The New Shul

Parshat Toldot

In this week’s parashah, Toldot, the Torah tells the story of how Yitzhak and his household searched for water in the desert. “The servants of Yitzhak were digging in a a dry river bed [nahal], and they found there a source of living water.”

For the Hasidic masters, that elusive water represents God’s presence, which restores us to life when our spirits have gone dry. At times when we feel spiritually parched, we all must search for that water.

But where should we start looking? Rabbi Menahem Nahum of Chernobyl, the author of Me’or Einayim, took a hint from the word “nahal — dry river bed”.  He understood its three Hebrew letters, N-H-L, as an acronym for “Nafsheinu Hikta Ladonai — My soul longs for the Lord” (Psalm 33:20). In other words, the best place to begin our search for water is the place of our own longing. Our thirst for deeper meaning is evidence that, deep down, we believe that it exists. To take our spiritual longing seriously is the first step toward fulfilling it, in that it grants deep wisdom to the human heart. In trusting the heart’s question, we also place our trust in the heart’s search for an answer.

As a community of Torah, may we help each other in that search.

  • 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, November 2, is sponsored by Stacy and John Andrews in memory of Stacy’s grandmother Ila Dias. After kiddush, Michael Ross will share some of his research on the history of Jewish Phoenix.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Munchkin Minyan for ages 2 to 6 meets this Shabbat from 11 to 11:30 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on November 8, after the 6 pm service. The cost is $18 per adult and $10 per child under 18 (no charge for children under 5). Please send in your payment by Sunday November 3 to reserve your place.
  • On Sunday November 17 at 10:30 am, The New Shul community will prepare holiday gift packages for needy families and home-bound seniors, to be distributed by the Jewish Family and Children’s Services. Please call or email for further information.