The New Shul

Parshat Sh’lah L’kha

In this week’s parashah, Sh’lah L’kha, Moshe sends twelve scouts to explore the Land of Israel. Ten of the twelve — all except Yehoshua and Calev — lose their nerve and report back that the Israelites cannot hope to conquer the land. The inhabitants of the land are so great and powerful, they say, that “we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so we must have seemed to them.”

According to Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk, that last phrase, “and so we must have seemed to them,” expresses what the scouts’ true sin was.  If they felt small, it was understandable under the circumstances. But to grant such importance to what others thought of them — or worse, what they imagined others thought of them — was to surrender their power and freedom. It was to re-enslave themselves.

Often, when we lose our way in life — particularly in times of crisis — it is because we have surrendered our own point of view. We have given others, or the crisis itself, the power to define us. The Kotzker Rebbe reminds us that our ability to bring blessing to the world depends on holding fast to our own vision, remembering who we really are and what we truly value. May we always help each other to maintain that strength and freedom.

  • 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 weekday minyanim, join us for on-line davening, and for study and discussion of Pirkei Avot (in place of kaddish). The timesare9:15 am on Sunday mornings, and 6:15 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
  • 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 19, the time will be 5:45 pm.
  • Join us for virtual havdalah on Saturday nights. Please note that, this Saturday June 20, 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.
  • Please note that that there will be no e-bulletin for the rest of June and July. Our next bulletin will be sent on August 6. All programs listed above will continue throughout the summer.