The New Shul

Parshat Va’eira

In this week’s parashah, Va’eira, Moshe complains to God:  “You see, the children of Israel do not listen to me, and I am uncircumcised of lips.”  The word “and” seems to have the sense of “because.”  Moshe seems to be complaining that people are not listening to him because of his speech impediment.

But according to the S’fat Emet, Moshe actually means the opposite. The word “and” should be understood in the sense of “therefore.” Moshe’s real complaint is that people are not listening to him and therefore his speech is impeded.

The point, according to the S’fat Emet, is that true speech requires a true listener to draw it out. Words that come from deep inside the heart, the kind of words that make a difference in the world, emerge only in response to an open heart on the other side of the conversation.

In this time of physical distancing, there is a natural tendency to drift apart emotionally as well. This pandemic takes a toll on our ability to hear each other – which in turn can make it hard to truly speak. Yet our broken world is desperately in need of heartfelt words today, words with the power to heal. True speech can be redemptive in times like this. Perhaps by working harder to hear, in spite of our physical distance, we can help to bring more such speech into the world.

  • Due to the Covid pandemic, The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service now takes place outdoors and off-site, on the grounds of the Sandpiper School, 6724 E. Hearn Rd, from 9:30 to 11:30 am on Saturday mornings. Please use the west parking lot and come around the back of the school. Everyone is welcome (for social-distancing purposes, you might want to bring your own chair). Please dress for warmth and comfort. Informal attire is fine.
  • The kiddush this Shabbat, January 16, is sponsored by David Midler in memory of his mother Betty Midler, and by Nina Targovnik in honor of the birthday of her niece Leah Hadas Targovnik Jacobs.
  • Other than our Shabbat morning service, all other New Shul events continue online. They include: Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday afternoons (4:30 pm this Friday), Havdalah (6:30 pm this Saturday night), daily text study, and weekly classes. Please contact us for the Zoom link.