The New Shul

Parshat Mishpatim

At the end of this week’s parashah, Mishpatim, God calls Moshe to climb Mount Sinai a second time: “Come up to Me on the Mountain, and be there, so that I can give you the stone tablets with the teachings. . . “

Rabbi Menahem of Kotzk noted that the words “and be there” seem to be redundant. Once Moshe has climbed the mountain, where else would he be other than there?

According to the Kotzker, God added those words precisely to teach us that one can climb Mount Sinai and still not be there. Even peak experiences can be lost on us, if our minds are elsewhere. On the other hand, when we are truly present in the moment, when we are truly where we are, then wherever we are is Mount Sinai. Any moment can be a moment of revelation — a moment of encountering the ever-present one — if we are fully there.

Often, when God seems absent from our world, the real problem is that we are absent. May Shabbat, our day of peace, help us to be more present for each other, and in the process know God’s presence.

  • 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 25, is sponsored by the shul.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Munchkin Minyan for pre-schoolers meets from 11 to 11:30 am this Shabbat. Beyond Bim Bom for grades 2 to 5 meets from 10:15 to 11:30 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community is on Sunday morning, February 2 at 10:30 am. All are welcome.
  • Join us at The New Shul on Saturday night February 8 at 7:30 pm for Havdalah and a Game Night. Please email Barry Zorman for further information.