The New Shul

Parshat Vayetzei

This week’s parashah, Vayetzei, tells the story of Yaakov’s dream at Beit El, in which God appears to him. After Yaakov awakens, he exclaims: “Surely God is in this place; I did not know!”

The word “I” in Yaakov’s exclamation is doubled in the Hebrew. Yaakov uses the pronoun “I” followed by the verb “I did not know,” which includes the same pronoun. Based on that doubling, the Tiferet Shlomo understood “I” to be both the subject and the object of the verb. What Yaakov really meant is “Surely God is in this place; [my] I I did not know,” i.e. I was not conscious of myself. Yaakov had learned that we discover God when we see beyond our “I,” when we transcend our ego.

When we cannot find God in the world, it is often because our “I” is in the way. By de-centering ourselves, we make room for that which is greater than us. One of the key purposes of prayer is to help us to regain perspective, to see the world more truthfully and clearly, in a less self-centered way. May the prayer life that we build together help us all to do that.

  • 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, November 21, is sponsored by Ina Jacobson. The cake is sponsored by Michael and Shaindel Ross in honor of Ora’s 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 11:45 am for grades 4 to 6.
  • Hanukah begins on Sunday night December 6. On Saturday night December 12, join us at 7:30 pm for our annual Hanukah Coffee House. There will be lots of live music and other entertainment by our own local talent. The cost is $5 per adult at the door.
  • On New Years Day, Friday January 1, The New Shul community will serve meals to the hungry at St. Vincent de Paul’s Jackson Street dining room from 10 am to 1 pm. Please let us know if you can help.
  • Please note that there will be no e-bulletin next week because of Thanksgiving. The kiddush-lunch a week from this Sahbbat, November 28 will be sponsored by Mariam Cohen and Barry Schnur in honor of their wedding anniversary.