The New Shul

Parshat Va’eira

At the beginning of this week’s parashah, Va’eira, God repeats his promise to Moshe to  take us “out from under the burdens of Egypt.”  The word for burdens (sivlot) comes from the same Hebrew root as the word for patience (savlanut).  Based on that similarity in the words, Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk interpreted the verse to mean that, in order to free us, God first had to bring us out from under the weight of our own patience.  Part of our enslavement was that we had learned to tolerate the intolerable, and we had to unlearn that in order to take the first steps toward freedom.

Patience is not always a virtue, if it means accepting the unacceptable.  Sometimes we get used to circumstances that we should not get used to, and the beginning of liberation is to get un-used to them.  Sometimes it is our own habits that we have learned to tolerate, and the first step in changing is to stop accepting the status quo in ourselves.

Shabbat, a day to step back and remember our ideals, can be a day of liberation every week, if it reminds us that what is is not what has to be.  May this Shabbat, and every Shabbat, help to make us more free.

  • 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 Jonathan and Dion Zuess.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • After kiddush this Shabbat, Jan. 21, Ann Polunsky from the Arizona Jewish Historical Society will teach about the early history of the Jews of Arizona.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am. \
  • This Saturday night Jan.21 is the second in our series of Israeli film nights. The film is Beaufort (2007) by Yosef Cedar. Screening at 7:30 pm, followed by discussion.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community is on Sunday Jan. 22 at 10:30 am.
  • Join us for two guest lectures at The New Shul:  On Tuesday Jan. 31 at 7:00 pm, Dr. Wendy Zierler of Hebrew Union College: “And Rachel Stole the Idols:  The Emergence of Modern Jewish Women’s Writing.”  On Tuesday Feb. 7 at 7:30 pm, Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom in L.A:  “A Curriculum of Wonder:  The Genius of Abraham Joshua Heschel.” Both lectures are co-sponsored by the Valley Beit Midrash and the Women’s Jewish Learning Center, and are free and open to all.
  • Join us at The New Shul on the afternoon of Shabbat Shirah (The Shabbat of Song), Feb. 4 at 6 pm for Seudah Shlisheet, the third Shabbat meal. Yisroel Juskowicz, a singer/song-writer from New York City, will lead us in song over the meal. After havdalah at 7 pm, he will perform his music.  The concert is free and open to all.
  • On Shabbat morning Feb. 11, and on Shabbat afternoon after kiddush, Dr. Joel Gereboff, the Chair of Religious Studies at ASU, will be our guest teacher.
  • Please remember to RSVP for our 10th Anniversary celebration on Sunday Feb. 26 at 6 pm at the Hilton Scottsdale. Rabbi David Wolpe will be the keynote speaker. The cost is $54 per person. You can get further information here.