The New Shul

Parshat Mishpatim/Shabbat Sh’kalim

This week’s parashah, Mishpatim, begins: “These are the laws that you [Moshe] shall place before them.” The Siftei Kohen interpreted the word “them” to refer to judges who would be responsible for deciding future cases.

The Siftei Kohen goes on to interpret “them” as a veiled reference to the passage in Pirkei Avot that teaches that no judge except God should ever decide a case alone. In other words, the most significant thing about the pronoun “them” is that it is plural. It teaches us that reaching a proper verdict, understanding what is right in any particular case, requires more than one voice. We must listen as well as speak.

The larger point is that, when it comes to making judgments in general, we need each other. It is in dialogue that we find wisdom. Only God is one. The rest of us live and thrive in plurality.

Even in this world of hardened hearts, where it is difficult to hear each other’s voices – or rather especially in this world – we must try to learn from those who do not see the world as we do. By stretching ourselves to listen, we invest our words with greater meaning when we speak. By hearing others’ truths – even those that we will never agree with  -we deepen our own.

  • 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, February 13, is sponsored by Andi Minkoff (Tony Minkoff’s mother) in honor of Tony.
  • Purim begins on Thursday evening February 25. Join us in The New Shul parking lot, at 7825 E. Paradise Lane, for the reading of the megillah at 6:30 pm. Masks and social distancing are required. Our shpiel, directed by Marni Anbar, will be on Zoom at 7:30 pm. Please contact us for the link.
  • All other New Shul events continue online. They include: Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday afternoons (4:45 pm this Friday), Havdalah (6:45 pm this Saturday night), daily text study, and weekly classes. Please contact us for the Zoom link.