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Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 5:47 pm and ends on Saturday at 6:45 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Ki Teitzei.

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: biblical sources for guardian liabilities. Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Ya’akov Waller. The second mitzvah of this week’s Torah reading prohibits a father from stripping his first-born son of his inheritance rights on account of the father disliking the son’s mother. Nowhere in the Torah, however, is there a commandment regarding the double-portion inheritance laws, and the mitzvah thus reveals that this inheritance norm was taken as assumed knowledge among the ancient Israelites who received the Torah. The mitzvah instead codifies an existing practice, but imposes additional legal guidelines to ensure its morality. 

A similar thing can be seen in the first mitzvah of the reading, where the Torah acknowledges existing practices regarding spoils of war, but imposes stringent guidelines which enhance the morality of those norms. The same may be said of slavery laws, among others. 

This reveals an important and oft-misunderstood fact about the Torah. It was never intended to represent a complete break from the cultural and legal norms which existed at the time it was revealed, but rather added to, supplemented, endorsed and repealed these norms as the dictates of divine morality required.

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