The New Shul

Vayak’hel-P’kudei/Shabbat Ha-Hodesh

In the first of this weeks’s parshiyot, Vayak’hel, Moshe assembles the community to get them started on the work of building the mishkan (tabernacle), based on the instructions that Moshe has received from God. But Moshe reverses the order of the instructions that God gave him. In God’s original instructions, the last thing that God mentioned was that we must interrupt the work of building the mishkan to rest each seventh day. In Moshe’s instructions to the community he tells them about Shabbat first, before anything else.

Why the change of order between God’s instructions to Moshe, and Moshe’s instructions to the people? Rabbi Yitzhak Meir of Ger explained that it was because of what had happened in between — i.e. the sin of the golden calf. That sin had demonstrated how easy it is for work to become an idol, an end in itself. Moshe had learned from that experience that, to keep what we create from turning into a golden calf, we need the message of Shabbat to inform our work from the very beginning.

We live in a world that, more than ever, tends to turn work into an idol, an end instead of a means. But Shabbat can be an antidote to that. It helps us to make sure that our work is not just about itself, that it points to something greater. By stopping on Shabbat and taking the time to remember what matters most to us, we fill our work with greater meaning during the rest of the week.

May the Shabbat that we create together help to make our work, whatever it might be, sacred work.

  • 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 25, is sponsored by Shelly and Arnie Silverman.
  • 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.