The New Shul

Parshat Vay’chi

This week’s parashah, Vay’chi, begins with Yaakov’s blessing to his grandsons, Menashe and Efrayim. Yaakov’s blessing is the model for the weekly blessing that we give to our children at the Shabbat table. The Torah tells us that Yaakov “blessed them that very day.”

Rabbi Asher of Stolin asked why the Torah added those seemingly unnecessary words, “that very day”? He answered that the purpose of those words is not to teach us about the timing of Yaakov’s blessing but about its content. Yaakov blessed his grandsons with the blessing of “that very day-ness,” of being truly present in the moment.

We spend so much of our energy dwelling in the past, or worrying about the future. But it is only in the present, in the moment where we are, that life truly takes place. It is there that we have the ability to meet each other, and to encounter God. The greatest blessing of all is that of presentness. May we all, like Yaakov’s grandsons, know that blessing.

  • Candle lighting this Friday evening January 6 is at 5:16 pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday night at 6:16 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, January 7 the kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Ross Wilkoff and Pam Kaplan in memory of Ross’s father Harvey Wilkoff, and by Myrna Weinstein.
  • 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 Friday evenings at 6 pm (usually at our rabbis’ home – please contact us for directions).
  • On Shabbat morning, January 14, we will celebrate the bat mitzvah of Gaby Dashe, daughter of Alex and CiCi Dashe.
  • On Shabbat afternoon January 21, after kiddush, Rabbi Bob Eisen will lead a discussion on his new book The Missing Handle.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community is on Sunday morning February 5. Join us for breakfast at 10 am, followed by the meeting at 10:30. All are welcome.