The New Shul

Parshat Vayera

This week’s parashah, Vayera, tells the story of the banishment of Hagar and her son Yishmael from Avraham’s camp. When Hagar lost her way in the desert and ran out of water, she gave up hope. But “God heard the voice of the child and God called to Hagar. . . ‘Do not be afraid, for God has heard the voice of the child.'”

The passage is confusing because, up until this point, the Torah has said nothing about the child having cried out in the first place. So what is it that God heard?

Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Warka explained that there is a cry within each of us that is deeper than sound. It is a cry that only God can hear, and it is that cry that penetrates the heavens.

When we try to pray, we often find that words get in our way. The words of the siddur, and even our own words can fail us. When that happens, it can help to remember that true prayer is deeper than words. The purpose of the words is to unlock the deeper prayer inside us, which only God can hear. It is to give voice to the hidden cry inside.

  • 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, October 19, is sponsored by Joshua Rush.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Munchkin MInyan for pre-schoolers and their parents meets this Shabbat from 11:00 to 11:30 am
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • On Sunday and Monday October 20 and 21, The New Shul will host two lectures by Dr. Ruth Satinover Fagen, sponsored by the Women’s Jewish Learning Center. On Sunday at 7:30 pm: “Fear, Sin, Longing and Desire: The Purpose of the Mishkan.” On Monday at 11 am: “Searching for Truthful Judgment: Justice in the Rabbinic Legal System.” The lectures are free and open to all.
  • Kasher Noshers meets for dinner at Kitchen 18 on Sunday October 27. You can sign up here.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on November 8. The cost is $18 per adult and $9 per child under 18 (no charge for children under 5). Please send in your payment by Wednesday October 30 to reserve your place.