The New Shul

Parshat B’midbar/Shavuot

Parshat B’midbar (“In the desert”) is usually read on the Shabbat before Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The ancient rabbis taught that, just as our ancestors had to venture into the desert before they could receive the Torah, the same is true for us. We must make ourselves hefker (unowned) like the desert in order to be truly open to hearing God’s voice. In other words, we must break free of the false priorities that “own” us, that monopolize our attention, in order to remember where our obligations really lie.

In a sense, every Shabbat is Shabbat B’midbar, a time of breaking free of false obligations, of making ourselves ownerless so that we can hear a deeper call. May this Shabbat of being in the desert serve as an example of what every Shabbat is for:  to free us from our false masters so that we can remember the One whom we are truly called to serve.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat services are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. The kiddush-lunch this Shabbat, June 11, is sponsored by Cindy Mann in honor of her upcoming trip to Israel.
  • 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.
  • Shavuot begins this Saturday night June 11. Join us for ourTikkun Leil Shavuot, our all night study-vigil, from 9:30 pm until Sunday morning at dawn. The theme is “Shabbat: A Sanctuary in Time.”
  • Our service for the first day of Shavuot will be at dawn on Sunday morning. Our service for the second day will be on Monday morning beginning at 9 am. The service will includeYizkor, the memorial prayer.