The New Shul

Parshat Mishpatim/Shabbat Sh’kalim

This week’s parashah, Mishpatim, offers a detailed blue-print for a just society, with God at its heart. It teaches laws about the most down-to-earth concerns, from returning lost property to handling collateral for loans to assessing damages for injuries and losses due to negligence. As the Torah explains, all of it is toward the greater end that “You shall be a holy people unto Me.”

Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk taught that the key word in that phrase is “people.”  God does not need more angels. God needs human beings who live in this imperfect world, and can bring a little more of God into it. Only human beings have the ability to bring heaven and earth together, because we have a share in both.

That is why the laws of Parshat Mishpatim are so down-to-earth. Their purpose is to bring holiness into the areas of life that seem farthest from heaven: the marketplace, the workplace, the public square — the areas that have the greatest potential for friction. Together, may we learn to bring a little bit of holiness into the places that need it most.

  • 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, February 22, the kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Charlie and Jackie Klein.
  • 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, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm.
  • Purim begins on Monday evening March 9. Join us at The New Shul for our megillah reading and sh’piel at 7:15 pm.