The New Shul

Parshat Tzav/Shabbat Hagadol

This week’s parashah, Tzav, describes the priestly task of cleaning up after the burning of the daily offerings. “The priest shall dress in plain linen garments. . .  and he shall gather up the ashes.” Rabbi David Silber noted that there was only one other occasion during the year when priests dressed in plain linen. That was on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year.

It is hard to imagine a sharper contrast than that between the special sanctity of Yom Kippur and the routine drudgery of cleaning up after the daily sacrifices. Why does the Torah connect the two?

Perhaps the Torah’s message is that cleaning up our spiritual debris is the holiest work of all. Sweeping away tired grievances, old fears, and dusty prejudices that weigh us down and keep us trapped makes new growth possible. Without that clean-up work, we lose touch with the spark of holiness inside us.

That is the principle behind our Pesah preparations. We clean for Pesah in the faith that lightening our load will enable us to re-experience the meaning of the Exodus. Clearing away the hametz in our homes and in ourselves — all physical and spiritual clutter that has passed its expiration date — will make us new.

  • 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.
  • Our services for Pesah are also at the Sandpiper School. The schedule is as follows:
    First day: Sunday March 28, 9:30 to 11:30 am
    Seventh day: Saturday April 3, 9:30 to 11:30 am (kiddush sponsored by Michael and Jennie Kronenfeld in honor of the birth of their grandson Meir Kronenfeld, and in memory of Michael’s sister Kathi Beratan)
    Eighth day: Sunday April 4, 9:30 to 11:30 am (service will include Yizkor, the memorial prayer)
  • All other New Shul events continue online. They include: Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday afternoons (5:30 pm this Friday), Havdalah (resuming after Pesah, on Saturday night April 10 at 7:45 pm), daily text study, and weekly classes. Please contact us for the Zoom link.
  • Please note that there will be no e-message next week.