The New Shul

Parshat Ki Tetzei

In this week’s parashah, Ki Tetzei, Moshe declares: “If you see your neighbor’s ox [shor] . . . gone astray, do not ignore it. You must return it to its owner.”

The Hebrew letters that spell “shor [ox]” also form the root of a rare verb that means “to see” or “to envision.” The S’fat Emet interpreted the word “shor” in that way. He understood Moshe to be teaching us that, if our neighbor has lost perspective and cannot see clearly, we must help to restore our neighbor’s lost perspective.

At times of crisis, we all need that kind of help. When we struggle in our lives, our world contracts. We find it hard to see beyond our immediate challenges. At those times, we need the love and support of those around us to expand our vision, to remind us who we are and what we ultimately stand for.

We need that help at ordinary times as well. Life in general has a way of clouding our vision, distorting our priorities, and making us forget what matters most. In the course of keeping up with our weekly tasks, we naturally get more and more caught up in small things and forget the large ones.

The days leading up to Rosh Hashanah are a time to get refocused. And for that, we need each other. More than anything else, it is the presence of those around us — of our family, friends and community — that reminds us what our true priorities should be. It is their love and support that clarify our vision, and ours that clarifies theirs.

Together, during this month of Elul and the Days of Awe, may we find the renewal that we seek.

  • Candle lighting this Friday evening August 25, is at 6:44 pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday night at 7:39 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, August 26, the kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Esperanza Andujar in honor of the 30th anniversary of her conversion to Judaism, and by Marni and Ariel Anbar in honor of their daughter Naomi as she prepares to start her second year of college.
  • 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.
  • This Shabbat afternoon, August 26, at 6:30 pm, Rabbi Wasserman continues his four-part class on hasidic teachings on repentance. The class is at the Kanter/Wasserman home. Contact us for directions.
  • Information on our services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.