The New Shul

Parshat Ki Tavo

This week’s parashah, Ki Tavo, begins with a description of the offering of bikkurim, the first fruits.  Each year, when ancient Jewish farmers brought their first fruits to the Temple in Jerusalem, they would present their basket to one of the priests and then recite a statement of thanksgiving for God’s gifts.  The Mishnah, in Tractate Bikkurim, explains that those who knew the statement by heart would recite it on their own, and those who did not know it would repeat it after the priest.  Over time, the farmers who could not recite the statement on their own stopped bringing their first fruits to the Temple because they were embarrassed.  To fix the problem, it was decided that everyone would repeat the statement after a priest, whether they knew it or not, so that no one would be embarrassed.

The Mishnah hints at a broader point:  In order to grow in our relationship to God, we need a safe place in which to do it.  In order to learn, we need a supportive community that will not judge us for what we do not know.  May our community always be that kind of place.  By protecting one another’s dignity, may we help each other to reach higher.

  • 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 Carol and Buddy Sunshine in honor of their birthdays.
  • 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.
  • S’lihot is on Saturday night Sept. 24.  Join us at 9 pm for a screening and discussion of the film “Metalic Blues” by Danny Verete (2004) as a text on teshuvah, followed by the S’lihot service.