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Today is the fast of Asara b’Tevet; fast ends at 9.14pmShabbat starts on Friday at 8:24pm and ends on Saturday at 9:30pm. The weekly Torah portion is Vayigash.

This newsletter is going into summer recess until after Australia Day. Wishing everyone a restful, safe and enjoyable break.

Mincha at Ainsworth Property – GF/459 Collins is in recess for the summer. Join the WhatsApp group for updates.

Weekly lunch & shiur continues on Wed at 1.20pm at A-P GF/459 Collins – and via zoom. Current topic: verbal contracts. Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Yudi New.

We are living in emotional times; often moved to tears about events in Israel.

In testing his brothers, then reuniting with them and his father, the Torah records Joseph as crying no less than nine times. According to the commentator Oznayim LaTorah, Joseph’s tears reflect the psychological impact of his tribulations as well as demonstrating his empathy for others. By contrast, his privileged brothers evidently lack Joseph’s sensitivity which elevated him to greatness. 

Sometimes, the emotional turmoil is overwhelming, especially when, as the Rabbis teach about Joseph’s tears, they are triggered by the prospect of future generations going into exile. 

In challenging times like now, we can turn to a powerful message of hope which the Holy Piazetzna taught while in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust.  

When father and son united after 22 years, Jacob did not reciprocate Joseph’s crying. Instead, he read Shema – the iconic prayer said by Jews throughout the generations which represents our national resilience and direct connection to G-d. 

Jacob does not negate Joseph’s tears; they need to be shed. However, despite the pain, Jacob is channelling to us the strength and hope to prevail in all times through the Shema and in turning to our unique relationship with G-d. 

Praying for the safety of our soldiers and the people of Israel. May G-d transform our national tears to ones of only happiness. Shabbat Shalom and a restful summer. 

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