The New Shul

Parshat Vayeilekh/Shabbat Shuvah

In this week’s parashah, Vayeilekh, Moshe hands the Torah over to the priests, and commands them to teach it to the people every seven years once they are settled in the land of Israel. “At the end of every seven years. . . recite this Torah in the presence of the entire people — gather the people together.”

Rabbi Avraham Mordekhai of Ger noted that the order of the instructions seems backwards. Why does “gather the people together” come after “recite this Torah” rather than before it? Wouldn’t the priests need to gather the people before reciting the Torah to them?

Rabbi Avraham Mordekhai explained that “gather the people together” is  not  an instruction to the priests about what they need to do before they teach the Torah. Rather, it is the content of the Torah that they are to teach. What Moshe meant was that the priests should teach the people the Torah of their own togetherness. They should explain that, when we stand together in a spirit of love and unity, our closeness to one another is in itself a kind of sacred text, a source of spiritual insight. Our bond to one another opens doors to the divine.

As we stand together on Yom Kippur, and throughout the year, may our sense of oneness with each other bring us closer to God’s oneness.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat services are from 6 to 7 pm on Fridays, and from 9 am to noon on Saturdays. In accordance with the latest Covid guidance from the CDC, we require all those over the age of 2 to wear a mask while in our building (kiddush, for now, is take-out only).
  • Childcare is available on Shabbat mornings from 10 am to noon.
  • Yom Kippur begins on Wednesday evening September 15. Complete information on our Yom Kippur services is available here. Please note that, due to Covid, we are asking everyone to pre-register this year so that we can know how many people to expect. You can pre-register here.
  • Services for the first days of Sukkot are on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 21 and 22, beginning at 9 am.
  • Our service for Sh’mini Atzeret will be on Tuesday September 28 at 9 am.It will include Yizkor, the memorial prayer.
  • Join us for hakafot and dancing on the night of Simhat Torah, Tuesday September 28, at 7 pm.
  • Our service for the morning of Simhat Torah, Wednesday September 29, will begin at 9 am.
  • Please note that there will be no e-message next week due to Yom Kippur. The next e-message will be sent on September 23.