The New Shul

Parshat Bo

In this week’s parashah, Bo, God explains to Moshe that the purpose of the plagues in Egypt is an educational one:  “So that you will recount in the ears of your children. . . how I displayed my signs among them. . . and you will know that I am YHWH.” By telling and retelling the story, we will insure that future generations know God.

Rabbi Yehoshua of Belz interpreted the sentence in the opposite way. He understood the first clause, “So that you will recount. . .” as dependent on the second, “and you will know. . .” instead of the other way around. The telling is dependent on the knowing, not the knowing on the telling. It is not that we must tell our children so that they will be convinced, but rather that we must be convinced before we can tell them. Our words will move them only if we truly believe what we say. The purpose of God’s signs and wonders was to teach the teachers, not the students.

Rabbi Yehoshua of Belz reminds us that the work of educating the next generation is not primarily about our children but about ourselves. The real task is to clarify where we ourselves stand, what we are prepared to commit to. Only then will our words truly be heard.

May we, as a community of Torah, help each other to grow as Jews, so that our children and grandchildren will learn from our words and our deeds.

  • 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. This Shabbat, January 20, the kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Yennga Nguyen and by Philip and Jane Paress.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Our learning service for children is from 11 to 11:45 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.
  • The New Shul’s annual meeting is on Sunday February 4 at 10:30 am. All are welcome. The meeting is followed by a blood drive in the afternoon. Please contact us for an appointment to give blood.