The New Shul

Parshat Ki Tissa/Shabbat Parah

In this week’s parashah, Ki Tissa, God teaches Moshe how to take a census of the people. “When you count the children of Israel according to their numbers. . . ” But theexpression that God uses for”count” is a strange one. Literally what God says is “when you lift up the heads of the children of Israel according to their numbers.”

Why does God speak of counting people as “lifting up their heads?” The Avnei Ezel explains that, in counting people as part of a community, we raise their status as human beings. A life of disengagement from others feels empty and unimportant. It almost literally does not count. But when we stand within a community, a group bound together by shared obligations, our lives take on a greater dignity. Our heads are lifted up.

Often we think of individuality and community as opposites. We assume that, the more we invest in a group, the less individuality we have left. But the Avnei Ezel reminds us that we find our dignity as individuals in our loyalty to one another. It is in the “we” that we discover the “I.”

May our commitment to each other help us all to do so.

  • Due to Covid, The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service 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. Everyone is welcome. Please use the west parking lot and come around to the back of the school. Masks and social distancing are required (for distancing purposes, you might want to bring your own chair). Informal attire is fine.
  • The kiddush this Shabbat, March 6, is sponsored by Fran Richter in memory of her son Joshua Richter.
  • All other New Shul events continue online. They include: Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday afternoons (5:15 pm this Friday), Havdalah (7:15 pm this Saturday night), daily text study, and weekly classes. Please contact us for the Zoom link.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community is on Sunday, March 7 at 11 am, on Zoom. Everyone is welcome. Contact us for the link.