The New Shul

Parshat Ekev

In this week’s parashah, Ekev, Moses assures the children of Israel that, in the land that God has promised them, they will have plenty to eat:  “You shall eat and be satisfied and bless YHWH your God.” The ancient rabbis understood that passage as the basis for birkat hamazon, the blessing after meals.

On the surface, Moses is saying that we will thank God because we are satisfied. But Rabbi Barukh of Medzibozh read the sentence the other way around. We will be satisfied because we give thanks. The act of expressing gratefulness — not the food itself — is what will make us feel full.

Rabbi Barukh’s point is that to feel blessed is a choice. When we make the decision to be thankful, a sense of fullness follows — as Ben Zoma taught in Pirkei Avot: “Who is rich? One who rejoices in what s/he has.”

May our prayers of thanksgiving teach us how blessed we are.

  • 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, August 8, is sponsred by Ora Kurland and Eric Steinberg in honor of Noam Kurland’s 30th birthday, and by Marni and Ariel Anbar in honor of Nathaniel’s 15th birthday.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on August 28, 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 Friday August 21 to make your reservation (if you wish to pay online, you can do so here).
  • Information on The New Shul’s services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.