The New Shul

Parshat Ki Tissa

In this week’s parashah, Ki Tissa, God teaches Moshe how to take a census of the people. “When you count the children of Israel according to their numbers. . . ” But the expression that God uses for “count” is a strange one. Literally what God says is “when you lift up the heads of the children of Israel according to their number.”

Why does God speak of counting people as “lifting up their heads?” The Avnei Ezel explains that, in counting people as part of a community, we raise their status as human beings. A life of disengagement from others feels empty and unimportant. It almost literally does not count. But when we stand within a community, a group that has a mission larger than ourselves, our lives take on a greater dignity. Our heads are lifted up.

Often we think of individuality and community as opposites. We assume that, the more we invest in a group, the less individuality we have left. But the Avnei Ezel reminds us that we find our dignity as individuals in our loyalty to one another. It is in the “we” that we discover the “I.”

May our commitment to community help all of us to find our truest selves.

  • 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, March 18, is sponsored by Bonnie Price and Jack Hirsch in honor of Bud and Carol Sunshine (who will soon be moving to Denver), and by Adrienne and Laurie Phillips.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Our learning service for grades K to 4 is from 11 to 11:40 am.
  • 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.
  • On Shabbat morning April 1, we will celebrate the bar mitzvah of Bijan Bobrow, son of Ben and Mojdeh Bobrow.
  • Pesah begins on Monday night April 10. Our services for the first two days of Pesah are on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 11 and 12, beginning at 9 am. Our services for the last two days of Pesah are on Monday and Tuesday April 17 and 18 beginning at 9 am. Our service for the last day, Tuesday April 18, will include Yizkor, the memorial prayer.