The New Shul

Parshat Re’eh

In this week’s parashah, Re’eh, Moses teaches the children of Israel a mitzvah that applied as long as the Temple in Jerusalem stood:  that of going to Jerusalem on pilgrimage three times a year.  “. . . Seek out [God’s] dwelling place and go there.”

The second clause “and go there”  seems redundant.  The commentary Torat Moshe solved that problem by making the second clause dependent on the first.  It interpreted the verse to mean “If you seek God’s dwelling place, then you will go there.”  

By interpreting the verse in that way, the Torat Moshe drew a lesson that applies not only to ancient pilgrimage but to all spiritual searching.  If we truly seek God’s presence, then we cannot help but find it.  No matter how inaccessible we imagine God’s dwelling place to be, it is as near as our own yearning.  Our longing, our sense of incompleteness, opens our hearts to what was there all along.

What separates us from God is not doubt but complacency.   What keeps us at a distance is not our difficulty believing but our sense of self-sufficiency.  As Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk said, God is present wherever we make room for God to be.  When we truly seek God’s dwelling place, we discover that we are already there.

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  • 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. The kiddush this Shabbat is sponsored by Anita and Jerome Gutkin in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. “Beyond Bim Bom,” our learning service for grades K to 3, is from 10:30 to 11:15 am this Shabbat.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • On Shabbat morning September 3, we will celebrate the bar mitzvah of Aaron Jost, son of Alisa and Charles Jost.
  • On Monday September 5, Labor Day, The New Shul community will serve meals to the hungry at St. Vincent de Paul’s Jackson St. dining room. Please let us know if you can help.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on September 9, after the 6 pm service. The cost is $18 per adult and $9 per teen/child under 18. No charge for children under 5. Please send in your payment by Tuesday September 6 to make your reservation.
  • On Thursday September 15 at 7:30 pm, join us at The New Shul for a pre-Rosh-Hashanah workshop for adults:  “Gather Your Words:  Preparing For The Days of Awe.”
  • Here is our “niggun of the week” to help you get ready for Shabbat.