The New Shul

Parshat Hayei Sarah

In this week’s parashah, Hayei Sarah, the Torah tells us: “Avraham was old, advanced in years, and YHWH had blessed Avraham with everything.” 

It is a surprising claim, given all the trials that Avraham had endured. Avraham had been a wanderer all his life, having left behind the only home that he had ever known. He had been forced to split his family in half, and had come within an inch of losing his remaining son. According to some commentators, his wife Sarah had died of a broken heart. Given all that, how can the Torah say that Avraham lacked nothing?

According to the Or L’Yesharim, what the Torah meant is that Avraham had always remained grateful for his gifts, even as he struggled with life’s challenges. No matter how life tests us, it is possible to be so deeply conscious of our blessings that, in a very real way, we lack nothing. That may be the greatest blessing of all. 

That is the blessing that Shabbat offers us each week. During the rest of the week, we focus on life’s challenges, on what we lack. But on Shabbat, we focus on the gifts that were with us all the time. Shabbat teaches us to view the world through the lens of gratefulness, to feel, like Avraham, that we have everything.

May this Shabbat, and every Shabbat, bring us that greatest gift.

  • 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 23, will be sponsored by Gershon and Daphna Yaniv.
  • Childcare is available on Shabbat mornings from 10 am to noon.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7 pm. Please note that, beginning in December, our evening minyanim will move to 6:30 pm.