Rabbi Mordechai Cohen
In this week's Torah portion, we read about the first commandment given to the Jewish nation, the commandment of kiddush hachodesh, sanctifying the new moon.
In this week's Torah portion, we read about the first commandment given to the Jewish nation, the commandment of kiddush hachodesh, sanctifying the new moon. We are told that the Hebrew month of Nissan, the month in which we were freed from slavery in Egypt, shall be the head of all months. At first glance, this commandment seems to be at odds with the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, which takes place in the month of Tishrei, six months later. Don't the words Rosh Hashanah mean "Head of the year"? Isn't Tishrei the head of all months?
Our sages tell us that both Tishrei and Nissan have something valuable to teach us. From the month of Tishrei we learn that G-d created the world. From the month of Nissan we learn that even though the creation was completed, G-d is still the manager. He controls everything that happens each and every day. G-d is the one who decreed that we should be enslaved in Egypt, and He is the one who orchestrated our miraculous redemption.
We see from the commandment of kiddush hachodesh that Nissan, and the message it teaches us, is even greater than the month of Tishrei and its message! Tishrei tells us that G-d created the world in six days and on the seventh He rested. From Tishrei alone, one might believe that G-d is still resting. Who said He is still in control of everything that goes on? Maybe He gave over the running of the world to the forces of nature? People might therefore conclude that G-d created the world without it making any difference in their everyday lives. However, once we are made aware from the month of Nissan that it is G-d who is in control of everything which happens every single day, and that we are under His constant supervision, there will be a vast difference in how we choose to lead our lives.
Rabbi Mordechai Cohen is an educator at Torah Day School.
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