The New Shul

Parshat Vayetzei

This week’s parashah, Vayetzei, tells the story of Yaakov’s dream at Beit El, in which God appears to him. After Yaakov awakens, he exclaims: “Surely God is in this place; I did not know!”

The word “I” in Yaakov’s exclamation is doubled in the Hebrew. Yaakov uses the pronoun “I” followed by the verb “I did not know,” which includes the same pronoun. Based on that doubling, the Tiferet Shlomo understood “I” to be both the subject and the object of the verb. What Yaakov really meant was “Surely God is in this place; [my] I I did not know (i.e. I was not conscious of myself).” Yaakov had learned that we discover God when we see beyond our “I,” when we transcend our ego.

When we cannot find God in the world, it is often because our “I” is in the way. By de-centering ourselves, we make room for that which is greater than us. One of the key purposes of prayer is to help us to regain perspective, to see the world more truthfully and clearly, in a less self-centered way. May the prayer life that we build together help us all to do that.

  • Candle lighting this Friday evening December 2 is at 5:01 pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday night at 6:00 pm.
  • The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service is from 9 to about 11:45 am, followed by a kiddush-lunch open to all. This Shabbat, December 3, the kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Fran Richter, Ruth Silon, Margie Rothstein, Lynn Sykes, Sophie Rehrig, Jennifer Dworsky and Sandra Harris in honor of the 20th anniversary of Lois Zeidman’ heart surgery.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm. Kabbalat Shabbat is on Fridays at 6 pm (usually at our rabbis’ home – please contact us for directions).
  • Hanukah begins on Sunday night December 18. The New Shul will host a Hanukah party for families (in partnership with PJ Library) on Monday December 19 at 6:15 pm. Contact for more information, or to rsvp.
  • Join us for our annual Hanukah Coffee House on Saturday night December 24 at 7:30 pm. There will be lots of live entertainment by our own local talent, and home-made latkes and other refreshments. The cost is $5 per adult at the door (children under 13 free).