The New Shul

Parshat Ki Tavo

This week’s parashah, Ki Tavo, explains the procedure for the offering of bikkurim, the first fruits. Each year, farmers would bring their first fruits to the Temple in Jerusalem. They would give their basket to a priest, and then, in the presence of the priest, would recite a statement of thanksgiving for God’s gifts. The Mishnah, in tractateBikkurim, elaborates. It tells us that those who knew the statement by heart recited it on their own, and those who did not know it repeated it after the priest.

The problem, according to the Mishnah, was that those who could not recite the statement by heart eventually stopped coming to the Temple with their bikkurim because they were embarrassed. To fix the problem, it was decided that everyone would repeat the statement after the priest, whether they knew it or not, so that no one would be put to shame.

The Mishnah hints at a broader lesson. In order to grow in our relationship with God, we need a safe place in which to do so. In order to learn, we need a supportive community that will not judge us for what we do not know. May our community always be such a place. By protecting one another’s dignity, may we help each other to reach higher.

  • 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, September 5, is sponsored by Michael and Jennie Kronenfeld in honor of their 45th wedding anniversary.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Learning services for children this Shabbat are at the following times: for toddlers and pre-schoolers from 11 to 11:30 am, and for grades 1 to 3 from 11 to 11:45 am.
  • 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.
  • Information on The New Shul’s services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.