The New Shul


In the first of this week’s parshiyot, B’har, God commands the children of Israel not to take advantage of each other in business. “You shall not wrong one another; you shall revere your God. . .” In other words, reverence for God will keep us honest in our dealings with each other. If we respect God, then we will treat God’s creatures with respect.

But the author of Sha’ar Ha-Hasidut turned the logic of the sentence around. He read it according to the actual order of the words, in which respect for people comes first and reverence for God follows it. The Torah’s point, as he understood it, is that honoring one another leads us to revere God. If we are having trouble finding God in the world, if our spiritual life feels empty, then we should start by treating other human beings with the honor that they deserve as images of God. The rest will follow.

In this time of isolation, when our distance from each other might make God seem far away as well, it can help us to remember that the purpose of our distance is to honor one another, to protect each other’s health. If we keep that in mind, then, just as God is present in our love for one another when we gather in community, God will be present in our separateness as well.

  • 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, join us for on-line study of Pirkei Avot, on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm.
  • On Fridays before Shabbat, join online us for some songs from Kabbalat Shabbat and a drashah on the parashah of the week. All are welcome. Please note that the time this Friday, May 15, will be 5:30 pm., not 5:15.
  • Join us for virtual havdalah on Saturday nights. This Saturday May 16, the time will be 8:00 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.
  • Shmuel Rosner of the Jewish Journal interviewed Rabbi Wasserman on the topic of parshat B’har this past week. You can view the interview here.