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Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 7.19pm and ends on Saturday at 8.15pm. The weekly Torah portion is Vayakhel-Pekudei, Parshat HaChodesh, and Shabbat Mevarchim Nissan. Rosh Chodesh is on Thursday.

Mincha continues at Ainsworth Property – 7/459 Collins St (North Tower), at 1.58pm and we use the WhatsApp group to confirm numbers.

The weekly lunch & shiur is in recess next week and will continue the following Wed at 1.40pm at A-P 7/459 Collins – and via zoom, followed by mincha. Current topic: disputes between buyers and sellers.  Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Jeremy Herz.

Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei opens with Moshe gathering the Children of Israel and reiterating the commandment of Shabbat.

Along with the general exhortation to keep Shabbat, Moshe specifies the prohibited work of lighting a fire.

Why does Moshe specify only one of the 39 prohibited heads of work? Numerous explanations are given, including what follows.

Earlier in the Book of Shemot (at 12:16), the requirement to desist from work on Yom Tov is mentioned, with an exception for food preparation.

Ibn Ezra explains that Moshe drew attention to the prohibition of lighting a fire on Shabbat, which is part of the food preparation process, so as to make it clear that the exception relayed earlier was confined to Yom Tov.

The exception for Yom Tov highlights a possible distinction between the purpose of the laws requiring desistance from work with respect to Shabbat on one hand, and Yom Tov on the other.

Shabbat commemorates Hashem’s creation of the world which culminated with a day of rest on the seventh day. We are required to follow Hashem’s blueprint by working for six days and observing Shabbat on the seventh, and in so doing we recognise that the essence of Shabbat is about a sense of completion. Allowing food preparation on Shabbat would undermine this theme.

In contrast, the essence of Yom Tov is about celebration and joy. Food preparation is allowed as this is a gateway to enhancing the joyful nature of the day.

Interestingly, we read the verse about Yom Tov this week in the reading of Parashat HaChodesh, so our Torah reading this year is bookended by the obligations to desist from work on Shabbat and Yom Tov. And borrowing from these themes, we should rejoice in the completion this week of the Book of Shemot!

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