The New Shul

Weekly D'var Torah

In this week’s parashah, Va’eira, Moshe complains to God:  “You see, the children of Israel do not listen to me, and I am uncircumcised of lips.”  The word “and” seems to have the sense of “because.”  Moshe seems to be complaining that people are not listening to him because of his speech impediment.

But according to the S’fat Emet, Moshe actually means the opposite. The word “and” should be understood in the sense of “therefore.” Moshe’s real complaint is that people are not listening to him and therefore his speech is impeded.

The point, according to the S’fat Emet, is that true speech requires a true listener to draw it out. Words that come from deep inside the heart, the kind of words that make a real difference in the world, emerge only in response to an open heart on the other side of the conversation.

Part of what it means to be members of a spiritual community is to draw out that kind of speech in others, to listen with our whole selves so that others can speak with their whole selves. By helping others to give voice to the image of God within themselves, we bring the world a little closer to redemption.

  • Shabbat services at The New Shul are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. This Shabbat, January 13, the kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Yael Dennis in honor of her new job as Faculty Chair of Allied Health, Nutrition and Sustainability at Rio Salado College. The desserts are sponsored by Stacy and John Andrews in honor of the publication of Stacy’s new chidren’s book Stewie That’s Ewie.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Our learning service for children is from 11 to 11:45 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, Monday evenings at 7 pm, Wednesday mornings at 7 am, and Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.
  • On Martin Luther King Day, Monday January 15, The New Shul community will serve meals to the hungry at St. Vincent de Paul’s Jackson Street dining room. Please let us know if you can help.
  • The New Shul’s annual meeting is on Sunday February 4 at 10:30 am. All are welcome. The meeting is followed by a blood drive in the afternoon. Please contact us for an appointment to give blood.