more than previous generations and transform this physical world into the dwelling place of God.

So this year, take on your new year’s resolution early, so that the month of Elul can be the time to work a little harder and do that little bit extra to ensure a happy sweet new year.

Good Shabbos, ketivah v’chatimah tova.

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