The New Shul

Parshat Vayigash

This week’s parashah, Vayigash, begins with Yehudah’s heartfelt appeal to the man who will soon reveal himself to be Yehudah’s brother Yosef. The power and sincerity of Yehudah’s words are what will finally move Yosef to reveal himself.

The parashah opens with the words, “Vayigash elav Yehudah vayomer (Yehudah confronted him [i.e. Yosef] and said. . . )” But Rabbi David of Kotzk understood the word “elav [him]” to refer not to Yosef but to Yehudah himself. He interpreted the verse to mean that, before Yehuda spoke to Yosef, he confronted himself. He looked deeply into his own heart. That soul-searching is what gave Yehudah’s words such depth and sincerity that they were able to open Yosef’s heart as well.

The words that matter most in our lives — whether words of prayer, words of Torah, or words of love and concern for another person — are always like that. Their power comes from their authenticity. As the rabbis of the Talmud taught, “words that come from the heart enter the heart.”

May we find many such words in our lives.

  • Candle lighting this Friday evening December 22, is at 5:06 pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday night at 6:05 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 23, the kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Ross Wilkoff and Pam Kaplan in memory of Ross’s father Harvey Wilkoff.
  • 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 the address)
  • Rabbi Wasserman’s class: Dare to Daven: Exploring Jewish Prayer, continues on Shabbat afternoon January 6 at 4:45 pm. The class meets at the Kanter/Wasserman home.
  • On the Shabbat of January 23-24, our guest teacher will be Rabbi Eli Kaunfer, President and CEO of the Hadar Institute in New York.