The New Shul

Vayak’hel/P’kudei/Shabbat Parah

In this week’s two parshiyot, Vayak’hel and P’kudei, the children of Israel build the mishkan, God’s portable dwelling place on earth. The work is directed by the two chief artisans, B’tzalel of the tribe of Yehudah, and Oholiav of the tribe of Dan.

Rashi noted that B’tzalel’s tribe, Yehudah, was the greatest of the tribes, the tribe that King David and his royal descendents would come from. On the other hand, Oholiav’s tribe, Dan, was among the lowliest of the tribes (Dan had been born to Bilhah, Yaakov’s concubine). Yet the two artisans, in spite of their different pedigrees, are equated in the text. According to Rashi, that is to teach us that, when it comes to doing sacred work, all of us are equal. Or to say it in a stronger way: it is only when we recognize our deep equality as images of God that we are able to succeed in that work.

Spiritual community is our mishkan, our sacred structure. We bring God down to earth by constructing a network of mitzvah, of sacred obligation, that binds us to each other. At the heart of that work — for us as for our ancestors — is the awareness that, in God’s eyes, all of us are equally precious.

  • 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, March 14, is sponsored by Ben and Beverly Smolensky as they prepare to move back to Chicago.
  • 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.
  • 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, after kiddush, on Hasidic texts concerning Tikkun Middot(ethical/spiritual development).