The New Shul

Parshat Vayikra

This week’s parashah, Vayikra (which begins the book of Leviticus), introduces the laws of sacrifice, whose purpose was to purify the Jewish people. In traditional Jewish education, the book of Leviticus was the first book that young children learned, as soon as they were able to read. In an ancient midrash, Rabbi Assi explained that those who are most pure — i.e. little children — have a special connection to the Torah’s teachings about purity.

What lesson does that hold for the rest of us, who are no longer children? Perhaps Rabbi Assi meant to remind us of what children have to teach us. Adulthood is all about the recognition that life is not simple. But sometimes we can be too grown up. We can get so caught up in complexity, in shades of grey, that we are enslaved, unable to move. We can forget that some of the most basic answers in life reallyare simple.

The story of Pesah reminds us of the time when we as a people were young — ready to drop everything and follow God into the desert, with none of the entanglements that would later complicate our lives. The radical simplicity of matzah — made of nothing but flour and water –reminds us that to be free means to strip away the layers of compexity that trap us in the status quo. As we prepare for Pesah, removing all the hametz from our homes, may we cleanse ourselves internally as well, freeing ourselves to answer God’s call once again.

  • 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 Shirley and Brian Brener, Debbie and John Wolfe, and Sel and Aaron Shuster.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.Beyond Bim Bom I, our learning service for grades K to 1, is from 10:15 to 11:00 am. Parashah study for teens is from 10:15 to 11:15 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • Pesah begins on Monday evening March 25. Services for the first two days of Pesah are on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 26 and 27 beginning at 9 am. Services for the last days of Pesah are on Monday and Tuesday April 1 and 2 beginning at 9 am.