The New Shul

Parshat Vayeishev

In this week’s parashah, Vayeishev, Yosef is sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt.  Shortly after Yosef begins working in the house of Potiphar in Egypt,  the Torah tells us:  “And his master [Potiphar] saw that God was with [Yosef], and that God gave him success in everything that he undertook.”  Rashi explained that the phrase “God was with [Yosef]” means that “the name of heaven was fluent in his mouth.”

One way to understand Rashi’s comment is that the ease with which Yosef spoke about God was evidence of his closeness to God.  How we speak is a reflection of who we are.  But there is another way to understand what Rashi said:  that the fluency with which Yosef talked about God was the source of his closeness to God.  Yosef’s use of sacred language was what brought him close to God in the first place.  The more we speak of God, the more we make God a living reality in our lives.  Words that begin in our mouths end up in our hearts.

One reason why we feel God’s presence on Shabbat more intensely than on other days is that Shabbat is so full of sacred language.  On Shabbat we take extra time for prayer and the study of Torah, and, as a result, we feel that we are spending the day in God’s presence.  By filling our Shabbat with words of prayer and words of Torah, may we help ourselves to feel God’s presence more intensely.

  • 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 Bonnie Price and Jack Hirsch in honor of their 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.
  • This 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.
  • Next Shabbat afternoon, Dec. 24, Rabbi Yosef Garcia will speak at The New Shul after kiddush.  Rabbi Garcia is rabbi of Congregation Avdey Torah Hayah in Chandler.  He will speak about his work with descendents of Crypto Jews in the Latino community, who are returning to Judaism.
  • 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.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community is on Sunday January 22 at 10:30 am.