The New Shul

Parshat Re’eh/Shabbat Rosh Hodesh Elul

In this week’s parashah, Re’eh, Moses teaches the children of Israel a mitzvah that applied as long as the Temple in Jerusalem stood: that of going to Jerusalem on pilgrimage three times a year. “. . . Seek out [God’s] dwelling place and go there.”

Why add “and go there”? Doesn’t seeking out God’s dwelling place mean going there? Rabbi Moshe ben Hayim Alshekh interpreted “and go there” not as a command but as a promise. If we truly seek God’s dwelling place, then we are sure to go there, because it is precisely in our longing that God is most present. No matter how inaccessible we imagine God’s dwelling place to be, it is as near as our own yearning. Our recognition of our own incompleteness opens our hearts to what was there all along.

What separates us from God is not doubt but complacency, not our difficulty believing but our sense of self-sufficiency. As the Kotzker Rebbe taught, God is present wherever we make room for God to be. When we truly seek God’s dwelling place, we discover that we are already there.

  • 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 15, is sponsred by Ina Jacobson.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings, and includes a learning service for toddlers and preschoolers from 11 to 11:30 am. Our learning service for grades 1-3 will resume on August 29.
  • 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).
  • Join us for the night of S’lihot, Saturday September 5 at 9 pm. We will begin with a screening and discussion of the film “Fill the Void” as a text on teshuvah. The S’lihot service will follow at about 11 pm.
  • On Labor Day, Monday September 7, The New Shul community will serve meals to the hungry at St. Vincent de Paul’s Jackson Street dining room. Please let us know if you can help.
  • Rosh Hashanah begins on Sunday evening, September 13. Information on The New Shul’s services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.