The New Shul

Vayak’hel-P’kudei/Shabbat Hahodesh

This Shabbat, the Shabbat before Rosh Hodesh Nisan, is called Shabbat Hahodesh. It takes its name from the beginning of its special Torah reading. On the night before the Exodus from Egypt, God taught us: “Hahodesh hazeh lakhem rosh hadashim — This month (literally this new moon) will be the beginning of months for you.” Henceforth we were to measure time from the new moon before our liberation, the beginning of the month of Nisan.

More generally, we learn from this passage that Jewish time is lunar time. The month of Nisan, like every Jewish month, begins with the renewal of the moon.

Why does the Torah insist that we measure time by the moon and not the sun? According to the Sfat Emet, it is to remind us that we — like the moon — have the power to bring light into the world even during times of darkness, when there is no sun. We have a source of light — the Torah itself– which helps us to find our way even when the world is at its most confusing and chaotic.

In disorienting times, when our normal ways of navigating do not work, we have deeper ways to stay on course. We can draw on one another, and our sacred texts, to help us keep our bearings.

The New Shul is closed for now due to the Covid-19 crisis, but we are doing what we can to stay connected on-line. Instead of our daily minyanim, we have daily Mishnah study. Instead of Shabbat services, we have a pre-Shabbat d’var torah and a post-Shabbat havdalah program. Our Monday Talmud class and Tuesday Parashah-of-the-Week class have also moved on-line. For a full schedule of on-line events, and instructions to log-in, please call us at 480-515-2272, or email us by clicking here.

We wish you all a peaceful Shabbat.