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Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 8:15pm and ends on Saturday at 9:21pm. The weekly Torah portion is Vayishlach.

Mincha is about 1.50pm: On Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu at ABL – 21/333 Collins. Join the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

The weekly shiur continues on Wed at 1.20pm at ABL – 21/333 Collins – and via zoom, followed by mincha at about 1.50pm. Current topic: duty of care for a borrower.  Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Isaac Balbin.

Twenty years prior,  when Yaakov was in Beis El, he erected a Matzeivah, a pillar through which Yaakov worshipped Hashem. Indeed, the Rabbis explain that during the time of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, the Matzeivah was a beloved mode of worship. In Vayishlach, when Yaakov returns to Beis El, after surviving various travails, Yaakov builds a Mizbei’ach, an altar. What is the difference between a Matzeivah and a Mizbei’ach? The Matzeivah is not only no longer preferred, it is now abhorred according to the Midrash. Why?

Rav Kook explains that a Matzeivah is built from one rock. Each of our forefathers displayed a single signature mode of worship: Avraham with a fusion of kindness, love and hospitality; Yitzchak through awe, submission and self-sacrifice; and Yaakov through the prism of Torah study as “the man who dwelled in the tents of Torah”. This was appropriate for that time. Each tack was represented by a single Matzeyvah–their signature leitmotif. But now, on the return to Beis El, Yaakov sets up a modus operandi for future generations through a Mizbei’ach. A Mizbei’ach is constructed from multiple stones. Its essential architecture is a fusion of various. It is made up of a multiplicity of approaches which contribute to the one edifice.

In our day, each individual or group, displays and portrays their own nuanced approach to worship, albeit bound by Halacha. Though one may prefer a particular approach and belong to a specific sub-group within Judaism, it is the multiplicity and amalgamation of these as represented by the Matzeiva which is preferred until the third temple is rebuilt.

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