The New Shul

Parshat Vayeshev/Hanukah

This week’s parashah, Vayeshev, begins to tell the story of Yosef and his brothers. It starts by telling us that “Yosef tended the flocks with his brothers, as a helper. . .”

The word “helper” in that sentence (“na’ar”) can also mean “child.” Based on that, Rabbi Aharon of Karlin explained that Yosef’s great strength throughout his life was his ability to renew himself, to recover his own childlikeness. No matter how dark his world became, Yosef was always open, like a child, to the possibility of good.

The Yosef whom we meet in this week’s parashah has a lot of growing up to do — and he will grow up. By the end of the story, he will no longer be the naive young man that he is at the beginning. He will be a hardened realist. But what will make it possible for him to reconcile with his brothers in the end is that he will rediscover just enough childlike openness within himself to see the change in his brothers as sincere.

Our challenge, according to Rabbi Aharon, is the same: to constantly renew ourselves, to rediscover our own openness and idealism, even at times when the world seems irredeemable. In that way, we have the potential to bring light into the darkness.

  • Candle lighting this Friday evening December 8, 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 9, the kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Stephanie Trotta in honor of Vincent Trotta’s birthday, and her own.
  • Join us for our annual Hanukah Coffee House this Saturday night December 9 at 7:30 pm. The cost is $5 per adult at the door.
  • 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).
  • Rabbi Wasserman’s class: Dare to Daven: Exploring Jewish Prayer, continues on Shabbat afternoon December 16 at 4:30 pm. The class meets at the Kanter/Wasserman home.