The New Shul

Parshat Noah

The sages of the Talmud taught that Noah was one of a select few who “saw a new world.” What did they mean by that? Certainly Noah saw a new world when he came out of the ark. Nothing was as it had been before.

But at a deeper level, Noah had seen a new world even before the flood, while he was still living in the old one. Were it not for Noah’s ability to envision something radically different from the world that he knew, he never would have found the courage and strength to build the ark and get everyone on board.

At times like these, when our horizons have been narrowed, it can be hard to imagine anything truly new. We would happily settle for what we had before. But there is no reason why a post-Covid world could not be better than what we had before, if we learn the right lessons. It all depends on our capacity to see alternatives.

One of the purposes of Shabbat is to help us to imagine what a transformed world might look like.. The ancient rabbis taught that Shabbat is a foretaste of messianic redemption. Once a week, we step back from the world as it is in order to imagine what it might be. In that way Shabbat gives meaning to our work on the other six days. It helps us to see what we are ultimately working for.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service has moved outdoors due to the Covid pandemic. Our service takes place off-site, on the grounds of the Sandpiper School, 6724 E. Hearn Rd, from 9:30 to 11:30 am on Saturday mornings. Everyone is welcome. Please contact us for details.
  • All other New Shul events continue on Zoom: They include Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday afternoons (4:45 pm this Friday), lay-led Shabbat services (10 am on Saturday morning), and daily text study and other classes.