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 accomplish that. 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 repentance 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 our efforts 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.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service is from 9 am to about 11:45 am. In accordance with the latest Covid guidance from the CDC, we require all those over the age of 2 to wear a mask while in our building. Our kiddush-lunch is outdoors, so masks are not required.
  • We are introducing a new children’s learning service this Shabbat, December 11, from 11 to 11:30 am. It will be led by Leah Zigmond.
  • The kiddush-lunch this Shabbat, December 11, will be sponsored by David Mayer and Michele Schneiderman, and by Charlie and Jackie Klein, in honor of David’s 80th birthday.
  • Weekday minyanim at The New Shul are on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm, and on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am. Kabbalat Shabbat is on Friday evenings at 6 pm at our rabbis’ home (please contact us for directions).
  • Join us at The New Shul for our annual Coffee House on Saturday night December 25 at 7 pm.There will be lots of live music and other entertainment by our own local talent, and refreshments afterwards (food will be served outdoors due to Covid). The cost is $5 per adult at the door.