The New Shul

Parshat Sh’mot

In this week’s parashah, Sh’mot, the Torah begins to tell the story of our liberation from Egypt. How did that process start? After the death of the Pharoah who had enslaved us, we cried out to God, and God heard our cry. Immediately afterwards, God called to Moshe at the burning bush and sent him back to Egypt to redeem us.

Why did it take so long for us to cry out? — and why did God not help us until we did?

Perhaps, until the death of Pharoah, we had not cried out because we knew no God to cry out to except Pharoah himself. We were enslaved not only on the outside but on the inside as well, in that Pharoah’s power was the only power that we knew. But Pharoah’s death enabled us — if only for a moment — to envision another possibility. It made it possible for us to dream. Then, and only then, could God begin to help us.

Liberation always begins on the inside, with an act of imagination. When we feel enslaved to the status quo, the first step in freeing ourselves is to imagine an alternative. When the ancient rabbis spoke of Shabbat as a foretaste of olam ha-ba, “the world that is coming,” perhaps that is what they were talking about. Shabbat helps us to envision a redeemed world, a world that is whole and complete. By liberating our spirits in that way, Shabbat helps us to remember what we work for during the rest of the week.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service is from 9 am to about 11:45 am. 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. Our kiddush-lunch is outdoors, so masks are not required.
  • Children are always welcome at The New Shul. We offer a learning service specifically for them on the second and third Shabbat of every month, from 10:45 to 11:30 am (the next children’s service will be on January 8).
  • The kiddush-lunch this Shabbat, December 25, will be sponsored by Ross Wilkoff and Pam Kaplan, in memory of Ross’s father.
  • Join us at The New Shul for our annual Coffee House this Saturday night December 25 at 7 pm.There will be lots of live music and other entertainment by our own local talent, and refreshments afterwards (food will be served outdoors due to Covid). The cost is $5 per adult at the door.
  • Weekday minyanim at The New Shul are on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm, and on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am. Kabbalat Shabbat is on Friday evenings at 6 pm at our rabbis’ home (please contact us for directions).