The New Shul

Parshat Vayetzei

This week’s parashah, Vayetzei, tells the story of Yaakov’s vision of God in his dream at Beit El  After he awakens, Yaakov exclaims:  “Surely God is in this place, and I did not know.”

The word “I” in Yaakov’s exclamation is doubled in the Hebrew.  Yaakov uses the pronoun “I” followed by the verb “I did not know,” which includes the same pronoun.  Based on that doubling, the Tiferet Shlomo understood “I” to be both the subject and the object of the verb.  What Yaakov was really saying, according to the Tiferet Shlomo, was:  “My I I did not know” — i.e. I was not conscious of my own ego  — and therefore I became aware that God is in this place.  Yaakov’s point, according to the Tiferet Shlomo, is that only when we see beyond our “I,” when we transcend ourselves, can we truly know that God is present in the world.

A big part of the reason why it is so hard for us to find God is that our “I” gets in the way.  It is by taking ourselves out of the center of our universe, by looking past our “I,” that we make room for that which is greater than us.  At the most basic level, that is the purpose of a prayer community — to help us to regain perspective, to see the world more truthfully and clearly.

  • 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.  The kiddush this Shabbat is sponsored by Candice and Mark Gimbel in honor of their 10th wedding anniversary.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • On Sunday December 25, The New Shul community will participate in a valley-wide social-action day, sponsored by a consortium of local synagogues.  Please contact us for information on how you can participate.
  • On Sunday January 1, The New Shul community will serve meals to the hungry at St. Vincent de Paul’s Jackson St. dining room.  Please let us know if you can help.