The New Shul

Parshat Vayak’hel

In this week’s parashah, Vayak’hel, Moshe gets the children of Israel started on the work of building the mishkan, God’s dwelling place on earth. But before he does, he reminds them that they will have to interrupt their work to rest each seventh day. Moshe’s language, on the surface, seems a little awkward. He says:  “Uvayom ha-sh’vi’i yih’yeh lakhem kodesh” — which literally means  “On the seventh day, for you will be holy.” 

Why that strange formulation? Rabbi Hayim Yosef David Azulai understood Moshe’s words to mean that, on Shabbat, that which is “for you” will also be holy. That which is for our own benefit will be for a higher purpose as well. On Shabbat, the relaxation and enjoyment that we grant ourselves are not just for us, but for God.

That is the wonderful paradox of Shabbat. On Shabbat we learn that taking care of our own needs is not just about our own needs. Allowing ourselves to feel more fully human is a way of honoring the God in whose image we are created. That which is “for us” points us toward that which is greater than 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. This Shabbat morning, February 22, we will celebrate the bar mitzvah of Nathaniel Anbar, son of Ariel and Marni Anbar. The kiddush is sponsored by the Anbar family.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Munchkin Minyan for pre-schoolers meets this Shabbat, February 22, from 11 to 11:30 am. Beyond Bim Bomfor 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.
  • On Shabbat morning March 15, our guest teacher will be Dr. Steven Kepnes, professor of religious studies at Colgate University.
  • Saturday night March 15 is Erev Purim. Please join us for our megillah reading and shpiel (“Schmaltz: The Musical”) beginning at 7:45 pm.
  • On Shabbat morning April 5, our guest teacher will be Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, director of the Valley Beit Midrash.
  • Please note that there will be no e-bulletin next Thursday. The next e-bulletin will be in two weeks, on Thursday March 6.