The New Shul

Parshat Mishpatim

In this week’s parashah, Mishpatim, God calls upon Moshe to climb Mount Sinai a second time: “Come up to Me on the Mountain, and be there, so that I can give you the stone tablets with the teachings. . . “

Rabbi Menahem of Kotzk noted that the words “and be there” seem to be redundant. Once Moshe has climbed the mountain, where else would he be other than there?

According to the Kotzker, God added those words precisely to teach us that one can climb Mount Sinai and still not be there. Even peak experiences can be lost on us if our minds are elsewhere. On the other hand, when we are truly present in the moment, when we are truly where we are, then wherever we are is Mount Sinai. Any moment can be a moment of revelation — a moment of encountering the ever-present one — if we are fully there.

Often, when God seems absent from our world, the real problem is that we are absent. May Shabbat, our day of peace, help us to be more present for each other, and in the process know God’s presence.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat services are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. The kiddush-lunch this Shabbat, Februay 2, will be sponsored by Sharon and Michael Klausner in honor of their 57th wedding anniversary, and in memory of Sharon’s parents Ruth and Arthur Mayer.
  • Childcare is available on Shabbat mornings from 10 am to noon.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday through Thursday evenings at 7 pm.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community is on Sunday February 3 at 10:30 am. All are welcome.