The New Shul

Parshat Vayeilekh/Shabbat Shuvah

In this week’s parashah, Vayeilekh, Moshe hands the Torah over to the priests, and commands them to teach it to the people every seven years once they are settled in the land of Israel. “At the end of every seven years. . . recite this Torah in the presence of the entire people — gather the people together.”

Rabbi Avraham Mordekhai of Ger noted that the order of the sentence seems backwards. Why does “gather the people together” come after “recite this Torah” rather than before it? Wouldn’t the priests need to gather the people first?

Rabbi Avraham Mordekhai explained that “gather the people together” is  not  an instruction to the priests about what they need to do before they teach the Torah. Rather, it is the content of the Torah that they are to teach. What Moshe meant was that the priests should teach the people the Torah of their own togetherness. They should teach the people that, when they stand together in a spirit of love and unity, their closeness to one another is in itself a kind of sacred text, a source of spiritual insight. Our bond to one another opens doors to the divine.

As we stand together on Yom Kippur, may our sene of oneness with each other bring us closer to God’s oneness.

  • 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, October 8, is sponsored by Ada Anbar in memory of her husband Michael Anbar on his second yahrzeit.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Our learning service for grades 2 to 4 is from 11 to 11:40 am.
  • Yom Kippur begins on Tuesday evening October 11. Kol Nidrei is at 5:30 pm. Services on the morning of Yom Kippur, Wednesday October 12, begin at 8:15 am. We will blow the shofar to end the fast at 6:50 pm. Yom Kippur is followed by a break-fast, open to all. Complete information on our Yom Kippur services is available here.
  • Services for the first two days of Sukkot, Monday and Tuesday October 17 and 18, begin at 9 am.
  • Services for Sh’mini Atzeret, Monday October 24, begin at 9 am, and include Yizkor, the memorial prayer.
  • Erev Simhat Torah is Monday night October 24. Join us for hakafot and dancing beginning at 7 pm. Our service for the morning of Simhat Torah, Tuesday October 25, begins at 9 am.
  • Please note that there will be no e-bulletin next week. The bulletin will resume on Thursday October 20.