The New Shul

Parshat Vayeshev

In this week’s parashah, Vayeshev, Yosef is sold by his brothers into slavery. Shortly afterwards, the Torah tells us:“And his master saw that God was with [Yosef], and that God gave him success in everything that he undertook.”According to Rashi, the phrase “God was with [Yosef]”means that  sacred language came easily to him. “The name of heaven was fluent in [Yosef’s] mouth.”

But which was the cause and which was the effect? Perhaps “the name of heaven was fluent in his mouth” because Yosef was so close to God already. But it could also be the opposite, that Yosef’s fluency with sacred language, his practice of speaking of God regularly, is what brought him close to God.

Usually, we imagine that spiritual experience begins in our hearts, and then we put it into words. But more often, it is the other way around. By practicing the use of sacred language, we make God a living reality in our lives. Our words open our hearts.

Part of the reason why we feel God’s presence more intensely on Shabbat than on other days is that Shabbat is so full of sacred language. On Shabbat we take extra time for prayer and the study of Torah. As a result, we feel that we are spending the day in God’s presence. By filling our Shabbat with words of prayer and words of Torah, may we help ourselves – and each other – to feel God’s presence more intensely.

  • 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, December 5, is sponsored by Sharon and Michael Klausner, Linda and Jay Samuels, and Myrna Weinstein in honor of Ina Jacobson’s 80th 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.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, Monday evenings at 7 pm, Wednesday mornings at 7 am and Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.
  • Hanukah begin 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.