The New Shul

Parshat Toldot

In this week’s parashah, Toldot, the Torah tells the story of how Yitzhak and his household searched for water in the desert. “The servants of Yitzhak were digging in a a dry river bed [nahal], and they found there a source of living water.”

For the Hasidic masters, that elusive water represents God’s presence, which restores us to life when our spirits have gone dry. At times when we feel spiritually parched, we all must search for that water.

But where should we start looking? Rabbi Menahem Nahum of Chernobyl, the author of Me’or Einayim, took a hint from the word “nahal — dry river bed”.  He understood its three Hebrew letters, N-H-L, as an acronym for “Nafsheinu Hikta Ladonai — My soul longs for the Lord” (Psalm 33:20). In other words, the best place to begin our search for water is the place of our own longing. Our thirst for deeper meaning is evidence that, deep down, we believe that it exists. To take our spiritual longing seriously is the first step toward fulfilling it, in that it means trusting in the wisdom of the heart, believing in its power to point us toward the truth.

This Shabbat, and every Shabbat, may we help each other in our search for living water.

  • 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. This Shabbat, November 10, the kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Howard Goldstein and his mother Elinor Goldstein.
  • Childcare is available on Shabbat mornings from 10 am to 12 noon.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on November 30, after the 6 pm service. The cost is $18 per adult, and $9 per child under 18 (no charge for children under 5). Please make your reservation by Sunday November 25. If you wish to pay on-line, you can do so here.