The New Shul

Parshat T’tzaveh

This week’s parashah, T’tzaveh, begins with God’s command to prepare pure olive oil for the ner tamid, the perpetual lamp. Immediately after that, God gives instructions concerning the special garments that the high priest was to wear.

Why are those sets of instructions given together? According to the S’fat Emet, it is to teach the importance of making ourselves whole. The ner tamid represents the human soul, which has the power to bring God’s light into the world. But the soul can be a source of light only to the extent that it is integrated with the body. It is with our hands and feet and vocal chords, after all, that we do mitzvot. By teaching us about the priestly garments right after the ner tamid, the Torah reminds us that we we can make our souls a source of light only by sanctifying our physicality as well.

The point is that authentic spirituality is not just about our innner life, but about our outer life as well. Spirituality is not just about how we feel, but about what we do. It is as whole human beings, soul and body together, that we bring God’s light into the world.

  • 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 28, is sponsored by Shirley and Brian Brener and by Debbie and John Wolfe.
  • Childcare on Shabbat mornings is available from 10 am to noon. Our learning services this Shabbat are: for pre-K through grade 2 from 11 to 11:45 am, and for grades 3 to 5 from 10:15 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).