The New Shul

Parshat Hayei Sarah

In this week’s parashah, Hayei Sarah, Yitzhak meets his wife-to-be Rivka as she arrives from her homeland. As Rivka approaches, Yitzhak is outdoors “meditating in the field toward evening.” The ancient rabbis taught that Yitzhak’s meditation was the origin of our daily minhah (afternoon) service.

The word sihah, meditation, is similar to the word for bush or shrub, si’ah. Based on that similarity, Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav taught that Yitzhak’s prayer included within it the prayers of all the bushes, trees and flowers. His prayer was strengthened and deepened by the prayers of all the growing things around him.

Often we think of prayer as something forced and unnatural. But Rebbe Nahman reminds us that there is nothing more natural than prayer. All of nature points toward its source, as Psalm 150 says: “Every living being praises YHWH.”  Human prayer is just our version of what all life does in its own way.

When we find prayer difficult, it may help to remember that we have a prayer within us as deep as life itself. The purpose of our worship service is to unlock that prayer and give voice to it.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat services are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. The kiddush-lunch this Shabbat is sponsored by the shul. The desserts are sponsored by Stacy Andrews and her mother Audrey Albert in memory of Stacy’s grandmother Ila Dias, and by Jeramiah and Sondra Giehl in honor of Yafah’s first birthday.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Learning services for children this Shabbat are at the following times: from 11 to 11:30 am for toddlers and pre-schoolers, from 11 to 11:45 am for grades 1 to 3, and from 10:15 to 11:30 am for grades 4 to 6.