The New Shul

Vayak’hel-P’kudei/Shabbat Hahodesh

In this week’s two parshiyot, Vayak’hel and P’kudei, the children of Israel build the mishkan, God’s portable dwelling place on earth. The work is directed by two chief artisans, B’tzalel of the tribe of Yehudah, and Oholiav of the tribe of Dan.

Rashi noted that B’tzalel’s tribe, Yehudah, was the greatest of the tribes, the one that King David and his royal descendents would come from. On the other hand, Oholiav’s tribe, Dan, was among the lowliest of the tribes (Dan had been born to Bilhah, Yaakov’s concubine). Yet the two artisans, in spite of their different pedigrees, are equated in the text. According to Rashi, that is to teach us that, when it comes to doing sacred work, all of us are equal. Or to say it in a stronger way: it is only when we recognize our deep equality as images of God that we are able to succeed in that work. 

Spiritual community is our mishkan, our sacred structure. We bring God down to earth by constructing a network of mitzvah, of sacred obligation, that binds us to each other. At the heart of that work — for us as for our ancestors — is the awareness that, in God’s eyes, all of us are equally precious.

  • 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 13, is sponsored by Phil Sheinbein and Ora Zutler in memory of Phil’s father Mickey Sheinbein.
  • 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.