The New Shul

Parshat B’shalah

In this week’s parashah, B’shalah, the children of Israel flee from Egypt, only to be pursued by Pharoah, who catches up with them at the Sea of Reeds. Only after Moshe calls out to God for help are the Egyptians finally defeated.

The Ba’al Shem Tov understood the story to mean that we cannot escape from our problems by running away from them. When we flee from our deepest challenges, those challenges just follow us, because they are part of us. The only way to defeat the most stubborn Pharoahs in our lives — the ones that live within us — is to draw on sources of strength and wisdom greater than our own.

We usually locate our greatest challenges outside ourselves. We imagine that, if we could just escape the threats that confront us from the outside world, we would be ok. But often, it is our internal challenges that give those outer threats such power over us in the first place. Our enslavement often begins from within.

That is why Shabbat is so important. Shabbat does not liberate us from the outside. The problems that we leave behind on Friday will still be there during the week to come. But Shabbat has the potential to make us freer on the inside, to provide a little bit more distance from the Pharaohs that enslave us from within. That inner freedom can make the outer world look very different when Shabbat is over.

  • 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 30, is sponsored by Barry Schnur and Ronda Paul in honor of their upcoming wedding.
  • 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 (6:45 pm this Saturday night), daily text study, and weekly classes. Please contact us for the Zoom link.