The New Shul

Parshat Hayei Sarah

In this week’s parashah, Hayei Sarah, the Torah tells us: “Avraham was old, advanced in years, and YHWH had blessed Avraham with everything.” 

It is a surprising claim, given all the trials that Avraham had endured. Avraham had been a wanderer all his life, having left behind the only home that he had ever known. He had been forced to split his family in half, and had come within an inch of losing his remaining son. According to some commentators, his wife Sarah had died of a broken heart. Given all that, how can the Torah say that Avraham lacked nothing

According to the Or L’Yesharim, what the Torah meant is that Avraham had always remained grateful for his gifts, even as he struggled with life’s challenges. No matter how life tests us, it is possible to be so deeply conscious of our blessings that, in a very real way, we lack nothing. That may be the greatest blessing of all.

That is the blessing that Shabbat offers us each week. During the rest of the week, we focus on life’s challenges, on what we lack. But on Shabbat, we focus on the gifts that were with us all the time. Shabbat teaches us to view the world through the lens of gratefulness, to feel, like Avraham, that we have everything.

May this Shabbat, and every Shabbat, give us the gift of gratefulness.

  • 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 15, we will celebrate the naming of Sondra and Jeramiah Giehls’ new daughter.The kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Rabbi Tracee Rosen and Keren Goldberg. The desserts are sponsored by Stacy Andrews.
  • Childcare on Shabbat mornings is available from 10 am to noon. Our learning service for grades K to 2 is from 10:30 to 11:15 am, and for pre-schoolers from 11:15 to 11:45 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • The New Shul’s annual Hanukah Coffee House is on Saturday night December 20 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.
  • On New Year’s Day, Thursday 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.
  • On the Sunday of Martin Luther King Day Weekend, January 18, The New Shul will host the first day of a two-day Mussar retreat, co-sponsored by the Valley Beit Midrash. On Monday January 19, the retreat will continue at Temple Chai. Further information is available here.
  • Coming up at the Women’s Jewish Learning CenterWomen of the Torah and the Quran – Jewish and Muslim women studying together. Four Tuesday evenings beginning on November 18 at 7 pm. Crossing Cairo, a lecture by Rabbi Ruth Sohn on her book by that title, Sunday December 14 at 4 pm. Both programs are hosted by The New Shul.