The New Shul

Parshat B’shalah

In this week’s parashah, B’shalahthe story of our liberation from Egypt reaches its climactic moment, the dividing of the sea. The Torah tells us that we responded to that experience with a song of joy and thanksgiving.

According to the S’fat Emet, the essence of liberation is the freeing of our deepest desires. We had always had within us a longing to reach up to God, but we had never known it until the moment when we sang that song. Singing the song was not a response to our liberation — it was our liberation.

We often think that slavery means not getting what we want. But at a deeper level, it means not knowing what we want. We spend so much time and energy pursuing things that cannot make us happy, and that in itself is a form of enslavement. To free ourselves is to remember what we really want in life, what really is worth striving for.

May this Shabbat, and every Shabbat be a time of liberation for all of us.

  • 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, January 11, is sponsored by Cathy and Jordan Benmeir in honor of the naming of their new daughter.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • On Martin Luther King Day, Monday January 20, 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 can help.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on January 24 immediately after the 6 pm service. The cost is $18 per adult and $9 per child/teen under 18 (no charge for kids under 5). Visitors from the Shabbat Luck program will be joining us. Please send in your payment to reserve your place by Friday January 17.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community is on Sunday morning, February 2 at 10:30 am. All are welcome.
  • If you would like to read Rabbi Wasserman’s new article, “The Vendor Trap: Why Selling Spirituality Doesn’t Work,” you can access it here.