The New Shul

Parshat Vay’chi

In this week’s parashah, Vay’chi, Yaakov blesses his two grandsons Menashe and Efrayim shortly before his death. Before blessing the boys, Yaakov turns to their father Yosef and recounts some of the key events in his own life, including the death of Yosef’s mother Rachel. Then Yaakov adds, “I had no hope of seeing you again, yet God has given me the gift of seeing your children.”

Why does Yaakov recall that gift now? After all, it has been many years since he has been reunited with Yosef and since he has met his grandsons. The author of Divrei Yirmiyahu explains that, having just recalled the death of Rachel, Yaakov needs to raise his spirits before he can properly bless his grandsons. It is only in a state of joy that one can be a source of blessing. Yaakov consciously reminds himself how fortunate he is so that he can give more of himself.

If we wish to be a source of blessing to others, it helps to remember the blessings that we ourselves have received. By choosing to focus on the aspects of our life-story that make us feel full, as opposed to those that make us feel empty and in need, we find that we can give more to others.

May Shabbat, our day of fullness, help us to remember what we have, and what we have to give.

  • 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 26, is sponsored by Emily and Jeffrey Rosenfeld and by Emily’s parents Simmy and Bob Atkins, in honor of the naming of their new daughter and granddaughter.
  • 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, and from 11 to 11:45 am for grades 1 to 3.
  • 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.
  • 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. We will also serve on Martin Luther King Day, Monday January 18, and on Presidents Day, Monday February 15. Please let us know if you can help.
  • The Womens’ Jewish Learning Center’s havdalah event – “Wine, Women and Wisdom” – is on Saturday January 9 from 7 to 8:30 pm. See the WJLC website for further information.