The New Shul

Parshat Vayishlah

In the beginning of this week’s parashah, Vayishlah, Yaakov prepares to meet his brother Esav after twenty years of estrangement. In fear of his brother, Yaakov asks God for help. But first Yaakov  acknowledges that he does not deserve the gifts that God has already given him. He cries out, “Katonti mikol ha-hasadim — I am unworthy [literally ‘small compared to’] all the gifts. . . that you have given to your servant.”

The phrase “Katonti mikol ha-hasadim (I am small compared to all God’s gifts. . .)can also mean “I am small of all God’s gifts.Hence Rabbi Yaakov Yitzhak of Lublin interpreted Yaakov’s cry to mean thatto be small (to say “Katonti“) isa gift of God. In other other words, humility is not only a virtue but a blessing.

True humility does not mean thinking negatively of ourselves. It means seeing beyond ourselves, so that we can make room for the needs of others. It is the quality that makes it possible for us not to be alone in the world, to bind ourselves to others and to God.

May Shabbat, and the broader perspective that it brings, renew that blessing in our lives.

  • Candle lighting this Friday evening December 1, is at 5:01 pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday night at 6:00 pm.
  • The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service is from 9 am to about 11:45 am, followed by a kiddush-lunch open to all. This Shabbat, December 2, the kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Lynn Sykes in honor of Margie Rothstein’s 70th birthday.
  • Rabbi Wasserman’s class: Dare to Daven: Exploring Jewish Prayer, continues this Shabbat afternoon December 2, at 4:30 pm. The class meets at the Kanter/Wasserman home.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm at the shul. Kabbalat Shabbbat is on Friday evenings at 6 pm at the Kanter-Wasserman home (please contact us for directions).
  • Join us for our annual Hanukah Coffee House on Saturday night December 9 at 7:30 pm. The cost is $5 per adult at the door.