The New Shul

Parshat Va’eira

In this week’s parashah, Va’eira, God promises the children of Israel enslaved in Egypt:   “. . . I shall take you to be my people. . . and you shall know that I am YHWH.”

Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev understood the second half of the promise to flow directly from the first.  “I shall take you to be my people” refers to the gift of the Torah, which binds us to God. It is by virtue of that bond that we come to know the unknowable, to experience the transcendent.

In other words, it is not through abstract thought and speculation that we make God a reality in our world, but through a concrete way of life. God is beyond the human mind’s capacity to understand. But sacred narratives and sacred deeds can capture the infinite in a way that the intellect cannot. What we cannot know with our minds we can experience with our whole selves, by living lives of Torah.

By engaging together with sacred texts, and by doing sacred deeds, may we all, in our own way, experience the meaning of transcendence.

  • Candle lighting this Friday evening January 20 is at 5:29 pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday night at 6:28 pm.
  • The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service is from 9 to about 11:45 am, followed by a kiddush-lunch open to all. This Shabbat, January 21, the kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Philip Sheinbein and Ora Zutler.
  • This Shabbat afternoon, after the kiddush-lunch, Rabbi Bob Eisen will lead a discussion of his new book The Missing Handle.
  • Minyanim during the week 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 contact us for directions).
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community will be on Sunday morning February 5. Join us for breakfast at 10 am, followed by the meeting at 10:30. All are welcome.