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BLUE MOON

by Mordechai Pollock    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

Today we read about one of the most momentous occasions in the history of the Jewish people and indeed in the history of the world. For in this week's Torah portion, we read of the giving of the first mitzvah to the Nation of Israel as a single, unified people. This point in time can be called the birth of Klal Yisrael, the Jewish people.

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Today we read about one of the most momentous occasions in the history of the Jewish people and indeed in the history of the world. For in this week's Torah portion, we read of the giving of the first mitzvah to the Nation of Israel as a single, unified people. This point in time can be called the birth of Klal Yisrael, the Jewish people.

"This month is to you the first of months" (Exodus 12:2). Hashem commands the Jewish people to establish the Hebrew month of Nissan as the first month on the Jewish calendar. Moreover, the Jewish calendar is to be based, in large part, on the lunar cycle, rather than on the solar.

Our sages in many places make note of the fact that the Jewish people themselves are like the moon. We need look no further than the service of Kiddush L'vanah, the sanctification of the new moon, to see this comparison. ". . .Those [the Jewish people] who are destined to renew themselves like it [the moon]. . ." refers to the renewal of the Jewish people in the time of the Messiah being similar to the monthly renewal of the moon. (Please see your prayer book for more details concerning Kiddush L'vanah. -Ed.)

The Jewish nation has gone through many ups and downs throughout its long history. From glorious heights to devastating lows, the Jewish people have been through it all. The likeness to the moon reminds us that there is renewal, that the future will indeed be brighter than the present and even the past. The ultimate renewal, then, is that renewal referred to in Kiddush L'vanah -- the renewal of the Jewish people in the time of the Messiah.

While the moon is likened to the Jewish nation as a whole, each individual can also be said to be like the moon. As Rav Shlomo Wolbe, a leading contemporary Israeli rabbi, explains in his masterpiece Alei Shor, everyone goes through stages. Sometimes things are tremendously good. Other times, for inexplicable reasons, things seem to be miserable. This phenomenon, Rabbi Wolbe explains, is part of Hashem's master plan -- that people, like the moon, go through cycles or stages. One is not to despair upon reaching a point in time when everything seems to be going wrong. On the contrary, one is to realize that this is simply part of growth. We must find the strength from within to turn bad times into good, thereby climbing to the tremendous heights that all of us are capable of reaching.

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Mordechai Pollock, who lived in Atlanta, is currently studying at Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore.

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