The New Shul

Parshat B’har

This week’s parashah, B’har, teaches about the Yovel (Jubilee), the 50th year. Every 50th year, all land sales during the previous 49 years were cancelled. Those who had lost their land due to bankruptcy were permitted to return to their ancestral holdings. The Yovel was a year of amnesty, of  liberation.

The countdown of 49 years to the Yovel reminds us of another countdown that we are engaged in right now, the counting of the omer, the 49 days from Pesah to Shavuot. The difference is that this countdown ends, not with liberation but with commandedness, with our acceptance of the Torah. Instead of pointing to freedom, it points to obligation.

But perhaps there is not such a difference after all. Our acceptance of the Torah was the culmination of the story of our liberation from Egypt. It was only when we chose to commit ourselves to a life of mitzvah that we knew that we were truly free.

In our lives too, authentic commitment is an act of self-liberation. When we rededicate ourselves to the priorities that truly matter, we free ourselves from all the false priorities, the idols, that can so easily take over our lives and enslave us. May our deepest commitments help us to be free.

  • 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, May 10, is sponsored by Bret and Roslyn Tayne in honor of the upcoming marriage of Ronen Tayne and Holly Singer.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings.Munchkin Minyan for pre-schoolers and parents meets this Shabbat from 11 to 11:30 am. 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 Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • Join us for our Tikkun Leil Shavuot, our all-night study vigil on the night of Shavuot, Tuesday June 3 beginning at 9 pm. TheTikkun will end with morning prayers outdoors at sunrise on Wednesday morning.
  • 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. Contact usto arrange a drop-off time.