The New Shul

Parshat K’doshim

This week’s parashah, K’doshim, begins with the command:  “You shall be holy (k’doshim) as I YHWH your God am holy.”  It then goes on to teach a long list of practices, both ritual and ethical, that help to make us holy.

Although the parashah gives us many examples of what holiness looks like, it never actually defines the term.  What is holiness? The root meaning of the word kadosh is “separate,”  “set apart.”  But what is it that we are to be separate from?

Perhaps the Torah’s point is that, just as God is transcendent —  i.e. separate from us —  so we must, in a sense, be separate from ourselves.  Our work as human beings is to step back from the personal preoccupations that tie up so much of our energy so that we can see the world (including ourselves) from a higher, God-like perspective. The whole repertoire of Jewish practice, both ritual and ethical, can be understood as a way to help us rise above our natural self-centeredness, to see the world as God sees it.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service is from 9 am to about 11:45 am. Now that Maricopa County is in the “Green Zone” (low Covid risk), masks are optional during our services.
  • This Shabbat, May 7, the kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Alex and CiCi Dashe.
  • 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).
  • The festival of Shavuot begins on Saturday night June 4. Join us for our all-night Tikkun Leil Shavuot (Shavuot study vigil) from 9:30 pm to 4:30 am, as we prepare to receive the Torah anew. The Tikkun will be followed by a sunrise service on Sunday morning beginning at 4:30 am. 
  • Our service for the second day of Shavuot, Monday June 6, will be from 9 am to about 11:45 am, and will include Yizkor, the memorial prayer.