The New Shul

Parshat Va-et’hanan/Shabbat Nahamu

In this week’s parashah, Va-et’hanan, Moshe commands the children of Israel (in words that we recite each day in the first section of the Sh’ma): “You shall love YHWH your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.”

How can we be commanded to love God? Isn’t love, like all emotions, something that we either feel or don’t feel?

The S’fat Emet answered that Moshe was commanding us, not to feel but to do. We all have the capacity to love God, to reach beyond ourselves. The only question is whether we will do what we must do to realize that potential. When Moshe said “You shall love. . . ” he was calling on us to act, to use the structures of religious life to unlock our capacity to love, to open our hearts.

The purpose of religious life is to awaken our capacity to reach beyond ourselves, to love God and each other. And there is no better place to start than with Shabbat. The discipline of slowing down one day per week is a discipline of love. It helps us to remember that we — and all human beings — are images of God, and that the spark of holiness within us links us to our source.

  • 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, August 5, is sponsored by Lois Zeidman, Yvette Boldt, Hana and Norman Kahn, and Shelly and Arnie Silverman.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • 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 Labor Day, Monday September 4, 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.