The New Shul

Weekly D'var Torah

This week’s parashah, B’ha’alotkha, begins with God’s instructions concerning the lighting of the lamps in the mishkan (tabernacle). God commands Moshe to say to Aaron:  “When you light [literally ‘raise up’] the lamps. . . ”

Why does the Torah use the word “raise up” to refer to the lighting of the lamps?  According to Rashi, it is because, when we light a lamp, we do it by applying fire to the wick until a greater flame from within the lamp rises up by itself.

Rabbi Pinhas Mendel of Peltz interpreted Rashi’s comment as a lesson about mitzvot in general.  At their best, acts of worship and acts of love rise up from the heart, as if of their own accord.  But that rarely happens unless we first apply a flame to the wick.  The structure of religious life, with its external obligations, is the flame that we apply from the outside, which in the end draws up a deeper fire from within us.

May our life as a community of Torah help to raise up that flame of love and spiritual passion inside each of us.

  • 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.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • Please note that this e-bulletin will be on hiatus for the rest of June and July. Watch for it to resume in August. Shabbat services will continue, as always, throughout the summer.