The New Shul

Parshat Vayigash

This week’s parashah, Vayigash, begins with Yehudah’s appeal to Yosef (who has not yet revealed himself) to release their youngest brother Binyamin and accept Yehudah as a slave instead. Yehudah has given his promise that Binyamin will come home safely, and is prepared to give up his own freedom to keep his word. It is Yehudah’s self-sacrifice that moves Yosef to reveal himself to his brothers.

Up to this point in the story, Yehudah has shown few signs of maturity, let alone heroism. What makes it possible for him to step up at this moment and become the hero of the story? There is a hint in his very first words to Yosef:“Please, my lord. . .  [Bi adoni].” The expression literally means “Upon me, my lord.” But the Hebrew can also be read “Bi Adonai.”  — The Lord is within me.”  Yehudah has looked deeply into himself and realized that, for all his flaws, he is still created in God’s image. That is the source of his strength.

Remembering that we are images of God makes it possible for us to give of ourselves in ways that we might not have thought possible. One of the purposes of Shabbat is to help us to reconnect with the spark of the divine within ourselves and reaffirm the dignity and responsibility that come with it. May this Shabbat, and every Shabbat, help us, like Yehudah, to rediscover that “The Lord is within us.”

  • Shabbat servicres 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 Rachael and David Don.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Children’s services this Shabbat are: Beyond Bim Bom I for grades K to 1 from 10:30 to 11:00 am, and Beyond Bim Bom IIfor grades 2 to 3 from 10:15 to 11:30 am. Parashah study for teens is from 10:15 to 11:15 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • On Shabbat morning, December 29, we will celebrate the upcoming marriage of Sarah Palestrant and Noam Belkind. The kiddush will be sponsored by Fay and Aubrey Palestrant.
  • On New Years Day, Tuesday 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 New Shul Book Group meets on Wednesday January 9 at 7:30 pm. The book is Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum.
  • Please note that there will be no email newsletter next week. The newsletter will resume on January 3.