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Shabbat starts on Friday at 5.22pm and ends on Saturday at 6.22pm. The weekly Torah portion is Re’eh and it’s Shabbat Mevarchim Elul. Rosh Chodesh is on Thursday and Friday.

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: residential landlord & tenant obligations  Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to David Werdiger.

In this week’s Torah reading, Moshe puts a stark choice before the Jewish people: a blessing if they follow God’s commands, and a curse if they don’t. But there is a key grammatical difference in how blessings and curses are given.

Blessings are directly bestowed on the recipient. However, when the prophet Bilaam was engaged to curse the Jews, he declared: “how can I curse whom God has not cursed?” The commentator Rashi explains that curses were only directed at actions or attributes rather than at people.

Our forefather Jacob said about his sons Shimon and Levi “cursed is their anger”, but not them personally. Later in the book of Devarim when the people gathered on two mountains for the blessing and curse ceremony itself, Moshe said that one group “should stand to bless the people”, and the other group “should stand for the curse”.

The choice of grammatical form is deliberate. We are intrinsically a blessed people.

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