The New Shul

Parshat Vayigash

In this week’s parashah, Vayigash, Yosef reveals himself to his brothers, who had sold him into slavery years before. Yosef says to them, “Do not be sad. . . that you sold me here,” and explains that, had they not done so, he would not have been in a position to save the world from famine.

Is Yosef trying to excuse what his brothers did? — and if so, how does this excuse it? Just because evil may ultimately lead to good, it does not mean that the evil was not real.

Perhaps Yosef is trying to help his brothers in a different way — not by excusing their sin, but by helping them to move on to the next step in the process of teshuvah.  Regret is where the process starts. But if we get so bogged down in regret that we cannot move forward, then regret becomes a trap, an obstacle to growth.  The next step in the process is to realize that the world did not end with our sin, that there are opportunities in front of us to help make the world a better place, and that we are still needed.  Maybe that is what Yosef is trying to help his brothers to see — that life goes on and that we all have work to do.

At times when our regrets keep us from moving forward, may Yosef’s words help us as well.

  • 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 Marni and Ariel Anbar, who are leaving for Israel next week for a semester sabbatical.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Learning services for children this Shabbat are: Munchkin Minyan for ages 2 to 4 from 11:00 to 11:30 am, and Beyond Bim Bom for grades K to 3 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 Jan. 1 and on Monday Jan. 16 (Martin Luther King Day), 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 Jan. 22 at 10:30 am.
  • On Tuesday Jan. 31 at 7:30 pm, our guest lecturer will Dr. Wendy Zierler of Hebrew Union College. Her lecture is co-sponsored by Valley Beit Midrash and the Women’s Jewish Learning Center.
  • Please remember to RSVP for our 10th Anniversary celebration on Sunday Feb. 26 (6 to 8:30 pm) at the Scottsdale Hilton.  Rabbi David Wolpe will be the keynote speaker.  The cost is $54 per person. You can get further information here.
  • In case you missed The New Shul’s Hanukah Coffee House, you can catch up on the two Latke Fairy songs by Marni Anbar here and here (the first one begins about a minute and a half into the video).