The New Shul

Parshat Ki Tetzei

This week’s parashah, Ki Tetzei, teaches that, if we find a mother bird sitting on her eggs, we may take the eggs but must let the mother bird go free. Rabbi Avraham of Sokhchov explained the reason as follows:  The mother bird, at that moment, has a special status almost like that of a human being. In guarding her eggs even at the risk of her life, she reminds us of a human ideal:  placing another’s needs above our own. Becuase the mother bird is emblematic of the human ideal of compassion, we must honor her as we would honor a person.

Philosophers and scientists have offered many answers to the question of what defines our humanness: the ability to reason, to use language, to make complex tools. Rabbi Avraham of Sokhchov answered the question very differently. What gives us our status as human beings, he taught, is compassion, the ability to care deeply for another.

All week long, we express our humanness by building and achieving, by asserting mastery over nature. On Shabbat, we put aside that work in order to remind ourselves that what makes us human, above all else, is our ability to love. May this Shabbat, and every Shabbat, help us to rediscover what matters most in our lives.

  • 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 17, is sponsored by Len and Susan Cedars.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Our learning service for grades 2 to 4 resumes this Shabbat, from 11 to 11:40 am.
  • 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 Shabbat morning, September 24, we will celebrate the bat mitzvah of Shelly Pertsovsky.
  • Join us for our S’lihot service on Saturday night September 24 at 10 pm.
  • Rosh Hashanah begins on Sunday evening October 2. Complete information on our services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.