The New Shul

Parshat Mishpatim

This week’s parashah, Mishpatim, offers a detailed blue-print for a just society, with God at its heart. It teaches laws about the most down-to-earth concerns, from returning lost property to handling collateral for loans to assessing damages for injuries and losses due to negligence. As the Torah explains, all of it is toward the greater end that “You shall be a holy people unto Me.”

Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk taught that the key word in that phrase is “people.”  God does not need more angels. God needs human beings who live in this imperfect world, and can bring a little more of God into it. Only human beings have the ability to bring heaven and earth together, because we have a share in both.

That is why the laws of Parshat Mishpatim are so down-to-earth. Their purpose is to bring holiness into the areas of life that seem farthest from heaven: the marketplace, the workplace, the areas that have the greatest potential for friction. Together, may we learn to bring a little bit of holiness into the places that need it most.

  • 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 6, is sponsored by Herb and Margot Stern, and co-sponsored by Debby and Kenn Harris in memory of Debby’s mother, and in honor of Jacob Harris’s 36th birthday and Marlowe Harris’s 5th birthday. The desserts are sponsored by Sharon and Michael Klausner in honor of their 54th wedding anniversary.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Learning services for children this Shabbat are from 11 to 11:30 am.for toddlers and preschoolers, and from 11 to 11:45 am for grades 1 to 3.
  • 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.
  • The New Shul community’s annual meeting is on Sunday February 7 at 10:30 am (breakfast is at 10). All are welcome.
  • On Shabbat morning, February 13, we will celebrate the bar mitzvah of Benjamin Brodsky, son of Jon and Randi Brodsky.
  • On Presidents’ Day, Monday February 15, The New Shul community will serve meals to the hungry at St. Vincent de Paul’s Jackson St. dining room. Please let us know if you can help.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on February 26, following the 6 pm service. The cost is $18 per adult, and $9 per child under 18 (no charge for children under 5). Please make your reservation by Friday February 19.