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Parshas HaChodesh - Light Amidst the Darkness

R Pesach Siegel

Parshat Tezaveh

Mar 8, 2013

Light Amidst the Darkness

Parshas HaChodesh 5773


At the end of Chodesh Adar we read the parshah of “Hachodesh hazeh lachem rosh chadashim.”[1] This renewal is yours, the head of the new months.


Hashem was instructing Moshe Rabeinu in the laws of establishing of the beginning of each month. The new month is to begin when the first glimmer of the light of the moon reappears.


Moshe Rabeinu had difficulty in determining the exact moment when this would take place. Hashem actually showed him the precise instant.[2]


Questions


What difficulty could Moshe have had that required the personal instruction of Hashem to resolve?


Could it have been a mere physical challenge?


Did Hashem have to show Moshe when the light of the moon first began to emerge?


Analysis


In a sense the parshah of “Hachodesh hazeh lachem” is considered the beginning of the Torah. The world was created for the Bnei Yisroel to keep the Torah. It is the first mitzvah placed upon the Bnei Yisroel.[3]


This particular mitzvah was chosen for a reason.


Until the time of Yetzias Mitzrayim time was marked by the agricultural seasons. The beginning of the year was the plowing/planting season. It ended when the produce of a hard year’s labor was harvested. Thus, the first month of the year was Tishrei.[4]


This ended with Yetzias Mitzrayim. Time was no longer marked by the constant forces of nature.


From then on it is to be marked by renewal.


Our sages tell us that there are 49 levels of impurity. Once one has descended to the bottom of the 49th level, there is no longer any hope of return. All is lost. All is darkness. The Bnei Yisroel were bidden to depart from the impurity of Egypt in haste. The delay of one instant could spell the difference between salvation and eternal bondage to the forces of evil.[5]


Filled with a sense of urgency they found the light within themselves amidst the darkness. They broke free of the captivating forces of the land of Egypt.


G-d created the world and hid his presence. It appears to be a dark, godless place. It is incumbent upon us to dig beneath the surface, to pierce the veil that hides His role in creation.


The world was created for such a moment.  The moment of Yetzias Mitzrayim.The light of sanctity was all but extinguished from the Bnei Yisroel. They are poised to enter the gates of hopelessness. But the truth cannot be extinguished. Even at this lowly stage, they saw that the world is not leaderless. It is not unguided.


Answers


The moon is not a constant. It lights up the night. Gradually, throughout the month, it diminishes in size and its light wanes until total darkness reigns. At the precise moment, when the darkness has reached its potency, the moon is reborn and again fills the night with its luminescence.

 

It was much more than the physical stage of the moon that Hashem showed Moshe Rabeinu. Hashem revealed to Moshe the secret of the Jewish people. He showed Moshe that the purpose of darkness is to reveal the light within. From the depths of darkness emerges the light of renewal. Were it not for darkness, there would be no possibility of illumination.


Parshas Hachodesh links the month of Adar with the month of Nissan. It concerns the month of Nissan and yet it is to be read specifically in the month of Adar. Adar is the tail end of the year. It was in Adar that the Jewish people were to be exterminated by the hands of Haman and his minions. There was no hope. There was no light. Yet, that very threat of extinction brought the Jewish nation to the highest level of redemption.


The tail of the year is thus linked to the head of the year.  The darkness of Adar is linked to the light of the redemption in Nissan.[6]


May it be fulfilled, “In Nissan we were redeemed. In Nissan we are destined to be redeemed.”[7]

 

 



[1] Shmos, perek 12, posuk 2

[2] Rashi, Shmos, perek 12, posuk 2

[3] Rashi, Breishis, perek 1, posuk 1

[4] Ramban, Breishis, perek 8, posuk 5

[5] See Ohr HaChaim, Shmos, perek 3, posuk 7, Gra on MIshlei, perek 16, posuk 4, Alshich, Breishis, perek 41, posuk 33

[6] Rav Moshe Shapiro, shlita

[7] Meseches Rosh Hashanah, daf 11a

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