The New Shul

Parshat Lekh L’kha

In this week’s parashah, Lekh L’kha, God commands Avraham: “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you can. . . thus shall be your descendants.”

On the surface, God’s promise is that Avraham’s descendants will be as numerous as the stars. But Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin interpreted the promise in a different way. He understood the word “thus” to refer not to the number of the stars but to Avraham’s attempt to count them. “Thus shall be your descendants” means, not that Avraham’s descendents will be too numerous to count, but that, like Avraham himself, they will dare to do what seems impossible — such as to count the stars. We will not limit our aspirations to what we think we can achieve. We will understand that what we can achieve depends on the greatness of our aspirations.

Rabbi Meir Shapira’s understanding of God’s promise is the opposite of what it seems to be on the surface. A people’s greatness is measured not by its numbers but by its sense of mission, not by what is outwardly quantifiable but by what lies deeper inside. May we be true heirs to Avraham by cultivating the inner strengths that matter most.

  • 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-lunch this Shabbat is sponsored by Gary Parilman’s children, Lindsey and Josh Parilman, in honor of Gary’s 70th birthday.
  • Childcare on Shabbat mornings is available from 10 am to noon. Our Shabbat learning services for children resume on November 8. For the schedule, see our website.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on November 7, after the 6 pm service. The cost is $18 per adult, and $9 per child under 18 (no charge for children under 5). Please send in your payment by Sunday November 2 to make your reservation. If you wish to pay online, you can do so here.
  • On the Sunday of Martin Luther King Day Weekend, January 18, The New Shul will host the first day of a two-day Mussar retreat, co-sponsored by the Valley Beit Midrash. On Monday January 19, the retreat will continue at Temple Chai. Further information is available here.