The New Shul

Parshat Hayei Sarah

In this week’s parashah, Hayei Sarah, Avraham makes preparations for his death. The Torah tells us that “God had blessed Avraham bakol [with all].” Avraham lacked nothing.

Rabbi Yaakov Yitzhak, the Seer of Lublin, interpreted the word “bakol [with all]” differently, according to the way in which the word is used in the Sh’ma: b’khol l’vavkha u-v’khol naf’sh’kha u-v’khol m’odekha — with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Avraham’s greatest blessing, according to Rabbi Yaakov Yitzhak, was that he had been able to serve God with an undivided self.

We all have multiple identities. We have work selves and leisure selves, public selves and private selves. As we move in and out of the various worlds in which we live, we adapt accordingly. But the greatest blessing is to be aware that, underneath those multiple identities, we have a deeper self that makes us whole, that each of us is a tzelem elohim, an image of the divine. We find our deeper wholeness in acts of mitzvah, of sacred service. The oneness of the God whose call we answer makes us one.

May we all be blessed, as Avraham was, bakol — with the integrity that comes with serving God and one another.

  • 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, November 10, we will celebrate the bar mitzvah of Aaron Nach, son of Adam Nach and Beth-Jo Zeitzer. The kiddush is sponsored by the Nach/Zeitzer family.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Beyond Bim Bom I, our learning service for grades K to 1, is from from 10:30 to 11:00 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • Finding Our Way, Rabbi Wasserman’s class on Jewish prayer, continues after kiddush on Shabbat afternoon November 17.