The New Shul

Parshat Ki Tavo

In this week’s parashah, Ki Tavo, Moshe promises the children of Israel that, if they follow God’s teachings, God’s blessings “will come upon you and overtake you.”  But why would God’s blessings need to “overtake” them unless they were running away from those blessings?

The Degel Mahaneh Efrayim explains that, much of the time, that is exactly what we do. We run away from God’s most precious gifts in pursuit of things that cannot really make us happy. We chase after the wrong things. But, if we are lucky, the blessings that we ignore do not let us get away so easily. They pursue and overtake us, even though we were not wise enough to pursue them.

This season of teshuvah, culminating in the Days of Awe, is one of those gifts. Transformation and reconciliation are hard things to achieve, and we rarely seek out opportunities to do the work that they require. But the Jewish calendar does not let us get away. Each year, this season of teshuvah catches up with us. It overtakes us with the power of its message, and demands that we respond.

In answering the challenge of the Days of Awe, we achieve a kind of transformation that we rarely find the strength and wisdom to pursue on our own. So we can be especially grateful that, each year, the challenge pursues us.

May the blessings of this season overtake us this year, and for many years to come.

  • 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, September 21, the kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Michael and Jennie Kronenfeld.
  • Childcare is available on Shabbat mornings from 10 am to noon.
  • This Saturday night, September 21, is the night of S’lihot. Join us at the shul at 8:30 pm for a screening and discussion of the film Menashe (Joshua Z. Weinstein, 2017). The S’lihot service will follow at about 10:45 pm.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7 pm.