The New Shul

Parshat Naso

This week’s parashah, Naso, includes the text ofBirkat Kohanim, the priestly blessing that is part of our liturgy to this day.  God commands Moses to say to Aaron and his sons: “In this way you shall bless the children of Israel. . . ‘May YHWH bless you and keep you, may YHWH cause his face to shine on you and be kind to you, may YHWH raise his face to you and grant you peace.'”

The Modzhitzer Rebbe interpreted the introductory words, “In this way you shall bless the children of Israel,” to mean that the priests were commanded to bless all the children of Israel, without singling anyone out. For a blessing to do its work, to bring God’s presence into the world, it must be inclusive. A blessing that divides is no blessing at all, because a God who divides is not God.

What is true of sacred blessings is true of secular ones as well – and what is true of one community is true of society as a whole. Unless all of us have constitutional rights, none of us do. Unless all of us are blessed with freedom and respect, none of us are, because the essence of a free society is the recognition of our shared humanity. The blessings that count are those that we have in common.

  • 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 us online for an abbreviated Kabbalat Shabbat and a drashah on the parashah of the week. All are welcome. Please note that, this Friday, June 5, the time will be 5:45 pm.
  • Join us for virtual havdalah on Saturday nights. This Saturday June 6, the time will be 8:15 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.