The New Shul

Parshat Vayigash

In this week’s parashah, Vayigash, Yosef reveals himself to his brothers, who sold him into slavery many years before. Yosef says to them, “Do not be sad. . . that you sold me here,” and explains that, had they not done so, he would not be in a position to save the world from famine.

Is Yosef trying to excuse his brothers for what they did? If so, it is not clear how his words excuse them. Even if an evil ultimately leads to good, that does not wipe away the original evil.

Perhaps Yosef is trying to help his brothers in a different way — not by excusing their sin, but by helping them to move on in their process of teshuvah. Regret is where the process starts. But if we get so bogged down in regret that we cannot move forward, then regret becomes a trap, an obstacle to growth. The next step in the process is to realize that the world did not end with our sin, that there are opportunities in front of us to make the world better, and that we are still needed. Maybe that is what Yosef is trying to help his brothers to see — that life goes on and that we all have work to do.

At times when our regrets keep us from moving forward, may Yosef’s words help us as well.

  • 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, December 23, the kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Scott Berlant in memory of his mother Lilyan Berlant.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Our learning service for children is from 11 to 11:45 am.
  • 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 Year’s Day, Monday January 1, and on Martin Luther King Day, Monday January 15, The New Shul community will serve meals to the hungry at St. Vincent de Paul’s Jackson Street dining room. Please let us know if you can help.