The New Shul

Parshat Re’eh/Shabbat Rosh Hodesh Elul

In this week’s parashah, Re’eh, Moshe begins: “See, I place before you today a blessing and a curse:  the blessing, that you listen to the mitzvot of YHWH your God. . . and the curse, if you do not listen  . . . “

The S’fat Emet noted the asymetry of the two clauses. Concerning the blessing, Moshe says “that you listen,” but concerning the curse he says “if you do not listen.” The positive is “that,” and the negative is merely “if.” Moshe seems to have more confidence that we will listen than that we won’t.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perahya taught in Pirkei Avot: “When you judge people, tip the balance in their favor.” Always give people the benefit of the doubt. That is the principle that Moshe models for us.

Tipping the balance in each other’s favor is key to building spiritual community. We become a true community when we assume the best about each other, when we choose to recognize the image of God in those with whom we pray and learn. In doing so, we bring a little more of God into our world.

As we look toward the new year, may we earn that blessing.

  • 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, September 3, is sponsored by Michael and Jennie Kronenfeld in honor of their 46th wedding anniversary.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • Weekday minyanim at The New Shul are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, Monday evenings at 7 pm, Wednesday mornings at 7 am and Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.
  • On Labor Day, Monday September 5, 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.
  • On Shabbat morning, September 24, we will celebrate the bat mitzvah of Shelly Pertsovsky.
  • Information on The New Shul’s services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.