The New Shul

Parshat Bo

In the first words of this week’s parashah, God commands Moshe: “Bo el Par’oh” — which we usually translateas “Go to Pharoah!” But literally the word “bo” does not mean “go” but rather “come.” Strictly speaking, what God says to Moshe is not “Go to Pharoah” but “Come to Pharoah.”

Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk understood that as a reminder that it is impossible to go away from God. From God’s perspective, we are always coming toward, since God is present everywhere, even in places (like Pharoah’s palace)  that we fear the most. Whether we know it or not, we are always moving in God’s direction.

The point is that, even in the darkest places, there are sparks of holiness. Even the most difficult journeys offer opportunities to grow, to make this broken world more whole.

May we remember — even when we must descend into the Egypts of this world (or the Egypts within ourselves) — that we can never go from God, only come toward. There is always sacred work to do. And may that knowledge give us strength and courage.

  • Due to the Covid pandemic, The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service now takes place outdoors and off-site (rain or shine), 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 23, is sponsored by Jolene Kuty and Daniel Gottlieb, in honor of the bat mitzvah of their daughter Ellie Gottlieb this past Monday.
  • 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.