The New Shul

Parshat B’midbar/Shavuot

Last Shabbat, as we completed the book of Leviticus, we still stood with Moshe at the summit of Mount Sinai. The book’s closing words were: “These are the mitzvot that YHWH gave to Moshe for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai.” In this week’s parashah, B’midbar (“In the Wilderness”), we make the transition to the wilderness of Sinai. We come down from the mountaintop and begin life on the desert floor.

The parashah begins by locating us in time: “On the first day of the second month in the second year. . . ”  It has been a long time since the Torah specified a date. As long as we were on the mountaintop with Moshe, we stood outside ordinary time. But now, as we come down to earth, time re-enters our consciousness.

The author of Birkat David explained that it is always so. “Mountaintop” moments — moments of intense clarity and insight — are moments when time seems to stand still. But in the aftermath of such experiences of revelation, as we come back to earth, time becomes of the essence. Having gained a deeper clarity about what really matters and what does not, we become intensely aware of every passing moment. We feel an urgency to make each hour and minute count.

On Shavuot, our yearly festival of revelation, time stands still for us as it did at Mount Sinai. But afterwards, the Torah that we have internalized moves us to use the time that we have on this earth more wisely. May the Torah that we receive this Shavuot help us to live more fully, with a deeper sense of purpose

  • 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.
  • Childcare is available on Shabbat mornings from 10 am to noon.
  • The festival of Shavuot begins on Saturday night June 8. Please join us for our all-night Tikkun Leil Shavuot, from 9:30 pm until dawn on Sunday morning. Our service for the first day of Shavuot, Sunday morning June 9, will begin at 4:30 am.
  • Our service for the second day of Shavuot, Monday June 10, will begin at 9 am, and will include Yizkor, the memorial prayer.
  • Please note that our e-bulletin will be on hiatus for the next two months. The next e-bulletin will be sent on August 8. Shabbat services will continue as always throughout the summer, along with minyanim on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7 pm.