The New Shul

Parshat Ki Tavo

In this week’s parashah, Ki Tavo, Moshe explains to the children of Israel that the mannah that they have lived on in the desert for the past 40 years had an educational purpose. “You did not eat bread or drink wine . . . so that you would know that I am the Lord your God.” God made us live on mannah — miracle-food– so that we would not take food for granted, but would learn that all food, like the mannah, is a gift.

According to some interpreters, Moshe is making a different point:  God made us live on mannah, not so that we would feel blessed, but so that we would feel deprived. God denied us bread and wine — the things that we craved — because people tend to be more open to God when they are feeling empty than when they are feeling full.

Whichever way we understand the mannah — as a miracle or as a deprivation — it answered the same spiritual challenge. Mannah, by either reading, served an antidote to the illusion of self-sufficiency. Spiritual life begins in two places:  in a sense of wonder and a sense of need. The mannah heightened both, and in both ways, challenged us to make room for God in our lives.

May the awareness of our blessings and the awareness of our incompleteness help us in our work of teshuvah during the Days of Awe.

  • 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 Sam and Ruth Schindler.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Munchkin Minyan for ages 2 to 5 and parents will meet at 11 am this Shabbat.
  • 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 8:30 pm with havdalah and singing, followed by a screening and discussion of the film “Footnote” by Yosef Cedar. The S’lihotservice will begin 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.
  • Here is a niggun (to Menuhah v’Simhah) to sing at your Shabbat table.