The New Shul

Weekly D'var Torah

This week’s parashah, Vayigash, begins with Yehudah’s heartfelt appeal to the man who will soon reveal himself to be Yehudah’s brother Yosef. The power and sincerity of Yehudah’s words are what will finally move Yosef to reveal himself.

The parashah opens with the words, “Vayigash elav Yehudah vayomer [Yehudah confronted him and said].” Rabbi David of Kotzk understood the word “elav [him]” to refer not to Yosef but to Yehudah himself. Before speaking to Yosef, Yehudah confronted himself. He looked deeply into his own heart. That soul-searching is what gave Yehudah’s words such depth and sincerity that they were able to open Yosef’s heart as well.

The words that matter most in our lives — whether words of prayer, words of Torah, or words of love and concern for another person — are always like that. Their power comes from their authenticity. As the rabbis of the Talmud taught, “words that come from the heart enter the heart.” May we find many such words in our lives.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat services are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. The kiddush-lunch this Shabbat, December 15, will be sponsored by Scott Berlant and Betty Leiter in memory of their mothers, Lilyan Berlant and Blanche Weller.
  • Childcare is available on Shabbat mornings from 10 am to noon.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.