The New Shul

Parshat Naso

In this week’s parashah, Naso, God teaches Moses how his brother Aaron and his sons are to bless the community. “Say [to them]: ‘Thus shall you bless the children of Israel. . . ‘” The talmudic sages, in tractate Sotah, imagined that God was giving Moses a visual demonstration. They taught that the word “thus” refers to the lifting of the hands, which accompanies the priestly blessing to this day.

Rabbi Yosef Karo interpreted the priestly lifting of the hands as a sign that a true blessing cannot be just words. “It must involve lifting the hands, so that the work of the hands joins with the spoken word to make the blessing real. . . And so it was with Aaron. He did not sit with his arms crossed, and he was not satisfied with spoken blessings, but rather he was a ‘lover of peace and pursuer of peace.'”

Words of blessing can be conduits that help to bring God’s love into this world. But words, in the end, are not enough. If we wish to do our part to mend the brokenness around us, we must be ready to lift our hands as well. We must ask ourselves what we can do to make God’s world more whole.

May we, as a community of Torah, bless others with our hands, not only with our words.

  • This Shabbat morning, May 22, we will meet outdoors for the last time before returning to our shul. Our service will be on the grounds of the Sandpiper School, 6724 E. Hearn Rd, beginning at 9 am.Everyone is welcome. Please use the west parking lot and come around to the back of the school. Informal attire is fine.
  • The kiddush this Shabbat, May 22, is sponsored by Simon Chamberlain and Leah Zigmond.
  • Beginning on May 29, our Shabbat service will return to the New Shul, 7825 E. Paradise Lane (85260).