The New Shul

Parshat T’rumah

On the surface, this week’s parashah, T’rumah, seems to have nothing to do with last week’s parashah, Mishpatim. Mishpatim dealt with matters of justice and fairness. T’rumah teaches us how to create space for the transcendent, how to use the power of ritual structures to bring God into our lives. For our ancestors, that work began with offerings of t’rumah, gifts to God.

Why does the Torah place these two parshiyot side by side? The author of Mekor Barukh suggested a reason. He pointed out that, according to Jewish law, an offering that the giver has acquired through theft or fraud is not a valid offering. Only a justly-acquired offering is acceptable to God.

In other words, the interpersonal and spiritual domains are not as separate as they seem. To be spiritually authentic, religious life must be infused with ethical integrity. For example, if our prayer is to be a true prayer, it must include within it a concern for other people.

Or, to turn the point around, concern for other people can create space for the transcendent in our lives. If we are struggling to find a way to reach upward, we can begin by reaching outward. The Torah’s path, from Mishpatim to T’rumah, can be our path as well.

  • 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 29, the kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Ivan and Karen Brodsky.
  • 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.