The New Shul

Parshat Vayeshev

This week’s parashah, Vayeshev, begins the story of Yosef and his brothers. It starts by telling us that “Yosef tended the flocks with his brothers, as a helper.”

The word “helper” in that sentence (“na’ar”) can also mean “child.” Based on that, Rabbi Aharon of Karlin explained that Yosef’s great strength throughout his life was his ability to renew himself, to recover his own childlikeness. No matter how dark his world became, Yosef was always open, like a child, to the possibility of good.

The Yosef whom we meet in this week’s parashah has a lot of growing up to do — and he will grow up. By the end of the story, he will no longer be the naive young man that he is at the beginning. He will be a hardened realist. But what will make it possible for him to reconcile with his brothers in the end is that he will rediscover just enough childlike openness within himself to see the change in his brothers as sincere.

Our challenge, according to Rabbi Aharon, is the same: to constantly renew ourselves, to rediscover our own openness and idealism, even at times when the world seems irredeemable. In that way, we can bring light into the darkness.

  • 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 23, is sponsored by Linda and Jay Samuels and by Selma Strier.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Beyond Bim Bom for grades 2 to 5 meets this Shabbat from 10:15 to 11:30 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • The New Shul Coffee House is on Saturday night December 7 at 7:30 pm. Join us for live music and other entertainment by our own local talent. The cost is $5 per adult at the door.
  • The New Shul will host an Israeli dancing workshop, led by Ora Kurland, on Wednesday December 11 at 7 pm. It is free and open to all.