The New Shul


This week’s two parshiyot, Tazria and M’tzora, explain the role of the priests in diagnosing leprosy, and in helping those who had recovered from the disease to make the transition back to normal life.

The Torah says that, in making the diagnosis, “the priest should look at the lesion” (Lev. 13:3). A few words later, it says that the “the priest should look at him (i.e. the sufferer).” Why the shift in perspective?

According to the author of Siftei Tzadik, the Torah wants to teach that it was not good enough for the priest simply to look at the disease. In order to be of help, he had to look at the whole person. Only by seeing the sufferer as a whole human being could the priest help him/her to begin to heal.

That is what the mitzvah of bikkur holim, of visiting the sick, is all about. Disease tends to rob a person of his/her sense of self. The sufferer can easily start to feel like a set of symptoms, a diagnosis, a case, rather than a human being. The job of the visitor is to help restore the sufferer’s sense of self by seeing him/her as a whole person. By being truly present with one who is ill, by acknowledging that person as an image of God, we help him/her to become whole again. May we all, in that way, be healers to one another.

  • 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. This Shabbat morning, April 13, we will celebrate the bat mitzvah of Ryan Lamm, daughter of Jason Lamm and Rikki Youngworth. The kiddush is sponsored by Jason and Carey Lamm.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Children’s services this Shabbat are: Munchkin Minyan for ages 2 to 4 and their parents from 11 to 11:30 am, and Beyond Bim Bom I for grades K to 3 from 10:15 to 11:15 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.
  • On Shabbat morning, April 20, we will celebrate the bat mitzvah of Morgana Yellen. The kiddush will be sponsored by Cheryl Yellen.
  • Shavuot begins on Tuesday evening May 14. Join us for our Tikkun Leil Shavuot — our all-night vigil of learning and discussion — beginning at 9 pm. Morning prayers for the first day of Shavuot, Wednesday May 15, will be outdoors at 5 am. The service for the second day of Shavuot, Thursday May 16, will begin at  9 am and will include Yizkor, the memorial prayer.