The New Shul

Parshat Sh’mini/Shabbat Parah

This week’s parashah, Sh’mini, teaches: “Al t’shaktsu et nafshoteikhem – Do not degrade yourselves by contact with abominable things.” The immediate context is a ritual one. The Torah is warning the priests not to let themselves become ritually impure. But taken more broadly, this is a good piece of ethical advice for all of us. Maintaining our integrity means steering clear of morally compromising situations, keeping our distance from unkind and insensitive people, morally repugnant ideas, harmful speech.

The point is not that we should run away from the evils of the world. To the contrary, we need to combat them. But in order to fight back against the things that pollute our ethical environment, we need to keep ourselves from getting too accustomed to them, too comfortable with them. Human beings can get used to almost anything. So we should take care to make our home with those who challenge us to be better. 

May our community always be a place that nourishes the best in us.

  • 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. This Shabbat, March 30, the kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Arnie and Shelly Silverman in honor of their 13th wedding anniversary.
  • 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.