The New Shul

Vayak’hel-P’kudei/Shabbat Hahodesh

In the first of this weeks’s parshiyot, Vayak’hel, Moshe assembles the community to get them started on the work of building the mishkan (tabernacle), based on the instructions that Moshe has received from God. But Moshe reverses the order of the instructions that God gave him. In God’s original instructions, the last thing that God had mentioned was that we must interrupt the work of building the mishkan to rest each seventh day. In Moshe’s instructions to the community, on the other hand, he tells them about Shabbat first.

Why the change of order between God’s instructions to Moshe and Moshe’s instructions to the people? Rabbi Yitzhak Meir of Ger explained that it was because of what had happened in between — i.e. the sin of the golden calf. That sin had demonstrated how easy it is for work to become an idol, an end in itself. Moshe had learned from that experience that, to keep what we create from turning into a golden calf, we need the message of Shabbat to inform our work from the very beginning.

Today more than ever, we humans beings have a tendency to worship the work of our own hands. And by doing so, we often turn the things that we produce into a curse instead of a blessing. Shabbat can be an antidote to that. It helps us to make sure that what we build is not for its own sake, but for the sake of greater goods. By stopping on Shabbat and taking the time to remember what matters most to us, we fill our work with greater meaning during the rest of the week.

  • Candle lighting this Friday evening March 17 is at 6:19 pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday night at 7:15 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, March 18, the kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Phil Sheinbein and Ora Zutler in memory of Phil’s father Mickey Sheinbein, and in honor of the 40th anniversary of Phil’s bar mitzvah.
  • Our guest teacher this Shabbat, March 18, is Rabbi Shai Held, President and Dean of the Hadar Institute in New York. Rabbi Held will teach during our Shabbat morning service, after the kiddush-lunch, and again at seudah sh’lisheet (the third Shabbat meal).Contact  us for details.
  • 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). Please note that this Friday, March 17, Kabbalat Shabbat is at the shul.