The New Shul

Parshat Shoftim

In this week’s parashah, Shoftim, Moshe teaches: “You shall be whole (tamim) with the Lord your God” — meaning that we must not divide our loyalty.

Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev understood the sentence differently. He interpreted the words “You shall be whole”not as a command but as a promise. The point, as Levi Yitzhak understood it, is not that we ought to be whole in our relationship to God, but that we will be whole to the extent that we let God into our lives. God’s one-ness will make us one.

We all struggle to fit the various pieces of ourselves together, to make ourselves whole. But struggling internally can never yield the wholeness that we seek, since human beings are by nature incomplete. The more we focus on ourselves, the harder it is to escape our brokenness.

Levi Yitzhak offers a different approach. We make peace within ourselves by looking outward. We find completeness by engaging in mitzvot, by honoring God and the image of God in other people. We become whole by making ourselves part of a larger whole.

May our work of teshuvah during this High Holiday season help us all to find the peace that we are seeking

  • 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 Michael and Shaindel Ross in honor of their 6th wedding anniversary.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Munchkin Minyan, for ages 2 to 5 and parents, meets from 11 to 11:30 am this Shabbat.
  • This Shabbat afternoon after kiddush, Mariam Cohen will discuss her doctoral dissertation on the history of conversion to Judaism.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • Join us for S’lihot on Saturday night August 31. We will start at 9 pm with a screening and discussion of the film “Footnote” by Yosef Cedar. The S’lihot service will follow at about 11:30 pm.
  • On Monday September 2, 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 are available to help.
  • Rosh Hashanah begins on Wednesday evening September 4. You can find complete information on The New Shul’s High Holiday services here.