The New Shul

Parshat Vayikra

This week’s parashah, Vayikra, begins:  “The Lord called to Moshe from the Tent of Meeting.”  The first word,“Vayikra” (“called”), is written in the Torah scroll with its last latter (alef) smaller than the others. A midrash explains that the small letter alef represents the smallness that Moshe felt as he saw God’s presence fill the Tent of Meeting as the structure was completed at the end of last week’s parashah. Moshe was so humbled by the presence of God in that sacred space that he felt unworthy to go there himself. That is why, as this week’s parashah opens, God must call to Moshe. God needs Moshe to understand that his presence is needed there as well.

Often, we feel the same way concerning sacred spaces. When we approach a synagogue, it is easy to feel intimidated and inadequate, to feel that there is no room for us there.

How do we get beyond those feelings? By remembering that every person has the power to add to the holiness of that place. Each of us is needed, because each of us is a unique image of God. Each of us brings some gift that no one else can bring. When we remember that, we too feel called to enter the tent.

May we hear that call, and respond with open hearts.

  • 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, March 8, we will celebrate the upcoming wedding of Tom Bomberg and Jordyn Feiger. The kiddush is sponsored by Ralph and Sally Anzarouth, who will soon return home to Ottawa.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Munchkin Minyan for pre-schoolers meets this Shabbat from 11 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.