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Shabbat starts on Friday at 5.11pm and ends on Saturday at 6.09pm. The weekly Torah portion is Emor. Tuesday is Lag BaOmer.

Mincha continues at Ainsworth Property – 7/459 Collins St (North Tower), at 1.00pm and we use the WhatsApp group to confirm numbers.

The weekly lunch & shiur continues on Wed at 1.10pm 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 Yehuda Gottleib.

The first verse of this week’s Torah reading states “And G-d said to Moshe: Speak (amira) to the Kohanim, the sons of Aaron, and say (ve-amarta) to them…” The continuation of the verse discusses the laws of ritual impurity and its impact on the Kohanim’s ability to perform their duties in the Mishkan. It is crucial for Moshe and G-d to communicate these laws to the Kohanim so that they can maintain a state of purity and carry out their holy tasks properly.

The commentator Oznayim L’Torah notes that this message was designated solely for the Kohanim to maintain their purity. By implication, the verse infers that the rest of the Jewish people are not to be as fastidious regarding impurity and therefore should involve themselves in burying the dead and going to houses of mourning. This reminds us of our own mortality and the importance of living a meaningful life.

The Kohanim receive this message very clearly in their daily work in the Mishkan because they are at risk of being punished through death by transgressing any of the various laws that apply specifically to them. For example, the Kohen is warned not to undertake their work while intoxicated, or without the specific clothing and are at risk of death if they do not comply.

This gives the Kohanim perspective of their mortality each and every day, thus their keeping of the laws of ritual purity and being unable to attend burials does not diminish their perception and outlook. By contrast, the rest of the Jewish people, who are not commanded to undertake the Mishkan work and have less restrictions on their purity and impurity should take part in attending and assisting with burials in order to gain and maintain this perspective.

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