The New Shul

Parshat Ki Tavo

In this week’s parashah, Ki Tavo, Moshe explains to the Israelites that the manna that they have lived on for the past 40 years had an educational purpose. “You did not eat bread or drink wine. . . so that you would know that I am YHWH your God.” Most interpreters have understood this to mean that God made us live on manna — miracle food — so that we would come to understand that all food, like the manna, is a gift.

But according to some interpreters, Moshe’s point is the opposite: God made us live on manna, not so that we would feel blessed, but so that we would feel deprived. God denied us bread and wine, the things that we craved, because people tend to be more open to God when they are feeling empty than when they are feeling full.

There is a common thread to both interpretations of the manna. By either reading, manna served as an antidote to the illusion of self-sufficiency. It taught us that we human beings are fundamentally dependent. People come to God in one of two ways: through wonder and gratefulness, or through yearning and need. Both require that we break through our sense of mastery and entitlement. Whichever way we understand the meaning of the manna — as a spur to gratefulness or as a corrective against pride — the manna taught us to look higher than ourselves.

May the awareness of our blessings, and of our deepest needs, help us in our work of change and growth in the coming days.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat servicesĀ are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. This Shabbat, September 1, our kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Michael and Jennie Kronenfeld in honor of their 48th wedding anniversary.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • If you would like to get a head start on the holidays by learning some of our prayer-melodies for the Days of Awe, join us for a singing workshop in the shul library, from 12:40 to 1 pm, this Shabbat September 1, and next Shabbat September 8.
  • S’lihot is this Saturday night September 1. Please join us at 8:45 pm for a screening and discussion of The Women’s Balcony (Shlomit Nehama and Emil Ben-Shimon, 2016). The S’lihot service will begin at approximately 11 pm.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, Monday evenings at 7 pm, and Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.
  • On Labor Day, Monday September 3, 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.
  • Complete information on our services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.