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Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 8:09pm and ends on Saturday at 9:15pm. The weekly Torah portion is Vayetzei.

Mincha is 1.45pm: On Mon/Tue at ABL – 21/333 Collins, on Wed at Warlows Legal – 2/430 Lt Collins, and on Thurs at L1 Capital – 28/101 Collins. Join the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

The weekly lunch & shiur continues on Wed at 1.20pm at Warlows Legal – 2/430 Lt Collins – and via zoom, followed by mincha at about 1.45pm. Current topic: duty of care for a borrower.  Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Weekwith thanks to Levi Rosenbaum.

During his stay in Charan, Yaakov is the embodiment of honesty and reflects the side of ‘good’ in the continuous battle of good versus bad.

We know that the forefathers observed all the Mitzvos even before Matan Torah. If so, how did Yaakov maintain his ‘good’ status despite marrying multiple sisters? Why is being a ‘good’ person valued higher than observing the Mitzvos?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the observance of Mitzvos before Matan Torah was only a personal resolution. Therefore, in a situation when keeping Mitzvos would compromise on social norms, being an upstanding citizen came first.

This is why Lavan was ‘bad’. He refused to observe any social norms and had ulterior motives in every social interaction. He hugged Yaacov only to try find hidden jewellery. He tricked Yaacov into marrying Leah even with a seemingly airtight contract to marry Rochel. He forced Yaacov to work for him and made working conditions unbearable. He even allocated the younger maidservant to his older daughter just to be different.

This same reason is why Yaacov was good. After being forced to marry Leah, he still married Rochel to fulfil the promise he made her. Yaacov understood that treating people with respect and being understanding of their circumstances was the ultimate legacy he could leave his children and future descendants. Yaacov learnt this lesson through experiencing the worst of humanity, in the most immoral place. But his morality shone through and he returned to the land of his fathers with abundant blessings.

May we too merit to return to the land of our fathers with the imminent redemption.

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