The New Shul

Parshat Hayei Sarah

In this week’s parashah, Hayei Sarah, Yitzhak meets his wife-to-be, Rivkah, as she arrives from her homeland.  As Rivka arrives, Yitzhak is outdoors “meditating in the field.”  The rabbis of the Talmud taught that Yitzhak’s meditation (sihah) was the origin of our daily minhah service.

The word sihah, meditation, is similar to the word for bush or shrub (si’ah).   Based on that similarity, Rav Nahman of Bratslav taught that Yitzhak’s prayer included within it the prayers of all the bushes, trees and flowers. His prayer was strengthened and deepened by the prayers of all the growing things around him.

Often we think of prayer as something difficult and unnatural.  But Rav Nahman reminds us that there is nothing more natural than prayer.  All of nature points toward its source, as Psalm 150 says:  “Every living being praises the Lord.”  Our prayers are just our own version of what all life does in its own way.

When we find prayer difficult, it may help to remember that we have a prayer within us as deep as life itself.  The purpose of our worship service is to unlock that prayer and give voice to it.

  • 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 morning, Nov. 19, we will celebrate the bat mitzvah of Bailey Kaufman, daughter of Howard and Michelle Kaufman.  The kiddush is sponsored by the Kaufman family.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.  Beyond Bim Bom, our learning service for grades K to 3, is from 10:30 to 11:15 am this Shabbat.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am. \
  • On Sunday Dec. 11 from 10:30 to 12 noon, The New Shul community will prepare holiday gift packages for needy families and home-bound seniors, to be distributed by the Jewish Family and Children’s Services.
  • On Tuesday Dec.13 at 7:30 pm, join us for a pre-Hanukah workshop for adults: “Spreading the Light:  Preparing for Hanukah”
  • On Saturday night Dec. 17 at 7:30 pm, join us for the first in our series of three Israeli-film nights.  The film is Jaffa (2009) by Keren Yedaya
  • The New Shul’s annual Hanukah Coffee House is on Saturday night Dec. 24 at 7:30 pm.
  • Please note that there will be no newsletter next week because of Thanksgiving. Shabbat services on Nov. 25-26 will be at the same times as always.