The New Shul

Parshat T’rumah

On the surface, this week’s parashah, T’rumah, seems to have nothing to do with last week’s parashah, Mishpatim.Mishpatim dealt with matters of justice and fairness.T’rumah teaches us how to create space for the transcendent, how to use the power of ritual structures to bring God into our lives. For our ancestors, that work began with offerings of t’rumah, gifts to God.

Why does the Torah place these two parshiyot side by side? The author of Mekor Barukh suggests a reason. He points out that, according to Jewish law, an offering that the giver acquired through theft or fraud was not a valid offering. Only a justly-acquired offering was acceptable to God.

In other words, the interpersonal and spiritual domains are not as separate as they seem. To be spiritually authentic, religious life must be infused with ethical integrity. If our prayer is to be a true prayer, it must include within it a concern for other people.

Or, to turn the point around, concern for other people can create a space for the transcendent in our lives. If we are struggling to find a way to reach upward, we can begin by reaching outward. The Torah’s path, from Mishpatim toT’rumah, can be our path as well.

  • 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, February 21, is sponsored by the Kanter-Wasserman family.
  • Childcare on Shabbat mornings is available from 10 am to noon. Our learning service for pre-K through grade 2 is from 11 to 11:45 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, Monday evenings at 7 pm, Wednesday mornings at 7 am, and Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.
  • Erev Purim is Wednesday night March 4. Join us at The New Shul for our megillah reading and shpiel — Falsetto Frozen Disco Purim — beginning at 7:30 pm.
  • Rabbi Arthur Green, a leading scholar of Jewish mystical thought and spirituality, will be our guest from Thursday March 19 through Shabbat March 21. On Thursday at 7 pm, Rabbi Green will lecture on “A Judaism for Today’s Seekers.” The lecture is sponsored by Valley Beit Midrash. On Shabbat, Rabbi Green will teach on the parashah of the week, and on Hasidic texts concerning Tikkun Middot (ethical/spiritual development).