Mazal Tov to Justice Ian Waller on his appointment to the Supreme Court

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Shabbat starts on Friday at 5:58pm and ends on Saturday night at 6:56pm. The weekly Torah portion is Ha’azinu and Shabbat ShuvaYom Kippur starts on Sunday at 5:59pm and ends on Monday at 6:58pm.

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

Special lunch & shiur this Wed at 1.10pm at A-P 7/459 Collins – and via zoom, followed by mincha. Current topic: Landlord & tenant obligations. Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Mandi Katz.

The weekly Torah reading of Haazinu is only 43 verses but deploys no less than seven metaphors describing God – as a rock , a warrior, an eagle, a father, a mother, a provider and an executioner. The use of metaphors to describe God is similarly  prolific in the liturgy of the High Holydays. At each of the services on Yom Kippur we joyously sing “ki anu amecha” a liturgical poem made up of a list of  different metaphors for God which like other liturgy provides us with a way to talk and think about God – as parent, king, shepherd, vintner, lover – where we would not otherwise  know how to do so. So God is all of those things and more. But the theology of Torah is that God is also none of those things – every metaphor has limitations, any description of God is inadequate. And the risk of embracing any one metaphor too tightly is that we start to think we know how to conceive of God when God is beyond our conception.

Rabbi Shai Held offers a reading that each metaphor in Haazinu gives voice to a particular aspect of our relationship with God but the multiplicity of metaphors also drives home that God can’t be any one of those things. God cannot literally be both a mother and a father, cannot at the same time be an earthbound rock and a soaring eagle.

This also offers a way to understand the imagery of the machzor, to embrace the liturgy as tools that help us conceive of God on multiple levels but at the same time reinforce that God cannot be limited by any one of these metaphors, and that God transcends all metaphors with which we try to grasp God. 

Gmar Chatima Tova to all.

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