The New Shul

Weekly D'var Torah

In the first words of this week’s parashah, Vayeshev the Torah announces: “This is the lineage of Yaakov. . . ” But then, instead of giving us what it promised, a full picture of Yaakov’s geneology, the Torah shifts abruptly to the story of Yaakov’s son Yosef: “Yosef was tending the flocks. . .”

According to Rabbi Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Riminov, the Torah is actually not changing the subject at all. Yaakov’s lineage is summed up in his son Yosef, specifically in Yosef’s name.

Yosef comes from the Hebrew root that means “to add” or “increase.” The Torah’s point, according to Rabbi Menahem Mendel, is that all true heirs of Yaakov are Yosef. To be an authentic Jew is to grow and evolve, never to stand still. Yaakov’s legacy for all of us is constantly to reach higher.

Hanukah, which begins next Tuesday night, teaches the same value. To make the miracle known, to celebrate God’s presence in a world that often feels very dark, is to increase light day by day. That is what it means to be a true heir of Yaakov.

  • Shabbat services at The New Shul are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. This Shabbat, December 9, the kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Carol Wolintz.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Our learning service for children is from 11 to 11:45 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, Monday evenings at 7 pm, Wednesday mornings at 7 am, and Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.
  • Join us for a children’s dance workshop this Sunday, December 10 at 2 pm, led by Ora Ross.
  • The New Shul’s annual Hanukah Coffee House is on Saturday night December 16 at 7:30 pm. Join us for great latkes and great entertainment by our own local talent. The cost is $5 per adult at the door (no charge for kids).