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Shabbat starts on Friday at 4.58pm and ends on Saturday at 5.58pm. Friday is Yom Yerushalayim. The weekly Torah portion is Bamidbar and Shabbat Mevarchim Sivan. Rosh Chodesh is on Sunday.candles for second day of Shavuot/Shabbat on Friday before 4:54pm. Shavuot/Shabbat ends Saturday night at 5:54pm.

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 Levi Rosenbaum.

This week’s Torah portion of Bamidbar contains a re-counting of the Jewish people for the third time. G-d counted the Jews both when they left Egypt and after the sin of the golden calf, but both of these instances followed population loss events. This time however, the counting was solely an expression of G-d’s love, thirty days after He chose to rest His divine presence upon them with the completion of the Tabernacle.

This counting was a show of ultimate love to every single Jew, as Rashi says “because of their dearness before Him he counts them all the time.” It was non-conditional, after the shechinah already rested – once it was considered a permanent dwelling. Additionally, this counting showed the inherent value of every single Jew. There was no difference in the value of Moshe, Aaron and the learned leaders to any other Jew, regardless of their mitzvot or revealed connection to G-d.

Every single Jew is special because of the “pintele yid“, the G-dly part in each of our souls, which is unconditional and equal in everyone. Therefore, G-d’s love for every one of us is not dependent on how much we chose to connect.

The message for us is two fold: Firstly, we should treat every Jew with the perspective of their inherent value and love, just as G-d does. Secondly, since our souls are concealed, we can strengthen our reciprocal love to G-d and feel it in our physical form by increasing our connection to G-d through performing mitzvot, particularly loving our fellow Jews who contain that same small part of G-d.

Have a good shabbos. May we all feel the connection of standing “as one man with one heart” as we receive the Torah next Friday.

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