The New Shul

Parshat Ki Tetzei

This week’s parashah, Ki Tetzei, teaches that, if your neighbor’s ox or donkey has collapsed under its load, you must help your neighbor raise the animal up. “You shall surely raise it with him.” Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk read the verse with an emphasis on the word “with.” We are not required to do the work for our neighbor, but in partnership with him or her.

The Kotzker Rebbe went on to interpret the verse as a parable about teshuvah, our work of inner change, and  God’s participation in it. If we wish to to unload the burdens that keep us trapped in the past, that crush our potential for growth, then God will help us. God will not — cannot — do it for us, but rather with us. We must make a beginning. Then God will help to lift us up.

That first step, the sincere yearning for change, is what everything else depends on. It can come only from us. From that point on, we will not have to make the journey alone.

During this season of teshuvah, may we, with God’s help, make our lives new.

  • Join us for The New Shul’s twentieth anniversary weekend, September 9 – 11. Our guest teacher for the weekend will be Rabbi Ed Feinstein. You can find a full schedule of events here.
  • The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service is from 9 to about 11:45 am. The service is followed by a kiddush-lunch, open to all.
  • Weekday minyanim at The New Shul are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm. Kabbalat Shabbat is on Friday evenings at 6 pm, usually at our rabbis’ home (please note that this Friday, September 9, Kabbalat Shabbat is at the shul).
  • S’lihot is on Saturday night September 17. Join us at 8:30 pm for a screening and discussion of “The Syrian Bride” (Eran Riklis, 2004) as a text on teshuvah, followed by the S’lihot service at approximately 10:45 pm.
  • Rosh Hashanah begins on Sunday evening September 25. Information on our services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.