The New Shul

Parshat B’ha’alotkha

This week’s parashah, B’ha’alotkha, begins with God’s instruction to Aaron to light the ner tamid, the lamp that burned each night in the mishkan or tabernacle. Immediately afterwards, the text tells us that “Aaron did so” – which seems unnecessary to say.  Rashi understood that phrase to mean that Aaron “did not change” – in other words, to emphasize that, night after night, Aaron followed his instructions to the letter.

But Rabbi Menahem Nahum of Chernobyl understood Rashi’s comment differently. What Aaron kept the same was not the deed itself, but the intention behind the deed. Throughout his life, Aaron never forgot that the purpose of all mitzvot is bring a little more light into a world of darkness.

We cannot always do the same thing. When the world changes around us, we must learn to act in new ways. Moreover, when  we are disoriented by the speed of change, we may not know what to do at all. At those times, the important thing is to remember what our purpose is. We are here to make this broken world a little bit more whole. Whatever else changes, that does not. If we can keep the why in mind, the what will follow.

May this Shabbat be a time of light for all of us.

  • 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 12, the time will be 5:45 pm.
  • Join us for virtual havdalah on Saturday nights. Please note that, this Saturday June 13, the time will be 8:30 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.