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Shabbat starts on Friday at 5.04pm and ends on Saturday at 6.03pm. The weekly Torah portion is Behar – Bechukotai.

Upcoming pre-Shavuot lecture on 23/5: Will ChatGPT make us irrelevant?

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 Ezra May.

This week we conclude the book of Vayikra with the portion of Bechukosai, which contains the “tochacha” – the list of horrific punishments for not observing the Torah. However, straight after this section, the Torah switches to the laws of “arachin” – the dedication of a person’s value to the Temple.

The Kotzker Rebbe explains that after reading the terrifying curses, which tragically have come to fruition as we have been persecuted more than any other People and almost in every generation in some degree in the past 2,000 years. This realisation could cause someone to become despondent and lose belief in their own value and self-worth.

So in order to counter this, the section outlining the tragic times which will befall the Jewish people is immediately followed by the section dealing with the laws of arachin – how much a person is required to donate if he chooses to dedicate the “value” of himself or another Jew to the Temple. This is to remind and comfort us that even in the bleakest and worst of times, even as our oppressors might humiliate, degrade and harm us, our intrinsic worth in G-d’s eyes remains eternal and unchanging and so should our own value in our own eyes.

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