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Renewed Like the Moon

A new moon is born. For two weeks the moon gradually decreases in size and intensity, from a full orb to a halfcrescent to a barely visible sliver. By month’s end, the moon completely disappears. But just when it seems to have reached oblivion, the moon is reborn. In the Torah portion of Bo, we are commanded the Mitzvah of blessing the new moon. “This month shall be for you the head of all months.”

The oblivion, followed by rebirth, is a necessary process. In human terms, we cannot absorb new insights until we have let go of our previous conceptions. So long as we cling to our previous ways of thinking, we are incapable of change or growth. So too the moon, through its disappearance, becomes charged with new energies. This renewal is experienced at the beginning of each month. The Hebrew term “Rosh Chodesh” comes from the root of “chidush”, which means “newness”.

When the moon is “born” on Rosh Chodesh, it does not appear as a full sphere. Only a very slight fraction is visible at all. Yet, it is on Rosh Chodesh that the full energy of the moon is present. It is analogous to the birth of a child. When a baby is born, we rejoice, even though at that time the child does not show any creativity or talent or productivity. At birth, we are not celebrating the accomplishments or qualities of the child. We rejoice in the mere fact of his existence. At birth we most potently experience the essence, the very life of a person, as opposed to his actions or achievements.

As Jewish people, we mark our calendar according to the moon. Just as the moon waxes and wanes, the Jewish people go through a constant cycle of diminishment and rejuvenation; degradation followed by spiritual rebirth. The moon experiences constant chidush, renewal. This is a symbol of the novelty that we introduce into the world through our service of Hashem. Our Divine service causes the world, as well as ourselves, to become a new reality.

This renewal will come to full fruition in the time of Moshiach, when “the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun”. The kingdom of the house of Dovid is compared to the moon. Each Rosh Chodesh, as the moon experiences its renewal, the spark of Moshiach in each individual is revealed. Each soul has within it a yechida, an essence, which is a part of the general soul of Moshiach. When this essence is revealed, it causes a renewal in the entire existence of the person, such that his entire reality becomes permeated with Moshiach. When we will all become completely permeated with Moshiach in all our concerns, this in turn will bring about the actual coming of Moshiach in a literal sense, as a soul in a body, a king from the house of David.

 

 


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