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Parshat HaChodesh: Time

Rosh Chodesh is always a very special occasion in the Jewish calendar, and this Shabbat we usher in the month of Nisan – which is something to think about.

As well as parshat Tazria, it is extra special this week, as we reflect on parshat Bo which tells us of this exact mitzvah:

הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים רִאשׁוֹן הוּא לָכֶם לְחׇדְשֵׁי הַשָּׁנָה – “This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Shemot 12:2).

The first mitzvah Bnei Yisrael are given, and God says it belongs to you – לָכֶם. This is very unique, in that the first mitzvah is that we have control of time. Time is something extremely holy. Reb Nachman says that a good day stands in a street corner and reads in a big voice: “holy!”. Time is something extremely holy. Our calendar is something extremely holy. Rosh Chodesh Nisan is something extremely holy.

Time has a link to how we grow and how we change, and it is Rav Kook who says that both growth and change connect to the moon, which of course connects to Rosh Chodesh. The moon has so many interesting ways about it, how it waxes, and disappears but also returns in a way of renewal. This is a great representation of how we should do life – with our time. We should absorb every moment, every new opportunity, and every new thing and find ways to become better versions of ourselves.

This is very interesting, because if we think about the time we are in, we are adjusting to the time of spring and our chodesh of Nisan is themed around spring. The gemara in Rosh Hashana (11a) teaches that “one who goes out in the days of Nisan and sees the trees blossoming should say the blessing, “blessed is He who left nothing lacking from His world”. Ultimately, we cannot experience the time of spring without going out, seeing the world and pushing ourselves, as reflected on in Shir Hashirim (3:11) – our Megillah which is the center of Nisan. As the trees begin to blossom, we must go out and see what is ahead of us, and allow things to blossom for ourselves in our own lives. This all couldn’t be more appropriate, as chodesh Nisan too is a time where we celebrate our freedom. Much of our freedom is that God gave us a world of psychology and a world of intellect which we can infuse together to do big things with, and to go out and see what is ahead of us with.

When Moshe sung Az Yashir – “Az” in the future meant that he wanted there to be more songs. Our job is to make a new song. I must put emphasis on the same phrase I like to quote very often which is “מִקְדַּש מֶלֶךְ עִיר מְלוּכָה. קוּמִי צְאִי מִתּוךְ הַהֲפֵכָה” – “arise, go out from the midst and turmoil”. Intertwined with this idea of our freedom, and making use of it in the right way, and making use of our time in the right way, we must arise and soak in every opportunity there is ahead of us because there is so much we can do. There are so many opportunities for us to learn Torah and share Torah, opportunities for us to be part of something so big, and we need to really get out there to make it happen. We are so lucky with what we have that contribute to our growth, and there are so many opportunities for us to make positive change to the world, where we can get out, that stem from the values we know stated in Pirkei Avot (1:2) “Torah, avodah and gemillut chasidim”.

May we take Shabbat Hachodesh and really think about the importance of time in our lives and the fundamental things we can do with it, whilst allowing every moment to blossom and elevate in the spring, as we head towards a time where we celebrate geulah.

About the Author
Darcey is a student from London who attended Midreshet Harova in the Old City of Jerusalem. She invests much of her time in Torah education.
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