The New Shul

Parshat Tzav/Shabbat Hagadol

Concerning the central symbol of Pesah, the Torah commands us: “Be attentive to the matzot, for on this very day [b’etzem hayom hazeh] I brought the children of Israel forth from the land of Egypt [Exodus 12:17].”

The word b’etzem — “this very” — is related to the Hebrew word for “essence,” which can refer to our essence or our deepest selves. The S’fat Emet taught that the Exodus from Egypt meant the liberation of the tiny point of divine light within each of us, which slavery had obscured. Unleavened bread, in its radical simplicity, is a reminder of that pure inner light, which we can so easily lose touch with. On Pesah, we are attentive to the matzot — pure, simple bread– in order to remind ourselves that we must guard that which is pure and simple in ourselves and our relationships.

Crises have a way of simplifying things. By stripping away extraneous concerns, they teach us to prioritize what really counts. In that respect, this Pesah will be a return to basics for all of us.

We hope that, soon, our lives will return to normal. But when that happens, may we still draw on the memory of this Pesah, this time of radical clarity, to remind ourselves what matters most.

  • The New Shul is closed for now due to the Covid-19 crisis. In the mean time, all are welcome to join us for our on-line classes and  events. To participate in any of the events below, please use this link:
  • In lieu of daily minyanim, please join us for on-line Mishnah study, on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm. Please note that there will be no Mishnah study on Thursday April 9, Wednesday April 15 or Thursday April 16 due to Pesah.
  • On Friday afternoons at 5:15 pm, Rabbi Wasserman offers a pre-Shabbat on-line d’var torah on the parashah of the week. All are welcome. (Please note that there will be no Friday d’var torah on April 10 because of Pesah.)
  • Join us on-line for havdalah this Saturday night, April 4, at 7:40 pm. On Saturday night April 11, our on-line havdalah will be at 7:45 pm, and on Saturday night April 18, it will be at 7:50 pm.
  • Join us for an on-line pre-Pesah discussion: “How can we find freedom in confinement?” Monday April 6 at 7:30 pm.
  • Our on-line Talmud class meets on Mondays at 5 pm, and our on-line Parashah-of-the-Week class meets on Tuesdays at 11 am.
  • If you are looking for a Zoom-seder to connect to, please let us know and we will tell you about options that are available in the community.
  • Please note that there will be no e-bulletin for the next two weeks because of Pesah. The bulletin will resume on Thursday April 23. In the mean time, you can reach us at, or 480-515-2272.

We wish you all a peaceful Shabbat, and a good Pesah.