The New Shul

Parshat Tzav/Shabbat Zakhor (Erev Purim)

The Hassidic masters took Purim very seriously — as seriously as they took Yom Kippur. In fact they equated the two holidays through a play on words. Yom Kippurim (another name for Yom Kippur) can be understood as “a day that is like Purim.”

How are Purim and Yom Kippur similar? As the S’fat Emetexplained, the two holidays achieve the same end through different means. On Yom Kippur we fast and pray in order to transcend ourselves. We rise above our own needs, our own egos, so that we can see the world from a higher point of view. On Purim, we drink and masquerade for the same purpose. By blurring our boundaries and making ourselves ridiculous, we deflate our egos and rise above ourselves.

The S’fat Emet reminds us that spiritual growth takes many forms, some strange and unexpected. The ancient rabbis taught that, on Purim, we should strive to reach the point where we cannot tell the difference between “cursed be Haman” and “blessed be Mordekhai.” Sometimes we find holiness in surprising places.

  • 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. Our guest teacher this Shabbat, March 15, is Dr. Steven Kepnes, professor of religious studies at Colgate University. The kiddush this Shabbat is sponsored by Fay and Aubrey Palestrant.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Beyond Bim Bom for grades 2 to 5 meets this Shabbat from 10:15 to 11:30 am.
  • This Saturday night, March 15, is Erev Purim. Join us at 7:45 pm for the reading of the megillah and for “Shmaltz: The Musical,” written by Marni Anbar and performed by The New Shul players.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am. The megillah will be read again this Sunday morning during minyan.
  • On Shabbat morning April 5, our guest teacher will be Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, director of the Valley Beit Midrash.
  • The New Shul is collecting food donations for “Just Three Things,” to help young adults who have aged out of the foster care system. Please bring packaged items that are either ready-to-eat or require only microwave preparation. To arrange a drop-off, call or email the shul.